December 2009 Archives

Jay Mathews recites an anecdote from a former colleague about her children's teachers neglecting simple internet resources for their students over at The Washington Post's Class Struggle blog.


Jay Mathews of The Washington Post suggests one innovative way to reduce standardized testing loads for stressed students: Shorten the tests. Terry Paul, co-founder with his wife Judi of Renaissance Learning, Inc., gave me recently a draft of a short paper he has written suggesting a way to reduce the strain of state testing under the No Child Left Behind Act, or whatever replaces it. He says we should emulate the tests his company's Accelerated Reader program gives to ensure students understand books they have read. That means making the tests short, maybe as little as 15 minutes. This idea ...


Mark at The Elementary Educator asks when schools will make netbooks required materials, much like calculators for a math class, or gym shoes for gym class. Here's another comparison: in the elementary school in which I teach, students are required to keep a separate pair of gym shoes in their lockers at all times (except when in use). Judging by the looks of the shoes that students bring in, I'm sure many of these pairs of shoes cost $30-$50 or more. When the price of netbooks drops to around $99 (especially with the school getting a discount due to ...


Mei Flower may have reached a breaking point after receiving an e-mail from her principal that appeared to be an advertisement passed off as research regarding testing. Its main message seemed to be, "See, you guys, I TOLD YOU that taking a practice ACT every week doesn't hurt the educational process!" I almost had an aneurysm right there on my classroom floor and, in fact, I'm still so angry right now that I am pounding these keys like I WANT to pound our curriculum director. This year, due to new unnecessary "reforms" made by this man, my job is ruining ...


Elona asks "what's the point of high school?" over at Teachers at Risk. What's the point of high school anyway? Over the years I've often wondered that, and I'm a high school teacher. I used to think I knew but the longer I teach the less sure I am. I've been told that high school is supposed to prepare kids. Prepare them for what- work, college, university, life??? It seems that my purpose as a teacher in 2009 is getting students to pass grade nine so they can go to grade ten so they can go to grade 11 etc. ...


In the holiday shopping spirit, Richie introduces a three-step teacher regimen to cure all ails in the classroom....


Mrs. Bluebird vents her frustration about parents too busy with video games to focus on their kid's lunch. One student, who she nicknamed "Lunch Boy," walks with her in the front of the line to the cafeteria every day, only he doesn't buy lunch. It appears that his mom is too busy playing video games to pack a meal or give her kid lunch money. And the Lunch Boy will make comments about his mom playing video games. "Oh Mom was busy playing World of Warcraft again yesterday," he'll say. "She's too busy playing on the computer to give me ...


Mister Teacher dreads returning to school after Thanksgiving, as he skeptically expects his students to have completely neglected their homework assignment from the break. Sound familiar? I sent these flip books home with the kids over break and told them that their homework was to cut out pictures from newspapers, magazines, store fliers, whatever that showed examples of 3-D shapes in real life. They were to glue these pictures inside their flip books and then bring them back for display. It will be very interesting to see how many flip books I get back tomorrow. I have to say, I'm ...


Robert Pondiscio of the Core Knowledge Blog writes about a Florida teacher's argument that schools won't improve until they create separate classes "for those who don't care to learn or can't, or won't, let anyone else learn." He suggests this New York Times editorial in response, wondering what she would say about it....


Over at I Thought a Think, Ryan chimes in about states moving in to take over underperforming schools in order to be eligible for Race to the Top funds. "Show me a broken school, and I'll show you broken kids. The question is, when did the cracks begin, and for both, how do you start the repairs?"...


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