The waning days of 2006 and a vacation from school (actual time for introspection!) inspired some education bloggers to consider their teaching-related resolutions for 2007. These ranged from the specific (Epiphany in Baltimore resolved to grade papers more quickly) to the general (Lady Strathconn resolved simply to try harder at everything) to the sarcastic (TeacherTalk's Erica Jacobs resolved to "be a beacon of light in fulfilling all administrative tasks such as creating innovative, common lesson plans that will not only be fun and engaging to students but will guarantee a 10% increase in their standardized test scores.") Jacobs also argued ...


Is "correctness" the only way to judge whether students are learning to write and to think? Teacher Talk's Erica Jacobs argues that it shouldn't be. She's been in the classroom for 30 years, and says it's true that, in this age of text messaging and IM, students seem to care less about commas and apostrophes. But: Because we were taught that “correctness” was the most visible signal of a good education, we continue to impose that standard. Once we give up these preconceptions, we can measure the education of our youth more accurately. Jacobs developed this viewpoint after working with ...


Mr. Lawrence overheard this surprisingly insightful comment while getting his morning coffee: "Good teaching is one-third basic instruction and two-thirds theater." And that got him thinking: A lot of people can be patient and explain a concept, but to make it "sink in" I'm starting to believe the "theater" part is the key—you need to "dress up" stale old concepts with flair to gain attention (and for the Playstation Generation, attention is constantly waning). The trouble is, there's a fine line to it, too: recall that a major part of early theater were jesters, and the risk of looking...


A History Teacher finds it unfortunate—though also understandable—that many school districts block access to YouTube, the video-sharing Web site. He explains the possible educational uses of the site that schools are missing: The ability for students to easily share school projects is lost (at school). Additionally, there are videos on YouTube that potentially could be used in an educational setting. It could be video clips from a television program, an expert discussing a specific topic, or maybe just some nice home movie footage of a place you are teaching about. But don't despair. Ever the troubleshooter, A History...


English teacher turned edu-tech consultant Will Richardson tips his readers off to a budding new technology that allows users to comment on individual paragraphs within a Web page or blog post. The tool, he says, would have natural educational uses: From a writing teacher’s standpoint, I think it would be pretty awesome. You could annotate specific sections of blog posted essays or stories and then leave more general comments at the end. Other people (students) could come in and leave their own pointed feedback. It would come pretty close to the type of handwritten comments that teachers have been ...


The Median Sib recounts how, during a game of "explorer Jeopardy," a learning-disabled student in her class responded that the name of one of Columbus' ships was the "Cauliflower." Surmising that the girl meant the "Mayflower"—the wrong answer, anyway, but never mind—she offers an illuminating and sympathetic glimpse into the student's mind: Someone once explained that having a learning disability is similar to having a filing cabinet full of papers spread out on the floor. Most of us have filing cabinets that are in order so that we can locate needed information easily and quickly. For the learning...


Hobo Teacher reacts to a new school policy requiring that teachers "document" any instance when a student goes out to the hallway. This includes, he surmises, not only when they are sent out for disciplinary reasons but also when they are just making up a quiz, going to the restroom, or blowing their noses--although "there have been no requests, so far, for saving the used tissue as evidence. ..." In any case, he's not wild about the added paperwork: I really don't get it. Why don't they just get it over with and inject tracking devices into the students' blood streams. ...


After being "ambushed" by the parents of a child she doesn't teach, simply because they wanted to talk to a teacher, Fred the Fish at Are We Doing Anything Today? considers the "official spokesperson" duty that seems to come with the profession: ...teachers are ambushed into being the sounding board for the teaching profession. (Regardless of your profession, once you are it, you are the voice for all. My brother speaks for the police, my friend the architect is the voice of building designers.) ... It's such an awkward position to be put in particularly because teachers are often under fire. ...


Ms. Cornelius responds to the news that education officials in New Zealand have decided to allow students to use text-message-speak on national exams this year. It's a shameful concession, she says: Are we merely being elitist to expect an academic paper to adhere to certain standards? I hardly think anyone would claim that the expectation to communicate clearly is too rigorous. ... I've told my students that text-speak is unacceptable in written work. I will also correct the first misspellings of unusual words, such as "laissez-faire," but I take points off for misspelling common words such as cities, because, or soldier. ...


Denver teacher Groovygrrl has started a new blog called Caught in Class in which she plans to record the things kids say in school. The reason behind this grand venture? "Most people who don't work in schools have NO IDEA how funny it is," she says. Here's a sample entry: Kid: Like, who thought of pot? Teacher: What do you mean? It's a plant. Kid: Yes, but who thought of it? Teacher: You mean, who thought of smoking it? Kid: Yeah. Teacher: I don't know. But I think it's a weirder thing to drink milk. I mean, who was the ...


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