End of Year Reflection on ELA, History and Science: 2013-14


What do I know – my weekly assessments, my unit planning

I have been using Understanding by Design planning for over five years. It’s taken me about that long to use it somewhat effectively.  There are things I still need to work on. Here is my planning for last year. I think the connection between my goals (understandings and knowledge) and the assessment (especially the knowledge part) needs tightening. I can see looking back at my plans that not everything gotten to.

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David Goldberg for CTA Secretary Treasurer


Let me take this opportunity to wholeheartedly and unreservedly endorse David Goldberg for Secretary Treasurer of the California Teachers Association. David is a strong progressive union leader. He understands the issues, and has worked towards solutions. He understands the critical need to organize not just among our members, but in our communities. He has the vision, and the experience to help us bring our union to be what and where it needs to be. I urge my fellow State Council members to join me in voting for David. I ask members who are not State Council members to communicate their support for David to their elected representatives. Now is the time, and David is the one to get it done! Please like his Facebook page and share it with educators you know. Thank you for your kind consideration.


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What’s new for NEA?


At last week’s NEA Representative Assembly, a new leadership team was elected that included Lily Eskelsen Garcia as president, Becky Pringle as Vice President, and Princess Moss as Treasurer. They are not the first women or women of color in these positions, but having all three positions filled by women of color is precedent setting. Lily is certainly a change in personality from outgoing President, Dennis van Roekel, but the question on a lot of members’ minds is, “will this lead to changes in how NEA does business?” This article from Politico is a  nice introduction to Ms. Eskelsen Garcia as any, and shows both things that concern, and things that could point the way to a better direction for NEA. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is the glass half full?


Gratification Paradox
Student: My school district hires too many white teachers – The Washington Post is a really thoughtful first-person piece from a student in the New Orleans school system that was posted in a private teacher discussion group which I’m part of. Since it’s a private group, I’m going to talk pretty generally about that aspect of it. When I first looked at the discussion I thought it looked pretty good. Lot’s of folks talking pretty seriously about the subject. The glass looked half-full, to me. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Tenure?


In the aftermath of the initial Vergara decision, there are lots of questions about effects. Having taught in a public school under a turn-around model, where hiring and being retained, was based solely on the discretion of the site administrator, I think I already have a pretty good idea of what that will look like, and it’s not good for kids or the communities they live in. Read the rest of this entry »

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All of Ms. Mercer's work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Howdy! I teach sixth grade at an elementary school in Sacramento, CA. I started my career in Oakland, Ca, and moved here to Sacramento in 2001.

My goals are:

  1. To reflect on how I am teaching, and how effective my practices are;
  2. To reflect on my profession, and how effective various practices are;
  3. To understand the political and cultural context that we teach in; and,
  4. To network with other like-minded educators.

To help me reach my goals, I use this blog as a place for me to reflect on best practices, and the practices I’m (trying to) putting in place in my classroom.

I can be contacted here.


The views expressed here are those of the writer and do not those of Sacramento City Unified School District.