February 2009 Archives

Mr. McNamar of The Daily Grind got a little bit misty in class the other day, though to hear him tell it there was just something in his eye. There’s a student in his class that, despite being capable, loves to argue, storms out of the classroom, and even curses Mr. McNamar out on occasion. But, something happened recently that tugged at Mr. McNamar’s heartstrings. I called on another student whose name doesn't even sound like this student's to read a long paragraph. The difficult student started to read. I interrupted because I hadn't called on that student. ...


Mrs. Bluebird of Bluebird’s Classroom knows a stoner when she sees one. No … it’s not what you’re thinking … she tutored the stoned surfer boys at her Southern California high school in the 70s. Now, as a 7th grade teacher, she’s dealing with Spicoli Boy (named for Sean Penn’s famously stony character in Fast Times at Ridgemont High), a formerly advanced student who has taken a serious academic slide. Spicoli Boy [sits] in a dazed stupor in my fourth period class ... He's not a problem behavior-wise outside of the fact that there are times I feel ...


Will Richardson of Weblog-ed is beginning to think that Facebook might be a viable tool for driving change in schools. Facebook has an enormous user base, comprised of an older demographic than you might think. The numbers right now are pretty compelling. Six hundred thousand new users PER DAY, and fully three-quarters of the 175 million users are over 25. In fact, the fastest growing segment is women over 55. Whoda thunk that? I read that as a whole lot of parents and teachers are dipping their toes in the pool and at least beginning to come to terms with ...


Teacher blogger (and certified night owl) Susan Graham posts a very thoughtful "open letter" to Mildly Melancholy, the young NYC teacher-blogger who - after a wrenching semester - was recently relieved of her position. Here's a part: I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you. I notice that you are beginning to see teaching as something that happened to you once upon a time, but that doesn't mean it didn't matter. You’ve left the classroom and so even as I write, the thread that might have connected us is probably unraveling like the knitting of a thirteen ...


Coach Brown of A Passion for Teaching and Opinions was a little dismayed by his students’ priorities last week. Instead of showing up for an important exam, they stood in line for a free Denny’s breakfast promoted during the Super Bowl. Today the California Exit Exam, a major (in our case, THE MAJOR) factor in API and AYP ratings, was given to Sophomores and Seniors that haven't passed it yet. Well, that's sort of true, since a massive population decided that it would be more beneficial to stand in line a half hour to get into a "greasy spoon" ...


If you were one of the nearly 100,000,000 people watching Super Bowl XLIII, you probably saw Faith Hill singing the national anthem with a woman signing along with her. According to Deaf News Today, the woman was Kristy Lynch, a sign language teacher from New Jersey. Deaf News Today posted a video of Ms. Lynch practicing for the big event. According to the Associated Press, Ms. Lynch’s next goal is to sign at Yankee Stadium....


The National Council for Teacher Quality recently released its state-by-state report card on teaching effectiveness. Barnett Berry of Advancing the Teaching Profession says that while the NCTQ report card raises valid points about the condition of teaching in the United States, it suffers from a narrow viewpoint and a narrow agenda. NCTQ, from its myopic position inside the beltway, also offers up some poorly focused analyses, eyeing state teacher quality policies with a pronounced ideological squint. Berry expected a lot more from NCTQ report and grades it accordingly. NCTQ surfaces important information that policymakers and practitioners should consider. However, its ...


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