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Tony Richards

The Atlantic Online | January/February 2010 | What Makes a Great Teacher? | Amanda Ripley - 14 views

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    "What Makes a Great Teacher? Image credit: Veronika Lukasova Also in our Special Report: National: "How America Can Rise Again" Is the nation in terminal decline? Not necessarily. But securing the future will require fixing a system that has become a joke. Video: "One Nation, On Edge" James Fallows talks to Atlantic editor James Bennet about a uniquely American tradition-cycles of despair followed by triumphant rebirths. Interactive Graphic: "The State of the Union Is ..." ... thrifty, overextended, admired, twitchy, filthy, and clean: the nation in numbers. By Rachael Brown Chart: "The Happiness Index" Times were tough in 2009. But according to a cool Facebook app, people were happier. By Justin Miller On August 25, 2008, two little boys walked into public elementary schools in Southeast Washington, D.C. Both boys were African American fifth-graders. The previous spring, both had tested below grade level in math. One walked into Kimball Elementary School and climbed the stairs to Mr. William Taylor's math classroom, a tidy, powder-blue space in which neither the clocks nor most of the electrical outlets worked. The other walked into a very similar classroom a mile away at Plummer Elementary School. In both schools, more than 80 percent of the children received free or reduced-price lunches. At night, all the children went home to the same urban ecosystem, a zip code in which almost a quarter of the families lived below the poverty line and a police district in which somebody was murdered every week or so. Video: Four teachers in Four different classrooms demonstrate methods that work (Courtesy of Teach for America's video archive, available in February at teachingasleadership.org) At the end of the school year, both little boys took the same standardized test given at all D.C. public schools-not a perfect test of their learning, to be sure, but a relatively objective one (and, it's worth noting, not a very hard one). After a year in Mr. Taylo
Ed Webb

Grading and Its Discontents - Do Your Job Better - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 8 views

  • Most students bring with them an unhealthy attitude toward grading that has been instilled in them by parents and schoolteachers, an attitude based on the flawed assumption that grades are supposed to function as "carrots and sticks." Consequently, it's not enough for me to simply convey the mechanics of my grading policy; I must also ensure that students acquire a more accurate conception of grading, one that will enhance—rather than impede—their learning.
  • Since grades have only instrumental value—rather than any intrinsic value—they must be treated as only means to some end, and never as ends in themselves. I tell my students: If your primary goal in college is to receive good grades, you will probably view the required work as an onerous obstacle and you're not likely to feel very motivated to do the work. But you are most likely to receive good grades when you are so focused on learning that grades have ceased to matter.
  • The students seems to be assuming that they already had a full score and that the professor is therefore responsible for taking away some of what rightfully belonged to them. Needless to say, that is a mistaken assumption.
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  • Learning is never directly caused by anything that a professor does. It happens as a result of the student's own activities (reading, thinking, writing, etc.), while the professor can only facilitate that process. Since the responsibility for learning lies with the student, so does the burden of demonstrating that he or she has actually achieved that learning.
  • being told that the entire life plan of a young man or woman depends on what grade I give them does put me in an awkward situation psychologically: I don't wish to be the person who destroys someone's dream, but I also have a strong need for integrity. It would be best for both parties if students simply do not share this kind of information with faculty members.
  • Professors rarely observe their students outside of the classroom or lab, which is why we are in no position to judge how hard or long someone has studied. We can only assess their actual performance. A student using ineffective methods of study would have to work a lot harder and a lot longer than a student who is using effective methods
  • Some students must invest more time and effort than other students in order to receive the same grade. That may seem unjust, I tell students, but it simply mimics the way "real life" functions
  • You are not your grades. I want my students to avoid defining themselves in terms of a grade. I want them to know that grades represent nothing more than someone's assessment of one or more instances of their academic performance. Given the nature of the grading process and the limited purposes for which it is designed, the grades they receive are in no way a reflection of who they are as people or even what they are capable of achieving in the long run.
  • I believe that when students see their grades as pieces of information, rather than as external rewards or punishments, or as mechanisms of control, they are much more likely to discover the joy that is inherent in the very experience of learning.
Vicki Davis

