Getorix books by Judith Geary

A letter from Sandra Horton

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Dear Friends,


I have always thought differently from others. Growing up I learned to fit into the mold of education, but I constantly looked for what made learning exciting for me—the “Aha” moment: the opportunity to take knowledge and transcend it to a new understanding or awareness. As a teacher, I looked toward my own mentors, Jim Curry, Sandy Kaplan, Don Finkel, Howard Gardner, and others, whose style of teaching and passion for learning inspired me to go beyond.


So after 25 years of teaching, I decided it was time to share everything I have learned with my fellow colleagues: what worked and what didn’t; how to involve students effectively in self-directed learning; how to inspire students to go beyond, not just for a grade, but for the love of learning.


I was not always successful. First and foremost I learned that teaching and perfection do not go hand in hand. I learned that every student presents a different set of wants and needs. I discovered that when I did not set limits and I allowed my students to be part of the learning process, to develop and create their own goals and aspirations, my students could achieve more than I ever imagined. Learning became a group experience where each of us grew as individuals.


Being an educator is easier said than done. Educators face a grueling, demanding task of imparting knowledge that enables the learner to better understand the world he or she lives in and how he or she fits into that world. A framework of basic knowledge, skills, and expertise are the first tools needed; but education needs to be more than isolated facts and figures to have meaning. The complex task of learning involves problem-solving, critical thinking, passion, and the capacity to reach a higher plane of thought and understanding. And, it is the educator who is expected to impart all of this wisdom to his or her students.


Developing this curriculum guide, I combined 25 years of knowledge and ideas about education: philosophies, teacher training, classroom trial and error, student and parent input, and colleague support and collaboration, to create this framework of teacher-designed materials and handouts that worked for me and my students. In this curriculum guide, they are presented to you to coordinate with Judy Geary’s novel, Getorix The Eagle and the Bull and an investigation of the Roman Republic. The teacher materials also stand alone and can be pulled out and used in the classroom setting. Handouts are presented on a CD so they can be modified by you to fit your class assignments, your students, and your teaching style.


Each of us comes to this task of teaching with different talents and goals. It is up to each of us to add our “artistic design” to what we do. Hopefully these ideas along with the frameworks and handouts will help you in designing the curriculum that allows you to reach your students and make learning a group experience where each of you grows as individuals.


Sandra Horton


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