Archive for the ‘Rodel Teacher Council’ Category

April 2018 Teacher Newsletter

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April 2018

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TEDxWilmingtonED: Education Possible
Event Recap

 

Finding ways to improve Delaware’s educational system and expanding opportunities for every child was the focus of a TEDx event in February.

More than 300 teachers, school officials, and child advocates packed the glittering Gold Ballroom at the Hotel du Pont. The topic: “Education Possible.”

Local, regional and national authorities challenged attendees to find ways to improve school facilities, devise programs for the poor and disabled, and dare to be innovative. Finding those solutions could go a long way toward closing the state’s achievement gap between low-income students and those of means. Read more.

Three Rodel Teacher Council members spoke at the TedxWilmington: Education Possible Conference. Learn more about their talks below.

 

At times, an educator may be the only good thing that happens in a student’s day.

With that in mind, Lisa Mims, fourth grade teacher at Pleasantville Elementary, shares what could happen in classrooms where students know their teacher cares. The benefits could change your classroom!

 

The U.S. is facing a teacher shortage. One of the many factors is that not as many college students are choosing to major in education.

Stephanie Diggins, Teacher Academy/theatre teacher at William Penn High School, asks what if students were able to experience the profession from a teacher’s perspective before they graduate high school?

 

Robyn Howton, National Board Certified Teacher and ELA Chairperson/AVID Coordinator at Mount Pleasant High School, argues that the key to improving our schools is already in our classrooms and is not being fully utilized.

She gives real-world examples of teachers who are leading the charge while staying in their classroom.

Save The Date:
Local and National Conferences

Youth Entrepreneurship Summit 2018: A World Made by You (April 11-13, Newark)
The youth entrepreneurship summit is a unique three-day conference providing students, educators, and supporters from around the world the opportunity to develop new skills while energizing their entrepreneurial spirit. Learn from world-class speakers, entrepreneurs, and mentors. Join a community of like-minded peers and forge lifelong connections.

7th Annual Making A Difference Conference (April 13-14, Dover)
The Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children partners each spring with Delaware Head Start Association, with support from Delaware Department of Education for the annual Making A Difference in Early Childhood: A Conference for Early Childhood Professionals. Registration for the 2018 conference is now open.

Delaware Readiness Teams Parent Conference (April 14, Dover)
Join the Delaware Readiness Teams as they explore new strategies to aide your child’s developmental progress. The keynote speaker is Brandon Gogue who will help you guide your child’s unique gifts and talents to achieve success and happiness. This event is free and open to the public. Breakfast and lunch will be served.

Delaware Education Funding Summit (April 19, Newark)
Join the Education Equity Delaware coalition for a half-day summit on the state’s education funding system. Attendees will hear from national and local experts about opportunities to better serve our students by providing equitable and adequate resources according to their need and join an advocacy movement and a coordinated coalition of organizations committed to excellent and equitable education opportunities for all Delaware students.

2018 Delaware STEM Symposium & Educator Awards (May 2, Dover)
Join the celebration at the 2018 Delaware STEM Symposium & Educator Awards Gala. The day will consist of three panels: the role of STEM in food and agricultural production, the future of STEM in health care, and the key role of IT across STEM industries in Delaware. The group will then all meet together to hear remarks from prominent elected officials and the announcement of the winners of the 2018 Educator Awards and a networking reception.

2018 Summer Program for Innovative Educators (June 19-20, Newark)
Learn how to integrate concepts of entrepreneurship into your classroom and programs. Educators will gain an understanding of the evidence-based entrepreneurial process
from design thinking and ideation, to the business model canvas and practice methods to apply these ideas in the classroom. This program will focus on experiential learning and is relevant for all pathways.

2018 Summer Certificate Program for Teaching Entrepreneurship (June 24-28, Newark)
The summer certification Program for Teaching Entrepreneurship (PTE) is a program for high school teachers who are interested in utilizing Horn Entrepreneurship’s state-of-the-art, evidence-based curriculum with their students. Participation in PTE also provides educators with a discounted license of the Horn Entrepreneurship semester-based high school evidence-based entrepreneurship curriculum.

Award and Professional
Development Opportunities

Examining the Relationship between Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Intelligence, and Educators’ Self-Efficacy in Delivering Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices (Deadline: April 6)
Dr. Tia Barnes, an assistant professor at the University of Delaware, is seeking current Preschool – 12th grade teachers in Delaware to complete two surveys regarding their experiences with culture, emotional well-being, and teaching styles. Both surveys will take between an hour and fifteen minutes to complete. As a thank you for participating, Dr. Barnes will provide each participant with a $30 Amazon gift card. Please contact tnbarnes@udel.edu for more information.

