Monday, December 22, 2008

PreService Teacher Exams

What a confusing endeavour we have to weave through. First it was the Praxis which I have completed but now I understand that I need to retake the required teacher tests because our state has changed the rules to meet some higher standards. So I have to hand over some more large amounts of money to retake the tests I have already passed to meet the qualifications to become a teacher. Am I complaining, well sort of; my brothers are engineers and I don't see them taking these tests to qualify to design computer chips or design the very airplanes we fly. What gives?! And don't get me started on the salary differences -like my brothers I am going to do what I love but unlike my brothers I am fortunate not to need the money. Still, while I mold the minds of our youth, they build items the youths use or fly on to visit their family. Whose education is being tested more?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Washington DC's Education Cyclone

As many have read or heard, Michelle Rhee has been quite a topic discussed around school districts, Time Magazine, and The Atlantic Magazine. She is determined to change American Education through her agressive tactics. Yet she has only three years of teaching experience; that is usually just enough time for teachers to get "grounded" in their profession. She is chaufferured in a black SUV, carries two BlackBerrys, and a cell phone - that is enough money for new textbooks there. In Time magazine, it mentions she evaluates a class for only two minutes and walks away saying the teachers spend too much time chitchatting. How are teachers suppose to bond with students. Teachers are not to be robots and just dive right into the "real work." Some of these students may only receive positive adult interactions from their school teachers. In the article, she comes across as rude - she reads her BlackBerry while speaking with those around her. She walks out of meetings without a comment and she seems to dismiss anyone whose opinion differs from her. And as her quote noted below, she does not seem to take outside influences as obstacles to a student's education.

A quote from Michelle Rhee is “As a teacher in this system, you have to be willing to take personal responsibility for ensuring your children are successful despite obstacles. You can’t say, ‘My students didn’t get any breakfast today,’ or ‘No one put them to bed last night,’ or ‘Their electricity got cut off in the house, so they couldn’t do their homework.’”

Want to learn more? Read

Does she really think this can work?


This is a pretty good video on some classroom management ideas. Watch it you might learn something.

Tips & Tricks for Classroom Management

Monday, December 1, 2008

Good Deeds: The Backlash
Many high schools in America require students to have service hours in order to graduate. The weekend before last I volunteered for a non profits auction and there were many high school students present. While talking to these students I learned that they 1 were not really interested in being there and they would rather be doing something with their friends and 2 that they were only there because they had to have the hours to graduate and this nonprofit would look good on a college resume. This disturbed me. What good does it do to force students to do community service? If the students heart is not in it then what are they learning? I was reading this article in the New York Times about how some schools are reducing the number of hours and how these hours have to be applied. The New York schools have some pretty good ideas. Maybe other school districts need to take a look at their programs.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Teaching Creatively

I don't know about you guys, but I know that a constant challenge that I face now as a preservice teacher and one that I know I will face daily when I become a teacher is how to keep teaching interesting and creative. It's a good thing that as teachers we keep this in mind and are constantly challenged by the aim to be creative in our teaching especially now a days when students are being bombarded with information via world wide web, blogging, emails, texting, cable and satalit channels, etc. There are plenty of things to keep kids constantly stimulated and entertained other than school! Once teachers know what they are going to teach, the next question or step in line to deal with is how to engage students in a way that will peak their interest and be meaningful. For me, this is one of the hardest parts of being an educator. Here's an awesome site that I stumbled across with some new and inventive approaches to using technolgy and such to teach creatively. Yes, if you can't beat em, join em!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Something to Ponder

Check this site out. I responded to this posting because it is something that I find quite interesting. When will we stop and at what cost?

Standardized Testing to be Shorter or Consolidated?

Well, Randy Dorn is now the Washington State Superintendent of Education and has made statements regarding standardized testing - "the WASL needs to be shorter, the results need to get to people faster, it should be hooked up to technology and the information it provides should be understandable to parents, students and teachers." And he wants results quicker in his comment, "the WASL should help parents and teachers design a better education program for each child and that simply isn't possible when the results aren't available until four months after the test is given." I hope he is able to pull this off. I wonder if he is interested in any suggestions, such as using the tests that already exist. The California Achievement Test can be helpful and the results come back faster. But then, do we really need these tests? Why not just allow teachers conduct assessment tests at the beginning of the year, middle of the year, and then at the end of the year for individual progress?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

power teaching

I don’t know about this style of teaching. It might be a good way to teach a room full of ADD students or students who have a difficult time sitting still. Also it would be a good way to teach if you are trying to mix up the classroom. My question is what happens to students who only learn in a quiet structured environment. Also what happens to students who need a little more adult help? I don’t think I would use this in my class, but more power to the teachers who do.

incentive pay

I think incentive pay is a great idea if you give teachers complete control of what happens in their classroom or within their teaching groups if their school is designed that way. Plus you would have to let them keep the students for 2 years. If a teacher’s job and pay is contingent on how much there students improve then they should be able to have complete control over how they learn. Also they should have enough time to undo what the previous teacher has done if that teacher was not good.

