Saturday, July 2, 2011

"You must enjoy your summers off!" she said.

Still learning! I do, in fact, enjoy my summers, but not because I take a break from school. Every teacher I know thinks about school all through the summer. Right now I am taking an online course in Universal Design for Learning, a concept whose time has come. It makes you think about the problems kids in your room will have before you write your lesson plans and plan to present lessons in ways that will reach ALL the students in the classroom. Making sure you teach to multiple learning styles and assess using those styles is a daunting task, but one that will ensure all of your students will master the State Standards.

I usually teach to multiple learning styles, but am just discovering technology that will make my goals a reality. Text-to-speech, webquests, animation, powerpoint for kids, cooperative/collaborative projects are but a few of the resources I need to be taking advantage of more often. I am already formulating lessons for things I know students will have a hard time grasping in reading and math. I will probably continue to do this throughout the summer.

A ride on the Steamboat SPASH, out of Lambertville, New Jersey will place me in unfamiliar territory where teaching is concerned. Last year I taught a few sessions on macroinvertebrates and healthy streams. This year I have been asked to teach water quality to a group of high school kids - not my ususal or preferred age of student. I researched possible topics and have decided on monitoring the water quality (temperature, pH, turbidity and dissolved oxygen levels) in the Delaware River. We will take samples and do the testing right there on the boat! Should be hands-on enough and easy to do in the 20-minute lesson time alloted.

And that's not all! I have been invited to be an Ambassador for Little Kids Rock in the Philadelphia area. We go for training in Montclair, New Jersey for a week in July. I have been a teacher for Little Kids Rock in my school since 2008. A weekend workshop opened up a whole new world for me and my students then. I learned ways to teach guitar, keyboard and drums to my 5th graders in a way that gets them playing songs almost immediately. The class that just left me were the most advanced LKR class I have ever taught! Music means so much to kids, especially when there is no music program in the school anymore. So I am sure all the ideas I glean from that week will also be milling around in my head.

I am planning a visit to Buffalo this summer to see my friend Andi. It's been way too long since I last saw her and we have a lot of catching up to do. SHe has a lot of books and stuff for my class, so even this social visit is school related!

Hopefully Vic and I will go somewhere at some point this summer. It's so hard when I work 10 months and have off two, but those are his two busiest months for the boats. *sigh* We did get some together time at Chincoteague in the Spring before the season started. I think I'd like to do that again out-of-season. Too expensive in-season!

And then I am trying to so a little to fix up the house every weekday. I give myself weekends off! Also driving Karen back and forth to work. October can't come soon enough, when she can drive her own car. Of course, she has to buy one first...

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