Xerox stepping into grading school papers - 1 views

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    Grading handwritten answers by students as a feature of a copier? Producing data analytics as a result. IF this works, it will not only sell more copiers, but also make handwritten work more of a commodity. Maybe if a computer can quickly grade the easy stuff, teachers can spend more time assessing project based learning and other work that computers cannot do. This won't help me much - except when I teach binary numbers and memory conversion which do require me to check work (I never do multiple choice.) I could see how math teachers would be thrilled. "Xerox later this year plans to roll out Ignite, a software and web-based service that turns the numerous copiers/scanners/printers it has in schools across the United States into paper-grading machines. Unlike such staples of the educational system as Scantron, which uses special forms where students choose an answer and fill in the corresponding bubble, Ignite will grade work where the answers are written in by the students, such as the numeric answer to a math problem. Ignite takes right and wrong answers and turns them into web-accessible data for teachers with reports that say whether a student or groups of students are consistently having more trouble with certain kinds of math problems. Those reports can be used by teachers to tailor what they're teaching - such as by identifying what group of students needs more help with a certain topic - or given to students so they know where they should focus their studying. It also opens the door to specific tests or homework assignments for specific students becoming more the norm, each tailored to academic strengths and weaknesses."
Vicki Davis

westwood » 2008 Computer Basics - 0 views

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    I was pleased with how this introductory unit turned out. You'll notice, we created wikis, I had assigned 2 grades, one for technical (do they know how to do things) and another as the regular grade. For bonus for the test, students could make flashcards on proprofs (they are printable) or games on classtools.net and embed in the wiki. Also included is the assignment and my grading rubric made in excel. Sharing in case you'd like to use something similar. There are many ways to introduce wikis. First, each student created a sandbox page with basic requirements, then, this was their first group project.
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    Assignment for computer fundamentals - first wiki team project of 9th grade year.
Vicki Davis

Keyboarding Portfolio Including QR Codes - Resources - TES - 10 views

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    I've uploaded the portfolio assignment that I use for my one semester 8th grade keyboarding class. It includes movie making, self creation of rubrics, MLA paper writing, memos, block letters, blogging, and an efolio component along with QR Codes. I wanted to share this but also was testing the functionality of the site for sharing resources. Hope you'll share. (Note: KS3 in the UK means grades 7-9 - the site will be adding US grade levels soon.)
Ed Webb

Views: Why Grading Is Part of My Job - Inside Higher Ed - 3 views

  • Grades serve no pedagogical function at all. (Detailed feedback does, but that's an entirely different matter.) Grading is about nothing more than efficiently communicating to other institutions the level of learning we, the teachers, estimate (and it is only an estimation) each student gained. Unfortunately, students not only want to know about the content of that communication (understandably enough) but, for many, maximizing the grade (rather than the learning itself) has become their primary goal in taking courses. If we had no grades, then students' own personal sense of learning would be all that they got out of taking courses, and they would focus on that instead. (And it would make courses a much more interesting and productive place to be.)
Jerrid Kruse

The Wired Campus - Duke Professor Uses 'Crowdsourcing' to Grade - The Chronicle of High... - 0 views

  • Learning is more than earning an A says Cathy N. Davidson, the professor, who recently returned to teach English and interdisciplinary studies after eight years in administration. But students don't always see it that way. Vying for an A by trying to figure out what a professor wants or through the least amount of work has made the traditional grading scale superficial, she says.
  • "Do all the work, you get an A. Don't need an A? Don't have time to do all the work? No problem. You can aim for and earn a B. There will be a chart.  You do the assignment satisfactorily, you get the points.  Add up the points, there's your grade. Clearcut. No guesswork. No second-guessing 'what the prof wants.' No gaming the system," Ms. Davidson wrote Sunday in a blog post detailing her strategy on hastac.org (pronounced "haystack"), the acronym for  "humanities, arts, science, and technology-advanced collaboration.," which she co-founded.
  • It's important to teach students how to be responsible contributors to evaluations and assessment. Students are contributing and assessing each other on the Internet anyway, so why not make that a part of learning?"
Martin Burrett

