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Dr. Sheri's Blog

Reflections

Checking In Down Under

I'm sitting and relaxing in the comfortable and relatively quiet Qantas club in Sydney, after my decidedly uncomfortable and noisy red-eye flight from Darwin. I have a few hours before I leave to visit family in Canberra, so it seemed a good time to catch up on my blog.
 
I arrived in Darwin just two weeks ago, for my third trip to my three schools in the Outback. I was excited to check in; to be honest, I had missed my Australian friends and the children I've grown so fond of. I arrived to a different climate than what I've experienced in my past visits.

Winding Down, Down Under


Here it is, the middle of my last week in Australia, and I'm definitely due for some reflection. In some ways this time has gone by so quickly, in other ways I feel like I've been here forever. I'm currently in my third school, which is another small school (around 30 students), with students in grades kindergarten (transition) through 7th grade. The school is beautiful; the path into the school is paved with stones and the school is beautifully decorated with posters and indigenous art.

Going Even Deeper Down Under


Well, I'm in Darwin for the night, after flying on a single engine plane in and out of a very small town in the Australian bush. I've spent two days there in the school, flying back each evening to a larger town (large, as in, over 100 residents). I hardly slept the night before my first flight, but I soon found that I'm not frightened and, in fact, the views are amazing!


My new school is small (around 25 students, K-7th grade) and in a community sheltered by an amazing escarpment, with picturesque waterfalls and rough-hewn walls.

Things That Go Bump in the Night: Australian Bush Version

I'm rounding out my first week at my biggest school (approximately 125 students, preschool through grade 10) and so I thought I'd take a few moments to sum up my experiences here.

New Friends
On Saturday night I had a terrific time at a potluck featuring Australian dishes. Everyone brought something to share and we had some really terrific tucker (aka food). There was chicken parma, Australian lamb, quiche, coleslaw, Australian meatballs, cheesymite rolls (cheese and Vegemite on homemade Australian bread), berry and apple crisp, anzac biscuits, and pavlova (I brought cheesy potatoes - kind of a French/American thing).

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.

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.
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