Ignite the Blaze of Change

Lisa Moberg Assessment, Books, Education, Elementary, Life in the Classroom, Literacy, Mathematics, Parent Involvment, Teacher Leadership, Uncategorized

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One day in class a little boy asked me, “What’s your dream?” It has taken me a couple of months to think that one over. Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and remembering how brave and selfless the patron saint was in his endeavor to change the world, I realized what my dream is.  My dream is to be a change-maker in education. My changes in education would include:

1. Create a Cooperative School Garden to Cafeteria Program (including chickens and composting). Classes would rotate in taking care of the garden and cooking meals with the fresh food. They would apply scientific, mathematical, and literacy skills while working in the different areas of the program.

2. Students with consistent behavior issues must attend counseling, and the parents would attend mandatory parenting classes. There would be a 2-year follow-up to all students who exit the program.

3. For those students who struggle with academics, they would be provided with tutoring which includes whatever sport or hobby they are passionate about. To pay it forward, once the student finds success in academics, they would then provide tutoring in the same sport or hobby within 4 years.

4. Literacy programs would be individualized in each classroom, according to the teacher’s strengths and passions in language arts. There would be a menu of options that the teacher would choose from, to keep it from turning into 2 hours of free-reading, but each teacher could decide what works best for them. Students would be placed in the specialized classrooms for literacy (like going to a specialist when you have a specific injury).

5. Standardized tests would be blown up to smithereens. ‘Nuff said. These assessments have caused nothing but anxiety and anger for teachers and students.

6. Portfolios would be created by each student with their work from Kindergarten to 12th grade. They would include best work, worst work, and favorite work. There would be a rubric for each one, and teachers could go through the previous years’ work samples to identify trends and create long-lasting solutions which could be checked by future teachers. All the work samples could be scanned and created in electronic folders. No need for a thousand filing boxes!

7. Reading Coaches would be replaced by Math Coaches. There has been so much emphasis on literacy instruction in Arizona in the past decade that math instruction is still weak. It doesn’t help that we moved to Common Core without curriculum for two years, and now that we have curriculum, we are told that Common Core won’t be taught in Arizona. We need Math Coaches to be advocates for consistent, high-quality math instruction!

I’ll stop at Lucky Number 7 on the 17th of March. If just one of these ideas would take place in our schools, I think it would encourage other teachers to become change-makers. The only way I could do that is to start small-scale in my own classroom. Then hopefully it will ignite the blaze of change.

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Lisa Moberg

El Mirage, AZ

Adventure is my middle name. Although I have never sought it out, it somehow finds me, especially in teaching!! These past 16 years of my teaching career have been an exciting voyage in education, stretched between two different states, three school districts, and six grade levels (Kindergarten - 5th grade). After teaching in Washington State for six years, I moved to Arizona and have taught at a Title 1 school in the West Valley for ten years.

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Comments 3

  1. Beth Maloney

    I love your ideas! First of all, we need to get moving on our garden grant. I’m beyond ready to make that a reality after a great class discussion and writing activity last week where my students were complaining about the amount of packaging and preservatives in the cafeteria food. I asked them their thoughts on a school garden and they became giddy with excitement. They even came up with lesson plans and ideas for rainwater collection. I am also on board with portfolios that would grow with students and help inform our instruction. That would give us so much valuable information! And literacy programs tailored by teachers to best fit their students’ needs and interests? You are really speaking my language!

  2. Donnie Lee

    I love the idea of mandatory counseling for both parents and students with behavior issues. That will really help to get to the root of the problem instead of throwing a band aid on it. I also like the idea of saving student work from years past. I would love to be able to analyze that. My concern is I barely have time to analyze current work. It would be great to have that to me built in the beginning of the year.

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