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November 12, 2011

Parents Shouldn't Have to Talk Educationalese

Are we talking at parents, or are we talking with them? As much as we should try not to leave students out of the parent-teacher conferences (Student-Led Conferences), we should also make sure we are not leaving parents out either. As educators, we communicate with parents daily or weekly, not jus...

November 11, 2011

No Testing Week: Part Deux

Although, we have always been a close staff we have had open and honest discussions about testing, NCLB and how we can move forward in a time with so many mandates. As adults, we can all remember the stress we felt when taking an exam. It didn't matter whether it was a chapter test created by a te...

November 10, 2011

Death By Ditto

Everyone uses worksheets but it can be very depressing to see a pile of dittos on a teacher's desk waiting for students as they enter a classroom to begin the day. Although there is always a time when worksheets may be appropriate, dittos can be a symbol of a lack of creativity. We must try to lim...

November 08, 2011

The Issue of School Climate: A Conversation with Jonathan Cohen

"Educators are now used to data being used as a hammer rather than a flashlight." Jonathan Cohen On Saturday morning I went out to breakfast at a small café near my home in Albany, NY. When I was sitting at the high top table waiting for my order, I overheard two older men talking about bullying....

November 06, 2011

Parent-Teacher Conferences WITHOUT Report Cards

Report cards have long been the focal point of the first parent-teacher conference of the school year. In the mind of the teacher, as well as the parent, it always made sense to have the report card sitting front and center as they discussed the academic progress of a child. However, instead of mak...

November 04, 2011

High Stakes Testing is not a 21st Century Skill

Recently, New York State test scores were released to the public and showed that students scored lower in the areas of ELA and math than in previous years. The results were quickly announced by the media. Even the national news chimed in to report the devastating results of the high stakes tests. ...

November 03, 2011

Robert Doesn't Fit In

Most days, Robert walks into his elementary school with his head down. It's not that he doesn't like his teacher or school, it's just that is how he likes to walk. Students quickly walk past him on the sidewalk and the hallway because he walks so slow. They smile, laugh and talk with one another as...

November 01, 2011

Student-Led Conferences

We take the mystery out of learning because we have a habit of talking at children and not to them. As many schools prepare for parent-teacher conferences they should consider involving the students in the process. It sounds like a radical concept to involve the student in the process of discussin...

October 30, 2011

Letter to a High School Student

Facebook certainly has made life interesting over the past few years since its inception. For those of us over 30, we have been faced with the opportunity to see those people from high school that we long forgot about. There was a time when we only had to worry about seeing high school friends every...

October 28, 2011

The "Bad Kid" Stigma

Every year we have students who need a "tune-up." A tune-up is when they need to see the principal because they had a one time issue with a student or teacher that needs an administrative intervention. Sometimes students are beginning to show a pattern of behavior and it is a good time for princip...

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The opinions expressed in Peter DeWitt's Finding Common Ground are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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