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Chapter 2

Douglas Fisher Solution Tree Press PDF
Intimidating. Sadly, that’s how some students describe their schooling experiences. It’s true: teachers can make learning intimidating without ever intending to do so. Students know that they’re in a given learning situation precisely because they don’t know something, whether that be fourth-grade mathematics, middle school English language arts, or chemistry. They really don’t need to be reminded of that fact. When learners are intimidated, they shut down. We’ve all seen students shut down, too scared to even raise their hand to ask a question.

One of our colleagues, Jonathan Mooney, talks about being so intimidated by spelling that he used to hide in the bathroom. When his mom learned of this, she decided to take him to the zoo every Friday of fourth grade so that he didn’t have to take spelling tests. Jonathan’s mom took care of the intimidating experience for her son by removing him from it altogether, but she shouldn’t have had to. Schools should provide a safe place to learn and grow, an ideal learning environment that invites all students into the content they are studying. Teachers’ ability to launch students’ learning is critical to their success. See All Chapters
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Chapter 1

Douglas Fisher Solution Tree Press PDF
Beginning with the end in mind is generally good advice for educators. We have to know where we want to go so we can design a plan to get there. It’s like traveling to a new destination. In the old days, we got out paper maps and plotted our course. When Doug first started subbing, he used a map to plot out the path to a given school assignment. When he got lost, he’d retrace his path to figure out what went wrong. When construction or a traffic jam interfered, he would pull over and devise a new plan to get to school. Over time, computers and the Internet took over the “getting there” process. When

Nancy was a central office coordinator in Florida, she printed out directions to several locations that she had to regularly visit and kept them in her car. When traffic conditions were not ideal, she’d call the location for advice about how to get there. GPS has changed our mapping procedures. Both of us have GPS devices in our cars.The tools we use to get where we are going have changed, but the fact that we need to know where we are going has not. It’s similar to teaching. The tools have changed, but having a plan for student learning outcomes has not. Teachers have to take into account the classroom conditions and be prepared for the unexpected. They have to work to close the gap between what is and what could be. Teachers have to understand the current performance of their students as well as the grade-level and course-based expectations. Lastly, teachers must continually assess students’ performance to plan ways to develop their potential throughout the school year. See All Chapters
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Chapter 1: Success With English Learners: It All Comes Down to Language

Douglas Fisher Solution Tree Press ePub

IT’S THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. Kindergartners—hair neatly combed, brand-new school uniforms, shirts tucked in—arrive, holding their parents’ hands. The parents leave their children with their new teacher in the lunch court with a few last words of encouragement and go off to their various responsibilities for the day. The few parents who linger to watch the start of the first day of school stand unobtrusively in the shadows so they won’t distract their child or precipitate another round of tears.

Carol, a literacy coach at the school, helps the new kindergartners pick up their breakfast from the cafeteria. “Hola, Diana! ¿Qué quieres comer?” (What do you want to eat?) “¿Huevos o cereal con leche?” (Eggs or cereal with milk?) Reading from the nametags hung around the students’ necks, she shows them the breakfast choices, queries each student, and directs them to the next cart to pick up their juice. With the students who don’t speak English or Spanish, she asks them in English while she points to their choices.

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Chapter 6

Douglas Fisher Solution Tree Press PDF
Don’t smile until winter break” was the advice Doug received from a well-meaning mentor when he started teaching. So there he was, on the first day of school, standing in front of students talking with them about expectations, all the while trying not to smile. It was all very Machiavellian. The theory was that it is easier to begin strict and become kind than it is to begin kind and become strict. But the problem with this advice is that it’s hard for students to develop relationships with people who don’t smile at them. Students want their teachers to care. They want to be treated fairly. And they want to know what to expect when they arrive in the classroom each day. Not smiling is bad advice. We say, smile all you can every day. Develop strong relationships with students, and then lean on those relationships to establish expectations for students. To us, that’s much better advice than simply being a strict teacher who has to use control and intimidation to manage a group of students. See All Chapters
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Chapter 7

Douglas Fisher Solution Tree Press PDF
A few years back, one of our friends announced that she had purchased a Groupon deal for a series of cooking classes we could all attend. There were no prerequisites for the class, so we figured that it would be a fun way to spend a few Wednesday nights. We might pick up a few tips to use in our own home kitchens, but mostly we thought it would be an entertaining way to spend time with three other friends. However, we were soon to learn that Chef Fred’s expectations didn’t match our own. After we washed our hands and put on our aprons, he dove right in to an extended discussion about the proper technique for sautéing. It’s possible we weren’t paying close attention, and we might have been chatting just a bit with our friends in the class. Suddenly, every member of the class was being assigned individual tasks for preparing the meal (we weren’t quite sure what the meal was—we missed that detail). See All Chapters

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