Posts by bigdbentley

MEET DAVE "BIG D" BENTLEY - A MAN OF MANY HATS I wear a lot of hats in the course of my life. I wear the "husband hat" with my wife, Andie, whom I have been married to for 26 years. I wear the "daddy hat" with my children, Danielle and David, and their spouses, Micah and Tracie. I am privileged to don my "Papa hat" with my two gorgeous grand-daughters, Amaria and Jaydan, and my energetic grandson, Jethro. I wear the "pastor hat" with my church congregation in Wallingford, Vermont. I have served churches in West Virginia, Alabama, Florida and Vermont. In December of last year my wife and I accepted the call to serve in Wallingford, Vermont. In addition to this variety of caps, I am a student, attending Liberty University to receive a Masters in Teaching in Elementary Education as well as secondary Language Arts. My hobbies tend to revolve around my family, so they include, camping, traveling, playing board games, and spending time with them. In addition I enjoy reading, rainy days, listening to and playing worship songs, and cooking.

Differentiation

Image from IRIS Module (2010)


For all students, typical or disabled, differentiation involves process, the teaching, and product, the pieces of assessment that demonstrate  proficiency. In looking at this over the past few days I found copious resources in a variety of formats. One particularly useful items is the powerpoint linked here (Differentiation Slides).  It is concise and informative and provides examples of differentiation for a variety of subjects.

Interestingly, our PD for the school year has been focused on PBGR (Proficiency Based Graduation Requirements) and I have been part of the team looking at differentiating instruction and assessment.  As a Special Educator working as a co-teacher, this training has been more informative and useful that other PD I have been part of in our district. Between the PD, the IRIS module, and the other resources I’ve been exposed to recently, I feel I have a much better grasp on differentiation in the classroom.

Preparing for Differentiation

Preparing students for differentiation means gradually introducing the process, teaching and learning practices, and providing scaffolding as they learn the system.  Most of what I have read and heard relates that a key part of the process is getting to know the students in the class. What do they possess for prior knowledge? What are their learning styles? Where are their skills and challenges? What is their level of interest?  These steps take time and effort, and in a field where both come at a premium, it is easy to try to shortcut and skip steps. The result of effective planning for differentiation is the potential for successful differentiation. Failing to strategically plan will result in a failure to effectively differentiate.

All it Takes is Time

As a co-teacher in ELA and Math classes I realize that the one thing that I can never seem to have is time.  I have resources, information, texts, and the availability of technology and applications, but carving out time to plan with the content teacher is next to impossible.  We have had to sacrifice and deliberately set time aside to do this effectively. Even with that, however, we still struggle to be as strategic as we would like with differentiating in the classroom.

What does Differentiation Look Like for LD?

I know what differentiation is not, that is the addition of novelties to the classroom intended to substitute for systematically and strategically planned instruction and assessment.  Several years ago I was observing a class as part of my teacher coursework and was very interested in the number of ways technology was used in the classroom. At the time it seemed that the teacher had found ways to keep everyone in the class engaged.  Later, however, I learned that it was frequently done in that class to substitute for poor or absent planning. The philosophy was that keeping the kids engaged on devices at least looked like learning.

This is not to say that a differentiated classroom would be absent of technology, on the contrary the devices may be an integral part of using assistive technology for learning.  However, without meaningful inclusion they are little more than window dressing intended to mask a lack of differentiated instruction.

One class that I observed had students working in stations.  That class provided differentiation through a variety of activities.  There were students working with their hands, students listening to the teacher, students writing or drawing responses to a story, and students talking to each other in a lit. circle.

In the slide show I referenced earlier the presenter shows what differentiation in Math and Reading would involve.  In a nutshell:

  • Variety of Materials (based on level and learning preference)
  • Variety of Levels of Support and Scaffolding
  • Variety of Sensory Opportunities
  • Variety of Interaction Opportunities (Inquiry, Sharing)
  • Variety of Means to Demonstrate Learning

References:

The IRIS Center. (2010). Differentiated instruction: Maximizing the learning

of all students. Retrieved from https://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/module/di/

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What If

“What If”

Dave Bentley (1967-)

What if all the stories we’ve been told

Fairy tales and nursery rhymes

Were played out on the world stage

Not just imagined in our minds

And the characters, heroes, and villains

Lived among us every day

What a remarkable world we would live in

It would be a wonderful place

 

There’d be star crossed lovers

Holding hands across the street

Kissing beneath the moonlight

Whispering words that are so sweet

While evil henchmen hunted

For some treasure they could steal

’til the brave hero captures them

A life of fantasy, a life that’s real.

