March 2007 Archives

Renee Moore of TeachMoore voices skepticism about statistical attempts, often key to performance-pay plans, to measure the "value added" by a particular teacher to a student's achievement level: This concept denies the cumulative aspect of education. It ignores the truth that multiple factors impact the learning and retention of that learning among students. ... Moreover, students develop and mature as learners over time. A student may have been introduced to a concept or skill in 6th grade, had it reinforced in different ways by different teachers over several years, then in 10th or 11th grade that concept [seemingly] suddenly took root ...


Ms. Frizzle, a New York science teacher currently on a fellowship in Turkey (and blogging under the name Ögretmen), responds to a New York Times article on the difficulty of working with middle school children. She believes there are compensations: As someone who chose to teach middle school and has stayed committed to the age group for seven years, I’d be the first to admit that every day can feel like a series of soap operas whirling around me. Teaching middle school has quadrupled my patience—and I am still not patient enough some days—but it has also...


Blogger Mei Flower was pretty sure her 9th grade students couldn't follow directions, and with standardized tests looming, such a skill gap could spell disaster. So she designed some worksheets to test them: Circle the noun in each sentence that begins with a vowel. This is where it would become very important for them to read the directions, you see. And the last sentence was always this: Then, go on to the next section. Well, except the last section, in which I wrote this: Turn your paper over and draw a picture of a dog. Raise your hand when you ...


Attention English teachers: Mister Teacher, Lady Strathconn, and others have been passing around a list of (mostly) classic books to test how well-read they are. How about you?...


Andy Carvin of learning.now disputes the notion that Internet social-networking tools are to blame for the growing level of narcissism among young people. On the contrary, he argues, sites such as MySpace and YouTube are more about community than self-centeredness: Sure, some people are there for vanity or proto-celebrity purposes, but most people are there for us, not me. They’re communities where people come together to find each other and bond over likeminded interests. They’re communities where people reinforce interpersonal relationships through sharing and creating content. As with most new technologies, that is, it’s all in ...


Epiphany in Baltimore is frustrated that parents are not just a phone call away. Limited resources left the inner city teacher struggling to find a way to connect with students' parents: At school this year, parental contact is nearly impossible. I have no phone in my room. ... To call parents at home, we must use the English department phone. However, the line out was inadvertently cut a few weeks ago by custodial services, and now there is no way to call out from that office. Therefore, I had to go to the main office, and speak in the very public ...


Tim of Assorted Stuff examines whether the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project will benefit developing countries, and what U.S. schools could learn from it. He comments on the following excerpt from eLearn magazine's article, Can the "$100 Laptop" Change the World?: Some of the problems [Ethan Zuckerman] sees in the schoolrooms in the developing world are echoed here in our own halls of learning. "Educational systems that teach to standardized national tests mean that the emphasis is on making sure a percentage of students learn enough information to pass the national exams, and less on learning through self-guided ...


More on the subject of kids who don't get support from the adults at home: NYC Educator is surprised to find himself in agreement with conservative commentator David Brooks, who argues that a really good presidential candidate would take the approach that schools don't just need more money—they need programs to make sure kids are prepared to learn before they get to school. NYC Educator's thoughts: The bold candidate will admit that kids who don't learn social skills at home don't carry them to school. Kids with caring parents become better students. David Brooks suggests a program where trained...


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