August 2009 Archives

Hobo Teacher dreams of a new life after finding that his school e-mail address had been revoked.


Teacher Ninja, an ESOL teacher, has some fun with Google Docs' translation tool, which he thinks might help him in communicating with Spanish-speaking parents....


English teacher Renee Moore shares her methods of "pre-assessing" and getting to know students at the start of the year. Analyzing test data doesn't hack it for her: All that sounds impressive, and may actually be of some value to somebody, but I found most of it useless and even inaccurate when it came to planning for instruction in my classroom. Most of the test data was too general (e.g., "Johnny needs help with grammar.." well, duh!). Instead, she has her students write a free-form letter about themselves: These writings are intentionally raw; I give very little instruction or ...


Nancy Flanagan isn't happy about the news that Tony Danza is going to be teaching in a Philadelphia high school this fall as part of a new T.V. reality show. Her take (based on experience): Classrooms and television-production values are a very bad mix....


Mildly Melancholy, an NYC teacher who was released last year from what sounded like the job from hell, jumps back into the fire (figuratively speaking, we hope)....


Will Richardson argues that schools' restrictions on teachers' Internet use are part of a larger, societal distrust of teachers as knowledge workers. Which, considering what teachers actually do, would seem to be a little bit of a problem...


Doug Noon expresses skepticism about his district's adoption of a Response to Intervention framework for the new school year. What bothers him, from his veteran teacher's point of view, is the seeming prescriptiveness and detachment of the program: We were told that we’ll need to find some half-hour blocks where we can do “interventions” with groups of students who are not making adequate progress on the one-minute reading “fluency” tests, and that fidelity to any adopted programs will be critical to student success. This did not play well with veteran teaching staff who question the aims and practicality of ...


Maureen Downey of the Atlanta Journal—Constitution’s Get Schooled blog pondered why schools often keep teacher assignments a mystery, when a little information could go a long way to ease a parent’s mind. My system sends a letter in late July telling parents that their child has Mr. X or Ms. Y, but gives no other information. Since systems go to the expense and effort to write a letter to each parent and mail it, why not include something like: Timmy will have Mr. X, who comes to us from Elm Street School in Charlotte, N.C. where he ...


Eduwonk thinks concerns about the recession increasing class sizes, as raised by a recent an Associated Press are off base. In his view, schools should be more focused on teacher effectiveness: It’s actually a frustrating story because (a) there really isn’t much of a debate about whether class size matters more than teacher effectiveness, the research is clear it doesn’t, effectiveness matters more and (b) most districts pay little attention to effectiveness when they lay off teachers. Or much at all. Eduwonk concedes with the right teaching staff, smaller class sizes (less than 20 students) do have ...


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