 

The eyes and ears of little children

Stirred by those Once Upon a Times

To envision worlds of wonder

To transcend the bonds of time

Gazing ahead unto tomorrow

Leaning back toward yesterday

Resting still within the present

Living their story out today

 

There would be the swoosh of dragon wings

Cutting the silence of the night

And a princess trapped in a tower

Awaiting the arrival of a brave knight

Enchanted mirrors reflecting faces

Of the folks who search for fame

WHile sorcerers and witches gather

In a secret hidden cave

 

The things that dream are made of

Could be the things that life becomes

If imaginary creatures

Made our world their home

And the cheerful glee of children

Would be heard near and far

As fantasy meets reality

To see things as they really are.

 

“What If” by Dave Bentley (2016)

A Note Home from Mr. B.

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Hi All,
Once in a while, I feel the need to send a note reminding parents to be aware of what kids are watching and doing at home.  This is not intended as a judgment of your family values, but as a caution related to how those influences translate into behavior at school.  Please believe that I want the best for your student and their experience in our school.
That said, there are two particular things that are showing a significant influence on student behavior in the classes where I co-teach and in the school as a whole.  The YouTube sensation Jeffy the Rapper shows up in phrases and gestures by students as they mimic his behavior.  I encourage you to read the attached webpage (linked here) related to how Jeffy’s influence has a negative impact on students.
The second is the uber-popular video game Fortnite.  Here is a link to a page related to FORTNITE PAGE.  The challenge is something that becomes so consuming for students it that it tends to monopolize their thinking and leaves little room for effort related to learning and academics.
I would not presume to tell you what to do.  I simply want you to be aware of the influences of outside elements within the school.  There will always be something, PopCulture will filter in somehow.  The more adults are aware of these things, the better prepared they will be to guide students through those influences.
Enjoy the Journey,
Dave
_______________________________
Dave Bentley (dbentley@ssdvt.org)
Teacher on 6th Grade Team
Riverside Middle School
Springfield, Vermont
(802) 885-8436

Make Mistakes

If you have made a mistake raise your hand.  That’s right, all of us should have our hands up, perhaps with some enthusiastic waving because we have all made mistakes, and some of them have been doozies.  Let’s explore a few other questions.

  • Has a mistake ever made you quit?
  • Has a mistake ever cost you more than you expected?
  • Has a mistake ever hurt yourself or people you care about?

It’s likely that we all answered in the affirmative with those questions.  These and other reasons are why we fear making mistakes.  We don’t like to be wrong.  We don’t like to feel as if we have failed.  It can be embarrassing.  It can hurt.  It can cost.  As a result we may avoid situations where we could potentially make a mistake.  We are particularly wary of circumstances where mistakes might be public.  It might be that we don’t raise our hands in class.  Perhaps we avoid volunteering for committees or teams where we work or worship.  Maybe we have refused to host the annual family reunion.  Fear of mistakes and failure can keep us from a number of things.  It may be that avoiding mistakes and the possibility of failure has cost us opportunities.

Let’s explore a couple of other questions:

  • Can you think of a way that you learned something from a mistake?
  • Can you think of a time that a mistake lead you in different, and ultimately better direction?

A few years ago we were traveling through the Smokey Mountains on a family trip.  I had taken a wrong turn, and ended up well off course.  However, we found a number of interesting things along that accidental detour that made the mistake worth making.  Another mistake I recall is a dish that my mother once made with or Thanksgiving leftovers.  It was supposed to be soup, but she had accidentally doubled parts of the recipe.  What resulted is a delicious casserole that we dubbed Turkey Mistake.  To this day it remains one of our favorite post holiday dishes.

