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September 2010 Archives

Are There Alternatives to Standardized Tests?

If teachers dislike standardized test so much, why haven't they come with a better means of gauging student learning?


Middle School Increases Class Sizes, College Style

A Texas middle school has modeled their classrooms after colleges, replacing a traditional one-teacher class with large, 75-student lecture courses being taught by between five and nine teachers.


Can 'Superman' Save Teachers?

Can the controversial new education documentary elevate the arguments around teaching?


The 'Subversive' Art of Teaching Grammar

Miss Eyre fesses up to a subversive act: teaching a lesson on the mechanics of writing


Teachers Welcomed in 'Education Nation'

NBC held a press conference at the National Press Conference on Wednesday and tried clear up confusion about teachers' inclusion in the upcoming Education Nation special.


What Do Value-Added Teacher Evaluation Models Miss?

David Cohen, a National Board-certified teacher, points out eight real-life scenarios that call into question just how value-added teacher evaluation models measure teacher effectiveness.


NBC to Reach Out to Teachers

The network plans to hold a press conference on Wednesday to address teachers' concerns about lack of representation on the upcoming "Education Nation" special.


Teachers Protest L.A. Times' Value-Added Series

The writers of the L.A. Times found themselves in a strange journalistic setting last week: reporting on a protest outside of their own building.


D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee: What Lies Ahead?

H/T to Bill Turque of the Washington Post for noticing some questionable last-minute campaigning from D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, who lost the Democratic primary for mayor to Vincent Gray on Tuesday. (Considering the District's heavy Democratic lean, Gray is now a virtual lock to become the next mayor.) According to Turque, the Fenty campaign began calling Washington Post reporters on Monday (as in, the day before the election), asking if anyone had written about D.C.'s $75 million Race to the Top grant potentially being jeopardized by the election of Gray. (They had already written about it.) ...


Where Are the Teachers in 'Education Nation'?

Educator Brian Crosby is wondering aloud about the inclusion—or lack thereof—of teachers in NBC's upcoming Education Nation special.


Has Teaching Become Paid Volunteer Work?

In Time magazine's most recent annual National Service Issue, which came out this week, John Cloud's article, "How to Recruit Better Teachers," questions whether the teaching profession has become "paid volunteer work," luring many recent elite university graduates or middle-aged professionals dissatisfied with their current careers to perform national public service rather than commit to teaching as a profession. Programs like Teach for America and the New Teacher Project, among others, have provided many people the means to teach without going through a traditional teacher certification training process or education school, Cloud reports. "Because it has been so difficult for ...


Former Teacher of the Year Responds to Obama's Speech

Former Teacher blogger Anthony Mullen joined CNN today to give his thoughts on Pres. Obama's back-to-school speech.


Former Teacher Blogger Live on TV Today

The 2009 National Teacher of the Year, Anthony Mullen—who also happens to be a former blogger for Teacher—will be taking to CNN's airwaves today to respond to President Obama's back-to-school speech, to be delivered today at noon (correction: 1 p.m.) ET. The speech is expected to last 15-20 minutes, and Mullen will be on TV right after Obama speaks. We'll have the recap later!...


The Myths About Study Habits

New research dispels some of the more popular myths about effective study habits.


New Teacher Blogs

Just a heads-up: We're excited to kick off the new school year off with two new teacher blogs on our site: In Coach G's Teaching Tips, instructional coach David Ginsburg offers sage advice on classroom practice, with a strong focus on classroom management. In Leading From the Classroom, Patrick Ledesma—a special educator, technology specialist, and classroom fellow with the U.S. Department of Education's Teacher Ambassador program—explores issues surrounding instruction and education policy. Check them out when you get a chance. You'll find some things you can use in your own classroom, as well as a lot to think...


What New Teachers Need This Time of Year

Frustrated young teachers wonder why they didn't get more help from colleagues.


Phone Home

NYC Educator reprints his time-honored advice to new teachers on classroom management: The best trick, and it's not much of a trick at all, is frequent home contact. It's true that not all parents will be helpful, but I've found most of them to be. When kids know reports of their classroom behavior will reach their homes, they tend to save the acting out for your lazier colleagues--the ones who find it too inconvenient to call. You are not being "mean" or petty--you're doing your job, and probably helping the kid. If you want to really make a point, make ...


What Teachers Need From Administrators

Just a heads up: Scott McLeod of Dangerously Irrelevant is hosting a series this week on the question of, "What Do Teachers Need From Administrators." From the first entry, by Brian Crosby: Give us, and advocate for us, more time to plan. Effective teaching requires, more than ever, effective planning. I would love to have as much as 2 weeks (not including a day or two to set up my classroom) at the beginning of the school year. Time to plan as a staff, unit (for example - upper elementary grades), grade level and self. I know this costs money ... ...


The Unmotivated

Columnist Robert J. Samuelson looks at the anemic results of school reform over the past 50 year and pins the blame on an "almost unmentionable" factor: lack of student motivation.


Tell Me a Story

Dan Brown says that the best teaching books are driven by personal stories as opposed to abstract theories and generic technical illustrations:


Other Ways to Evaluate Teachers

Anthony Cody and Kelly Kovocic argue that efforts to evaluate teachers solely—or even mainly—on the basis of standardized test results are ultimately counter-productive.


Schools Without Administrators, Ctd.

Teacher-led schools are cropping up at various points around the country.


Can Someone Fix the A/C?

So I've been been scanning through some teacher blogs to see if there might be any common back-to-school themes. One thing that jumps out: There are a lot of air-conditioning problems in classrooms out there. Poor Epiphany in Baltimore, whose (low-income) school apparently doesn't even have A/C, is really struggling: It hit 93 in my classroom today, and that, coupled with the humidity and a room chock full of kids, just doesn't make for a good learning environment. I do my best, but it's hard not think it's pretty inhumane not to offer a/c in every school when ...


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