Tag Archives: Academic term

An Innovative Program for Helping Students Succeed…Sharing the Good in Education

Given that Unlock the Teacher LLC was founded on the principal of sharing the good in education, we look for this good where ever we go.  In the grocery store, at Starbuck’s, the local library and most importantly at the schools we are blessed to work in.

We wanted to share a wonderful educational program we are following and hope that it might plant a seed for another school looking to add a resource room to their school.

St. Regis Educare – An Innovative Program for Helping Students Succeed

St. Regis Educare (SRE) is a newly created program serving the students of St. Regis Catholic Elementary and Academy, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. The SRE program is staffed by three certified teachers who are dedicated to supporting the varied needs of St. Regis students. Based on the premise that each student has unique gifts and talents, with different learning styles and academic abilities, SRE supports teachers in providing differentiated instruction within and outside the classroom. In keeping with the St. Regis mission: Respect, Educate, Give, Inspire, and Support, SRE is dedicated to respecting individual students’ needs and supporting and inspiring them to reach their fullest academic potential.

The service provided in this program is more than a library of resources for teachers and parents. It is more than a place where students can come for help with their homework. It is a professionally staffed center for learning, where students attend workshops, join literature circles, compete in Math competitions, and follow academic plans designed specifically to meet their individual needs.

SRE Services

St. Regis Educare provides three different types of assistance/enrichment for students. They work with individuals and small groups needing assistance or enrichment in academic subject areas. They  provide workshops to help students with concepts such as grammar or study skills, and  work with individuals and small groups on specific skills such as comprehension strategies or counting money. In order to make the concepts they are enhancing engaging, they  integrate technology, and utilize manipulatives, hands-on activities, and use modeling to help students achieve their goals.

With all this, they also provide the following benefits for teachers: assessments, which they will design and/or administer upon request; a central repository for teacher resources and reference books; and documented processes and forms to make using our services less complicated. To help bridge the ever widening need between parent and school, they provide a central repository for parent resources, and are in the process of planning workshops for parents, so they can learn new ways to help their children succeed in school.

Development of the Program

This school year, St. Regis Educare has evolved from an idea and an empty office, into a focal point of learning for students in need of assistance or enrichment, as well as a central location for student, teacher, and parent resources.

Some highlights include:

  • A room that is now both inviting and functional for assisting students
  • Resource materials, games, technology, and manipulatives that are arranged by subject matter on labeled shelves for easy access
  • Documented processes and forms that are based on research of best practices and collaboration with professionals both in and outside the school
  • An extensive list of services designed to meet the varied needs of our students

As of this writing, at least one student or group from every grade, is being serviced by SRE, and they have had an abundance of positive comments from students, parents, and teachers who are grateful for the expertise and supportive of this team’s efforts. It is too soon in the development of the program to provide concrete results; however, I plan to monitor this program’s progress …stay tuned!

If your school or community is doing something great to help students, teachers or parents, please share.  It is in the collaborative model that we all rise to the level in which we have the potential to be.

May we all continue to seek knowledge in all things~

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Filed under Educational Resources, Sharing the Good, Sharing the Good in Education

A Glance Back at A Successful School Year

As many of schools are winding down for the school year, student energy is high, teacher energy low, it is important to look back, reflect and make notes on what worked and what did not, while your mind is still in “school” mode.

As an administrator, I find this is a helpful tool not only in regards to the building standard operating procedures, but in what worked in motivating my team or not. It is just important for an administrator to reflect as it is for a teacher, because it is in the exercise of being a reflective practitioner, do we  continue to grow and challenge ourselves to higher standards.

When I was in the classroom, I would spend the last week of school with my students and the last week after they were gone, to spend a few minutes each day writing in a journal.  I would reflect upon lessons taught, the differentiated tools utilized and next to each reflection, I would put IDEAS on how I could change it up for the following year to ensure more students’ needs were met.

I would spend time thinking about how I felt I impacted my building as a whole…did I contribute to the greater good, was I encouraging to those around me, did I spend most my time picking up versus putting down…This excercise helped me grow as a teacher and an individual.

Although it is easy to get caught up in trying to close down a building and get home to rejuvenate before it all begins again…in a matter of weeks…I encourage you all to pause, reflect and take a good look at how you made a difference this year in the life of a child.

