Teaching is simple - not easy, but simple. Efficiency is not the goal. Standardization is not the goal. The goal is to have a professional teacher in every classroom. Professional teachers have a strong Teaching Philosophy, well grounded in the history of education, learning theories, and teaching…
I don’t find this useful.
I agree that helping students master independent learning should be at the heart of teaching, but I would never call that task “simple.”
What does it mean to be “well-grounded…in learning theories and teaching methods?” There are myriad learning theories and teaching strategies, and they are not all created equal. Simply knowing about these things does not a good teacher make.
This particular post seems to be working hard to not actually say anything meaningful about effective teaching. Why was it promoted in #education?
A student blows up at a teacher, drops the F-bomb. The usual approach at Lincoln – and, safe to say, at most high schools in this country – is automatic suspension. Instead, Sporleder sits the kid down and says quietly: “Wow. Are you OK? This doesn’t sound like you. What’s going on?”
He gets even more specific: “You really looked stressed. On a scale of 1-10, where are you with your anger?” The kid was ready. Ready, man! For an anger blast to his face….”How could you do that?” “What’s wrong with you?”…and for the big boot out of school. But he was NOT ready for kindness.
The armor-plated defenses melt like ice under a blowtorch and the words pour out: “My dad’s an alcoholic. He’s promised me things my whole life and never keeps those promises.” The waterfall of words that go deep into his home life, which is no piece of breeze, end with this sentence: “I shouldn’t have blown up at the teacher.” Whoa.
Maybe it’s very different in high schools, and from an administrator’s seat. But I was taught to approach students as people who might be acting out because of problems at home or elsewhere in their environment and to keep this in mind when working with them. Is this not common sense?
But isn’t is also part of society to sanction actions that are outside the social norms? I can recognize when a student is having a bad day and then results in a blow up. We’re human enough to know that.
But when I have students lose it on me for normal things, then that’s completely uncalled for. I had a student call me a bitch because I quietly asked if there was something I could get her from my “mom drawer” when she asked to go to the nurse. Later, when the office asked her if she was ill and not feeling well and if that’s why she blew up she said no—she just needed a tampon. Which I had in my “mom drawer.”
While I recognize students have feelings, students also need to learn how to cope with those feelings in the proper context. When my grandpa was dying, I didn’t melt into a puddle every day he was in ICU. When my boyfriend and I had a fight before I went to work one day, I didn’t snap on the next student who (inevitably) asks, “When are you gonna get married?”
If I reacted to my boss they way some students react to me, I’d be fired.
You can’t make a blanket generalization about how to react to student behavior. If one of my kids blows up at me uncharacteristically, then yes, I’m going to try to sit down with the student and see what’s going on. Or contact some of the other supports I’m so lucky to have in the school and enlist them to help figure out the root of the problem.
But I shouldn’t have to tolerate being disrespected in my own classroom on a regular basis. Part of teaching is, or should be, helping young people understand that their actions and words have consequences, and that they are accountable for what they actually did/said, not what they intended to do/say.
I work hard to challenge my GT kids. I want them to like science, and for most of them that means they need to spend some time puzzling things out for themselves.
All year I’ve thrown them tough problems, and I’ve seen them get frustrated or completely stuck, and almost always I can question them out of it. Or, at least, question enough of them out of it that when I do re-group, the majority of them have in fact figured things out.
But I think I have really thrown them with this particular phylogeny problem. Today was the second day, and basically no one has managed to draw a decent tree. I genuinely did not think this would be a sticking point for them. My best kids are struggling to even begin. As I circulated today, I gave out a few hints and asked a few pointed questions. For the first time even my sharpest kids weren’t able to piece it together.
What this means, I think, is that I just need to directly instruct this particular piece. Their questions and lingering confusions today indicated that this time, I did not give them the necessary tools to construct this understanding. I’ve let them wrestle with it for long enough. As much as I don’t like handing over the solution, I think in this particular instance they just need to see me modeling how to reason through this stuff.
I wonder how they will react when I tell them that I’m going to give them the answer.
