Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Time Commitment to Become Certified To Teach

I am sad to report that one of my fellow bloggers on this site has taken a leave of absence. I understand she plans to return next year to continue. I sure hope so. The teacher certification program is a tough commitment. It is all time consuming but I figured if I can't honor my commitment to this program, how can I honor my commitment to my profession. It's not easy - there are some nights I can't sleep; there are some evenings I wonder if I have what it takes; and there are some weeks I wonder how I am doing this. I do this because I truly want to. I do have other commitments and I will just have to juggle like everyone else. How do you handle such a commitment or balance it with other commitments?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Observation and Question

Last week in our dyad, Chris and I graded papers. Since he and I both had worked with a particular set of sisters before, we were well aware when we came across their perfect homework exercises there was no way either sister did the work.

Chris and I talked with the teacher, but still questioned, what do you do when you know the homework was completed by a parent? Both girls are on IEP's is that makes any difference. The teacher gives 5 points for attempting the work not for doing it correctly. These students did not do the work. Do you withhold the 5 points? Will that inspire the girls to try to complete the work? Would you address the problem with the parent?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Media Literacy

Interesting view into media literacy. This is a good video that brings the importance of teaching media literacy into perspective for students today.

Friday, November 28, 2008

DO NOT bad mouth your teaching colleagues

This happened in my middle school dyad which is why I'm posting it here; however, I think it applies anywhere. I was visiting other classrooms in other subjects and one of the teachers I visited was very negative about his workload and his lack of power in comparison to other teachers. I am sure he felt he had a legitimate grievance but I could feel my respect eroding immediately when he downloaded on a relative stranger. I was not in a position to help him and after that conversation, I saw him as a complainer rather than an effective teacher.

Knowing how the listener feels, I will be very careful in the way I voice my opinions about my teaching colleagues. He was the opposite of being professional which really brings home the importance of behaving professionally.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Transitioning to Middle School

I find it interesting that there are many concerns about the middle school students academics as well as the transitioning to middle school from grammar or primary school. I stubbled across a web site that provided some information that may be of interest to some.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Using Notes on Tests

Today was the first day my dyad teacher (6th grade math) explicitly stated that students should take detailed notes, because they will be able to use those notes on the upcoming quiz. Once this information was processed, the students were extremely engaged in note taking for the remainder of the period. It also got me wondering what the pros and cons of allowing students to use notes on quizzes might be, and if it is an overall positive or negative for the students.


Letting students know in advance that they can use notes on upcoming quizzes is a great way to get the entire class to take notes. The process of writing down information from a discussion or lecture increases the likelihood that the processed information will be retained.


Do the kids learn the material, or just right it down? Assessing learning on quizzes where notes are being used is something I think would be very difficult.

I'm sure there are more pros and cons out there, and please feel free to add to this list in the comments section.

I spoke with my dyad teacher at the end of the day and she also pointed out that using notes on quizzes makes more sense for some units than for others. For instance, in units where lots of notes are being taken, it makes more sense than units with very few notes. Also, I think that allowing students to use notes on quizzes, but not on tests, might be a good way to keep a carrot out for taking notes, but also still be able to have a quantifiable assessment in the test. I think allowing students to use notes on quizzes is an overall positive, but only with supplementary means of assessment.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Video Teaching

I found the above video after a quick search of "Middle School Math" on YouTube. He does a perfectly fine job of teaching how substituting variables works, and the video also serves as a refresher for the Order of Operations. I think this video would be a great addition to a math curriculum, but as a stand-alone video I would only expect the self-starting students to understand the substitution method after watching this video.

I was shown a similar chart in either 6th or 7th grade Language Arts, and it has stuck with me since. According to the learning pyramid chart, the information in the above math video would be retained by 30% of the students. Again, I think the math video was well put together and has all the facts down pat, but even with a perfect video, only 30% retention will occur, and that is not good enough. Having this video in a lesson that also includes practice doing the methods and discussing the substitution of variables afterward, would be a great way to include this video in the classroom.