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Dr. Sheri's Blog

Working in an Australian Remote Community School Wk. 1



Well, I've completed the first week of supporting educators in a remote community in the Australian bush. I honestly didn't really know what to expect and I'm not sure I could have ever understood the experience of teaching in a remote indigenous community school unless I had had the opportunity to come here.

Teachers
I have found the teachers who choose to live and teach out here in this remote community to be dedicated and practical. In my experience, they seem to complain very little and, instead of complaining, do what it takes to get things done.

Brumbies, snakes, cane toads, and "Let it Go"

Well, it's back to school time! That is, it's back to school time here in Australia. Today was the first day of school in Nganmarriyanga, and I learned a lot about what it means to be an educator in this remote Australian community.

I walked the short distance to school this morning, artfully dodging huge piles of horse poop that was deposited throughout the night by the Brumbies (feral horses). In fact, I wasn't surprised to see the horse droppings because I had lost quite a bit of sleep last night due to the galloping and whinnying that went on all night.

Reflections on Working in Australian Schools: Part I

I thought I'd take a chance to jot down my thoughts throughout this amazing experience of working in Australian remote community schools. I was given the opportunity to work in these schools through the National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI). When I first thought about working in Australia, I pictured working in a somewhat populated area, investigating restaurants in the evening, and staying in Australian hotels. As I learned more about what I'd be doing, I soon realized that the experience would be quite different.

Implementation of School-Wide PBIS

School-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) is a systems change effort that focuses on improving school climate through the implementation of evidence-based practices in the area of behavior.

SWPBIS is characterized by sixdefining characteristics:
  • It is preventive in nature
  • It is designed to have an instructional orientation
  • There is a focus on cultural responsiveness
  • Behavior is viewed as function-based
  • There is a systems implementation focus
  • It is evidence-based (and evidence-based practices are used)

The Top 10 Reasons Why Schools Should Implement PBIS

Next week I'm going to be working with the California Technical Assistance Center on PBIS to support a group of PBIS trainers in San Bernardino County. This dynamic and dedicated group of individuals are committed to bringing PBIS training to schools throughout San Bernardino County. I'm excited and honored to work with the group and thrilled to see more schools implementing PBIS. As the 2013-14 school year winds down, I thought I'd share my thoughts on why schools should implement PBIS.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week

It's Teacher Appreciation Week, which is a great opportunity to thank those very special individuals who sacrifice so much to ensure the next generation will be capable of supporting all of us in our old age. Being a teacher is more than a job; it's more than a career; being a teacher is a calling. It's an opportunity to make a difference in the life of a young person. 
I still remember my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Gammie. He truly believed in me and encouraged me to apply myself. It was in his class that I learned to love learning.

So What's the Big Debate About the Common Core?

A couple of weeks ago a good friend posted a picture of amath problemon Facebook that was originally posted by the Australian Tea Party and reputed to be an example of a Common Core (CCSS) lesson. I was intrigued by the post (I admit that I couldn't make sense of the math problem), partly because I wasn't aware that Australia had adopted the US Common Core State Standards,  and partly because in all my experience with the CCSS I had never experienced or seen anything like the problem that was being shown.

Master Binder System for Individuals with EF Deficits

“My child was not having any success as she searched for an important paper that needed to be signed by me and submitted to the school office.  I opened her backpack only to find that it looked like a bomb went off inside!  There was so much stuff in there, including paperwork that should have been shared with parents at home as well as assignments that should have been turned in at school. Comments from some of her teachers made sense now—‘She isn’t turning in any homework’.  I know she is doing the work at home, because she shows it to me after she finishes.

Project Planning for people with EF deficits

Check out this email I received from my co-author, Carol Burmeister:

Hi Dr. Sheri,
 
I wanted to share a personal experience I had with my grandson last week.  I was helping him with his homework, which included preparing for a presentation on Ronald Reagan that he was expected to share in school on Friday.  He did research on his topic online and synthesized the information so that he could develop a presentation that included his findings and supporting evidence.  He made strategic use of digital media and visual displays to enhance understanding of his material.

So, what's the big deal about Executive Function?

When I think of Executive Function (EF) skills, I picture those movies in which a high-powered executive is followed around by an executive assistant who takes care of all the details. "Ma'am, your 9:00 is waiting in room B. You're conference call will begin at 9:45 and I'll make sure everyone is ready and waiting on the line. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day; I ordered a gift to be delivered to your husband at work and a flower arrangement to be delivered to your mother. I also wrote a thank you note to your mother-in-law for her birthday gift and sent that in the mail.
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Categories

Autism Spectrum Disorders
Behavior
CCSS
Direct Instruction
Discipline
Evidence-based practices
Executive Function
Leadership
PBIS
Reflections
TBI
Traumatic Brain Injury
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