Early intervention is better for children overcoming reading difficulties - 0 views

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    "A University of Alberta education researcher who achieved dramatic results with early assessment and intervention to help Grade 1 and 2 students with reading difficulties says there's still a chance to help these students in Grade 3. George Georgiou, a professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, along with his collaborators Rauno Parrila at Macquarie University and Robert Savage from the University College of London, started working with 290 Grade 1 students from 11 Edmonton public schools in 2015-16."
Martin Burrett

Disadvantaged students with lower grades do just as well on medical degrees - 0 views

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    "Students from some of England's worst-performing secondary schools who enrol on medical degrees with lower A Level grades, on average, do at least as well as their peers from top performing schools, a new study has revealed. The research also found that students from poorly performing schools who match the top A-Level grades achieved by pupils from the best performing schools, go on to do better during a medical degree."
Ed Webb

The Fall, and Rise, of Reading - 1 views

  • During a normal week — whether in two-year or four-year colleges, in the humanities or STEM — about 20 to 40 percent of students do the reading.
  • The average college student in the United States spends six to seven hours a week on assigned reading, according to the National Survey of Student Engagement (which started tracking the statistic in 2013). Other countries report similarly low numbers. But they’re hard to compare with the supposed golden age of the mid-20th century, when students spent some 24 hours a week studying, Baron says. There were far fewer students, they were far less diverse, and their workload was less varied — “studying” meant, essentially, reading books.
  • more students are on track to being ready for college-level reading in eighth and 10th grade” — about 62 percent — “than are actually ready by the time they reach 12th grade.
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  • The scores of fourth- and eighth-graders on reading tests have climbed steadily since the 1990s, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. But those of 12th-graders have fallen. Just 37 percent of high-school seniors graduate with “proficiency” in reading, meaning they can read a text for both its literal and its inferential meanings.
  • While those with bachelor’s and graduate degrees maintained the highest levels of literacy overall, those groups also experienced the steepest declines. Just 31 percent of college graduates were considered proficient readers in 2003, by that test’s definition, down from 40 percent in 1992.
  • “We quickly realized that unless you actually assign a grade for the out-of-class component, students just won’t do it,”
  • “Harvard students are really not that different in terms of how they behave. They’re bright, they’re academically more gifted,” she says. But they’re also “incredibly good at figuring out how to do exactly what they need to do to get the grade. They’re incredibly strategic. And I think that’s really true of students everywhere.”
  • turns the classroom into a social-learning environment
  • “We have young people who are coming away from high school with a very sort of test-driven training — I won’t call it education — training in reading.”
  • Teaching students how to read in college feels “remedial” to many professors
  • Faculty members are trained in their disciplines. “They don’t want to be reading teachers. I don’t think it’s a lack of motivation,” says Columbia’s Doris Perin. “They don’t feel they have the training.” Nor do they want to “infantilize” students by teaching basic comprehension skills, she says.
  • Tie reading to a grade: Quizzes and assigned journals, which can determine about 20 percent of the final grade, can double or even triple reading compliance — but rote formats that seem to exist for their own sake can encourage skimming or feel punitive.“Do away with the obvious justifications for not doing the reading,” says Naomi Baron, at American U. “If you summarize everything that’s in the reading, why should students do it?”Ask students to make arguments, compare, and contrast — higher- order skills than factual recall.Using different media is fine, but maintain rigor. “You can do critical reading of anything that has essentially an academic argument in it,” says David Jolliffe, at the U. of Arkansas. Video and audio, in fact, may sometimes be better than textbooks — what he calls “predigested food.”Explicitly tie out-of-class reading to in-class instruction, going over points of confusion and connecting lessons and texts to each other.Teach reading skills. “Hundreds” of strategies exist, all of which make “explicit the processes that proficient readers use without thinking about it,” says Doris Perin, at Columbia.
  • “A lot of faculty members, myself included, are saying, If they’re not doing the reading, we can get unhappy, we can get angry,” she says. “Or we can do something about it.”
Vicki Davis

