Just another Sunday afternoon researching mad cow disease and prions in order to teach about proteins and protein synthesis. My kids are going to be delightfully grossed out by the infected brain tissue pictures…
Seriously, the absolute best way to get these kids to listen is to show them pictures of gross or weird biological phenomena. When I showed them the Blue People they were enraptured. Hopefully they will be as enthralled by degenerating brains.
This is a powerful little flash game designed to demonstrate the difficult choices by unemployed, underemployed, and low-wage earning Americans. I actually got a little emotional clicking through it—many of the scenarios were straight out of my childhood and straight out of the present of too many of my family members.
Posting stuff like this on Tumblr is totally preaching to the choir, but even if you already understand the struggles of low-income Americans this is worth a click-through, if only to give you a refresher on important talking points to keep in your back pocket.
We get that a lot too. I hate to be ageist, but seriously, at that age your world view is so limited that it is very easy to believe the “abortion=murder” lie when it’s first fed to you. I know many progressives who thought the same thing when they were that age. While it’s certainly unfair and a little offensive to say to that 15-year-old, “Oh you’ll grow out of it,” - seriously, you probably will.
Truth. At 15 I supported a woman’s right to choose because I had a close friend who needed—and, luckily, legally and safely obtained—an abortion at 13. But I remember wishing I was old enough to enlist to go fight in Iraq (!) when the war started.
This song manages to be endearing and cheering without feeling cheesy or bland. When I was listening to it this week it struck me as almost spiritual:
"I am assured, yes, I am assured, yes, I am assured peace will come to me A peace that can, yes Surpass the speed, yes Of my understanding, and my need”
If you’re Christian you might call that peace salvation or grace, I don’t know. For me it’s a much more eloquent phrasing of my own personal “everything will be OK” philosophy.
The first time I heard that chorus, I was immediately reminded of T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland. In what I consider to be the poem’s great catharsis, “What the Thunder Said,” Eliot wraps up his bleak exposition of modernity with the refrain, “Shantih shantih shantih.” His own notes explain the meaning of “shantih” (a word from the Hindu Upanishads) as “the Peace which passeth understanding.” Every time I read Wasteland, I’m astounded by the power of that refrain and the way in which it makes the rest of the poem emotionally bearable. It really stuck with me, so much so that I mentally chant it to myself when I’m particularly stressed or overwhelmed or upset. And then I discovered this lovely little Josh Ritter number expressing a similar sentiment.
I spend each of my 180 days wrapping your children in love, hope, and great expectation. I offer them various ways to approach a problem, to solve a problem, and to avoid a problem. I strap them to my back and run a marathon for nine months, hoping and praying and making SURE than no one falls.
I show them ways to make a friend, to keep a friend and to be a friend.
I show them that if we make a mistake each and every day, then we are LEARNING each and every day.
I show that that even if they anger me or frustrate me, I will still smile and remind them that I love them very much while I am enforcing whatever punishment I feel is necessary. I force them to own their mistakes, to learn from them and to grow; all the while maintaining a great sense of humor and pride in whatever they accomplish. I show them how to turn their face toward the sun, even when the rain is pelting them on their backs.
And behind the scenes?
I am planning lessons each night that will motivate and inspire your children. I search through magazines for teaching aides, search websites for new activities, look through my resources for new ways to re-teach lessons that didn’t reach some kids, and ask for help when I need it.
I go to soccer games, dance recitals, karate lesson, hockey games, t-ball games, first holy communions and birthday parties. I spend my own money on stickers, snacks, things I need for science, cookie cutouts for centers, and things I know the kids will love to find in the prize box. I do this because my job is not somewhere I go five days a week, but because it’s my passion; and because I care about the souls in my classroom.
So, Governor Walker , are those teachers camped out in your front yard because they want to protect their BMW’s or their beach houses or their trips to Aspen or their billion dollar retirement funds?
No. They are there because they are showing all of the children that they have touched, that if you believe in who you are and what you do, then you take a stand. You fight for what you believe in your heart and soul is right and good and fair.
You show by your actions that WHO YOU ARE and WHAT YOU DO has value.
And I wonder, Governor Walker, what your kindergarten teacher is thinking right about now?
It is really difficult to find quality, content-level appropriate representations online. There are 8 billion YouTube animations of DNA, but most are just 3-D versions of the same cartoon shown in textbooks. I want something that actually shows the molecular shape of the backbone and base pairs. So far I have seen only one video that does so, and it is bogged down with some technical chemistry jargon that will overwhelm my students.
I guess I’ll just show it without sound.
