Friday, October 26, 2012

My grad school classes always seem to be filled with irony ...

Okay. So, here's where I let you know that this time of year completely saps my energy. Baseball is almost over, the bipolar mess of football hits me [you know, where Saturday and Sunday are SO AWESOME, but the rest of the week lacks the enthusiasm of the football weekend], school affects my kids so that they behave differently, the sun goes away ... and on and on.

In addition, autumn has brought me back to college classes each of the last two years. Thankfully (fingers crossed), this will be the last of that. Which brings me to the crux of my agony. I decided to get my masters degree in education-differentiated instruction because I figured, "Hey, what better way to keep broadening my perspective on how to teach to each student I encounter?!" But, I have found that the classes have not stirred in me what I expected, nor have they been as impactful as I had thought. Hey, maybe that's because I'm not actually teaching right now, and when I get back into it, I will have some 'Eureka!' moments ... Then again, maybe not.

Well, the concept of differentiated instruction is to effectively teach to every student by using different avenues, by adapting and shaping curriculum to meet students where they are. This seems to be lost in translation for college, though. My instructor just responded to my initial discussion board introduction by asking me to email her on how I will be completing an assignment that requires us to give "In depth reflective and summative analysis of students reading/linguistic needs ... and ... Collaborate with colleagues and district specialist for assessment needs, processes, differentiated instruction and application." So, apparently, I'm supposed to differentiate for myself on this one, just like I have for each of the other assignments I've had in classes thus far that ask me to use "a student from my class."

Look, I'm not asking for my instructors to figure out every alternative way for me to do things. Heaven help me if I needed that much. I would just LOVE it if, a few times out of my two years in grad school, my instructors would be ahead of the game for helping those that are different (me=not in a classroom) differentiate our assignments. I'm not actually teaching right now, and even if I were, it would not be as an elementary teacher or as a special education teacher - which seems to be the two groups this program is geared toward. It's a shame, because I think I could gain a lot from differentiated instruction geared toward a broader range. I know we're in college/grad school and more of this entire process should fall on us, but I find it odd that in a class ABOUT differentiated instruction, very little OF IT is done for our own assignments.

That's my venting. If there are any teachers/instructors out there that take offense, I apologize. I tried to write without bias and even if one of my own teachers reads this, I hope they know I have appreciated all the help I have received. Just wish I could LEARN more. Guess I'll just keep working on that - masters program or no masters program.

[Background: I'm currently beginning my seventh class and have earned A's for each class thus far. After the current class, I will take three additional classes and graduate with my masters degree in the summer of 2013 ... NOT from UW-Madison, but another institution ... in Minnesota.]


Monday, October 8, 2012

Wow. It's been a while.

I guess that maybe all the activities of the fall have caught up to me, and my energy level has completely kept me from having a strong desire to update this blog. Having said that ...

We have actually had some great days. My son just finished up with his fall baseball schedule this past Sunday. He thoroughly enjoyed it. And while we might've liked to have had some better results at the plate, he really took a lot away from the entire fall-ball season. He pitched again this weekend, allowing only one run on two hits, walking no one, again. I believe his complete stats for the mound this fall were: 5 innings, 5 runs, 8 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts (but I could be wrong). Not bad for pitching against kids two to three years older than him. He also caught ten innings this fall, catching one base-running this past Sunday trying to steal third base after a wild pitch. His defense took him to playing all over. Besides pitching and catching, he played LF and SS every game, while also finding himself at 2B, 3B, and in RF for various parts of other games.

On Saturday, we also had our last home football game of the year. In particularly colder weather than the boys were used to, the tale of two halves prevailed. After looking less than excited to play in the cold during the first have, the boys trailed by two touchdowns heading into half time. However, with a few changes of position for the second half, the Crimson 3.2 team played much more inspired (and warmer?) football and garnered a 25-25 tie.

Both of my kids are fully into their whole-year activities. My daughter is enjoying gymnastics (I got to see her work this week) and competitive dance. While my son is getting into his faith formation (with the help of a few friends sitting in on his class).

It was nice to do family pictures this Saturday down at Centennial Lakes Park in Edina and we are all anxious to see the results. Many of you will see the end-product in our annual Christmas card :)