California Educator

June/July 2022

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Page 16 of 59

respect each other 's time," said a colleague who has worked as both a teacher and a support provider. "When you have children in front of you, there is no down time. So as someone without a roster, I'm always mindful of making sure to respect teachers when they are eating, when they have a moment to themselves." She keeps a schedule of when teachers might be most available to talk and says that talking with them when they are most present helps collabo- ration. "It's also important to use any time we're given for collaboration so that I respect their time in that way too. I want to make sure we get as much done as we can when we are gifted the time to collaborate." "Communicate progress to me, of any kind" A common refrain in the FuelEd survey was the daily workload. A special education resource teacher told me, "It can take me hours to complete an IEP, and there's a lot of assessment that goes into it as well. But if the teacher and I are on the same page, I can give them information that they can use, and they can give me information I can use. It saves us both time and energy." A classroom teacher who has worked alongside special education programs for years agreed. "I've got grades to write. I've got parents to conference with and tests to grade for meetings. Anytime someone helps me figure out where a kid is at, it's good news. Also, whenever I attend an IEP meeting, my major concern is that I'm prepared and can help make the right deci- sions and give the right input about the child. When the SPED coordinator and I have been in communi- cation throughout the year about the child's progress, we can talk mostly about how best to help that kid with all the members of an IEP meeting present." Whether you feel your school is supporting you and your colleagues e•ectively or you feel there needs to be a tune-up, I hope these five phrases can help. Thomas Courtney, San Diego Education Association, is a fifth grade teacher at Chollas-Mead Elementary in southeast San Diego. He was San Diego Unified's Elementary District Teacher of the Year in 2021. "I'm always mindful of making sure to respect teachers when they are eating, when they have a moment to themselves." Wordles emulate the best practices in learning any skill, from playing a recorder to speaking Japanese. For starters, with a Wordle, one must try. Placing a word in the rst row is the equivalent of throwing your hat in the game. e players/learners' way of saying 'I've got this, I'm going to do it, I can do it.' With Wordle and learning, it's the mistakes one makes that lead them to the right answer. Mistakes are gifts when we learn, although one can only make so many. Another caveat to nding the right answer is that a par- ticipant only has a certain amount of chances. So if a wordler/learner is going to make a mistake, make sure it's a good one. "A winner never quits and a quitter never wins." You can't give up with Wordle. e goal, like many a goal, is within reach, is not impossible. You keep on trying. Also, if one does fail, there's always tomorrow. Learning metaphors aside, there are many other aca- demic skills students exercise when playing a Wordle. The process of elimination is a must for test-taking – especially multiple-choice tests, or tests that require word match-ups. Wordles are in grid form which I'm sure must, in some way, stimulate logical-mathematical intelligence. Students are also developing an innate apti- tude for problem-solving. What student/person doesn't need that? Teaching a class is like playing in a band. Sometimes it's a garage band, periodically it's a jazz band, most of the time it's a punk band, irregularly it can be a classical quartet. is is rare, mind you, but a room full of seventh graders can be "in the pocket," so to speak. I've seen this happen occasionally when we read, sometimes when we write. When a class is in sync, it is pure magic. These daily Wordles have been sending my students and me to this place for the rst ve to 10 minutes of every class for the past few weeks. After the pandemic, I especially love this game for the social aspect. It's the shot in the arm that we've been needing all year (pun intended). With Wordles I get a classroom full of students who are laughing, talking, thinking, turning their passive vocabulary into active vocabulary, relieving stress, and boosting their moods. When students are more word-aware, they are more suc- cessful with reading and writing. And let's face it, without words, we have nothing, and without Wordles we have less words. Scot Brodie is a member of United Educators of San Francisco. 15 J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 2 2 S Continued from page 13

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