Teachers.Net and I, by chance, became high-tech links in the chain of people and events that cracked the Chinese government's tight lid on its emerging SARS epidemic Teachers.Net Chatroom Exchange Reveals SARS Outbreak...
About Ginny Hoover...
Ginny Hoover took an early retirement after 31 years of teaching in Kansas public schools. Her experience spans the 5th through 8th grades. During the last ten years she has functioned as a trainer of teachers in a variety of areas in her district, surrounding districts, professional organizations, and teacher service centers. At the state level Ginny is a state trainer for the KS State Writing Assessment (based on the Six Traits Writing Model), a member of the Kansas Social Studies Committee for writing the social studies standards, benchmarks, and indicators, and the lead trainer for the state in government and civics.
Recently, Teacher TimeSavers published a variety teaching units and tutoring hookups that Ginny wrote and designed. These include a Six Traits materials, literary unit for Taming the Star Runner, Hookups for Language Arts, Transcripts of Trials for Goldilocks, The Wolf, and Mr. Dad, and Tactile/Kinesthetic Activity Patterns.
The Gifts of Children by Hoover and Carroll Killingsworth, a book about recognizing, acknowledging, and refining the gifts of children, is scheduled to be published some time this year. Visit Teachers Helping Children--The Gifts Project for additional information.
Joyce McLeod, Jan Fisher, and Ginny will soon have a classroom management book to be published by ASCD. It will cover managing time and space, managing the classroom, and managing instructional strategies.
The Gifts of All Children
by Carroll Killingsworth and Ginny Hoover
The Eclectic Teacher
by Ginny HooverI Taught, But Did He Learn?
A question to think about. In strands recently on the board, I read some things that made me think about that very question. In the past, we have often heard teachers say, "I taught that. I don't know why they can't do it. They certainly had every opportunity to learn." And that is the key here---opportunity to learn.
What if a student didn't want the opportunity to learn or didn't understand our attempt at giving him an opportunity to learn, and at a later date requests a second chance? Do we say, "No, you missed your window of opportunity," or do we say, "Fine, what do you understand and what do you still need to learn?"
I believe that the opportunity to learn doesn't come with time limits. This isn't about grades...it is about learning needed skills and knowledge. I not saying that I ever made it easy curriculum-wise to re-open a window of opportunity, but I did make it teacher-access easy for students to receive tutoring. I even required them do the work in my presence before and after school and during our study hall type classes called "enrichment." BECAUSE if they really wanted the opportunity to learn, I wanted to make sure that THEY learned---and that it was TRULY their work. I worked on their questioning skills and did not accept "I don't understand." They had to identify what they didn't understand OR identify the spot where understanding ceased. Why waste time going over material they already know? Because this was an ongoing process, often there was a handful of students needing the same skills. So, it was easy to hold mini-classes before and after school.
I don't believe in "extra credit" for raising a grade. Instead, I believe in allowing students to learn bodies of information or skills that they failed to learn as a part of the classroom activities. And yes, actually learning required knowledge and skills would have a positive effect on their grades, but it was because they learned the material---not because they filled in a handful of worksheets, did an extra book report, or looked up a few facts in the encyclopedia.
I recently attended the annual conference of the Kansas State Department of Education as a co-presenter for the state social studies curriculum (6 of us on the team). Richard DuFour (author of Professional Learning Communities at Work) addressed the Opening Session regarding student achievement and systematic procedures to give students additional time and support when they struggle. At the time, I thought, "Man, you're preaching to the choir," because he was saying exactly what I'd been saying in recent posts---That the limited opportunity to learn isn't the same as open opportunity to learn. The message he says we should deliver? Learning is required! DuFour stressed that there should be a connection with people who support, and instead of "you," it should be a "we" and "us" approach. He suggested increased time and level of support for struggling students. In addition, he stressed the need for timely and systematic interventions.
Another point Richard DuFour made is that interventions are a time/teacher/cooperation/schedule issue, not a money issue. Increased learning is possible without additional funding. Think about it.
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