The Project

9 Apr

We are on Spring Break right now, but I am up to my neck in work projects. This blog is part of those projects, hence me having to “come out.” Yeah, the byline might still say Dick Dalton, but Dan Dage is the one doing all the work and has been all along! So it’s time I give myself credit and begin promoting and branding myself accordingly. “Magnolia County” is Newton County, Georgia. And that’s enough info for the moment. I’ve been spending time in my archives, cleaning and editing stuff that might have proven to be more incendiary than I might like being mindful of offending my coworkers who I generally like and get along with. I’d like to keep it that way, if at all possible! So if any of you see something that might be offensive and damaging and tarnish my pristine image (HA!) go ahead and let me know. Snarky comments from readers don’t count. You all are free to offend as much as you like.

My two projects:

Developing resources for new SID/PID teachers: We have several in our county by virtue of some leaving, moving on or getting arrested. Yeah, it is a very ugly business. Burnout is not a matter of if but when, or so it seems. A good special ed. teacher can make a decent run of it in 3 years before getting too frazzled. As hideously short as that is, we’re averaging less than that on the high school level, and that includes me clocking in 8 years. So I’d like to have resources out there for our new recruits, but also for anyone else around the country wondering what the devil to do with students whose development is measured in months instead of years, especially on the high school level where the developmental gap between the students and their peers is so astronomically wide. This blog will serve as a central place to access those resources, or at least that’s the idea.

Welcome to my play space!

Lesson Plans for my SID/PID students: Let’s suppose for a minute that I have some ideas as to what to do with my students. Translating that into a formal lesson plan that somehow connects what I do with grade level content standards is a Herculean task that I’ve yet to see anyone do well. There’s a couple of ladies at the state department who have done what I do (only better) but haven’t done it since we got into standard-based mode. I may require their help. I’m going to go ahead and start on my own, anyway.

Which leads me to presenting the first step/resource in accomplishing these twin goals. That is, accessing and becoming familiar with the state standards. The special education teachers in Newton county have yet to be trained in the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). Ever. We happen to have had our special education county meeting at the exact same time the various subject areas are having their GPS meetings every year there has been a roll-out. We are all in the dark.

But there is help, no matter what you teach in Georgia. The GPS website looks a bit plain at first glance, and I was wondering how this thing was voted best of the web last year. However one must drill down a bit to see what’s there. And you all can drill with me by going to the GA DOE’s Moodle site. You can access the courses by logging in as a guest (it’s a one-button process) and looking at the flash videos. There, you will strike gold. Units, sequences, lesson plans, activities, tasks and resources all nicely laid out by subject, by grade. It’s hard to get any easier than that. That is, if you teach a regular subject. For a SID/PID teacher, this is a more daunting task because we have to translate a high school standard into something a developmentally 11 month old in an 18 year-old body can do. I’m not saying it can’t be done. It can, and I’ve done it a few times with a few tasks. But I need to have enough plans to go a few weeks nonstop on this and that is the challenge. I need to be able to plan for the developmental 11 month old as well as the developmental 3 and 4 year-old with adequate differentiation while providing access for all to 9-12th grade standards. This is no small thing we’re tasked with.

So I just thought I’d share, and I’ll be getting back to googling, moodling and otherwise planning. And now you can get your first look at my nerdly self in action!


3 Responses to “The Project”

  1. Jane Goetz April 10, 2008 at 7:56 am #

    I watched your video and have a problem with the way you talk about your students. How do you know they don’t know the difference? Just because they are significantly challenged, doesn’t mean that they might not know the difference. If the students had a functional communication system, they might tell you that you are a horrible singer/musician. I just think that someone who works in this field needs to speak about their students in a respectful manner, so that others learn from that. If the teacher of the students with significant challenges degrades them, it gives others license to do the same.

  2. Daniel Dage April 10, 2008 at 9:20 am #

    If you had read the captions, you might have noticed that I do give them more credit than what I actually said. I really did think about that when watching it, which is why I added that in, because they may indeed know a lot more than we all think. I really do try to be respectful and sensitive to them and whatever hidden abilities they may have that I haven’t discovered yet. But giving them a communication device and letting them rate me is a great idea! I could have one msg devoted to being like Paula Abdul “I thought that really came from your heart!” and another for Simon Cowell, “You sounded so bad I wouldn’t let you sing in a Laotion Karoke bar.”

    But this does beg the question: Am I getting burned out? Am getting overly cynical and insensitive? I’m trying to be mindful of that and if it’s true, I’m ready to walk away and do something else. But if I need to stay, I’m mindful of that, too. These kids deserve to have someone work with them who wants to be there and who is doing more than just drawing a paycheck or waiting for another position to open up or waiting for retirement. BTW, if you have some standards-based lesson plans to share, I’m all ears!


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