Rockford teachers employ differentiation

April 1, 2009 // 0 Comments

by MAGGIE THELEN Principal, Cannonsburg Elementary Gifted & Talented Coordinator “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.”-Henry David Thoreau By nature, every student who crosses the classroom threshold requires a distinct and diverse educational plan. While our state sets the outcomes for our children, it’s the teachers alone who create the plan to help students meet those outcomes. Or, for the student who has already learned the content, the onus rests on the teacher to present new opportunities. This process is termed differentiation, and it’s how every teacher, coach and mentor meets the individual needs of pupils. What is differentiation? It’s a new term for a tried and true educational method. Differentiation is simply meeting the student at their readiness level; in other words, teaching students, not teaching content. “One size fits all” has never been a philosophy to which Rockford teachers have subscribed. Imagine a piano teacher who planned the same lessons for all first-year piano students, neglecting to acknowledge or plan for those students who have natural talents, previous musical training, or difficulties. It’s not hard to see how ineffective those lessons would be for the majority of the students, because readiness was not considered. While anecdotal evidence abounds regarding the effectiveness of differentiation, research is confirming this premise, as well. A noted expert in the area of differentiation, Carol Ann Tomlinson, writes:  From a very young age, children understand some of us are good with kicking a ball, some with telling funny stories, some with manipulating numbers, and some with making people feel happy. They understand that some of us struggle with reading words from the page, others with keeping tempers in check, still others with arms or legs that are weak. Children seem to accept a world in which we are not alike. They do not quest for sameness, but they search for the sense of triumph that comes when they are respected, valued, nurtured, and even cajoled into accomplishing things they believed beyond their grasp. The immensity of this task for teachers is considerable. To meet the needs of all Rockford students, teachers meet weekly before school hours in Professional Learning Communities (PLC) to examine teaching practices and […]

Celebrity Red Carpet Event through Student Run Credit Unions!

March 19, 2009 // 0 Comments

This Student Run Credit Union is the “reel” deal! Red Carpet Events will be held in three Rockford area schools. Rockford Community Federal Credit Union is making savings fun in schools through a movie and celebrity themed, fully functioning “reel” Student Run Credit Union. Schools participating in programs are Belmont, Roguewood, and Our Lady of Consolation School. The schools recognize the need to teach students how to save for the future. In a partnership with Rockford Community Federal Credit Union the Student Run Credit Union was established. This program is now in its 6th year of operation. “By partnering with the schools, it provides the students an opportunity and a first hand experience with money management and financial education. Students learn as employees and as members who make deposits and withdrawals. Good habits learned early are more likely to last a lifetime,” said Connie Taylor, CEO of Rockford Community Federal Credit Union. These Credit Unions are now fully functional and run once a week for students to be able to make deposits, withdrawals and learn how to save money. The students get rewarded for good savings through games and prizes. As an added bonus, students in 5th grade have the opportunity to become an employee of the Student Run Credit Union. Lisa Smith, the Educational Coordinator for Rockford Community Federal Credit Union, oversees the Student Run Credit Unions. She says, “in these tough economic times our goal with the all Student Run Credit Unions is to provide a “reel” life financial literacy-based program that teaches students about saving money, decision-making and critical thinking while they are young.” The Credit Union hopes that by having the Credit Union, students will be more responsible with their money management and finances in the future. The Red Carpet was rolled out February 9, at Belmont Elementary, February 11 in Roguewood Elementary, and February 12 in Our Lady of Consolation School. These super star celebrations had snacks and Emmy pictures with celebrities for all student members.

North RMS Students’ Art Displayed

February 19, 2009 // 0 Comments

Four North Rockford Middle School art students – Olivia Guswiler, Taylor Ramirez, Elliana Raymond, and Katrina Rousakova – have artwork on display in the Michigan Art Education Association Region 9 Show. Each art teacher in the region, which makes up much of West Michigan, was able to bring five pieces for the regional show from the submitted works. The regional show will be on display in Calvin College’s Fine Arts Center for the month of February. The pieces created by Olivia Guswiler and Taylor Ramirez will go on to the state competition in March. Olivia Guswiler Taylor Ramirez Elliana Raymond Katrina Rousakova