Hi! I just started a tumblr, the Transgender Couchsurfing Network. After seeing dozens of posts come across my dash about displaced or homeless trans people needing places to crash, I decided that there had to be a way to organize these posts somehow, and to put those in need in contact with those willing to lend a hand. If you’re trans and need a place to stay, or if you have a couch or floor or spare bedroom available for someone in need, I urge you to reblog this post, follow the blog, and get the word out. Everything is still under heavy construction, but the more people that see and hear about this blog, the more people will be able to benefit from it! I know that there are so many people here on tumblr who are in need of a place to stay for a night or two, and I also know how many amazing, wonderful people would be willing to host someone and help out a trans person in need. We all know what a huge problem unemployment and homelessness are for trans people (especially TPOC and trans women) — even a place to stay for a night can make the biggest difference! So PLEASE, even if you can’t offer up your couch, REBLOG AND SIGNAL BOOST. I really, really think that this is something that could help a lot of people, and I would LOVE to see this spammed all over my dash and the dashes of all of my lovely followers!!
“We are the girls with anxiety disorders, filled appointment books, five-year plans. We take ourselves very, very seriously. We are the peacemakers, the do-gooders, the givers, the savers. We are on time, overly prepared, well read, and witty, intellectually curious, always moving…We pride ourselves on getting as little sleep as possible and thrive on self-deprivation. We drink coffee, a lot of it. We are on birth control, Prozac, and multivitamins…We are relentless, judgmental with ourselves, and forgiving to others. We are the daughters of the feminists who said “You can be anything” and we heard “You have to be everything.”—Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters - Courtney E. Martin (via kaitykait)
I mean, I steal a ton of ideas from everywhere, and often steal whole documents, but I revise and rewrite and reformat. I’m picky and particular and trust almost no one’s writing as much as my own.
Sometimes, though, I get lazy, or I find a particularly impressive resource and decide that I don’t need to do any revising. It always leads to weird results.
Last week I collected a natural selection case study, which was pretty much how I taught the concept. They completed half the case study individually, we went over it as a class, and then they completed the second half with a small group. And in grading their responses I noticed that many of the students had used the vocabulary (evolution, adaptation, natural selection, selective pressure) really haphazardly and imprecisely. They’re just shoving them into sentences for the sake of using them. In every unit I have some students who do this, but never on this scale. The majority of my gifted kids are generally careful with words.
I’m wondering what caused this, and if part of it was the structure of the case study. Perhaps I should have chunked it differently and incorporated more direct instruction.
Oh well. At any rate I’ll be reviewing adaptation tomorrow.
How about something portable?And only twice? Goodness. I’d starve by lunch, and I eat at 11:35.
I eat “lunch” at 10:15, so I am usually not ravenous by then, even though I skip out on breakfast.
But what this means, practically speaking, is that I eat one meal at 10:15AM and then I eat again at like 7:30PM, with the occasional snack around 2:30PM if there’s something around (i.e., the candy that mb24jg keeps stashed in her room…)
About the take home test: Make sure it's clear what level of thinking/response you want. I know if I'm giving my students the whole wide world worth of resources to use, I expect a higher quality response. It helped me for my take-home case studies to tell them exactly how long I wanted the response, what would get them a poor grade, and what would get them a good grade. Also make sure you tell them if you want them to cite their sources or resources.
Those reply boxes are too short. I think you can diffuse the potential for cheating by carefully distributing the variations-- have names on them already, maybe, according to who would work together-- showing you're a step ahead- and just emphasizing that it's not about facts but showing their thinking (I KNOW you will talk and look; I WANT you to. But I'll also know if you are using someone else's ideas or words.) I think that you can do it is a sign of good things happening in your class.FWIW
“What the PISA and NASSP analysis shows is that, when we take out the bottom quintile of students based on family wealth and income, American students are doing just fine. More than just fine, in fact—we are right up there with the top scoring nations. But because we have more children per capita living in poverty than any developed nation on Earth, the effects of poverty take their toll on our national standings in the international test score derbies.”—Schools Matter: How Much Teachers Affect Student Achievement, and Other Myths (via girlwithalessonplan)
“Pluto is interesting because it’s fixed on its moon, Charon, and they rotate around each other, constantly staring at each other affectionately, which is kind of a beautiful metaphor but I think that’s one of the reasons why it was demoted. Because I think now to be a proper planet you have to command the authority of others and because the moon and Pluto are sort of existentially attached as equals neither of them can be considered a planet. [Pauses] Sad, but true.”—
I’m seriously considering giving a take-home test for my evolution unit.
