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One Day Closer

posted May 20, 2010, 8:21 AM by Dan Dunbar
So, what's new? If Solomon is to be believed, nothing, nothing at all. But what have I been doing?

Well, I have been working on the rocks in my jar lately. Are you mystified by this statement? If you read one of my older blogs, this will make better sense. 

I attended a two-day conference on curriculum mapping to learn how to get started committing our K through 12 curriculum to an online document that will enable us to see any gaps and redundancies in our present curriculum. I think we have even found the web-based program we will use to do this, and I plan to send someone to a conference this summer to learn how to use it. That may not mean much to you, but it gives me a few tingles of excitement.

It feels good to accomplish something, doesn't it? I am a linear kind of guy, meaning that I like to know what has to be done and go down the list and check off items as they are completed. I like to put together Ikea furniture, if that gives you a better idea of what I am trying to say.

Another rock in the jar is literacy. I am putting together the summer reading program with the input of the marvelous GGCA teaching staff, and I have tentative reading lists for grades 3-6 and 7-12 in the making. In addition to this, we have adopted the Superkids reading program for kindergarten and hope to extend it through grades 1 and 2 in the following years. The Superkids even have awesome action figures of the characters to play with! 

This summer, Mrs. Lange and five elementary teachers will be traveling to Wrentham, Massachusetts with me to attend a Choice Literacy conference where we hope to learn about teaching literacy skills and how to provide leadership for the literacy efforts in GGCA. I attended a Choice Literacy conference in beautiful Rockland, Maine last October and was impressed by the quality of their materials and pedagogy, and I hope we all catch a renewed vision for literacy teaching and learning in our school. 

As I may have mentioned in a previous posting, the ability to read well drives so much in schools in every subject. When research shows that 40% of errors on tests can be traced to reading errors (this includes math tests), I am very convicted to spread the small "g" gospel of literacy to every teacher on staff. Every teacher can support the effort! Academic vocabulary is essential to science, math, history, music, art - you name it. Writing is part of most every subject and who doesn't need to use listening, thinking, and speaking skills every day of their lives?

(Okay, Dan. Calm down. You've made your point well enough.)

So, the May sun is shining again, the seniors are finishing off their next-to-last day of classes, and kindergarteners are lining up to take their places. Time marches inexorably onward. We plan the next school year even as we finish the present one. We say good-bye to beloved seniors who look forward to disposing of their monogrammed shirts and sweaters and say hello to eager, adorable little men and women who cannot wait to put on a uniform and sit at a desk in Miss Anderson's classroom. Looking at the fit of school uniforms, you can see that students have been growing this year. How many birthday cards have I written and sent? No, there is nothing new under the sun, but thank God the sun is shining again after all these recent days of rainy grayness.

Check off another day on the list. One day closer to Glory.