Education


Even now with only 11 days left in the school year, I find myself asking where this year went? Is it my age? Business of life? Whatever the reason, there is always more to be accomplished to help us serve our Colts than what time permits. For example, our staff heard from a licensed therapist this afternoon who discussed ways to help reduce anxiety in children. We will be offering parent meetings on this topic in the future.

Even now as we end another year we continue to learn of ways to improve what we provide to our Colts. As I share with potential members to the Colt Family, we aren’t perfect, but we certainly try hard to do our best…even at the very end of the school year.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance.

Thank you,

Ron

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Yes, I understand that as educators our primary task is to provide the highest level of academic experiences for our learners. With that disclaimer, I want to suggest that we also have as equally an important task which also serves to produce successful learners. It is the responsibility to be nice. This sounds simple, but isn’t always at the forefront of our purpose.  As we enter the ending of one academic year and begin the planning of another, let’s intentionally plan that our students and staff are purposefully nice.

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We fall victim to the need to occupy our time, money and other resources in getting more. Schools are notorious for looking for the “next thing” that they often forget the power of the moment. Look around you and celebrate that there are more students learning than not, there are more parents satisfied than not, and there are more outstanding teachers than not.

So after all is said and done and we hear the question. “And Then What?” the answer might just be to stop and notice all of the good than not.

Thanks for stopping by!

Ron

 

 

Sometimes the questions we ask of the learner are more important than the answers. I know this may seem counterintuitive at first, but please allow me to clarify. 

One of the expectations of all learners in Forsyth County is outlined in the FCS Learner Profile as being able to “Utilize Creative and Critical Thinking.” Both of these expectations include skills which are applicable for the learner in the classroom as well as in the workplace and beyond. 

We understand that the learner must be taught how to be a creative and critical thinker and a solution-oriented individual.
One of the ways to develop these skills is through asking questions that cause the learner to think beyond basic recall or rote responses (lower level responses). Instead the learners should be asked questions that require depth of thought and knowledge (higher level responses). A resource you can use is the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy

As you ask your child questions about what he/she is learning, intentionally include questions from the “Analyze, Evaluate and Create” categories. Over time, your child will become more comfortable with these types of questions and should be able to explain his/her thinking about the topic. 

We realize that we are truly fortunate to live in a community whose primary goal is the same as ours: to create a learning environment that provides atypical experiences for every Colt. 

This is only possible through open and consistent dialogue between home and school.
As we continue to explore ways to partner with home as a support around reading, we wanted to share some easily understood and readily implemented ways you can increase your child’s level of understanding.

You have asked about how to find age appropriate and level appropriate books for your child to read. The following lists provides some ways to access them. Additionally the Public Library System in Forsyth is well aware of the leveling systems like Fountas & Pinnell (F&P) that we use as well as information about the Lexile Levels. So, they would be glad to assist as well. 

This certainly is not an exhaustive list, in fact, one of the best ways to select a book for your child to read is to have your child talk about what interests him/her and provide multiple ways for your child to have access to readings about the topic of interest. (i.e.- magazines, newspaper articles, fiction and non- fictional books, etc.) there are children’s version of some of the more popular magazines such as: Time For Kids, Sports Illustrated For Kids, Weekly Reader, National Geographic For Kids, etc.

You can help your child by reading out loud with them so that they hear:

  • How the reader stops at punctuation, uses voice inflections, 
  • Reads fluently, 
  • You can also have your child tell you three things they learned about what they just read 
  • Ask them to create three questions that can be answered after someone reads the passage, chapter,
    etc. 
  • Have them draw a picture of what they read. (This strategy can also provide insight as to what
    your child actually got from the reading. Lots of specifics shown in their drawing indicate a
    higher likelihood of student understanding, while the reverse might be true. 
  • Let your kids see you reading while they are reading, 
  • Point out careers that require some type of reading to be done that requires strong reading skills,
  • Have your child talk a lot as they are reading so they can hear and often clarify any misread words,
  • Ask your child if what they read makes sense,
  • Have they read or heard anything that matches what they read/learned?
    Notice that the suggestions listed do not include questions like “Who’s the main character? Where did the story take place? What’s the problem in the story?” These are basic questions that give an insight to your reader and knowing these pieces are important, but we must be intentional about asking questions of more
    depth and require the learner to provide answers of more than one word responses,
  • Why did the author write this book?
  • How would you have changed the ending?
  • If you were the character in the story how would you change the setting, and would have the
    problem be the same?
  • How would the solution have changed if you were the main character? If the setting had changed.? The goal is to begin getting readers to make connections and problem solve in a variety of ways.
     

As you can readily see, there are many ways to support your child in reading without requiring that you have read their selections or have a deep level of understanding on your part as to specific reading skills.

As I think about my childhood, I well remember many interactions with my parents that ended with the same response from them…”Not yet.” I usually heard that when I asked things like, “May I have a snack? May I have a pet? May I go to my friend’s house? May I have ice cream? May I have some money?”  Well, you get the point. (Disclaimer- I really did have a great childhood). 

These were all met with the same response from my parents, “Not yet.”  In my young mind I heard this to mean “Not Ever” because the gratification of getting the desired outcome was not immediate; therefore, I treated the delay of “not yet” as if it was a “not ever.” 

As I have become an adult and have had various experiences in my personal and professional life, I have come to appreciate the upside of “not yet.” In retrospect, it is often the best answer I could have gotten. Does it mean it’s what I want to hear? No!!

I have realized that getting the “Not Yet” is often in my best interest so that I can be positioned for the highest levels of success when the answer becomes a “yes, now.” The difficult part of hearing “not yet” is in feeling like I did as a child and misunderstood “not yet” to mean “not ever.” 

As an adult, “not yet” gives me time to continue to grow and develop my knowledge, skills and mindset so than when I hear a “yes, now,” I am able to succeed at a more effective level. 

So, even when it is not what you want to hear, look for the upside of “Not Yet” it doesn’t mean “not ever.”

This is a question that we are constantly trying to answer. It seems that we are currently in a time frame in education when things appear to be off-balance. Balance doesn’t mean that all things are equal all the time. It is defined as “a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.” How much technology integration should there be? How much writing should there be? Does this assessment reflect the learning that has occurred? Did I teach this standard? The list goes on and on with a common underlying element of balance. How do we determine these ‘correct proportions’?

Have we found it? My answer is, not entirely, but that doesn’t mean we will give up on trying to get there. How are you achieving balance?

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