Saturday, March 28, 2009
A Model that Works!!
So my visit to my friend's 4th grade classroom in the Bronx was incredible. It is a true 2009 school--classrooms equipped with smartboards, new computers, access to laptop carts, teachers trained on how to use them and provided with laptops that can be seamlessly transitioned between teachers and classes. I was asked to briefly watch a 5th grade class and when I walked in they were all quietly working on their individual laptops. Before lunch--the 4th grade teachers had an hour prep period--20 minutes of which they met with an in-school professional developer. The girl with the biggest behavior problem refused to do her work, although she was apparently more sedate than usual. Teachers rotated for grouped and leveled test prep and lab science has its own teacher. Yes, this is an elementary school.
However, outside of basic resources the students were overwhelmingly engaged in their lessons and the examples of student work I saw were equally impressibe. Teachers were beyond cordial to each other--they were friendly (!!!) and there were no airs of hostility. I saw what the complete kit of Everyday Math looks like and I saw how leveled reading groups actually work (there is a school resource cabinet where books are sorted and leveled for classroom checkout)!!! I could keep going on and on--but essentially this visit has given me hope in what I can do given the support and resources. I brought home stacks of information which I doubt can be used on the class I currently babysit--however, God willing I find a new school for the 09-10 school year I have pages of notes and new resources that I would be very excited to incorporate into my classroom.