Education Opinion

Non-example: Not planning ahead (but interesting articles to read)

By Jessica Shyu — August 08, 2007 2 min read
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This blog entry is dedicated to planning. Or rather, it’s dedicated to my lack of planning.

This week, my colleagues and I in the Rio Grande Valley are facilitating the learning of our first-year teachers’ on the foundational skills of teaching. They are already proficient in the act of teaching; now we’re working on the deep understandings behind it. Among the many skills we’re working on this week are developing their class vision and goals by internalizing their standards, determining their course assessments, and starting to long-term plan for their school year. These are critical pieces to teaching, but as anyone knows, it’s a lot.

UPDATED 8/11: (Two lessons of the week: Facilitating to adults is NOT like teaching kids. It’s almost kind of funny to compare the way I teach to the way I facilitate. It’s hard. I’m kind of miserable at it. I’m pretty sure I said the same thing two years ago as I began teaching. Also, these teachers are doing an incredible job. It’s pretty cool to watch how the achievement gap gets closed. They’re not just unpacking standards; they’re developing visions for their classrooms, they’re making plans on how to get there, and they’re excited about doing it. It’s, well, exciting.)

But as I re-emphasize to our teachers the need to plan, I don’t follow my own advice. Even though I knew this was going to be a rough week, I didn’t plan a blog entry ahead of time. Instead, I’m reminded once again how critical it is to plan, plan and plan...

And so for today, I’m leaving you all with a couple interesting news articles that have been passed along by colleagues and friends. I will be updating once again this weekend, but in the meantime, read on.

Do you talk with your hands? Do you find yourself gesturing as you teach? Or maybe you gesture as you learn something new. You may be on to something neuroscientists, psychologists and educators are trying to figure out. What impact does hand gesturing have on our learning?

We must have known that this was too good to be true... A new study finds that baby video products such as “Baby Einstein” and “Brainy Baby” may do more harm than good, and may delay language development in toddlers.

Lastly, here’s an older, but good one for those of you who haven’t been keeping up too closely with the news: Summer school isn’t just about catching up on missed credits-- Maryland schools are giving under-resourced students an edge by offering school in July. This is an effort to close the achievement gap before it has a chance to open or grow wider when the school year rolls around.

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