July 2005 Archives

Amid all the back-patting and credit-taking involving the recently announced gains in NEAP test scores among early grade levels, Joanne Jacobs catches a blatantly obvious bit of foot-in-mouth thinking in a New York Times editorial, which speculated that gains at the elementary level came at the expense of middle and high school scores. Why, you ask? Because, the Times opined, schools were knowingly "placing their most well-trained and experienced teachers in the early grades, a strategy that means the teachers become less and less qualified over all as the students move up the grades." Sounds like a plausible working theory, ...

Why save bureaucratic overreach for the school year? While musing about summer reading lists, Joe Williams stumbled across this: You'd think having summer reading programs for students would be an easy enough feat for people with doctorates in education to pull off. You steal one of the many summer reading lists already available all over the globe, run off a few million copies and get it into the hands of students and their parents. (Or, if you are into the whole consensus-building thing, you appoint a commission to meet a few dozen times over 18-months to create a list similar ...

Somehow this seems akin to seeing a Roman legionnaire wearing a wristwatch in a low-budget movie, but Colonial Williamsburg is offering free podcasts -- downloadable audio interviews about life within Virginia's restored18th century colonial capitol -- to educators. As far as summertime professional development goes, though, I'd wager that listening to an apprentice cooper discuss the "art and science" of making barrels on your iPod count beats sitting in an overairconditioned conference room as someone drones on about learning styles. (via Tim Lauer's education technology blog)...

I wonder how many first-year teachers have the gumption to assign year-end class presentations for the very last day of school. Then again, how many first-year teachers can say this about the final day of their first year teaching? During one of the presentations, I had to go to the bathroom. The group had just handed out a survey that the class was to complete and then discuss. I told them that I'd be right back and bolted off to the bathroom. Unfortunately, the closest bathroom is all the way on the other end of the school, so it took ...


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