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Dancing With The Dragon

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What can teachers do to keep learning exciting in a stressful time of unrelenting testing, testing, testing? Here are some ideas.

What can teachers do to keep learning exciting in a stressful time of unrelenting testing, testing, testing? Here are some ideas.


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  • 1. Dancing with the Dragon! How Great Teachers Maintain Their Joy of Teaching in an Age of Accountability Dr. Jan Richards Marge Miller National University [email_address]
  • 2. Once upon a time, there was a teacher with a perplexing problem.... For some years, her classroom had been inhabited by a dragon who was growing larger and larger and who demanded more attention each year!
  • 3. The dragon began taking up so much space now, the teacher could scarcely move and her creative materials were no longer accessible.
    • The uninvited guest spent the day following her around whispering:
      • “ There is no time for music or art!”
      • “ Here’s another form that must be filled out”
      • “ You have to raise student achievement...”
      • “ You have to fit it all in! Prepare for the test!
      • Hurry! Hurry! YOU ARE ACCOUNTABLE”
  • 4. This demanding Dragon that will not go away is in every teacher’s classroom, and every teacher must decide how to respond to the pressure. Some teachers succumb to the Dragon’s size and power and decide they have no choice but to follow those scripted lessons and prepare students for another relentless round of tests. They accept the escalating level of emotional stress as inevitable and begin to measure their days by the coming of retirement. Other teachers see it as their responsibility to fight that dragon at every opportunity. They spend their energy in anger and resentment. They complain, blame, and refuse to give in to the Dragon’s demands. Sometimes they just become bitter. Sometimes they quit or get fired.
  • 5.
    • In the midst of these turbulent times and pressure to perform, there are teachers who have discovered a different approach !
    • Unwilling to give in to either despair or resentment, they have learned to
      • Dance with the Dragon!
  • 6. Learning to “Dance with the Dragon” involves a choice of Attitudes: I am not a powerless pawn on this giant educational Chessboard! I can CHOOSE to find an engaging approach to required assignments. The Dragon’s Standards are about WHAT to teach. The HOW to teach has options. Choosing to dance is critical if I want to make a difference in my students’ attitudes and enthusiasm for learning. It’s critical to my enjoyment of teaching as well. Just deciding that you can find ways to make learning more joyful and exciting will energize and empower you, and you will begin to look at dreary lessons with different eyes.
  • 7.
    • Learning to “Dance with the Dragon”
    • involves a choice of Action as well.
    • So how do these teachers stop fighting against, stop complaining about, and start dancing with that Dragon?
    • Here are some example lessons talented teachers have shared that meet required Standards while managing to keep students excited and engaged.
      • 1. Karl Feeken , a math teacher for grades 4 through 8 who delights his students by teaching in various costumes and personages)
      • 2. Dawn Cushing teaches Language Arts in a middle school. We’ll look at a wonderful power point presentation created by two of her 6 th grade students.
      • We’ll consider a lesson called “Music Response” that can be a part of nearly any subject or grade level.
      • 4. An interview with Ron Clark: Teacher of the Year!
  • 8. Karl Feeken: Math Wizard! Jock La’ Crotch Coach Hook Me Thod “The Scientific” Mr. Sensay Shun Dr. Roy G. Biv
  • 9. Story Elements Presentation for Hatchet (a student presentation) By: Samantha Rutmayer And Leandra Gracia
  • 10. Table of Contents
    • Author’s Purpose
    • Genre
    • Mood
    • Setting
    • Characters
    • Theme
    • Conflict
    • Point of View
    • Main Idea
  • 11. Genre refers to the categories of written material. In this book Hatchet, there are four; realistic fiction, drama, suspense and adventure, Suspense mostly captures the book., because of the events that happen to him. Frankly, crashing in an airplane and surviving it refers to realistic fiction. Where as the drama in the story is the divorce and the secret about his mother cheating on his father. Adventure is found throughout the book . From when he tried to land the plane, and when he was almost attacked by a bear. Genre
  • 12. MOOD The mood is how the story makes you feel.The authors tone establishes the mood.Like in this story it turns out on being a roller coaster it has its ups and downs and its turnarounds where the story makes you feel mad sad or glad. Such as glad that he’s able to ride in an airplane for the first time ,but sad when the pilot suddenly has a heart attack .
  • 13. Setting The setting is the time and place of the story. In Hatchet the setting in the first four chapters takes place in a single engine airplane. But after the crash the setting becomes the Canadian wilderness. The year is 1982 when Brian's unfortunate event happens. In chapter four, the time and place are described by the station wagon and the description of the plane and wilderness.
  • 14. Characters The characters are the people and sometimes the animals in the story. But this story only has one main Character. His name is Brian and he is thirteen years old. He lives in the city with his mom during the school year and because of court order, he visits his dad only in the summer. Unfortunately, his friendly visit turns into a horrible disaster.
  • 15. Theme The theme is what the story means. The theme usually gives an opinion about the topic. Like in this story the theme is trying to survive the wilderness and to never give and try your best. To accomplish his goal he remember what his teacher Mr.Perpich said “You are your most valuable asset.’’ This motivates him and he keeps trying to survive. Also, he knows if he uses his resources, stays positive, and doesn’t give up.
  • 16. Main Idea The main idea is the most important idea in the book. The main idea is developed by other ideas called supporting ideas. Hatchet’s main idea encompasses surviving in the wilderness and how to deal with an internal conflict. For example when Brian used the birds to find berries.
  • 17. Author’s Purpose The author’s purpose tells us why the author wrote the story. It can either inform, and entertain, readers that live for adventure. This book is action packed from the time Brian tried to land the plane by him self .When he rampaged with hunger He looked for the closest thing to eat so as soon as he found berries he chomped them down. Also besides entertaining the readers that read this it also could inform you about what could happen in life.
  • 18. Conflict The conflict is the clash or struggle between two opposing characters or forces in the story. Hatchet, has two different types in the story. The internal conflict refers to the secret that keeps popping up in head about his mom cheating. The other conflict regards the fact that he is stranded in the wilderness. Like when he is almost attacked by a bear.
  • 19. Point of View The Point of view refers to who is telling the story. In this particular book it is written in third person. which means the author is telling the story. The author explains Brian’s thoughts.
  • 20. Music Response
    • This is a lesson that will be a big hit with your students. It can be used with nearly any subject and any grade level.
    • The idea is to play music (generally classical or New Age type) and have students write descriptively about the images that come to their minds as the music is playing.
    • Type these imaginative descriptions, and then water color over the top. Paint the pictures in your mind! Staple the finished product to black construction paper for display.
  • 21. Ron Clark http://www.ronclarkacademy.com/ Teacher of the Year Expert Dragon Dancer!!!
  • 22. Ron Clark: Teacher of the Year http://www.ronclarkacademy.com/
  • 23. Seven Ways to Keep your School Dancing with the Dragon!
    • Why bother?
    • Why is this kind of goal important?
    • Successful ideas straight from the classroom
    • These ideas will help you not only dance with the Dragon—but do a Salsa, a tap dance, and an Irish jig as well!
    • Come Dance With Us!!
  • 24. Reading Celebrations – Dr. Seuss Day
  • 25. PARENT PARTNERS
  • 26. SCHOOLWIDE DANCE DAY
  • 27. MAD SCIENCE !!!!!!!!!! Assembly and After School Program
  • 28. SCIENCE In Action
  • 29. OUTDOOR Science School
  • 30. CAREER DAY
  • 31.  
  • 32. Any Questions or Comments?? If you have your own stories of “Dancing with the Dragon” you would like to share, please send them to me at [email_address] .