Readings from Reed

News and Updates from Katherine

How does your garden grow....together?

For the first time in 38 months (since before I was pregnant with Elliott), I rolled up my sleeves, lathered on the bug spray, laced up my dirtiest pair of sneakers, and hopped down the deck stairs intent on digging into this corner of our garden where the deck, driveway, and cellar stairs intersect. We moved into our new-to-us home when Elliott was just 6 months old. Needless to say, I haven't had a lot of time to devote to our yard since then! I was anxious to get my fingers dirty and start digging.

I promised Drew I would start and finish this project in one night- we've been dodging the overgrown and thorny rosebushes each time we back out of the driveway (So far we only have one rosy scratch on the Mazda....but that's the only one we want!). I had purchased a dozen or so plants at our local nursery earlier that morning with just a vague idea of how I would use them. I realized, as the light faded, that I was not ready to plant - I had to take a step back, sit down, and look. Now I had to connect the dots, connect the plants, as it were. I had to consider what each plant had going for it - sun/shade, height, space needed, shape, and color. Each plant brought its own characteristics and I needed to see how they would work together to make beauty and grow. I got up and moved plants here and there, back and forth, trying this configuration and that configuration....

Although Drew probably would have preferred me to just "get the job done," I needed time to plan and think before I just dug in.

I encourage you to do the same with the big ideas and initiatives we are tasked to consider as a teaching team. How do you see them connect? There are many more similarities than differences between the big ideas. Instead of thinking about them piling on top of one another, imagine them as layers - configured together to support individualized instruction. TEDS asks us to ensure that all students are actively engaged in the learning process...think HSE21 and Project Based Learning. TEDS asks us to provide differentiated ways of engaging with content specific to individual student needs...think Response to Instruction in our general education classrooms.

Each initiative is working together to create a garden in which you and your students will thrive. Take a deep breath and start digging. I have my gardening gloves ready if you want an extra set of hands!



Connect the Dots.... HSE Initiatives

We've got a lot of dots (and abbreviations!).... and thankfully they do all connect and support each other:


Some of the heavy-lifters in TEDS that are prevalent in HSE initiatives:

  • Teachers facilitate student academic practice so that all students are participating and have the opportunity to gain mastery of the objectives in a classroom environment that fosters a climate of urgency and expectation around achievement, excellence and respect.

  • Teacher effectively connects content to other content areas, students’ experiences and interests, or current events in order to make content relevant and build interest

  • Explanations spark student excitement and interest in the content

  • Teacher ensures that all students are actively engaged in the learning process through best practice engagement strategies

  • Teacher provides differentiated ways of engaging with content specific to individual student needs

  • Classroom activities offer students choices that enhance engagement

  • Students have opportunities to meaningfully practice, apply, and demonstrate that they are learning through assigned work that requires the use of academic skills in relation to course content (critical reading, writing process or critical thinking)

Upcoming Professional Development Opportunities

  • 3rd Grade - District PD - Wednesday, 9/4/13 (8:30-11:30, 1:00-4:00 @ CRE)
  • 4th Grade - District PD - Thursday, 9/5/13 (8:30-11:30, 1:00-4:00)

  • Units of Study Grades K-4 - Tuesday, 9/10/13 (4:15-5:15 @ CRE)

Katherine Reed

Teacher Development Specialist @ CRE, FES, LRE