EDIT: Found one that had exactly the right visualization I wanted, and realized 3 minutes in it was advocating for ID. *headdesk*
Ugh. No idea where my original Praxis I score report is. I took it in the fall of 2008, back when I was still in the “I live in MI, Pittsburgh is just temporary for school!” mindset, so I suspect that it is somewhere in MI. However, I am pretty sure that at one point it was at my dad’s in Ohio…I thought it wound up in my cedar chest when I went to London, but it is not in there. So maybe I stowed it in my poorly organized filing cabinet in my bedroom at my stepmom’s?
I don’t lose things, I just move too much. My options are now ask my dad to rifle through my poorly organized filing cabinet and mail me the report (assuming it’s in there) or pay $40 to ETS to have another report mailed to me.
At one point in my life I had a portable plastic file box that moved along with me. Maybe it’s in there, which would make more sense than my stationary filing cabinet (which I think has mostly high school stuff?) but I *did* lose track of that file box. It must be in MI, probably in my closet or something.
I shouldn’t need it anyway. The PA Dept of Ed has my scores, presumably, because they issued me my intern certification. Why do I need to submit another copy to them to file my application for employment if the intern cert I possess proves I passed?
Finally settling down to work after an appropriately lazy snow day morning.
Yesterday at school the English teacher on my team told me that she knew I was doing well in the classroom because she often overhears the kids talking about how “hard” I am as a teacher. ”That’s a compliment,” she told me. ”When they talk about how much they love a teacher, it’s usually because that teacher doesn’t make them do anything. If they think your class is hard, you must be making them learn something in there.”
I don’t think I agree with her entirely—some of my most beloved teachers were the ones that demanded the most from me. But I am glad to hear that my students don’t think they can blow off my class. Biology is tough. Their classwork and participation has been improving—here’s hoping the upward trend continues.
She also told me that I was the only student teacher she heard good things about this year. ”Nikki [my mentor] got lucky. The student teachers in my department are slackers, from what I hear, calling off or showing up unprepared.” And Nikki said, “Brittany’s wonderful.”
Detroit has been ordered to close half the city’s public schools and consolidate students as part of an emergency plan that would eliminate the district’s $327 million deficit by 2014. The plan also means that class sizes in Detroit will jump to 60 students per class.
60 kids per class??? Does this include primary classes?
Will teachers be given more planning time and compensation?
Well, it’s a good thing the good people of the interwebz gave Detroit a fucking Robocop statue last week.
The uprising in Madison is symptomatic of a simmering rage among the nation’s teachers. They have grown angry and demoralized over the past two years as attacks on their profession escalated.
The much-publicized film “Waiting for Superman” made the specious claim that “bad teachers” caused low student test scores. A Newsweek cover last yearproposed that the key to saving American education was firing bad teachers.
Teachers across the nation reacted with alarm when the leaders of the Central Falls district in Rhode Island threatened to fire the entire staff of the small town’s only high school. What got their attention was that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and President Obama thought this was a fine idea, even though no one at the high school had been evaluated.
The Obama administration’s Race to the Top program intensified the demonizing of teachers, because it encouraged states to evaluate teachers in relation to student scores. There are many reasons why students do well or poorly on tests, and teachers felt they were being unfairly blamed when students got low scores, while the crucial role of families and the students themselves was overlooked.
Teachers’ despair deepened last August when The Los Angeles Times rated 6,000 teachers in Los Angeles as effective or ineffective, based on their students’ test scores, and posted these ratings online. Testing experts warn that such ratings are likely to be both inaccurate and unstable, but the Times stood by its analysis.
Now conservative governors and mayors want to abolish teachers’ right to due process, their seniority, and — in some states — their collective bargaining rights. Right-to-work states do not have higher scores than states with strong unions. Actually, the states with the highest performance on national tests are Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, and New Hampshire, where teachers belong to unions that bargain collectively for their members.
This is an article worth your time. Please click the link to read the entire article.
The Obama administration revoked most of a controversial federal regulation designed to protect health-care workers who choose not to provide care they find morally objectionable. The rule was put into effect during the final days of George W. Bush’s presidency, and was…
I’m sorry, am I posting too much Decemberists? TOO BAD. Actually I have finally been listening to other things besides The King is Dead, but this week June Hymn didn’t leave me alone. I think it was the weather—it was 50-60 out yesterday and today, and sunny! This song is so light and cheerful, optimistic, lazily content. It’s adorable. I’d love to just be dozing off in the grass on a sunny afternoon with someone singing this to me.
I’ve also just had a much better, more positive week at school—kids were pretty good, and I think the test I gave today went well. To spring!