To all the parents, children, teacher and administrators out there, our Unlock the Teacher team would like to say to you…”Job well done!”

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things~

Denise

Recommended summer reading:

“Reeasing the Imagination” by Maxine Greene

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Filed under Curriculum Resources

We Welcome a New Member to The Unlock the Teacher Family

Unlock the Teacher’s Chief Financial Officer, Trisha Vaughn had a beautiful baby boy this week! 

We are so thrilled for her and her family.  Colette now gets to be a big sister to Chaston, who no doubt will bring joy to entire the Vaughn household.

 

C-O-N-G-R-A-T-U-L-A-T-I-O-N-S Vaughn Family…

The Unlock the Teacher Team

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Filed under Who We Are...

Anti-Bullying Workshops gets Views and Comments…Thank You!

Thank you for reading our blog and as our statistics show, for visiting our Unlock the Teacher website.  In this week alone, we have had over 200 views of our Anti-Bullying Workshops.

The beginning of the school year has been very busy for us and as we continue to go into schools to conduct our ePublishing and Anti-Bullying workshops, we are also working with a few schools currently on CCSS Curriculum Alignment…and if this was not enough to keep us smiling, we have been writing and meeting with our parent and teacher focus groups for our first book that is in its final stages in our Unlock the Teacher series.  Both Dr. Lick and Dr. Letscher have been great  given their tasking schedules, to help put final touches on our work so we can send out to publishers.

Given our schedule the last couple of weeks, we are thrilled with the views and emails coming in requesting information about our Anti-Bullying Workshops…THANK YOU! 

We worked very hard last year creating student- friendly workshops that would be age appropriate.  We gathered input from parents, teachers and law enforcement (for grades 9-12 workshop) and gathered statistical data to help all stake holders realize just how important it is to talk about bullying, address questions and concerns and provide students with  problem-solving tools and strategies in bullying situations.

Please feel free to contact us to ask questions, provide input or feedback or to request letters of recommendations.

Thank you for your continued support, together we can make a difference!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

Denise Ball

denise@unlocktheteacherllc.com or teachme@unlocktheteacherllc.com

248-318-4152

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Filed under Anti-Bullying Workshops, Book I in the Unlock the Teacher Series

Odyssey of the Mind and Team Building Lessons for the Classroom and Home

As the school year has just begun and we are busy in schools, I thought I would share a couple of great sites that offer “team buildinglessons for students.   We are excited to hear from and meet new teachers this year.  I think that these sites provide  great problem-solving scenarios for students to work through and can enhance any lesson in any discipline and be modified for any age to meet the needs of all students.  Enjoy and have a super school year full of many new discoveries!

Odyssey of the Mind

http://www.odysseyofthemind.com/

Computer Science Unplugged

http://csunplugged.org/

Computer Science Unplugged  is a great site to utilize in the classroom because it offers creative scenarios to solve or work through without utilizing a computer.  This site has various activities for both teachers and parents to utilize with students to enhance team building and higher-order thinking.

Would love to know your thoughts, ideas or lessons found successful in enhancing these skills. Together we can make a difference!

May we seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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Filed under Curriculum Resources, Science

Professional Development for Teachers=Inspiration for Trainer

We Conducted a Workshop for Teachers Before Students Arrive Next Week...Inspiring!

We conducted our first professional development for the 2011/2012 school year.  We were honored to be asked back by a school we had worked with all last year, with one of our year-long curriculum alignment packages. They worked so hard to align their curriculum as a building. We visited their school three times last year to discuss the Common Core State Standards, met with teachers one-on-one to discuss individual classroom curriculum that we had been working on via email and conducted grade-level curriculum meetings to ensure that the entire building was on the same page.  As a curriculum developer, I was very impressed with their dedication to their profession and their work ethic to make sure that their building’s curriculum was appropriately scaffolded to maximize learning potential.

So it was with great joy we accepted their invite to come in and give a two and half hour motivational workshop…what a fun way to kick of the year for them and for us!

