April 2008 Archives

Mister Teacher questions (to put it mildly) his school's decision to send home report cards the day before students take state tests: I'm sure that there was absolutely no chance of any risk whatsoever regarding student confidence being lowered due to a less than desired grade. Hey, maybe tomorrow morning right before they put pencil to the test, we can tell them all they were adopted!!...


TMAO finds it absurd that, for an upcoming ed blogging conference in Washington, he's been slotted to be on the panel for a session titled "Blogging From the Trenches": [It's] one of those ed phrases that just drives me nuts. My job is difficult, and on days like yesterday, appallingly frustrating, but no one's chucking mustard gas at me and I've never been asked to charge a fortified position, so maybe we could dial down the rhetoric a wee bit, hmm? No need to make teaching more dramatic than it already is, I guess...


The Teachers Leaders Network has launched a new blog by Ariel Sacks, a young NYC English teacher who's already gained a voice as an educator-writer to watch. In an early post on the blog, she writes with honesty about the conflicts she has over her grading system: Recipe formulas for calculating grades tend to turn out numbers that represent a mishmash of student effort (as perceived by teacher), task completion (which may not require effort for all students), knowledge acquired, and skill development (both evidenced in student work). Lately I’m struggling with the creeping notion that the net result ...


Planning on doing a Master's thesis in education? Apparently, it's advisable (or unavoidable) to use the word "quintile" a lot....


The social disadvantages and day-to-day tribulations faced by low-income students are all too real, says Mr. ab. All the more reason, he contends, that educators need to avoid letting them get in the way: The necessity of learning to read or add does not decline with the difficulties of life. By now, millions of children, of all colors and countries, have acquired their basic skills despite the grandest obstacles. I don’t know what common strengths they have shared ... but I deeply suspect that one asset was not a teacher so “understanding” as to permit them to fail. As a ...


More frustration about school adminstrators' lack of respect for teachers, from J. at Mildly Melancholy after she's hit by unannounced scheduling interruptions: I feel like they're saying to me, "Eff you. We don't care about you or the fact that you're actually doing your job. Do whatever random [$!] we throw at you, because actually teaching and setting good examples for the children is at the end of the priority list." Looks like she's quitting. The lesson for administrators: Try communicating....


Hobo Teacher: A morning e-mail informs teachers that—oops—they may have passed by a toxic on-campus construction site on their way into school. Is it any wonder this guy thinks the school administration is trying to make him crack? (Seriously, does he make this stuff up? Or are some schools really this absurd?)...


Will Richardson has probably done as much as anyone to help teachers mine the educational potential of the Web, but he's also wary of the seismic shifts in social relations and information consumption that interactive technology appears to be creating. The question for teachers, he says, is "how do we address these issues as a part of the the literacies we teach our kids in the curriculum so they can accurately assess what is real and what is not?"...


An article on the seemingly forgotten reciprocal relationship beween the public and public schools prompts Renee Moore to reflect on a time when the phrase "it takes a whole village to raise a child" was more than just a political punchline. During her youth, she writes: The entire community took the raising and teaching of children as a collective responsibility. I could as much expect Mr. Alexander across the street to quiz me on my times tables as I could my teacher. Mrs. Duncan at the corner store was well within her rights to chastise me for acting "unladylike" in ...


Following a recent controversy at his school surrounding students posting hateful comments about teachers on Facebook and MySpace, Assistive Principles says that these students may merely be trying to “get in good graces with the ‘popular crowd.’” He emphasizes that any posting on the Internet, whether about the student, or a teacher the student may not like, may not always represent reality. The insight he has for teachers who are surprised by the actions of their students is: Our students are not who we think they are. They are more concerned with the perceptions of others, because their self esteem ...


Eduwonkette believes the world of education policy will—or should—come to a halt in recognition of the University of Kansas' victory last night in the NCAA National Championship game. (Or is this just her way of saying she's taking the week off?) Incidentally, if your students are talking about the game today, you might be able to capture their attention with a bit of relevant educational trivia: Did you know that the KU chant of "Rock Chalk Jayhawk" was originally created, in 1886, by the university's science club, to be amended later (per usual) by an English professor?...


With all the negative news in education, we too often neglect to take of notice of daily classroom triumphs, which of course are a big deal. For example, NYC teacher Mildly Melancholy reports on a string of successful student projects that have her feeling good about her class, albeit cautiously....


There's an interesting conversation going on among some teacher bloggers about the value and impact of new technologies in the classroom. The science teacher at Huh, That's Interesting—backed by comments from music educator Nancy Flanagan—questions whether some teachers aren't merely "seduced by the flashiness" of instructional technology and worries that overuse of digital tools in the classroom will only increase the disconnection of today's students' from the real, visceral world. On the other hand, Bill Ferriter, an English teacher who's become a Web 2.0 enthusiast, argues that, on a certain level, such attitudes belie an attachment...


A first-year preschool teacher struggles with losing her job because she made what sounds like a pretty bad but honest mistake. Sounds like she could use some words of encouragement....


Darren at Right on the Left Coast: Views From a Conservative Teacher argues that schools hold a double standard when it comes to teaching about alcohol versus sex: Regarding alcohol, in our schools we we teach the equivalent of abstinence. Alcohol is bad and is to be avoided at all costs. Why do we teach abstinence for alcohol, but, often in the very same health course, teach not sexual abstinence but so-called safe sex?...


As well as educators think they know their students, they really don’t know them at all. That’s the point Assistive Principle hammers home in the wake of yet another fiasco involving students, Facebook, and hateful comments directed at a member of the faculty. Our students are not who we think they are. They are more concerned with the perceptions of others, because their self esteem depends so much on what others think. They are willing to say and do things that may not be true, that may be hateful, and that may even be offensive to themselves in ...


Over spring break, in a moment of inspiration, middle school teacher Cindi Rigsbee had a revelation that many of her students might be getting bored in her class and that she needed to open up and engage them on the subject. The resulting classroom conversation, on the first day back, is an instant teacher-blog classic: I opened my mouth to talk about my boredom epiphany when Christian said (across the room to Matthew), "Did you see Wrestlemania? Man, that dude was BIG!" "Christian. Matthew," I said. "I want to tell you about my idea. We're going to talk about why ...


Ms.Frizzle's school is beset by a wave of student violence and aggression. She hits on the central questions: Our kids need something that we aren’t giving them. What is it? How do we find it and give it to them?...


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