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.