This dedicated staff allowed me to push them out of the box with some collaborative “hands-on” exercises and impromptu sharing. I think I enjoyed it as much as they said they did. I truly love to see teachers get excited about collaboration and willingness to learn from one another. It was a great way to start our year off at Unlock the Teacher too.  Sometimes we get so consumed by our writing and curriculum alignment projects, that  when we conduct our professional development and student workshops, we are reminded of why we are choosing to do what we do.

We look forward to meeting new teachers and principals this year.

We are excited to share that we are talking with app developers for some of our material and we will be sending off our proposal for Book I in our Unlock the Teacher series, that we are collaborating with Dr. David Lick, Director of Family Practice, Beaumont Hospital, and a Professor at Wayne State and Oakland University Beaumont Medical School, and Dr. Joslen Letscher, Professor at the University of Detroit Mercy.  We have an exciting year ahead and are thankful for all the community support we have received.

As last year, and in keeping with who we are, we will be looking for one or two schools to work with and donate our time and talent with writing and ePublishing workshops.  Please let us know if your school would like to be considered by emailing us at teachme@unlocktheteacherllc.com or by visiting us at our website and leave a comment at www.unlocktheteacher.com To contact me directly, email me at denise@unlocktheteacherllc.com

We wish all those who play a role in the life of a child to have a year full of many learning discoveries!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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Filed under Best Practices from Awesome Educators, Common Core State Standards "Nuts & Bolts", Professional Development Workshops for Educators

Teachers are Planters of Seeds…What Kind of Seeds are you Planting?

What seeds are you planting for our future?

As I sit and review my notes for Unlock the Teacher‘s first professional development session for the 2011/2012 school year, I reflect and wonder, what
words can I provide that might inspire and instill hope for all the amazing teachable moments that will happen in the life of the teachers with whom I will
be speaking to tomorrow. Teaching is SO much more than a job, I honestly believe it is a calling; an urge that a person feels to make a difference, and
is played out in the classroom.

We often think about all the teachable moments that happen throughout the school year for our students, our future. However, I also think
of the amazing teachable moments that occur for the individual teacher. I hope that at this time of year, the teacher is reflecting and writing a curriculum
map for the school year that will be used as a master plan.

The teacher, who starts the school year, is often different from the one who finishes it. Hopefully, this is the case, as a true reflective
practitioner will evolve throughout the year as his/her students will…keeping in mind no two students are alike, no school year should ever mirror another for
a teacher.

In regards to a teacher’s master curriculum plan, this is just a tool that is utilized to create lessons full of discovery for each quarter,
with one scaffolding on the next to ensure that students are maximizing their potential. However, this is just a plan, as all good teachers know, true
“teachable moments” sometimes just happen and must be capitalized on in the moment.

I have chosen the theme of “Teachers are Planters of Seeds” for tomorrow.  I have had the pleasure of working with this staff on curriculum alignment and I am honored to be asked back into their building on their first day back to school before their eager students arrive next week.

I think as teachers, we have the awesome power to create new worlds in our students’ minds, take them to places they might not ever get an opportunity to experience, tell them and show them how to achieve the impossible dream OR we can crush the human spirit with one angry glance or snide comment.
Actually, anyone who plays the role in the life of a child has this same awesome power and it would serve us all well to remember it.  Think about what kind of world we hope to have in the future and remember that it all begins with how we treat our children today, what opportunities we provide, what words of encouragement or destruction did we choose to utilize at the moment of chaos in the classroom, that hectic classroom greeting after driving through rush hour?

 

Children Learn What They Live

By Dorothy Law Nolte

 

If children live with criticism,
They learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility,
They learn to fight.

If children live with ridicule,
They learn to be shy.

If children live with shame,
They learn to feel guilty.

If children live with encouragement,
They learn confidence.

If children live with tolerance,
They learn to be patient.

If children live with praise,
They learn to appreciate.

If children live with acceptance,
They learn to love.

If children live with approval,
They learn to like themselves.

If children live with honesty,
They learn truthfulness.

If children live with security,
They learn to have faith in themselves and others.

If children live with friendliness,
They learn the world is a nice place in which to live!

 

What kind of seeds are you getting ready to plant this school year?

May we all continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

 

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Filed under Curriculum Resources, Professional Development Workshops for Educators