NCSS Outstanding Social Studies Teacher of the Year (Deadline: April 30)
The annual NCSS Outstanding Teacher of the Year Awards recognize exceptional classroom social studies teachers for grades K-6, 5-8, and 7-12 who teach social studies regularly and systematically in elementary school settings, and at least half-time in middle or junior high and high school settings. Award winners receive $2,500, complimentary one-year membership in NCSS, and present a session on their work at the NCSS Annual Conference.

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (Deadline: May 1)
The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science teaching. Established by Congress in 1983, the President may recognize up to 108 exemplary teachers each year. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of STEM education.

NEA Learning & Leadership Grant (Deadline: June 1)
NEA Learning & Leadership grants support the professional development of NEA members by providing grants to: individuals to participate in high-quality professional development like summer institutes, conferences, seminars, travel abroad programs, or action research groups to fund collegial study, including study groups, action research, lesson plan development, or mentoring experiences for faculty or staff. Preference is given to proposals that incorporate STEM and/or global competence.

Teacher Awards for Literacy (Deadline: June 1)
Do you know a great teacher? Teachers can apply or be nominated to the Penguin Random House Teacher Awards for Literacy $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500 grant awards are available including $2,500 in Penguin Random House titles. Transportation, lodging, and conference registration is also provided for the $10,000 grant recipient to attend the Penguin Random House Awards event at the National Council of Teachers of English Conference in Houston from November 15-18, 2018.

The Friday Institute – Massive Open Online Courses for Educators (Various Dates)
The Friday Institute is deeply involved in bringing competency-based approaches into educator preparation, credentialing and professional development. The Friday group has developed a series of micro-credentials for teachers, coaches, and administrators. These self-directed, job-embedded, competency and research-based demonstrations of understanding or skills often support and extend the learning opportunities offered in the MOOC-Eds but can also be earned outside of the context of our courses.

TranspARTation Grants (Ongoing)
The TranspARTation Grant supports travel costs to Delaware arts and cultural institutions and venues so that students may attend events, performances, and exhibits that have high-quality arts components. TranspARTation applications are accepted on an ongoing basis but must be received at least six weeks prior to the field trip date.

Must Read Stories

 

What Makes a “Ready” Kindergartener?

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In Delaware all kindergarten teachers—including ourselves—will complete an observational assessment called the Delaware Early Learning Survey (DE-ELS) during the first 30 days of school.

 

We are observing various objectives under six domains of developmental growth: physical, social-emotional, language, cognitive, literacy, and mathematics. You can read more about these domains here.

 

This tool gives us an understanding of how “ready” a child was for kindergarten—we know this is not a precise definition for a couple of reasons: (1) Delaware code states that children are ready for kindergarten if they turn five before August 31 and (2) children develop at their own pace and through a range of developmentally acceptable benchmarks that five-year-olds should be able to reach. In other words, this is not a multiple choice test. Nevertheless, the data gathered from the DE-ELS helps to plan grouping and instructional needs for students.

 

So what exactly are we observing? Let’s break down the six domains:

 

Social-emotional wellbeing. Here we look at how well a child can take care of his or her own needs, and regulate emotions. We also look at whether he or she plays and talks with other children appropriately.

 

Physical development. To check on motor skills development, we look for whether a child can use crayons, pencils, and scissors with control, can button or zip clothing, and how he or she runs and climbs around on the playground.

 

Language skills. We listen closely to how a child talks to his or her peers and responds to questions, and whether they can follow multi-step directions, and whether they can speak a second language.

 

Cognitive skills. Can a child try to put a puzzle together or use their imagination to pretend play? Can they sort and describe the use of various objects?

 

Literacy and mathematics. Here we check to see if a child can identify letters and sounds, and whether they display basic literacy skills in reading and writing. Likewise, we look at whether a child can count, identify shapes, and match quantities.

 

While all six domains are critical, we might give greater weight to the first four, since they are truly the most important indicators of a child’s readiness for kindergarten. As most teachers know, we spend a good portion of the kindergarten year focusing on literacy and mathematics. But in reality we really dig in on building students’ social-emotional, physical, language, and cognitive skills—since these skills are typically at a greater deficit. With increased socio-dramatic play opportunities, these skills will positively impact the rest of a child’s learning.

 

So if you have a child getting ready to start kindergarten, what can you do right now?