Reading Standards for Informational Text (Grades 3-5) - 11 views

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    As you work to integrate Common Core standards into your classroom, it may help to look at sample lessons. In this set, you can see lessons, presentations, and assessments working with informational text (grades 3-5). Remember that you can search the site by grade level and common core standard and that other subject areas besides Common Core are included on the site.
Vicki Davis

In Florida, virtual school could make classrooms history - 1 views

  • A new law that takes effect next fall requires every district in the state to set up an online school for kindergarten through eighth-grade students. They won't have to get on the bus -- or even get out of their PJs -- to head to school at the family computer.
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    Florida takes a huge step forward (or backwards?) in virtual ed.
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    A new law requires every district to set up an online school for grades K-8th grade. I'm just curious about a few things -- why the arbitrary selection of ages? I'm not sure that virtual education is a good idea for k, 1, 2 -- would need to be convinced. To me, it has great application for high school -- but yet high school isn't part of it. Many virtual classes I've seen are NOT well constructed and the online teachers aren't accessible. The teacher must be there while teachers are learning. Just have a lot of ideas here but questions too!
Vicki Davis

Mrs. Adams' Third Grade Class - 7 views

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    I got a nice thank you note from Miranda Adams from the blogger post I wrote yesterday. I hope you'll take time to read her third grade blog. Here is her mission: "I teach third grade in a HIGH poverty county. I am the ONLY teacher I know of in my area that uses a blog to try to bridge the home-school gap but I'm at a loss for how to do it. I truly want to make a difference because I feel like I am the only person some of these kids have." What a beautiful teacher and a hero! This is a lovely blog and obviously a work of love!
Vicki Davis

Grades PreK-6 Lesson planning guide for Obama speech - 0 views

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    This is the lesson planning guide for grades PreK-6th grade for the President's speech on September 8th.
Dave Truss

Dangerously Irrelevant: It's not 'the tests.' It's us. - 0 views

  • It's not ‘the tests.’ It's our unwillingness and/or inability to do something different, something better. It's not ‘the tests.’ It's us.
    • Dave Truss
       
      Note the highlighted comment as well- scary!
  • In my state, students don't take standardized tests until third grade, but test preparation was a major focus in K-2. Students did little but complete worksheet after worksheet in kindergarten. The block corner was gone, there was no snack time, the dress-up box was taken away, and recess was reduced to just a few minutes. My son and his classmates sat at their little tables and silently filled out worksheets for the majority of the day. Talking, laughing or getting out of your seat was frowned upon. In first grade, the timed math tests began. Shortly after students learned how to add and subtract, they were given daily math facts timed tests in order to "prepare" them for the ITBS math computation tests in third grade. Those lucky enough to pass the tests had their names posted on the winners wall in the classroom. Those who couldn't pass, were sent to the hallway to do flashcards with parent volunteers. In second grade, the timed oral reading tests began. Each week, all students were required to read aloud as fast as they could while they were timed with a stop watch. Those that could spit the words out quickly enough to meet the benchmark number were rewarded with free reading time. Those that were deemed too slow, were given practice pages to read aloud, over and over again. In third grade, they started timed writing tests. His classroom held a weekly contest to see who could write a paragraph the fastest using that week's vocabulary words. The vocabulary words were test prep for ITBS. The fastest child's paragraph was posted on the wall for all to admire. Kids learned very early on that faster meant smarter and that slower meant stupid. NCLB plays a part in the way school has been reduced to test preparation, but teachers chose to use all of these truly awful methods in the classroom. Teachers could have chosen different, more engaging, and more developmentally appropriate teaching methods, but they didn't.
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    We must take ownership of our own culpability... It's not 'the tests.' It's our unwillingness and/or inability to do something different, something better. It's not 'the tests.' It's us.
Patti Porto

Connecting the Common Core to iOS Apps K-3 - Home - 8 views

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    This page will help to correlate iOS Apps with Common Core Standards grades K-3. Goal for completion is August 2013. Check any Math section or Grades K-2 in Reading as they are nearly done. Thanks
Ed Webb

