- Reading: You should have received a copy of Dr. Mel Levineâ€™s A Mind at a Time in your course Prep-Packet. Please read
Chapter 2 â€œThe Ways of Learningâ€, Chapter 5, â€œWays with Words: Our Language Systemâ€ and Chapter 8, â€œSome Peeks at a Mindâ€™s Peaks: Our Higher Thinking System.â€
Well, that’s one required chapter down. Actually, I finding myself very interested in the things Levine writes in A Mind at a Time so far. My son, Dylan, is three years old and doesn’t talk, excepting mumbling “M” sounds. We have had him evaluated by a speech therapist, who agrees he needs to begin regular speech therapy and have been working with him at home with some simple sign language commands, identifying pictures in books, and making environmental noises (animal sounds). But I look at him and worry about how he will do in school with a teacher who doesn’t understand and writes him off as stupid. I also am angrier and angrier about how my oldest daughter, Sarah, has been treated in school. She has ADD, and her teachers have given her detentions for doing things she has done as a direct result of the fact that she has attention problems. It has never worked. I try to be supportive of teachers since I am one myself, but I have grown increasingly frustrated with how schools handle kids like Sarah. Almost every meeting I’ve had with teachers is “She’s a bright girl,” but… That tells me they feel her problems are a function of her intellect instead of one area of her brain — one learning system, to use Levine’s term. She is gifted artistically and she has highly developed language skills. I think she would make a wonderful children’s book writer and illustrator one day. But school is really hard for kids who have attention difficulties. The second chapter of Levine’s book, which I just finished, gives me a great deal of hope for Sarah. She will make it through school OK, probably with some run-ins because of her attention, but I really worry about how Dylan will be treated.
Now that I know what I am going to be teaching next year, I want to begin lesson planning. I had to turn in the copy of Understanding by Design: Professional Development Workbook to our school library. I simply need to buckle down and purchase some more professional development books for my own library. I spend too long with them to check them out of the library. Meanwhile, I did make some templates for unit planning utilizing the UbD method. If you would like them, I have them available in Word or PDF. If you don’t have a word processor that reads Word documents, download the PDF. Otherwise, I’d recommend downloading the Word document so that you can tweak it and actually use it for planning.