 

  • Make sure your child is registered.
  • Start having your child go to bed earlier, and getting up earlier.
  • Work on learning to tie shoes, and fasten/unfasten clothing.
  • When you get your class supply list, make sure you have extra supplies at home as school supplies are much cheaper now then later in the school year.
  • Visit your child’s school and classroom to help overcome both your worries about how to get there and what it looks like, even if you’ve already visited.
  • Most importantly, read to your child, discuss the story, and ask questions about the details. The more conversations and experiences you have with your child the more successful they will be in school!

 

Other suggested child activities can be found here.

 

Lori Nichols teaches kindergarten at Brandywine Springs School in the Red Clay Consolidated School District, and Michelle Wilson teaches kindergarten at Booker T. Washington Elementary School in the Capital School District. Both are members of the Rodel Teacher Council.

Teaching in a Competency-Based Education Environment

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July 2017

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Teaching in a Competency-Based Education Environment

When I describe competency-based education to friends and family—students moving through education based on mastery of skill rather than seat time, lessons personalized to the individual, and students taking ownership of their learning — the reaction is generally “that sounds better.” Unless that friend or family member is a teacher, in which case a host of very good questions arise about the practicalities of teaching in a competency-based environment.

 

“I have 30 kids? Do I have to plan a different lesson plan for each of them?”

The answer to this is no. A learner-centered classroom doesn’t mean the teacher plans lessons for each student. Robin Kanaan, KnowledgeWorks Director of Teaching and Learning, explained that you don’t have individual lesson plans for every student: “Students co-determine with the teacher what learning targets they need to accomplish and how they could show evidence of their learning. This is possible through agency and equipping students to understand themselves as learners.”

Read More

Award Opportunities

Teacher Awards for Literacy (Deadline: September 15)
The Penguin Random House Teacher Awards for Literacy program recognizes the nation’s most dynamic and resourceful teachers who use their creativity to inspire and successfully instill a love of reading in students. Winners are awarded cash grants and book donations to help further their innovative reading programs and to disseminate them to other teachers around the country.
NEA Learning & Leadership Grants (Deadline: October 15)
These grants support National Education Association members who are public school teachers, public education support professionals, and/or faculty and staff in public institutions of higher education for one of the following two purposes: Grants to individuals fund participation in high-quality professional development experiences and grants to groups fund collegial study.TranspARTation Grants (Ongoing)
The TranspARTation Grant supports travel costs to Delaware arts and cultural institutions and venues so that students may attend events, performances, and exhibits that have high-quality arts components. TranspARTation applications are accepted on an ongoing basis but must be received at least six weeks prior to the field trip date.

Save the Date

 

2017 Delaware Estuary Watershed Teacher Workshop (Various locations, July 17-20)
Join Partnership for the Delaware Estuary for four days of exciting workshops. Come and learn interdisciplinary ways to translate the environmental experience to your classroom.

 

Reading Summit: Decoding Strategies for Literacy Development (Newark, August 16 – 17)
Participants will learn powerful strategies to teach essential skills necessary for strong fluency and comprehension. These strategies, when applied using an explicit, systematic and age-sensitive approach, rapidly improve grapheme-phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary, and spelling.

 

iNACOL Symposium (Orlando, October 23 – 25)
iNACOL’s annual conference is the industry’s leading event for K-12 competency-based, blended, and online learning. Experts, practitioners, educators, policymakers, and researchers gather and work to transform education. This year’s theme is “Personalizing Learning: Equity, Access, Quality.”

 

DelawareCAN Educators of Color Monthly Meetup (Wilmington, Multiple Dates)
DelawareCAN: The Delaware Campaign for Achievement Now is hosting its monthly educators of color council meetup. Come connect with other educators of color across the state and learn about opportunities to make your voice heard about Delaware’s education system.

Must Read Stories

Did You Know?

Academics are critical, but so is a child’s social and emotional development. Strong academics will always be central in Delaware schools but in a rapidly changing world, it’s becoming increasingly important that young people receive a holistic educational experience that maximizes who they are as individuals—one that instills skills like communication, collaboration, critical thinking, empathy, and creativity.

 

This concept of developing “social and emotional learning” (SEL)—a phrase that’s often cross-referenced with “whole child”—is not a new one. Generations of educators have said that the so-called soft skills mentioned above are all important ingredients in child development.

In Delaware, it’s exciting to see a renewed focus and collaboration on social-emotional learning. We have created a webpage that combines national and state data and initiatives underway in order to inform ongoing conversations about SEL in Delaware. This list is not comprehensive, and we encourage you to share additional resources with us on Twitter by using the hashtag #SELinDE.

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