09/04/12 Educators across the nation are being challenged to teach their students not only the basics of reading , writing and math but to increase scores on standardized testing, provide advanced instruction in academic and vocational areas, and maintain an atmosphere of strong values.

The Plymouth Schools are stepping up to the plate to meet the challenges while making sure kids are learning what they will need for a lifetime. To hear how both teachers and students are responding, a blog site has been set up to publish a story each day. Assistant Superintendent Dan Funston said, “We at Plymouth Community Schools are pleased to share our stories about the learning happening throughout the district. This year we have chosen to highlight these stories in our 180 Days of Learning blog.” Schools in Indiana must meet for a minimum of 180 days per school year.

The blog can be found at http://pcsc180daysof learning.wordpress.com or can be accessed through the corporation’s website at www.plymouth.K12.in.us.

Funston said he learned of the basic idea through a website for principals. He then adapted the approach for the Plymouth School system

Funston said, “With all the “noise” (new legislation, new technologies, new programs) in education today, we believe it is important to maintain a focus on learning.” He added, “Our blog will highlight stories of learning in our district as well as showcasing some of the great things happening in our classrooms.”

According to Funston, all PCSC teachers were invited to be bloggers or to help one of their students blog. “Our goal is to have one person in our district blog every school day. So far, we’ve had wonderful participation from a variety of buildings in addition to having multiple students sign up to blog.”

Those wanting to submit a story must write in 250 words or less “What did I or my students learn today”. he said. “The focus is on what and how students are learning throughout the corporation.” he added.

Plymouth High School student Matt Scutchfield not only wrote about the techniques his orchestra instructor, Mrs. Kallenburg, is teaching, but added a video showing exactly how one of the techniques is taught. PHS SOI Math Facilitator, Michael Delp wrote, “I want students to have the ability to problem solve and think critically, collaborate and communicate effectively with others even under pressure. For the first time ever, I will literally be assessing these skills this year in my course.” “I want students to actually be able to see how mathematics connects to everyday life.”

Katie Kappleer is an 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Lincoln Junior High. After adjusting her plan for teaching a particular lesson for the day, Kappler

said, ”I learned very quickly today my students are not ready for the next step on their own. Making inferences is hard and I need to review this process. Eighth graders aren’t usually detail-oriented.” She said, “It’s important for me and other educators to remember flexibility is key.”

Brooke Busse, elementary learning coach for PCSC, shared her thoughts on having first and second graders use the internet. She said, “First and second graders at PSCS are using SKYPE to connect to the outside world and make learning more meaningful.”

Riverside Intermediate teacher, Terri Dennie, summed up the reactions of students in the first week in a new school. She wrote, “Eagar, scared, excited, confused, nervous, joyful and enthusiastic. These are all words that describe different fifth grade students who entered the hallways of Riverside this week.”

Administrators of the Plymouth Schools would appreciate any comments from the public after reading the blog.

Carol Anders Correspondent