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Showing posts from June, 2006

Day 2

Still don't understand half of what is being said in class, but getting better at tuning out what I really don't need to know. It's going to quite a chore organizing my notes into a coherent document that I can use in class - it's very haphazard at the moment. I'm really hoping that I can get it somewhat ready for the upcoming year. We started with a discussion on the new synthesis prompt, and have interspersed various tid-bits throughout out the discussion. Yesterday I stopped off while out to dinner to grab some overpriced post-it notes. Now my note book is full of things that say "important-tone!" "to-do: Satire" and "reading aloud=ability to read aloud silently" and "do we need to use footnotes? what about in-text citation? just show?"

We also talked about the upcoming AP audit - but only slightly. For myself, it will definitely force me to get hyper-organized and create a tight syllabus before school starts. It's alwa…

AP Institute

Completed day 1 of the conference. Lots of people and lots of different classes, I imagine it's what it would be like to attend a huge high school, but with fewer cliques.

I wish I could I say that I learned a lot and am really excited about the whole thing, but I just can't. Because someone in my district dropped the ball, I wasn't registered until the last minute. This meant that I was assigned a class with both new and experienced AP teachers. When I found out, it sounded like a great opportunity. annnnd... no. What it's meant is that the experienced people have dominated all the time, questions and discussion. It also means that we spent all day talking about changes, which would be great - if I had any foundation to build upon. I don't. Thus, I spent much of my time reading the numerous handouts and wondering what the hell was being discussed.

The instructor isn't very organized. Really nice and very knowledgeable, but it's a bit like swiming in the deep…

Summertime and the livin' is easy

For most of the school year, I look forward to summer and all the reading delights that are in store for me. I keep a running list of what I want to read and have even been known spend an entire day inside a book store reading books I'm too cheap to buy. Luckily, my local area has an incredible library system that allows me to obtain almost any book my heart desires for free!

Currently, I'm in the process of reading:

A Prayer for Owen Meany - for AP, a lot of my students choose it for their summer reading
Reading Lolita in Tehran - this may be a little to complex for summer reading
The Half Brother - it was on someone's best list... but I know nothing about it
Alexander Hamilton - it's supposed to be good
The Awakening - for AP
The Devil In White City - some AP teachers put this on their summer reading lists
1776 - always the history buff
Five People You Meet in Heaven - this also appeared on some summer reading lists. It seems too short...
Living and Teaching the Writers' W…

Can you hear that?

It's yours truly getting screw'd once again by the cable company. Comcast is evil. I'm pretty sure that Brian L. Roberts is the anti-christ and that he, in fact, orchestrated the entire Iraq war so that once stabilized, he could move his entire company there to create the new Babylon and bring about the end of days. Watch your born again friends. They may disappear soon!
How do I know this? Because only a company championed by the anti-christ would have a policy that not only charges you to aquire their service, but also to get rid of their service. Personally, if I wasn't afraid of the demons Satan has under his control, I'd just stop paying the bill. The credit ding is a lot cheaper.FYI - if you're wanting a cheaper cable rate, just call up and threaten to leave their coven. It's amazing how much those customer service agents will grovel. If they don't convince you to stay, there's hell to pay.

Another Year Gone By

The year is over - and now it's time to review...

Although I think it was a successful year for myself, there are some things I won't be doing again and some things I need to do. For example, I won't be buying a house again... so I should haven't an insanity inducing obsession to distract me from grading. On the grading front, I'll definitely be keeping up with that next year, because the never ending piles just seemed to multiply like dust bunnies in the Palouse. Additionally, I think there were more than a few assignments that seemed to come out of no where, at least in student's eyes.

My first year, my expectations of what students should do was a little high... I nearly killed them the first semester. This year, I think my expectations were a little low (see above grading). I'm hoping that in the upcoming year, I can find a happier medium. I'd also like to do a little more advance planning and becoming more cohesive - it's still not a seamless as …

WASL scores

since it was published in the local paper yesterday, I guess I can officially talk about our WASL scores in more detail. So here's why there was a small freak out initially... our scores jumped by 40% in reading and writing. We nearly hit 100% in reading - I'm not even sure it's possible to go higher from where we are...

Once the scores were announced over the PA system, and we got over the inital shock, the department talked for over an hour discussing the why this happened and what the ramifications would be. Audit by the state? Was there a grading error? Could it be that 40% of students had been purposefully failing the test because it didn't really count for anything (it's now a graduation requirement)? And isn't it sad that we're not celebrating - that we assume that huge number of our kids just couldn't pass the test?

End of the year gossip

I was looking over a post from last year... reminding myself about the end of the year gossip. We're all bored with each other, the students and this whole teaching crap come June. What seemed so fresh and excited is now mundane. Another paper to grade. blah, blah, blah. So, of course we all turn to gossiping. I wish I could even remember what last year's scandals were. I'm sure the yearbook thing was some photo that somehow got by the censors... and there will be one in this year's, because that's just way yearbooks go. (my high school yearbook has a grainy photo of two guys fighting in the old cemetery - scandalous.)

I wish I gush about this year's, 'cause it's way juicy. Unfortunately, it's all gossip and no one really knows for sure... I will, however, dispense this advice. If you are a teacher and you also have a sideline business that is not "school appropriate," you definitely should not be participating in that business during schoo…
As the Science Goddess said preliminary WASL scores were released to schools yesterday. So far, the only quasi-official news I've heard outside of my own school, is this paltry excuse for news reporting in the Seattle Times.

The scores are up. This was predicted long ago... students now have to pass this test to graduate. Of course, they will try harder. The question lingering for the past 12 months (possibly even last 3 years) was will they really? If so, by how much? To say that our scores rose lacks the depth of what was really announced over the intercom just before the final bell. To say that they rose so much, we're not even celebrating due to shock is more like it. We keep looking around asking if there was some kind of recalibration? A misscoring pproblem? Were there that many students who hadn't taken the test seriously before? In the midst of the apathy, are these students geniuses in bud? Should my classes be even harder? Will next year's students be able to …