December 2007 Archives

Oops, I did it again. This time, instead of Huns learning to meditate, my class room was chockablock with toga-clad gods workshopping a science paper. Looking for some pre-winter break levity that didn’t involve sugar and opportunistically weaving together the two main strands of our curriculum right now—reading the Odyssey and developing original experiments on water quality-- I asked students to come to class dressed as a favorite figure from classical mythology on the day we were workshopping a section of our wiki-built science papers. You’ll recall that I am currently reporting on two online group writing ...

Last post I talked about two current group writing assignments, each using a different online writing tool. In brief, tenth graders are creating research papers using google docs, and ninth graders are writing literature reviews using a wiki-builder on our district’s online learning system. This post is about the sophomores. First some context on the assignment, and then we’ll talk tech turkey. Forty six students are in the thick of a unit called “Changing the World” designed with Jen the history teacher, my partner in a team-taught Humanities class. Our destination is a research paper on a key ...

"We're No. One" wrote my editor on the Teacher homepage last week, in the little blurb designed to drive hordes of readers to my blog. If you ignore the period, he serendipitously transcribed the actual title ("We're #1") into a reminder that it's not all about the test scores, stupid. Sure, some guy who likes to talk turkey got irate on the comment board, but the general response to last week's post about TJ's shiny prize was underwhelming. As it should have been, to be honest. Any educator worth his salt is true to his school, recognizing that the alchemy ...

In case you missed it, Newsweek’s role as the arbiter of the best high schools in the nation has just been challenged by U.S. News & World Report, which released its own tally today. Turns out TJ, where I teach, is tops. I last wrote about this over a year ago in Education Week, (Ranking America’s High Schools: A Few Quibbles on What Constitutes 'Best', June 14, 2006) when Newsweek’s list came out and we weren’t on it. TJ and other selective public high schools were not ranked but instead relegated to a sidebar for being, ...


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