Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Treat

When the Superintendent schedules his visit on Halloween, you always kind of hold your breath and hope the roof doesn't cave in as the sugar levels reach epic proportions. So, there I am, awaiting the latest visit, cleaning out all the junk from my office and sprucing up every corner of the kingdom when the Superintendent not only shows up in Halloween costume as a washed up surfer, but has brought bags of treats for all the kids and the only scolding I get is that I haven't donned my Abraham Lincoln costume yet.

I've got to say that walking around campus and watching the Superintendent hand out candy and congratulate all the students and staff for their great work was rather otherworldly. After all, it was only three years ago on that very same Halloween that he told me, "Dan, things are already slipping here at Halecrest".

Today's treat was a vindication of all the hard work everyone has been engaged in and demonstrated the amount of trust and respect we have earned from our leader who expects the very highest level of performance from everyone.

Happy Halloween Halecrest. You've earned a sugarfest celebration.

Now, let's get back to work. :)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Modeling is really hardwork

California Teacher Guy is trying on some modeling for size and finding modeling is just another name for hard work.

Graphing Relationships

This nifty entry by Dan Meyer got me thinking about plotting educational practices at both the school and classroom level to determine relationships between a variety of factors and achievement. For example, is there a relationship between the number of minutes given to independent reading and improvement on reading comprehension, accuracy, and fluency? Is there a relationship between the amount of non-fiction reading and vocabulary learning? Hey, maybe there's a relationship between the number of minutes spent coloring and student satisfaction with school? To be fair we should analyze everybody's theory. Maybe the Crayola Curriculum critique is all wet.

Basically I think we (I mean I) still do a very poor job of proving what instructional practices and school practices are indeed having a positive effect on student learning. Here's another good one. How about the relationship between the number of worksheets completed and student retention of the stated objectives! The rain forests will thank us if we can come up with an answer to that one. If you want to look at a bunch of other nifty and creative relationships, visit Jessica Hagy's blog.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Beware the Crayola Curriculum

Touring some classes this week I came across some hard working students coloring pages during their language arts block. We've always got to be on the look out for signs of the Crayola curriculum. Joanne Jacobs shares a story of a father who had a bad experience in South Carolina with the gifted program and decided to say thanks but no thanks to Alaska's "gifted" curriculum. Believe it or not but the best way to learn to read and write is and write ... a lot! Creative, purposeful teachers understand that there is great motivation and inspiration in the written word.

Sometimes, I think some teachers just don't like to read and write, because too many seem to think of these activities as boring and uninteresting to kids. Reading an informative or exciting text and writing a meaningful message make life richer. So, put down those crayons and read and write with your kids. They'll have a blast!