February is rarely a productive month for me in writing about the classroom. Between a multi-day field trip up the hill (where I was sick) and being sick with a head cold that lasted a good three weeks, It’s been enough for me to limp into work most days. This doesn’t mean that the kids, and I, haven’t been busy.
I’ve been perfecting my weekly assessment rubric. I’m coming to the opinion that there is no perfect rubric, but when you’re starting out, there is the temptation to find “the” rubric. I’ve got a workable 5 pointer. I think what makes it work is that I know what I’m looking for (which was helped by the rubric), and probably more importantly, the kids are beginning to understand what I’m looking for.
In other news, students delivered their persuasive speeches. Some were outstanding, some needed more work. I chalk this up to not giving them great preparation. Next year, I’m thinking I’ll have a more structured approach to public speaking.
Photo Credit: No273 13 Oct 2009 Sneeze by mcfarlandmo, on Flickr
I’ve been doing a lot with short constructed writing response. Part of this is due to trainings I’m going to on Common Core for my district. The standards emphasize a written response that
sites the information from the text the question is based on. I’m not in love with the standards, but feel I can live with the upper-elementary level ones (mostly because as Tom Hoffman points out, it’s not like their worse than what was here before). I make no claims about their appropriateness for primary (the fact that NO early childhood educators or experts were included in their development is appalling), and high school (where the discussions of implementation have degenerated into a ridiculous metrics like “50% of text reading should be informational” – like you don’t get information from reading Moby Dick?).
I’ll be writing a post soon on the results of this exploration of writing I’ve been doing (two thumbs up, IMHO) for those who prefer action in the classroom to my gassing on about policy, etc. which I’ll continue to do in here in the remainder of this post. Read the rest of this entry »
For reasons I’m not going to go into, many of my plans for the classroom did not come to fruition. The one lesson I did manage to teach my students though, was just FABULOUS!
First, I must thank Andrew Dlugan at the Six Minutes site. This site is a great resource on public speaking and presentations for adults, but much of the material is accessible enough to use with older children (10+ years) with some modification. I wanted to prepare students to create and deliver persuasive speeches. To do this, I looked for resources on the three elements of persuasion; ethos, pathos, and logos. The article at Six Minutes seemed the best for my purposes. I asked some questions , and Mr. Dlugan contacted me via email when he heard about what I was planning to do. I found him to be quite helpful, and generous in his materials. I did end up re-writing a bit to make the language more accessible to my students, and to give them time for a response so I could check their understanding. Read the rest of this entry »
Fellow Sacramento teacher (and friend), Larry Ferlazzo, asked me to help him out by contributing to an article at EdWeek on “implementing Common Core”. Little did I know the minefield I was stepping into. The article has morphed into a fight between the “agnostics” (Common Core skeptics like myself and Larry), and the atheists (folks who view Common Core with the same suspicion and loathing that Richard Dawkins has for Creation “Science”).
Read the rest of this entry »
That first week back from vacation I, and my class, were on fire. They seem to look forward to the topics we’re covering (a language arts unit on taking a stand for what’s right, ecosystems in science, and Ancient Africa and India in social studies). They were chatty, but much of it was on topic. It was one of the most productive weeks of learning we’ve had. Read the rest of this entry »