Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Standards and End of School Year Reality

Well, this school year is rapidly coming to a close.....we have the scrambled schedule of testing looming ahead of us, and the gross student apathy that always shows up afterwards.

And, like just about every year I have taught, I am not close to having covered the ton of California State History standards for seventh graders. But then again, those state History standards were developed with the idea, odd as it may be in reality, that our students would come to us having learned at least some of the state History standards for grades five and six. So anyhow, I will do the usual "pick and choose" standards for what I haven't gotten to yet; choice lessons in the histories of Japan, Medieval Europe, and the American Native American Civilizations.

So, why is there so much to cover and why is it that students did not study history in grades five and six? From my perspective, the course of study for World History is too broad. We should be focusing on a few narrower topics, such as Contributions of China to our society and culture. Lets face it, while it is history, how important is it for students to "Describe the commercial developments during the T'ang and Song periods" of Chinese history ? As for why there is so much to cover, my guess, meself not being a member of the educational bureaucratic machine that does not teach or deal with students on a daily basis, is that there is this utopia theory of educational standards design. In a perfect world, with no ELL, Special Education, apathetic, lazy, unmotivated, undisciplined, and hormonally unstable young people, all the material in the history standards for each school year would be covered and students would learn tons of stuff about people and what they have done on planet earth. But in reality, at least in the school district where I teach, teaching history standards (and Science, PE, Art, Music) are abandoned by the wayside in preference to teaching students to be ready (hopefully) for what they are tested upon and by what your school is judged upon......Math and Language Arts.

So, between now and the end, my students will get Samurai, Castles, Vikings, the Black Death, the Reformation, Mayans and Aztecs. Maybe if we have a bit of time, a taste of the Scientific Revolution and Incan Civilization.

How are you doing in relation to covering all of your standards ?

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