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Sunday, October 21, 2012

ATRs: Be prepared! Don't count on principals to provide you with lesson plans

 From Dedicated To All ATRs in NYC

This post is dedicated to supporting and preserving all ATRs in the DOE.  Face it, we are an oppressed group.  They want to do away with us.  Klein had it in for us as soon as his policy for closing schools caused him to be embarrassed for not having anticipated the fall-out.

Although principals depend upon us, (especially us since we represent the veterans in education) to maintain class order and preserve the tone of the school, they aren't very reliable when it comes to providing us with lessons that assure pedagogical continuity when the regular teacher is absent.  This may be because they don't really know where each class should be on the curriculum map, and it may be because one thing they don't teach teachers in the Fellowship program (or elsewhere) is how to create activities that can be used to hold students accountable while they are not running the class.

In a previous post I announced the call for a "Uniform Absent Teacher Assignment Plan" and wrote the deputy chancellor a short pitch for taking some of us out of rotation to work on this, full-time.  We, the ATRs on rotation, have visited so many schools and met more principals in a year than most teachers do in a life-time of service!  This places us in a unique spot, for we are able to reach out to principals and teachers who will supply us with best practices.  Once in place, the Absent Teacher Assignment Plans will be available through a data base and downloadable for each class- perhaps even wired right into the classroom via a smart board...

However, in the meanwhile, we, as ATRs are at risk of losing our wonderful positions as rotating teachers if we get stuck in a class with no back up plan.

I would like to ask all of you to send some of your cleverest assignments.  The idea is this:  When kids are distracted by interesting assignments, they don't act out quite as much and quite as awfully as they do when do have something to do.

For example, I will post some links for WordSearch Puzzles- kids love them, and they can be found in every subject and at any level. 
Here is a website that has tons of great WordSearch Puzzles:

Another nifty thing was suggested to me by our own Mr. Macri- perhaps the city's most popular ATR
Tracing paper.  We had an art class at a Brooklyn High School and Mr. Macri had a great way of keeping kids engaged and behaved: Let them trace.  I found some geometric and stained-glass workbooks (Dover Publishers) and kids traced the patterns and then, colored them.  The whole room and the bulletin boards were filled with light catchers. 
If you have a class for a whole week, never mind if it's science or math- give them tracings with a theme: Last week I did one on "Winners" - pictures of the olympic gold metallists and famous people that students value as role models.  A roll of tracing paper (12" x 50 yards) is less than $10 at Pearl.  I don't think we should pay for our students' supplies, but, desperate times mean taking desperate measures.

I have a bunch more but I really want you to make a page of sanity-saving suggestions for the well-being of us all.... Please!

Posted By Blogger to Dedicated to all ATRs in NYC at 10/21/2012 09:37:00 AM

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