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Showing posts from August, 2010

And It Begins

Tomorrow is our first mandatory day back. Starting at 7am for breakfast – I’m sure it will be refrigerator bagels and Folgers coffee. Sadly, even if there were someone in the region who knew how to make an actual bagel, it would be rejected in favor of those lounging in a plastic bag on a grocery shelf with a sell-by date. Despite the cornucopia of fresh foods available, this area is where foodies go to loose a few pounds. But I digress.I somehow found myself volunteering to help present information about RTI to the district. I’m sure my thinking was something along the lines of… I won’t have to listen to endless presentations about things I already know about. Now, however, I’m thinking, Crap! I’ve given up hours of planning and prep I could be doing while pretending to pay attention. Why do these welcome back days have to be so boring? Besides the obvious fact that while teachers are continually lambasted for lecturing to students for more than 15 minutes, teachers will be lectured …

Grading

There have been a few discussions on grading going around the ‘ole school building this month. A new idea (for us) being floated is changing our grading structure to ones that have been tried in other districts. First, changing our grading system to a 1 thru 5 scale for everything. It sounds like a bit more work on some things – grading, converting to 100% scale and then converting to 1 thru 5 scale… but I suppose it would a somewhat easy switch for English teachers.Second, no longer giving a grade lower than 50%, even if a student turned nothing in – not even a piece of paper with a name on it. I know there are many schools who have made this change and it always invokes controversy.The theory behind these changes is that it severely punishes students who don’t turn in assignments, as opposed to those who turn something in… bad or good. Some would argue that if a student can pass an exam, but not bother to do any homework, should the grade be based upon their learning or their level …

Wardrobe

Over at the English Companion Ning, there is a conversation ongoing about what to wear on the first day of school. There are a lot of people planning on wearing a t-shirt and jeans. Proudly, in fact. After reading a few pages, it would seem that those who aren’t allowed to wear this type of outfit are down right loosin’ out. According to this discussion, wearing colors with a high contrast project authority, pastels project friendliness and bright colors are “fun”. Remember Dr. Kylie Johnson from MadTV? The premise is a Dr. who acts like an airhead-party-girl. She enters the room wearing spandex hot pink leopard print pants with a belly shirt. She’s holding a clipboard with cutesy stickers all over it and speaks in a high-pitched sing-songy voice, where every sentence is spoken like a question. Needless to say the patient is uncomfortable with this doctor. And that’s what makes the sketch funny. Now picture this character as a teacher? Can you see the classroom? What kind of learning …

The Value of AP

At the AP institute last month, I was given a copy of a letter from 1999 detailing the value of AP and taking the AP exam in college admissions – even if the student did not pass. I mentioned having the letter to our vice-principal and had planned on handing it out on the first day of school to my AP students.Our VP asked for a copy because our AP program is apparently in jeopardy. It would appear that the $2500 dollars spent annually on it (plus, I suppose, numerous reams of paper) is too expensive. There is not enough ROI, as our student do not pass in droves. Instead of investing our achieving students, it appears that some feel the money could be used somewhere else. More books for the online school perhaps? Is it worth it? I would have to say yes for a couple of reasons. First, we are one of the few schools still offering AP courses. Everyone else has cut them. As our area practices ‘open enrollment’ this means that students from other districts can choose our school over their o…

Drink the Kool-Aid

The school year ended without a principal at my school. A rudderless ship, leaving us all wondering and worrying about the upcoming year. How to put it in a politically correct manner…? More worried about the choice maker, rather than any actual person taking the position. Clear as mud, right?Anyhow, no principal was found. Or rather, none that would accept the position or was sufficiently appropriate for the position. I’m sure it was for economic reasons as reported in the local paper – our only source of information. Instead we now have an interim principal. First order of business: get every single student who failed the HSPE into the building in August (Ha!) to retake the test. Do not worry about the fact that only a few registered… there is sure to be extra booklets (ha!). So what if your contract doesn’t start for another two/three weeks! If you cared about kids, you would cancel your father’s surgery and recuperation time! Hire a nurse! (who would make more than you if you were…