Peru's ambitious laptop program gets mixed grades - Yahoo! News - 0 views

  • what we did was deliver the computers without preparing the teachers
  • the missteps may have actually widened the gap between children able to benefit from the computers and those ill-equipped to do so
  • Inter-American Development Bank researchers were less polite."There is little solid evidence regarding the effectiveness of this program," they said in a study sharply critical of the overall OLPC initiative that was based on a 15-month study at 319 schools in small, rural Peruvian communities that got laptops."The magical thinking that mere technology is enough to spur change, to improve learning, is what this study categorically disproves," co-author Eugenio Severin of Chile told The Associated Press
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  • OLPC laptops, which are rugged and energy efficient and run an open-source variant of the Linux operating system, are in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Mongolia and Haiti, and even in the United States and Australia. Uruguay, a compact South American nation of 3.5 million people, is the only country that has fully embraced the concept and given every elementary school child and teacher an XO laptop
  • no increased math or language skills, no improvement in classroom instruction quality, no boost in time spent on homework, no improvement in reading habits
  • On the positive side, the "dramatic increase in access to computers" accelerated by about six months students' abstract reasoning, verbal fluency and speed in processing information
  • "We knew from the start that it wouldn't be possible to improve the teachers," he said, citing a 2007 census of 180,000 Peruvian teachers that showed more than 90 percent lacked basic math skills while three in five could not read above sixth-grade level.
  • Each teacher was supposed to get 40 hours of OLPC training. That hardly helped in schools where teachers had never so much as booted up a computer. In Patzer's experience "most of them barely knew how to interact with the computers at all."
  • In the higher grades, Martinez said, children's use of the machines is mostly social
  • "For them, the laptop is more for playing than for learning,"
  • Negroponte thinks the main goal of technology educators should be simply getting computers into poor kids' hands.His proposal last year to parachute tablet computers from helicopters, limiting the involvement of adults and "educators," caused some colleagues to wince. But Negroponte is dead serious, and has begun a pilot project in two Ethiopian villages to test whether tablets alone, loaded with the right software, can teach children to read.
  • The OLPC team always considered Internet connectivity part of the recipe for success. They also insisted that each child be given a laptop and be permitted to take it home.Uruguay, a small, flat country with a far higher standard of living and ubiquitous Internet, has honored those requirementsPeru did not
  • Some schools didn't have enough electricity to power the machines.And then there was the Internet. Less than 1 percent of the schools studied had it.
Vicki Davis

Jaden's Awesome Blog - 3 views

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    Started in November 2010 in Mrs. Yollis' Grade 3 class and he's the winner of tonight's best student blog. He's in fourth grade. Edublog awards. He went and said thank you tonight. His thank you was so touching.
Vicki Davis

Curriculum Exemplars | EngageNY - 7 views

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    Engage NH has some examples of lessons that they consider exemplars for English Language arts grades 6-12 and math grades 1,2,7, and high school. IF you're looking to see what this looks like in practice, here are some that you'll want to review.
Vicki Davis

MobyMax: Complete K-8 Curriculum - 8 views

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    I got this notice from Moby Max. There are a proliferation of websites that let you check and have kids working in online spaces like this. Remember that these can be helpful, but you should and must have students programming and inventing with computers. These can be very helpful but are only one use of the computer. Below is what they sent me about the service. Please let me know if you're using this (educators only, please). "MobyMax has just released the easiest way to get your students motivated and start the year off right-a free 119 prize school contest. Within the first ten minutes of releasing the free 119 prize contest on Monday with no announcement, 22 schools signed up! Not only are the contest and 119 prizes free, but MobyMax curriculum is free as well. (You may remember that teachers can upgrade to the Pro version for just $79 per year, but the prizes, contest, and curriculum are completely free whether you upgrade or not!) We are also proud to announce our students' results from the last school year. The results from over 600,000 students showed that those who used MobyMax for 40 hours averaged more than a 1.4 grade level increase in math and a 1.5 grade level increase in language. Students answered over 1 million problems in MobyMax's new reading module released this summer."
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