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Showing posts from July, 2011

TeachPaperless: On Best Practices

TeachPaperless: On Best Practices.

Excellent thoughts on best practices!
And no kid is inspired by 'best practices'.



In the end, 'best practices' are just another form of punditry. They inspire nothing but further standardization.



snip . . .


Students learn based on the relationship that exists between themselves and their teacher; they learn because of the preparation, strategies, adaptations, and teamwork involved. And there is no standard way of producing success. That preparation, those strategies, those adaptations, and that teamwork will be different in each class -- or at least should.

With No Child Left Behind Overhaul Stalled, More Schools 'Failing'

AYP measures the percentage of students making certain target scores on standardized tests in reading and math and graduation rates -- regardless of students' growth. For example, if a student grows two grade levels during a school year but is still below the NCLB-set bar, his scores count against the school’s AYP rating.

via With No Child Left Behind Overhaul Stalled, More Schools 'Failing'.

Another snip:

"Everyone knew this day was coming, and now it is upon us, and we need to have an open, honest debate about the consequences of a law that will label a majority of our schools as failing," Justin Hamilton, press secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, said in an email.

I honestly don't know how this is supposed to get better. We keep throwing money into schools in low income areas and I do believe that helps but obviously, it doesn't help enough to change deeply seeded needs and issues. The fact of the matter is that many, many students are showing g…

States brace for grad-rate dips as formula changes - CBS News

graduation rate numbers will soon appear to decrease "across the board" as states move to a uniform calculation that requires them to track each student individually, giving a more accurate count of how many actually finish high school.

via States brace for grad-rate dips as formula changes - CBS News.

This makes me wonder how states have been calculating graduation rates if they are uniformly inflated?

When Parents Ask the Wrong Questions « scientia et sapientia

When Parents Ask the Wrong Questions « scientia et sapientia.

This is an excellent post by Marc Cortez. I reposted it on Facebook while we were traveling this week, but wanted it to get out to any larger audience possible.

Pencil Pouches

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I came upon this technique by accident. My team buys each child a pencil pouch each year (among several other things) and I was looking for ways to curb costs. I was planning on using clear vinyl and I was looking for ways to best sew on it, when I came across this technique where you fuse plastic bags together to make vinyl. I'm not one to keep plastic bags in the house, so I went to the dollar store and got some clear plastic gift bags and some yellow plastic table clothes and this is what happened. Here's the link for the album.

Cut the bottoms off the cellophane bags and slit them up one side. I got a piece that measured about 11" x 16". That was the size I cut the table cloths into. For each piece of vinyl I needed 1 bag cut open and 4 pieces of table cloth.

Line it all up and put it between two sheets of wax paper. Heat the iron up to somewhere between polyester and rayon. I started out higher and the more I did, I lowered the temp.

You can use the wax paper multi…

Pay teachers more and students will perform better

I'm always amazed when I read something like this - pay me a bonus and the kids will score higher. Financial incentives do seem to work in some professions. Increase sales incentives and with the right person, you'll get increased sales. But teaching isn't like sales. There are too many variables to count between the staff, students and their families to know exactly which variable on what day will make the greatest difference. The thing that bothers me the most about the assumption in the title is that somehow my educational talents and skills are  motivated by a bonus. Don't get me wrong. I like getting paid. I wish I made more. I probably would have chosen another profession had this one not come with a salary, but then again, I might still be here. It's not the pay that motivates me as much as I like getting paid. Did you hear me Governor, Purdue? Are you listening, Congress? I do want to get paid. I do want a fair salary. BUT what motivates me is seeing a stud…

Brown & Pink inspiration

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Ohhh how I love a break from studies!

It's been a while since I made a purse set, so here's my latest. Both the bags have a zippered pocket on either side. The tote has pockets all along the inside, but the purse ended up just to small to fool with them. Lots of zippers in the three items.

Didn't do a how-to on this one. If you'd like to see one, here is one Red & Black. There are some others linked from that page including a wallet.



My first instructional video

woo hoo!





College bound or VoTech

When I was in school (OK, I know that was just right after the dark ages) some field in VoTech was a perfectly valid course of study. Not everyone was encouraged to go to college - of course, not everyone had to go to college. Since I've been teaching however, I've seen a shift to little to no vocational training. These doesn't leave much for the poor kid who just isn't all that successful at school. I remember a young lady in my geometry class one year discussing her college aspirations. She couldn't get to class and when she was there did precious little work. Yet, because everyone is told they can go to college, she thought she was college bound - somewhere she'd missed the part that she needed a strong work ethic and somewhat decent grades.

So I was a bit surprised today to see this article: Tough Calculus as Technical Schools Face Deep Cuts, which mentions a school  in my district AND how a vocational class turned a student around from failing to passing wi…

Harvard Research and Privacy Issues

Harvard Researchers Accused of Breaching Students' Privacy

How very interesting. Gather social information from the Facebook pages of your students and don't inform them you are collecting that information. The project was approved by Harvard's IRB, but since FB is a password protected site, surely it entered someone's well-educated brain that it would be better to get subject approval also. I'm sure a large enough percentage of students would have said yes to make the study viable. Another kicker is that even though Harvard did not self-identify one of its classes as the subject group, an outside professor was able to identify Harvard, the class, down to one of the subjects based on their released information.

There is also an interesting Twitter study mentioned where not only was subject approval not obtained, but neither was IRB based on the fact that Tweets are like reading the newspaper. In that case, the researchers were following a specific protest with some o…