Schools Attuned Checklist

In about a week, I will be leaving for a Schools Attuned workshop in Charlotte, North Carolina. I received an e-mail today from the site director reminding me of all the things I need to do/prepare for the trip:

  • Access the Schools Attuned website, www.schoolsattuned.org, create a user name and password and review, print out and sign the Participant Agreement and bring your printed acceptance with you to the Core Course.
  • Complete the Journal writing activity [discuss a good and bad school experience].
  • Complete the On-Line Preparation Activity.
  • Reading: You should have received a copy of Dr. Mel Levine’s A Mind at a Time in your course Prep-Packet. Please read Chapter 2 “The Ways of Learning”, Chapter 5, “Ways with Words: Our Language System” and Chapter 8, “Some Peeks at a Mind’s Peaks: Our Higher Thinking System.”
  • If you are a subject-specific teacher [I am], collect and bring the following with [you]:
    • A copy of the school, district, and/or state curriculum that you use when planning lessons in your subject, course, or level (e.g., Chemistry, Algebra II, Creative Writing)
    • Two lesson plans that you have used this year from the same subject, course, or level
    • Three examples of assignments (e.g., projects, activities, reports) and/or assessments (e.g., quizzes, tests). Select one piece of your work that you would like to look at with the group and bring two extra copies of that document.
    • Several examples of student work from the same subject

That sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? I’ve crossed off the things I’ve already done. As you can see, that’s not a lot. I’m having some trouble thinking of a really bad school experience to share — at least something specific. I have had poor teachers and can share a general sense of dissatisfaction with some aspects of my education, but I can’t think of a single incident that really inspires strong feelings of anger or ill-treatment. I’ll have to think about that. I will post both journal entries here once I have them written.

I am going to sit down and start reading the book tonight. I am glad we only have to read three chapters, but I think I’ll start from the beginning and plow through anyway. If I am finding it difficult to read, then I’ll skip as they suggested.

In terms of collecting my curriculum, ours is a little too nebulous. We have one, and I follow it, but it isn’t composed of objectives like the state curriculu; I think I’ll just print a copy of the Georgia standards.

Lesson plans should be easy to figure out. Examples of assignments, too, as I have them saved on my computer here at home and on my flash drive. I am lucky I have some student work samples to bring in. I didn’t get a chance to hand back reading journals for Postmodernism to my 10th graders.

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3 thoughts on “Schools Attuned Checklist

  1. I just purchased and skimmed Educational Care 2nd edition (ISBN 0838819877) — it is the most accessible (to me) of Levine's works.

    One of the difficulties of the Schools Attuned approach is that it does not map directly onto [IDEA] [NCLB] [DSM-IV-TR] (pick your poison). As a parent of a child with a specific learning disability, I think that Levine's approach is more beneficial for the child–but the flaw is the conflict between the various laws and Levine's non-labelling, discrete approach.

    Don't get me wrong — I think education in the whole, and "special education" in particular, whould be more effective for k-12 students if the Schools Attuned approach were universally implimented.

    Please feel free to email me if you'd like to have more conversation around these issues.

  2. We have a little more leeway at my school since it's private. If we want to implement it, there are no laws or regulations that prevent us from taking up this approach. On the other hand, I think many of my colleagues give lip-service to embracing this approach, when in reality, it doesn't fit in with their educational philosophy. There are others who are not open to the approach for their own reasons, too.

    My son is having problems with speech. He is three years old and doesn't talk. He has been evaluated by a speech therapist, who recommended further sessions. In the meantime, we are working with some techniques she wants us to try — making Dylan recognize the power of language by making him try to communicate through signs or language what he wants and asking him to identify pictures in a book. It seems to be one of those things that will just take some time. I can tell he is bright — he has quite an ear for music and has excellent gross motor skills (loves to dance). He also has an interesting sense of humor that he manages to convey even without language. I was astonished at the things he knew when I started working with him. He just can't figure out how to communicate what he knows. The thing is, he would be labeled "stupid" or "retarded" if we lived in another time. He might even be in special education classes. I admit I'm worried about how he will do in school in a couple of years. I am worried that his teachers will not be able to figure out how to assess what he knows. Of course, between now and then, the speech therapy could work wonders…

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