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Showing posts from March, 2010

Guys Read

You have male students, right? At least half of them “hate” reading, because it’s “stupid” and “boring”.It’s a never ending quest to find something that will interest them enough to read an entire book or at least an entire sentence.Found in the NYT – Guys ReadDevoted to books that “guys” will read. Handily arranged in categories such as “Robots” and “At Least One Explosion”, with reviews and user ratings. Take a look around during your break and maybe find something for the reluctant reader in 3rd period.

Does Size Really Matter?

Giggle to yourself if you thought this might be an x-rated posting. I’ll wait. Ok, back to education.Back on the 28th, the Chicago Trib published an article about class sizes. They’re going up, because we as taxpayers won’t pay for teachers. At least not as many as in years past. Research is sketchy on the effects of class sizes upon students, so it seems to be an easy cut. Parents are, of course, against it in their own child’s classroom… but for everyone else, well, you know. (mafia mentality rules. me and mine only, screw everyone else)  The article pointed out several sticky issues – like differentiating instruction for students or giving attention to all students, not just the loudest. District administrators all pointed to data which shows a good teacher in a large room is better than a bad teacher in a small room. A lot of administrators in WA believe this is gospel and are creating budgets based upon it. Is it true? Yes, but…As they say, the devil’s in the details. And those d…

Career Day

Remember way, way back in your childhood when people would ask you what you wanted to be when your grew up? Of course, no ever said something like “actuary” or “insurance salesman”. We always replied something along the lines of “cowboy”, “firefighter” or “teacher”. Did you play school as a child? Pretending to teach with lots of art projects and coloring. Then again, my experience in kindergarten WAS a lot of arts projects and playing that taught us without even knowing it. It was just fun. Was teaching ever “fun”? Did my kindergarten teacher turn in her lesson plans to the principal a week prior, with EALRs and Blooms Taxonomy highlighted? Was she just given a script to read from as many teachers are given today, no deviation allowed for any reason?Today I was talking to a teacher from a distant district about all the budget cuts being made in his district this year. Pay cuts for all staff members, increase in medical insurance (which will now probably be taxed heavily to – it doesn…

Beautiful Day

Well, it seems that I will spending at least part of tomorrow “child-proofing” the back yard and trying to figure out a place to store more outdoor toys. The cuddler was attempting to move bricks this afternoon. For some reason, he felt that they all needed to be in the same place. He’s very big into organization and putting things in their place. I’m hoping that this means a clean teen-age room… but back to the bricks. I guess he just felt that there wasn’t enough to play with while Mommy was rebuilding the garden fence. He found some bricks in one area and then spied some stacked in another area. I was surprised that he was able to pick them up, but he seemed rather determined to stack them all together. At least he did while I was dragging him away to find something a little more suitable for playing.The Easter Bunny will be bringing a s*a*n*d*b*o*x to play in a couple of weeks. Shhhh! don’t tell.

Happy HSPE!

For all those who will be spending two plus hours this morning alternating between extreme boredom and a strong desire to throttle the kid sleeping away the AYP step.

I'll be grading research papers (because I'm the idiot who ALWAYS assigns papers due the day the grading period ends) and worrying about all the things that I probably should have covered more and whether the students will take the test seriously.

Judging by the Test

This week, my students will be taking the High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE), formerly known as the WASL. I’ll have to admit that I’m nervous… there has been a lot of pressure this year to improve scores. Weird pressure… it’s been a weird year altogether, but suffice it to say that this year many people will be biting their nails until the June scores. 
If I can convince my students to take the test seriously they should all pass. The problem is that there will be those who won’t take it seriously. They will finish in less than 30 minutes and sleep for the remaining hour and half. And I can’t really do anything about it. If the student decides he/she would rather sleep in with the rest of the juniors and seniors who passed last year and mom thinks it ok? There’s nothing I can do about it. The student who transferred last month from another state, who may or may not have an IEP in that state? Hope for the best. And when these students don’t pass, according to the President it will be…
Happy Pi Day!

I think English/Literature needs to find a day like this... a celebration of something ubiquitous to the content that makes people think of a food item that is easy to carry to school... for teens. I mean, I'm all for If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but it's hard to pull off with teens trying to be casually cool. It's also hard to justify an academic purpose to the administration. And let's be honest, if it's not related to the ELARs, then it shouldn't be happening.

I'm totally blanking on an author's name/book title that makes one think of a food. Any suggestions?

The Toilet Paper Trail

Much has been posted about the recent firing (and rehiring) of all teachers in a consistently low performing high school. As some have already noted, there probably wear/are teachers at all over the effectiveness spectrum. If, however, a super-majority of the teachers were on the low end... how, pray tell, did they all end up at the same high school? Who hired them? Who interviewed them? Did only ineffective teachers apply? Did the effective teachers bolt as soon as a new job opened? Was it some nefarious plot by the district human resources department to stack the deck with dead weight at this particular school? It's not random, as someone hypothesized, that ALL of the teachers were ineffective and I don't believe that only through some magical twist of fate do "good teachers" end up at a school. Many good teachers prefer to work at schools with issues. Somewhere along the line, there was a reason the "good teachers" and "bad teachers" chose to a…

What Have I Done?

Yesterday I signed up to take the West-E Social Studies exam so that I can add a social studies endorsement on to my certificate. Sounds simple right? Take the test, pay the money... done deal. Today I started delving into the study guide. Umm... economics? it's been about 20 years since I've done that. Specific court cases? Not so much.. Brown v. Board of Education, sure... but the Boldt decision? I have a boat-load of studying to do (no pun intended.. fishing right - boats... get it?) So far, I've got an APUSH study guide to read and plan to get economics for dummies (highly recommended by those who've taken the test)... but I haven't a clue as to where to study the WA specific stuff that wasn't covered in my Washington state history courses. And the kicker! I signed up to take the test on April 17th! So, guess what I'm doing for Spring Break?