It would be in the form of a case study. We’ve done one whole-class case study and one individual/small group case study so far in class, and I’m in the middle of giving extensive feedback on the individual case study assignments (they range from “clearly and accurately articulated” to “completely missed the point).
I’m not too concerned about cheating on the take-home. It would be all essay, so even if they collaborated with one another they would still have to be able to clearly explain their thinking in complete sentences. I don’t mind the idea of them collaborating on it; better to collaborate and learn something about evolution than just fail by yourself and never get your understandings corrected. They could use their textbooks/internet if they wanted, since I’ve created all the case studies myself. I could create 4-6 different versions.
Anyone done take-home tests with their high school kids want to chime in with things to look out for, how to introduce it to kids who have probably never done a take-home, etc?
Yesterday we did not have students because it was a PD, and I was not looking forward to today. My kids had been off the rails all week, and I was sure that a beautiful Friday after a day off would be insanity.
But they were all wonderful, even my most challenging class. And I realized that I was approaching them differently—my most challenging class, and my other classes.
Today I loved the kids, without really thinking about it. I felt in control, and focused, and content. I don’t know what was different. I don’t know why loving the kids came so automatically today, a day that I had gone to bed dreading.
But I loved them, and my job, and we got quite a lot accomplished. Six more weeks!
I’ve only got six weeks left to make some kind of impact on these kids.
There are two primary requests a teacher will hear most often from her students. One is reserved for the spring months, “Can we have class outside today?” The other is not seasonal, but rather remains consistently appropriate for annoying a teacher any day of the year. “Can we just watch a movie?”
And sometimes, even the best teachers do show movies. Doing this is often viewed by one’s peers as a cop-out. Teachers often cop to showing movies sheepishly, ducking a little, lowering the tone of our voices. “I am just showing a movie today,” we admit.
But movies can be utilized for learning. They can be used to teach symbolism and foreshadowing and a slew of other literary terms. They can be used to show historical events or to convey social injustice. Or, they can be used to teach students about the use of rhetorical devices.
At least, this was my intention when I chose to show my students “The Great Debaters.” This film had the added bonus qualifier of being about racial inequity, which fit nicely with the reading we have been doing recently. For those who are not familiar with the film, it chronicles the travails and triumphs of an African-American debate team competing in the south in the 1930s.
The speeches they make in the film are amazing. My goals are small. I want my students to learn to differentiate between ethos, pathos, and logos. I want them to know when someone is appealing to their morality (not always a lost cause!) or trying to tug at their heartstrings. And I want them, above all, to understand the difference between fact and opinion and to understand how logic is a powerful weapon, when wielded correctly and by a trained handler.
However, this is not so easily accomplished. Every day, before I turn on what has turned out to be a very long movie, I review with my classes the meaning of key terms: assertion, rhetoric, ethical, logical, emotional, etc. Then I stop the movie frequently, to explain, to guide, to focus attention.
I felt prepared. I had a plan. I was justified in showing my film. I knew this. Still, somehow I have ended up having conversations I never could have foreseen. Yet somehow, these conversations have led to very real understanding of all the types of rhetorical appeal.
For example, at one point in the film, a character is struck in the face by his father. My students laughed.
In an arch tone, I reprimanded, “Let’s try to remember that hitting a child is not funny.”
An amiable young man responded, “But Ms. S, that kid is lucky. My dad would have just punched me in the face. My mom has a swing like that.” And I felt…pathos.
