I just finished teaching about ecology and evolution first semester. I had been reading on the NSTA listserv that some teachers were flipping around the curricular maps to teach these big concepts at first and then get into the details of cell biology and physiology later in the year. I tried this and I will see this semester if it is a good fit. I change the layout of my room often. I change the order of doing main topics in the curriculum. I try new ways of doing things all the time. I can’t imagine teaching every year the same way the same lessons, all the time. I have a few lessons I teach the same way each year. One in particular is the Sponge Bob genetics worksheet lesson. I need to improve on this one as well though. It didn’t work as well as I think it should the last time I did it, so I want to incorporate some actual physical model and do the work as a group discovery assignment. Why do I change things so much? It keeps things fresh and new for the students. And the students need customized lessons that really bring home the learning.
When someone used to say “Word gets around” this would be in a matter of days, this was before the telephone. Now though it must be pretty instantaneous. I posted some tweets last night, and lo and behold the next morning I had an Amazon ad in my email with much of the verbiage of the text of the tweets repeated in the choice of books that Amazon was recommending. I know this is internet marketing at its best; but it is a little disconcerting.
I had time to do some research. Well, I have found some of the answers to my questions about Common Core and assessments and I found them at this link. I found that there is not a specified nor is there a required assessment for the Common Core. There is no required curriculum.
It is sad that Nicholas Tampio did not understand that when he wrote his article “Do we need Common Core?” in the Huffington Post. So I continued my research with the link to Peter Greene’s site on Diane Ravitch’s blog, which referenced the document put out by Pearson “Preparing for a Renaissance in Assessment” by Peter Hill and Michael Barber.
All in all, Pearson wants assessment to take decision making away from teachers and put it into the hands of micromanaging assessments, which the authors believe will improve student outcomes. I still need to read this one thoroughly as it is put out by the makers of the PARCC test.
My first research article I found about assessments and student outcomes is rather old but I will add to the list soon, nevertheless, this article published in 2007 shows how “High Stakes Tests Do Not Improve Student Learning.”
There will be more to come of my opinion but my first inkling of what I would propose would be in the area of portfolio assessments. I have started my research in that area as well.
I cooked a big turkey and ham dinner today and it all turned out well. There is so much food left even with sending quite a bit of it with the departing family members. I didn’t do much online reading or thinking about education or anything at all for that matter. I guess it is good to just take a break from everything and just do the domestic thing.
I have always thought it very important to have family meals. Even though now, we have our meals in front of the TV, we still eat together. Why is eating together such an important part of family life? When I was a child it was a time to talk and tell the events of the day, and sometimes to even have grand discussions of many different things. My father used to play devil’s advocate for anything I brought us as a debatable point of view.
Besides the fact that meals are best served fresh and hot, I feel that this time is a way for the family unit to share their day and bond after being apart. What do y0u think? Why and how is family meal time important to you?
Well thank you to the three followers I now have to this blog. Posting regularly really does seem to work.
A student about 5 weeks ago asked me to write and perform a blog for the class. It was sort of a challenge and I don’t think he thought I could do it. This is what I came up with and I thought it was spot on.
Biology is life
and life is chemistry
biology is rad
you learn about cells
then you learn about atoms
you can’t have the one
without the other
cells are made of molecules
and those are made of atoms
from DNA to sodium
all these things
make up the living
plus the non-living
biology is life
and life is chemistry
In a most recent comment I made on Diane Ravitch’s blog I said somewhat offhandedly; there is nothing really wrong with the focuses of Common Core. (I really think there are good things about the Common Core, as it will enhance learning in the classroom. The problems is, how will the students be assessed?) This elicited a comment from another person which came from a truly political point of view. The focus of this comment was toward how the standards got started, who had input, and most of all the high stake testing tied to it.
I think this the root of the problem, the testing. These are the questions I really need to research: When the states sign on to use Common Core do they have to pick the PARCC or the SBAC or can they develop their own tests? Do they have to use tests at all? Is this shift to Common Core tied up with NCLB?. I don’t understand all the ties between NCLB and Common Core but I am going to find out. As I read through Diane’s blogs I will check and see if there are ways I can cut to the chase and find out the answers to my questions without magnanimous research of my own.
I am really getting fed up with what I have learned from reading Diane’s blogs about charter schools. When I was a child I used to listen to a record which had the story of Hansel and Gretel. In the story the mother of the children says to her husband, “Something has to be done, husband, something has to be done!” She sounded really devilish on the record. I feel like saying the same thing to anyone who will hear me, and I would say it with evil thoughts about how our tax payer money supports schools which are not accountable for how they spend the money. This is where the story of Hansel and Gretel departs from the gist of my opinion. Money I could be using in my classroom to enhance students education is being spent elsewhere. I want to feed the children not lose them in the forest.