Strikes are being threatened in the northwest of my state. What do you prefer: a strike or work to rule (working your hours only)?
I went to one of the presentations by Senators McAuliffe and Oemig, and I came away thinking that what they say sounds nice and makes the public happy to hear, but they don’t have anything specific to say except that “the system is broken.” “Thanks, but what can you do to help me?” is what I kept thinking.
I got the sense that Oemig does not understand how levies hurt poorer districts much more than his (Kirkland) and that McAuliffe is scattered in her thoughts sticking mainly to agreed upon talking points. However, both appear to want to help, and I appreciate this. At least they are listening.
Oemig really wanted the teachers to define what a “master teacher” is, but of course no one could do it well. Reminds of the definition of obscenity: know it when I see it. Felt like people trying to define their love of one artist over another: lots of feeling words and appreciation without any quantifiable data.
And Oemig is definitely a data guy. He repeated his desire for good data for teachers without naming what it is. All I know is that I’m inundated with data but receive very little usable information from it most of the time. Plus, I have to fight for so long for access to data that it’s normally useless by the time I get it.
I think I echo Ryan’s thoughts when he said, “it’s very easy to see a path to what the WEA feared all along–the good that made people like the bill will evaporate away a section at a time, and what we’ll all have left is onerous new certification requirements and more bureaucracy.” Everything suggested was followed by “but we have to find the money to do it” with no definites detailing from where the increased revenue would come.
I spoke once for about five minutes near the end of the session about the following items, each very briefly:
- the lack of trust in teachers and the collegiate certification process (thus so many extra requirements),
- attacking symptoms instead of diseases (i.e. adding certification requirements when not satisfied with the collegiate certification process instead of fixing the problem at the collegiate level),
- how schools are microcosms of the societies in which they reside,
- solving social ills must be alongside solving educational ills (pay now for the play pen or later for the state pen), and
- how time is critical for teachers (grading time, prep time, large class sizes require extra time, useless extras like state required culminating projects, etc.).
Anyone else seen the presentations?
A Good Housekeeping article by Marcy Lovitch details the secrets about getting the best grades. She interviewed students of excellence and their parents and summarized the results. Here are the tips in the article from the parents and students:
- Use a planner.
- Create spreadsheets to organize goals.
- Study in the style that works best for your student.
- Unplug before working; turn off the TV, iPod, cell phone, etc.
- Provide a quiet, distraction-free place to study.
- Value homework and use language expressing this.
- Allow students to read what they want during their leisure time and play learning games.
- Create a student’s sense of self-worth on something other than grades and test scores.
- Enjoy family dinners together.
- Emphasize industry over achievement.
When students head off to college, I give them this advice:
- Eat three healthy meals a day (definitely avoid skipping breakfast).
- Choose a quiet, distraction-free location to study (I chose the library).
- Sleep on a bed, but never study there. Train the body to rest in the bed and study at a desk.
- Schedule classes to allow free time as well as study time. I went to class from 9-12, had lunch, went to the library, and was then free the rest of the night. I also threw in a night class once or twice a week.
- Remain organized and rewrite notes if you can’t outline as you go.
- Attend every class.
- Do something fun every weekend, and visit the parents often.
Well, this got me through college. What would you add?
Ever have one of these days?
One approach I use in class when trying to gauge readiness on a skill or concept is the consensogram. All that the students need is a pad of sticky notes (and a pen/pencil).
I put a quick graph on the board with 100% at the top and 0% at the bottom. Then I ask the students to write down on the sticky note how well they know the skill or concept. 100% means I could teach this skill to others while 0% means I have no idea what is being discussed at all (and name of the skill isn’t even familiar), and 70% means I know enough to show a basic understanding of the skill.
Once the students fill out the sticky notes and I collect them, I have a few kids place them on the drawn graph creating a bar graph. The first sticky note goes on the left, and the rest form the bar moving to the right.
This gives me and the class a quick snap shot of where the class thinks it is before a test, quiz, project, or before adding a new wrinkle to a skill.
Sometimes I have to reteach or firm up a skill while at other times we can move on without worry. Regardless, this allows the students to show me their confidence levels, and the students can see where everyone else is in relationship to themselves.
On some occasions I can get someone at the top levels of the graph to match up with someone near the middle (rarely is there ever anyone below 50%) of the graph. A little peer tutoring can sometimes work wonders, too.