At one point, a white character pulls a gun on a black character. Many of my students had opinions about what they would have done in a similar situation. There was a lot of speculation about how easily one might, “Whoop that fool’s ass and take that muthafu**in’ gun.”
I pointed out that the man in question had his family in the car. Would it have been right to risk being shot in front of them? Boom! We had arrived at a question of ethos. I appealed to their sense of family and duty and right and wrong. And only half of them said it wouldn’t matter. That half maintained that under no circumstances would they allow someone to “punk” them like that.
And logos? Well, for logos, one must always start with facts. The fact is, in most places, students go to school for an average of 180 days a year. Another fact is, at my school, they do this in a room with no windows. They have nothing to look at but my face for 180 days, while I talk to them about things they are all pretty convinced they will NEVER need to know in their lives. So, if every once in awhile, I use a movie as a teaching tool, it doesn’t necessarily mean I have given up and given in. It just means I understand, logically, that all goals cannot be achieved in the same way. And not all lessons should be taught in the same way.
There is still no way, however, that I am holding class outside.
This is good.
I am a proponent of taking kids outside. I did it all the time in the fall.
“We cannot pretend that multiple layers of growing inequality — in home, community, and school resources — don’t matter for student learning, or that solutions to our education problems can be enforced without strategic investments in a level playing field. Our challenge is to confront the reality of growing up in America today and to design in- and out-of-school supports that will allow children a fair shot at the American Dream.”—Education and the income gap (via gjmueller)
“The monetization model of online publishing — a legacy model that hasn’t changed since the golden age of newspapers — is breeding even more mediocre and questionable content. Because this model puts the advertiser, not the reader, first, we suffer the same atrocities a newspaper editor lamented in 1923 when he bemoaned the way in which the circulation manager had taken over the newspaper and eclipsed the editor. As long as the ad-supported pageview remains the main currency of funding writing online, we’ll continue getting slideshows about kittens, HuffPost-ified sensationalist headlines, one-page articles artificially split into five pages, and other such assaults on the reader. To have intelligent readers, we need intelligent writers, certainly, but also intelligent publishing. I hope to see this ecosystem evolve towards a meritocracy, where content gets published because it is good, and because readers find value in it and are willing to put a price on this value. Reading is voting for writing, and I hope to see our votes count for more than they currently do.”—
In regards to the source of that Ann Romney quote: Free Wood Post is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within the website are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental, except for all references to politicians and/or celebrities, in which case they are based on real people, but still based almost entirely in fiction.
Thanks—just caught another post on my dash source-checking me as well. This is a good PSA-moment for not impulsively reblogging questionable stuff from your phone app.
““Why should women be paid equal to men? Men have been in the working world a lot longer and deserve to be paid at a higher rate. Heck, I’m a working mom and I’m not paid a dime. I depend on my husband to provide for me and my family, as should most women… and if a woman does…
Interesting observation. How so? I’m a big LOTR fan.
Maybe it sticks out to me because I watch the movies a few times a year, but I just no longer think that the visual effects are as convincing as they used to look. In the same way that movies from the 80s have unconvincing visuals.
LotR was so far ahead of its time that I think it took 10 years for it to start looking like it belonged to the past rather than the present. For example, right now I’m watching the second disc of Fellowship, and the characters are running through Moira with the flames of the Balrog in the background. It’s an impressive scene, but you can very clearly tell that the flames are all post-production. The fabrication of it is more evident to me now than it was even 5 years ago. (Perhaps it’s just me.)
Don’t get me wrong! They have a special place in my heart forever and will always stand as great cinematic achievements.
Fantasy and sci-fi movies have a way of looking almost instantly dated.
For years I was astounded by the perpetual youth of Peter Jackson’s LotR films. Fellowship was released in 2001 and even in 2008 it looked current.
It wasn’t until about 2010 that I began noticing, though not admitting, that the films were showing their age. Now when I watch them there’s no denying that they no longer look like they were released yesterday.
Still beautiful, though, and aging much better than most of the genre.