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It's Good to Be Back

Posted 04-01-2011 at 06:08 PM by Speced9

On the main blog page that is. Unfortunately, Murphy's Law states that I have nothing worthy of blogging about at this time. RATS!

Is this abusive?

Posted 03-31-2011 at 04:43 PM by PrivateEyes

In my district, we give tests in each subject at the end of the quarter. Yesterday was our math test. It consisted of nearly fifty questions for my third grade kiddos. My special ed kids did not finish the test until about 2:30. (Started about 9:45, had a break for music and lunch, no recess) I still had regular ed kids finishing until about 2:00.

Why? Our SOLS won't take that much time. But our district's math department prides itself on the "rigor" of these assessments. Which really means that they use the most convoluted questions to "test" the student's understanding of the concepts.

When will the math gurus (who apparently haven't been in a classroom in years) remember that our kiddos are only eight years old, and deserve a fair test. District average was 60% on this lovely test. My class and school did a few points better. Does that mean we are terrible teachers, or that the kids don't know math? No, it means...

On Misconceptions and Overusage

Posted 03-31-2011 at 06:24 AM by BigwigRabbit

I have a concern. That's right, just the one. Often, in online conversations, when people experience a strong reaction to something said, they often resort to hyperbole. Very often this exaggeration takes the form of invoking the specter of the Nazi, and, more recently and commonly, that of the bully.<!--break-->

The problem with calling "bully" every third second is that it weakens what the word is and what it conveys. Eventually it can change completely. Case in point: "Begs the question." This phrase does not mean, to bring up another related question. It is actually a term used in logical argument that refers to a question that has within it a strong clue as to an expected answer or some sort of guiding factors that may lead the answerer away from the actual truth.

Since it has been used incorrectly so many times, few people know its true meaning. Soon "bully" will refer to anyone that maintains an attitude or opinion contrary...

Research Report Wrap Up

Posted 03-25-2011 at 05:27 AM by imalith

This year my research reports were different than in the past. Rather than working in the library and researching and working with 8 computers, we went into the computer lab. I'm not sure it was better. I think both have their advantages.

Overall the reports were amazingly successful. It was the best writing I have seen from my class. Expository writing isn't much fun unless you feel passionate about your subject, so choice is always the key.

What will I do different next year? I'm not sure. I would like to book more library time, so they have a balance of library/computer lab. My PLC people are interested in attempting the reports, which may cut into my lab/library time. Dang, sometimes it is hard to share great things.

The more you know...

Posted 03-25-2011 at 05:23 AM by imalith

the more you realize you know nothing. Socrates.

This is a quote that ran through my mind as I was listening to the presenters. The training was fantastic. Implementing a few of the strategies is great, but the actual GLAD program is all encompassing and could change everything about how you present your lessons.

What is GLAD? Best practice teaching strategies all rolled up into an effective method. Color coding. Effective visuals. Things we already know, but connected together to give direction and purposefulness.

One of my favorite parts was just the class rules.

1. Respect.
2. Solve that problem.
3. Make good decisions.

My favorite was "solve that problem". In my school, I've been enabling my poverty children by giving them pencils. Now I'm going to say "solve that problem". Okay, maybe it is too late for this year, but I'm going to do it anyway. They need to start to...

Periodically Posted Research Number 10

Posted 03-24-2011 at 04:30 AM by BigwigRabbit

The topic this time: [B]Marden Henge

[/B]Stone Henge ^10.

The 1:00 Restroom Break

Posted 03-19-2011 at 09:34 AM by Speced9

When I was kid, especially in middle school, I wouldn't have been caught dead sitting down in a bathroom stall. Most people are a little freaked out at the thought of using a public toilet, but that wasn't my problem. I had giggled many a time at kids on the other side of that door over the course of my primary school career. I guess there's just something funny about the shoes and pants around the ankles that hit my childhood funny bone. So, I made it a point to never put myself in that position, until now.

Somewhere over the past couple of years, my internal time clock shifted. I never had to do a "sit down" job while at school. No, my reasoning isn't the same now as it was as a kid. I have a faculty restroom to visit and would never, ever consider going in the stall of the BOYS RESTROOM. I'm crazy, but I'm not THAT crazy.

No, my problem with the...

Periodically Posted Research Number 9

Posted 03-14-2011 at 03:33 AM by BigwigRabbit

The topic for this time: [B]Mars Direct.

[/B]Out there.

Sizzle, Part 3

Posted 03-07-2011 at 04:29 AM by BigwigRabbit

[SIZE=2]“[/SIZE][SIZE=2]Lucky we found this overhang.”
[/SIZE] [SIZE=2] “He’s becoming more vocal. It’s scaring me.”
[/SIZE] [SIZE=2] “Yeah. Me too. His temperature is up again.”
[/SIZE] [SIZE=2]“[/SIZE][SIZE=2]How much?”
[/SIZE] [SIZE=2]“[/SIZE][SIZE=2]I don’t know. He may be above 105.”
[/SIZE] [SIZE=2]“[/SIZE][SIZE=2]You know what’s fatal? How high can it go?”
[/SIZE] [SIZE=2]“[/SIZE][SIZE=2]No. I don’t know.”
[/SIZE] [SIZE=2]“[/SIZE][SIZE=2]Alright. We’re going to have to make a plan. First, we need to wait out this rain.”<!--break-->
[/SIZE] [SIZE=2]“[/SIZE][SIZE=2]Yeah. We have to figure out how we’re going to cross the river.”
[/SIZE] [SIZE=2]“[/SIZE][SIZE=2]Mother of pearl! I forgot about the river! What are we going to do? How will we get him across?”
[/SIZE] [SIZE=2]“[/SIZE][SIZE=2]How will we get [/SIZE][SIZE=2][I]us[/I][/SIZE][SIZE=2] across?”
[/SIZE] [SIZE=2]“[/SIZE][SIZE=2]They just [/SIZE][SIZE=2][I]had[/I][/SIZE][SIZE=2]...

wrapping up RR

Posted 03-06-2011 at 06:44 AM by imalith

The research reports are almost completed. I could only get into the computer lab a couple of days last week and a few kids still need to type.

I must admit that the first day in the computer lab I was a bit nervous. The first day all they did was look up pictures and create cover pages. Eventually, they pulled it together and the writing began.

This year I tried something a bit new. Rather than have students work in the library to research other books, compose and type, we went straight into the computer lab. The reason was the library is always booked! It is ridiculous that I couldn't get my students in to do research. The good result was that this is more "real world".

Kids took 2 column notes, some drafted sentences or they just typed. After each section was completed students fill in a paragraph analysis (for revision). Rework their papers and then read with a partner for additional work. Next day is revision in the computer...

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