I believe that the SHIFT ELearning blog might just be finding inspiration from me!  Here is a recent post from SHIFT which explains some brilliant statistics about the wonders of micro learning  which is taking the corporate world of staff development by storm.  Enjoy reading more reasons why I’m right!

 

 

Thoughts about Differentiation

Carol Ann Tomlinson is considered a leading expert on Differentiation.  She says “Excellence in teaching is when we do everything that we can to help students become everything they can.”

“Everything that we can” is a big statement.  How overwhelming! You don’t just want me to do something a little bit extra, you want me to do EVERYTHING?! What are you saying?

The next part of the statement is vital here.  “…WE CAN”. It tells us that we don’t have to do everything that is suggested for students with a particular disability or specific learning need, it means that we do everything we can.  Be reasonable.  Do what is possible.

Remember that one or two well executed strategies will have a greater impact on student outcomes.  There can be hundreds of strategies that are recommended for supporting a specific learning difficulty, but not all of them will be appropriate for the student in your class.   Choose one or two that you can manage and do all you can to make them succeed.  If one of them isn’t working, check on your practice (or how you are implementing it) and if it still isn’t working, try something else.

“Everything we can” means we work at implementing strategies in the best way possible.  “Everything we can” means if something doesn’t work, we try something else.  “Everything we can” means figuring out which strategy will work best for a student and implementing that strategy consistently, day in and day out.  “Everything we can, doesn’t mean doing it all.”

“Everything we can” means doing our best for the success of our students.

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Making the Most of Supporters

I wrote about this topic in 2014 if you want to check out my original post, click here. Since then, I have learned more about utilising the support that is available to me, whether the support is in my classroom or in the staffroom, I have learned to ask for the help I need.

An important part of being a teacher is managing the resources that are available to us.  We often talk about managing behaviour of students, or taming the piles of paperwork or keeping all the hands on materials in check.  We don’t often talk about how best to manage the human resources that are available to us.  Sometimes these human resources are teacher aides (or educational assistants), parent volunteers, other teachers and even our own family and friends.

Knowing what you need and knowing how to ask for it is a vital part of managing human resources.  People cannot read your mind.  Regardless of their intelligence, willingness to help, or years of experience; people won’t know what you want or need unless you tell them.  This can be a difficult situation for some of us.  Especially if we are not used to asking for help, or if we are not used to leading a team.  Here are a few tips for how to ask/ direct the people who are ready and willing to support you.

  1. Think carefully about what you need to get done in your classroom.
  2. Work out which of the items on your list must be done by you and which ones could be done by someone else.
  3. Decide which days the tasks must be done and/or if there will be a deadline for them.
  4. Assign tasks to the teacher aides/ parent volunteers available to you at the times you need them done.

How you choose to use the skills of people around you is entirely up to you.  Bear in mind that people are better at some things than they are at others.  Some will be more confident and efficient with photocopying/ administration tasks while others will be better with working one to one with students or in small groups.

My teaching partner a few years back is married to a pilot.  Who better to have come and visit our students during the world travel unit? The next year my teaching partner had moved on.  Fortunately, my friend – who has backpacked around Europe, USA, Canada and some parts of Asia – happened to be in Australia, so she came to speak to the students instead.  I haven’t travelled very far, so I knew I would need help with this aspect of my teaching.

My mother is great at sewing, so I asked her to make curtains for my classroom and covers for the chairs.   I am not so great at sewing so I knew it made more sense to ask my mother to help me out.  She has years of experience and is very skilled.  Why waste my time trying to do something that won’t work out nearly as well?  I have far too many things to do that will take up my time.

Know what you need and how to ask for it clearly.  Know how to say thank you.

You will do just fine!

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Source: Is DI Really As Easy As What I Have Been Lead to Believe?

A new follower, Teaching and Learning Notebook, asks a great question. Then she answers it. Spoiler Alert… Differentiated Instruction is not easy!
But here is the good news. Collaboration can make it easier.

Learning from each other makes us better Teachers and that leads to better outcomes for our students and (just like the Hokey Pokey), that’s what it’s all about!

Cult of Pedagogy has a website, blog, Pinterest boards, and probably more social media accounts that you can follow and visit.  I was introduced to Cult of Pedagogy through Pinterest, so here is the Cult of Pedagogy Pinterest Profile for you to check out.

Cult of Pedagogy is worth a look for any teacher or pedagogy coach.  I am certain that you will find something useful for you and your classroom.  Get going: learn something new, think about your teaching practice, discover new strategies and read some real life stories from teachers just like you.

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