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Showing posts from June, 2015

Because Efficiency, Not Security

I attended a recent professional development session about the new SAT to be administered this coming spring to every junior in Michigan. I won't comment on the statewide change from ACT to SAT because I think enough people already have; just know that there are those that are quietly raising eyebrows at what appears to be an amassing monopoly by College Board and David Coleman.

While I found this session helpful at demystifying some of the things my students will eventually be asked to do on a test, I found it a little unsettling that, when asked about the need to time the test by a member of the audience, the company's representative responded that it was a "security measure."

In my three years as a teacher, I've overheard students countless times warning others about what was on the quiz or test in a class that other students are fortunate enough to take later in the day. I get that. Although that raises larger concerns about the way students are being assesse…

Keeping Track of a Classroom Library

This past year, I used Booksource's Classroom Organizer to keep track of the 1,200+ titles in my classroom library. (There's also a mobile app that comes in really hand when scanning new books.) I wanted to share a few things that I learned along the way, including the tweaks I might make for next year.

Double Check to Ensure Check-In:
Unless the window pops up to ensure that a book has been checked in, it hasn't been. While I think this may be because of the somewhat unreliable wireless I have in my classroom, I'm finding that many titles that are "checked out" are really back on the shelves. Don't move on to the next book to return until this message pops up! 

On a similar note, I began placing books alphabetically on shelves by titles instead of authors. This helped a lot with the report that I could pull of "Current Books Checked Out" because it is organized by title and doesn't include the authors' names. I realized that students might…

186 Unique Lessons

I've been working on this post for a while now. I wanted to write an end-of-the-year reflection on my third year of teaching, and I had initially planned to write a lesson that each of my 186 students had taught me this year. Along the way, I felt like it worked more to include some general reflective lessons I've learned, too. So here's a list, although it certainly isn't 186 items long!
Don't assume a student's work was done by someone else. They just might be able to write in cursive. Students can be incredibly mature and think globally. Give them this prompt, and you might just be surprised: "The world needs to have a conversation about..." For this student, it was "unity." Quiet doesn't mean they can't contribute. They just might need an extra push. Helping a friend memorize her recitation might just mean the first friend memorizes it too. Students have writing interests outside our class. In fact, they might write so much that …