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Learning to Focus in the Digital Age




I think it’s fair of me to say the following:  With more access to affordable digital devices, many of us struggle to attend to the person who is speaking or the device that is beeping.

While catching up on my professional reading, I ran across this article called,  AGE OF DISTRACTION:  WHY IT’s CRITICAL FOR STUDENTS TO LEARN TO FOCUS

As a school, we talk daily about the importance of concentration and mindful focus toward a single activity or skill.   With this kind of intentional focus and practice over time, learners become more competent and demonstrate a higher achievement rate. We think it is important that all learners become aware of the need to practice this away from school where digital tools are more accessible.  If you find that your children (and you as parents) are distracted by your cell phone, e-reader or other type of screen, do a self-check and then step away to focus on the person who is might be trying to converse with you.

If you want to know more about mindful practices that strengthen attention and awareness, check out Why Teaching Mindfulness Benefits Student Learning.

Now…turn off that screen and find someone to talk with…face to face!

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What do Teachers Do in the Summer?

In Michigan, state law dictates that public schools begin the day after Labor Day and end approximately 182 learning days later.  This typically means that school ends the second or third week of June.

From the last day of school through Labor Day, students are busy enjoying the best weather and activities that West Michigan has to offer.  What are the teachers doing during their summer breaks?

This summer, Georgetown teachers were busy doing the following:

  • Graduate Studies:  Additional course work to further their understanding of how to better prepare all children to succeed as learners (expenses paid for by the teacher)
  • Special coursework in writing studies
  • Specialty coursework in social studies
  • Specialty coursework in behavior management
  • Non-credit workshops (personally covered by teachers rather than the district) in writing, reading, math and learning disability studies
  • Book study reading preparation for our professional development work this coming year.
  • Curriculum writing and development for instruction in the coming year.
As a staff group, we began the year by focusing on ways to improve our instruction of math, reading and writing grades PK-5.   Our foundational book for this work was Focus:  Elevating the Essentials to Radically Improve Student Learning by Mike Schmoker.   This text helped us to identify the best of what we were currently utilizing and refine practices that would benefit all learners.
Last week, we spent four days working together on how to focus on essential learning practices for our students–it was energizing and exciting.  The staff at Georgetown is truly an amazing group of people, teachers and learners!  We are ready for the new school year to begin!