The challenge for us is to view mistakes through a different lens.  To see them as opportunities and not as endings.  The clip below of an acronym for mistakes gives us some sage advice for positive ways of viewing our missteps.

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The difference is determined by whether we will permit the mistakes we make to stress us or strengthen us.  It’s not that the mistakes will become less painful, costly, or embarrassing.  Rather, it is that we would recognize mistakes as a natural (and intended) part of learning and growing as human beings.

Don’t be afraid to mess up, you might discover that the mistake you make leads to even better things than you initially planned to accomplish.

Emotional-Behavioral Resources

Dave Bentley – Emotional & Behavioral Issues in Special Education

Fall, 2017

This blog post contains resources related to Special Education and working with students who may have emotional or behavioral challenges.  The resources are intended to provide teachers and other staff with links to sites and information that assist in meeting the needs of students, establishing supports for students, and tracking progress of students.  If you are a teacher or administrator please leave a comment with other resources that you have found helpful. 

 

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Positive Behavior Intervention and Support

The Website indicates that PBIS intends to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of schools and other agencies by improving social, emotional and academic outcomes for all students.  While there are benefits for students with special needs, there are also benefits for the school as a whole.

 

PBIS WORLD – http://www.pbisworld.com/

PBIS World is a comprehensive and invaluable resource of forms and information related to MTSS and the implementation of a PBIS strategy for classrooms and schools.  I encourage people to spend some time exploring the site and learning how to navigate through the materials available for the three tiers of support.

 

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Responsive Classroom – https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/ 

Responsive Classroom is an evidence-based approach to education that focuses on the strong relationship between academic success and social-emotional learning (SEL). The Responsive Classroom website provides links to training, information, and resources for implementing the strategy in the school and classroom.  While primarily employed with younger students, middle level learners also can benefit from the structure and practices of Responsive Classroom.

 

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A Site for Behavioral Forms

 Documents for a Systematic Behavioral Analysis (FBA)

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Articles Related to EB Issues:

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Videos

 

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  Dave Bentley is a Special Educator in Springfield, Vermont.

RMS 6th Grade Math Notes

September 14th – THERE IS A QUIZ ON FRIDAY COVERING STATISTICS

  • If students can define and find these they will do fine:
    • Mean – average (add and divide the sum by the number of data points)
    • Median – what is the exact middle of the data points when in order?
    • Mode – what data point(s) occurs the most (MODE=MOST)
    • Range – What is the difference between the highest and lowest data point?
    • Statistical and Non-Statistical Questions
      • Statistical – more than one possible correct answer (nosey questions)
      • Non-Statistical – only one possible correct answer (facts)
    • Simple Graphs of data (Histograph, Dot points)

Meet Mr. Bentley

  • Dave Bentley10624605_10205706768409705_5317929050308283420_n.jpg
  • 6th Grade Special Educator
  • Riverside Middle School
  • Springfield, Vermont

Many of you may have become acquainted with me through the years as I have worked within the Springfield School District as a substitute teacher.  In addition, I  volunteered for several years alongside my wife, Mrs. Bentley, at Elm Hill in her classroom and with after-school drama programs.  It has been a great experience working with some of the highest quality teachers and Para educators in education.

Last year I completed my Masters Degree in teaching with an internship at Riverside working with the 7th Grade team teaching English with Mr. Vandivere.  This Fall I am honored to rejoin the team at Riverside full-time where I will be working with the 6th grade team as their special education teacher.  

There are many things that I would like people to know about me, but most importantly I want you to be assured of my commitment to your students. I love working with young adolescents in the middle school and do not take lightly the level of trust that you have placed in me and the school to care for and educate your children.  Having the opportunity to help students entering middle school make the transition to a different school and system of education is both challenging and exciting.  I approach my role as a calling, which is more than a career choice or simply a job.  During these pivotal years it is my goal to provide students with the tools they will need to find success at the middle school and in the years beyond.

Please feel free to connect with me if I can be of assistance to you, or if you have questions concerning your student’s education.  If I do not know the answer to your question I will work with you to find the answers you need.

Looking forward to the Adventure of the School Year,

Dave Bentley

dbentley@ssdvt.org

(802) 885-8490