Teacher Salaries as high as $100,000

An NPR report mentioned an opportunity for teachers in D.C. a chance for pay for performance in trade for tenure. I also read this in the Sunday Times and the article even hinted that salaries could go up as high as $100,000 all for giving up tenure. This was an "opporunity" to weed out the bad teachers and reward the good ones. But I wonder - what are the measures for this?
Remember School House Rock about a Bill - "I'm just a Bill." Wouldn't this be fun to show, a sort of a "I'm just a debt - a national debt"

Results from a Middle School Rock the Vote Elections

Okay, it has been a while and the election results are literally two weeks old but it did take awhile to tally up the middle school votes. At the middle school I am interning there were over 700 students that participated in the "pretend elections. The president's election was not close: Brack Obama received 508 votes (71.85%) and John McCain received 149 (21.07%). In the governors race the incumbent received 388 votes (56.98%), the challenger received 269 (39.5%), and write-ins received 24 (3.52). Another items for the students to elected the issues of importance: 221 (31.84%) voted that energy and the environment was the most important issue, while the economy followed very closely with 209 (30.12%), then Education carried 89 (21.82%) votes, Homeland Security/Ware carried 76 votes (10.95%), then Health Care received 69 votes (9.94%) followed by the infamous Other category with 30 votes (4.32%). The statewide election results of the "Mock the Vote" effort was also posted with Barack Obama winning 64.59% of the votes, John McCain received 29.92%, and Ralph Nader received 1.52%. Nationwide student vote tallies were Barack Obama 60.08%, John McCain 35.52%, and RalphNader 1.06%. Curiously, how much did the media play into this? I am determined to find out and keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ever Heard of Power Teaching???

I am unsure of what I think of this type of teaching. Watch the adult class before you watch the children. It was a little strange to go from one to the other, as it looks and sounds different and the same all at once. Anyway, let me know what you think!!! It is definitely an...interesting way to teach (and that is the best way to describe it).

Monday, November 3, 2008

In response to T I think the students are a reflection of both. Especially in middle school they are trying to form their own opinions, so they are paying more attention to what people on the TV and the internet have to say (the people they view as role models). But they are still influenced by their families and the opinions they have.
Thanks for the website it looks like it has some information I can use.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Good Website

I stumbled upon this website along my internet travels. Since we have been talking so much about classroom management, lesson plans, discipline and the like, I felt that this would be an interesting website for everyone. It has links to many other websites as well as links for printouts and "free stuff." So check this website out and I hope you enjoy it!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

In a middle school where I am completing my internship, we have been studying the Constitution which, as we know, details the responsibilities of each branch of our government. Since this is election year, we have also focused on voting, what a ballot looks like, and how this is a civil responsibility. I mentioned to the students that this is a task I take very seriously. The school had set up a electronic voting process for the students to vote for president, governor, and district representative. I believe it was Linda Ellerbee that once said that kids generally predict the outcome of an election. Are the students just a reflection of their parents or the media - particularly in middle school. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?

My daughter and her friend were watching this show hosted by Jeff Foxworthy call "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader." I was curious about it and sat with these two seventh graders to see what this show was about. It appeared to be a show about trivia that requires information to be memorized in some schools - some core knowledge perhaps? I wondered why it was important for a fifth grader to know how many stomachs a cow has. I knew the answer but I grew up on a farm. But I can't see why this information would be necessary on a test for a fifth grader. I can only imagine a college interview that my daughter or her friend will attend and the admission director asks, "Now one more question, do you know how many stomachs a cow has?"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Standardized Testing and Merit Pay

I have been in many discussions regarding merit pay for teachers and that they should be based on the scores of standardized questions of their students. Many of us feel we can be responsible for any learning received prior to arriving in a classroom. But I wonder, could a standardized test be issued at the beginning of school year and another at the end of the school year to determine the learning of that particular year. Would that be a compromise for those who want the merit raise based on performance?

So great!

Well, well, well...let's see how long it will take for me to want to pull my hair out? Wallis is not the only one who needs help!!! Our blog is fun!!!


Well, let's is my very first blog EVER!!!!

Yay, yay, yay!!!

Life & Learning in our Dyads

I thought this would be a good open ground for us to post anything and everything on our minds about our dyad experiences this quarter. Type away bloggers!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A beautiful college campus!!
Hello, This is my first blog and my first post as required by my curriculum. I think I will find this fun. I have set this up for two other fellow students to join my in designing this blog. This shall be exciting.