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?"

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Back in the Trenches: educationese, B2SN, Something that Irks me....

I thought of an interesting bit of "Educational language" the other day.....as I was writing the directions for a history "Expansion of the Roman Empire" 4 + 4 activity, a "different" way to tell the students to copy some information for their project occurred to me. So, I wrote for them to "Transfer data" from the text source to their 4 + 4 paper. "Transfer data" = copy. Wadda ya think ?

We had our "Back to School Night" last week. It was really a grind, and from what I could see and what I experienced, tough on us teachers and the parents who attended. Here is what I noticed:

Time. We teachers were not allotted enough time to complete our presentation about our class to the parents. In years past, we'd had as much as 15 minutes to do so. For reasons unexplained to us teachers, this time was reduced to 12 minutes, then 10 minutes and this year, nine minutes. I was not able to tell the parents about the standards, the text, class activities, etc., in that amount of time. There was no time for parents to ask questions. Move 'em in, move 'em out.

Like our students, parents at Back to School Night also got a taste of what their child experiences in having to rush around campus on a four-minute passing period. Get out of class asap, rush to the next class.

At our Back to School night, students were in attendance. I discovered many students, even after it being politely asked to do so, refused to give up the seat in the classroom for an adult who did not have a seat. This bothers me.....is it hedonism? Or just a lack of respect for their "elders". I didn't force the issue at this time, but I really wonder about the values these parents are and are not teaching their offspring? Is such inconsideration just local or is it pretty universal now?

The day after our back to school night, I received a nice e-mail from an administrator from another school district (whose child attends our school), thanking me for a nice back to school night and for the good start his child is having in junior high. Teachers heard nothing from our own administrators regarding Back to School Night. At least I heard nothing. Not a single one of the three administrators at my school popped into my presentations. Nor did I hear from any of my fellow teachers that they stopped by their B2SN presentations either.

A parent who attended told me they were not too pleased with having so many power point presentations for B2SN. That it was boring. He asked me if that was what his child experienced at our school? Several parents also complained that the video presentation from the principal was hard or impossible to hear and that because of the tiny TV/Monitor screens in the classrooms, any graphic that was shown on the screen was unreadable from further than 20 feet away. Ain't technology great !

I will have words with a few of my fellow teachers when some of them again send students from their classes, without a pass, to my classroom in the middle of class, to retrieve some item said student forgot in my classroom. ( GIVE the kid a *&^%$#@ pencil!!!!!) I hate such interruptions ! Why can't these teachers use some common sense and just tell said students, "TOO BAD. Go back after school or maybe between classes??????" Or give them some paper or something to write with !!!! How much thinking does it entail not to purposely interrupt another teachers class???? Is such inconsideration just local or is it pretty universal now? Auch, there's that same question again !

Oh, if you were wondering what a 4 + 4 assignment is, it is basically a sheet of paper divided into four sections that students put data and then create a picture to illustrate that data. For the ""Expansion of the Roman Empire" 4 + 4" activity, students 'Transferred data' from a standards summary booklet into one section, then had to study the eight bits of data about Rome expanding its empire and pick the three most important factors. They then wrote the factor in a section and are to create an illustration to depict it. 4 + 4's are similar to 6 + 6's or I guess as many language arts people refer to them, storyboards.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Back to School Night

We have our annual "Back to School Night" coming up soon. If your classroom is like mine, there tends to be quite a variety of people rushing in for our ten minute presentations about the class.....Moms, Dads, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, students and most years, the young siblings of my junior high students. Geeze, how thrilling for a pre-school child, to go to older brother or cousins classes.....rushing here and there through the crowds, in one room and soon to rush out to another B-O-R-I-N-G place......

Anyhow, I have found over the years, many appreciative adults in my classes when I ask their youngin' if they'd like some crayons, paper to color on or a picture to color. This gives the wee ones something to do, helps them endure the grueling pace of "Back to School Night" at someplace they probably have never been and helps the other parents and myself not be disrupted as often as could happen by tired, cranky, BORED little ones. There are lots of coloring pages you can print from a variety of websites ( just do a Google or whatever is your search engine of choice) on an "images" search for coloring pages or coloring books. Or buy a couple of cheap coloring books at a nearby 99-cent store and tear out a few pages for the kiddies that are dragged along on a visit to your class. Crayons are easy enough to obtain too.....some stores practically give them away during "back to school" sales times....

Oh, this works well if wee ones are brought to parent-teacher-student conferences too.

Have a Good "Back to School Night" when your school has theirs!

Thanks for reading my blog.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Wanted....help against the "Brick in the Wall".

Help. Do any of you have suggests for three teachers who have greatly different teaching techniques and variable comfort levels with technology, who are being told to teach the same unit to their students at the same time using the same materials ? IS this possible without the use of the dreaded pacing guides and scripted lessons? Your wisdom, assistance and help are greatly appreciated.

Yes, we realize the issues with such doings; time limits/crunch in reteaching if students don't get it v. "getting through the massive amount of curriculum we are expected to cover", vastly different levels of student ability in each classroom, and grossly limiting any kind of extra or more in-depth coverage of something of interest to the teacher or students.......

Thanks for reading this blog.