April 2006 Archives

With my next few mouthfuls of elephant, I’ll masticate the three standards associated with Entry 4: XIV. Self Reflection; XV. Professional Community; and XVI. Family Outreach. (For newcomers or those who may have “missed a post”-- and at this point, I’m not even sure my editor is reading this thing-- I’ve taken a bite-by-bite approach to the year long task of creating the four-entry portfolio that is one of the elements required to achieve board certification). A digression related to my extended metaphor: eating an elephant actually occurs near the end of a short essay that ...

Spring break sprang, kids’ soccer is rained out for the third weekend in a row, and I retreat to my basement office to slog on towards the base of the mountain. This week, as promised, I’ll address how to describe and analyze “accomplishments that contribute to student learning” as required in Entry 4. We begin by cracking the bible to a section called “Get Started.” (Unlike Deuteronomy, this is not in the beginning.) Here it is written that description is “retelling... what happened in a classroom situation,” analysis explains the “significance of the evidence” one takes from that situation, ...

Not to mention Passover and Easter. Which is why I will delay, for a week, my plunge into Entry 4 as laid out last post. Instead, here is a list of things I did and did not do on my week off. THINGS I DID THIS WEEK 1. Go fishing. I didn’t actually catch a fish at Lake Accotink, but I saw several anglers pull out recently stocked trout so I know the fish were there. I shared stream-side conversation with a man who’s son had graduated from TJ (where I now teach) before it was high tech (about...

Four entries will eventually be due. In my recently completed intro class, they recommended we first tackle Entry 4, “Documented Accomplishments: Contributions to Student Learning.” I present this and more verbiage to come in quotes. If I were talking to you, the pointer and middle fingers on both hands might get sore. Paraphrasing this stuff just doesn’t do it justice. This entry tasks us to “demonstrate [our] commitment to student learning” by documenting more or less recent accomplishments in three areas: in the current year, with families and the community; over the past five years, as a learner; and, ...

My ninth graders, a class I hope to “use” in my portfolio, have just finished a poetry unit. They created booklets with wonderful covers, selected poems by and analyzed the work of both dead and live poets, and composed three original poems. Now I have to grade them. The scene from “The Dead Poet’s Society” comes to mind, where Robin Williams as the maverick English teacher first has kids read a traditional critic’s theory on how to evaluate a poem using a graph, then encourages them to tear the page out of the text book. I, however, can’t...


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