August 2008 Archives

What It’s Like On The Inside responds to a recent article from Washington Post education columnist Jay Mathews examining group grading. Mathews explains that, although it's not been a recommended practice for several years in Maryland’s Montgomery County, old habits die hard. According to What It’s, that’s no excuse for a practice that she thinks hurts students. We know from educational research that cooperative learning experiences can be valuable to students. But, as the name suggests, these strategies are to be used while learning---not for assessment....


Mister Teacher's re-posts his back-to-school "Welcome Letter to Parents"—which has apparently become something of a Web classic. A sample: Homework is to be done tonight it is assigned—BY THE CHILDREN! We know that you mean well, but you're really not helping if you don't know your long division from your lines of symmetry. (You know who you are) P.S. to new teachers: Don't really use this letter....


Nancy Flanagan has started a teacher-bloggers' chain letter on "Five Things I Wish Policy-Makers Knew About My Classroom." Among the items on her own list: There is no such thing as a foolproof curriculum that works reliably for all kids, or even most kids.Blondieb_school__morguefile Policymakers may wish those magic programs existed, so schools could buy guaranteed progress—but surefire lessons are an illusion. If you have a blog, why not pick up the meme?...


Dr Pezz strongly feels that schools shouldn’t be policing students’ internet use outside of school, but if students can use the internet in school then they should be taught how to do so responsibly....


Bill Ferriter reports on his involvment in a very interesting-sounding initiative called The Teacher Salary Project, a sort of evolving online documentary intended to bring attention to the teacher pay issue. It's being produced by, among others, novelist Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari, who—you might remember—co-authored the much-talked-about book Teachers Have It Easy a few years ago. (The title, of course, is ironic.) For his part, Ferriter thinks we've reached a "tipping point" on teacher salaries at which "changes to the ways that we reward teachers are truly possible." And if he has his druthers, those changes...


J. at Mildly Melancholy, who was utterly frustrated with her school last year, writes excitedly making the switch to a charter school. Sounds good: What I do know and love is that the school has adequate facilities, and it has excellent resources. The teachers' room has a free copy machine (at my previous school, teachers had to buy a copy code [cheaply, but still] AND provide paper) and shelves of books, just sitting there (not stashed away in a secret room in a secret stairwell, covered in asbestos dust). Plenty of money for classroom books and supplies. Plenty of schoolwide ...


In an emotional post, Nucleus Learning says this past year, for the first time ever, she gave up on a student: I'm not proud at all. I should have dealt with this situation differently. I don't really know how, but I know that giving up on him was not right, not as a teacher. I am obliged to have faith in all of my students, some more, some less, but faith nonetheless. I have no right to give up. No right at all! At that moment I failed as a teacher! After reading this entry, one of Nucleus’ students emailed ...


Rowlsintheclass is trying to find her own secret—the underlying lesson that’s not explicitly a part of the curriculum: Often the secret curriculum is what the student will remember from the class for years to come…some teachers secret curriculum is to teach students to sit still, or some teachers teach responsibility, others focus on hard work. What’s yours?...


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