Who is making the decisions for our children? Get involved in your schools and hold politicians accountable for the lack of real learning, lack of innovation, and lack of joy in schools today.
Ask you kids, “What did you do in school today?” How many times will they say, “We took or practiced for a test?” Or how many times will they say, “Nothing.” Because nothing memorable happened?
Who do you want to make a decision about your child? Would that be your child’s teacher? Chances are, those decisions are not theirs anymore.
Get involved in your schools. Visit. Ask: “Is my child learning through authentic work? projects? Or is my child drilled and practiced in taking a test?”
These experts are educators who see the ruin of public education — and want more for your child and our students than just test prep. We want innovators, problem-solvers, independent thinkers, and dreamers who will be ready for their future.
Please get involved.
Video Trailer for “Rise Above the Mark”
From Apple’s Dictionary: ORIGIN Middle English (in the sense ‘apply one’s mind, one’s energies to’): from Old French atendre, from Latin attendere, from ad- ‘to’ + tendere ‘stretch.’
To learn, we must attend, apply our minds, and stretch our knowledge. I found Peter Skillen’s comment important in this post because our students need to find their connections and passions; that often starts with small steps — reading or writing shorter blog posts or connecting with tweets and their links. They are often the reflection to solidify the learning from other areas — longer texts or critical discussions. We need both the short and the long.
Let’s find balance in our expectations and requirements for rigor and attention. Whether a tweet or classic, let’s “Stop. Look. Listen.” Dialogue. Learn.
It’s refreshing to read about the new evaluation system in a “growth mindset.”
I wonder, though, if the requirement for comprehensive evaluations provides that mindset. It requires documentation for hundreds of bullets under over forty criteria in the Marzano Framework. The original framework offered choice in growth planning; that framework would encourage growth and change.
But like this dynamic principal, we look forward to a “promise of growth.” A promise. A hope.
What hope do you see?
Originally posted on Kaizen Learning:
“Anxiety is an unpleasant state of inner turmoil.”
Many people often experience this general state of worry or fear just prior to confronting something challenging. Something that means a lot to them. Something that comes with some kind of judgement. Anxiety is most often associated with a test, interview, public performance, or presentation. The feelings that accompany anxiety are easily justified and normal. At least that is what I kept telling myself when I began to read and digest the leadership framework from which I will be evaluated this year. The more I read the more anxious I became. The anxiousnes I felt soon transitioned to feelings of inadequacy as a school leader. Especially after reading the first two rubrics:
Is proficient AND provides leadership and support such that shared vision and goals are at the forefront of attention for students and staff and at the center of their work; communicates mission, vision, and core values to community stakeholders such that the wider community knows, understands and supports the vision of the changing world in the 21st Century that schools are preparing children to enter and succeed.
— Paula Neidlinger (@pneid) January 28, 2014
Change the way you think about it.
Thanks to Paula for this bit of wisdom.
That’s my goal for reframing the focus on skills / test prep to include Authentic Projects.
I’m going to turn around my last post about blaming Henry Ford and think again about community of learners in the classroom, like when I taught writers and readers workshop.
Communities are messy; they aren’t the perfect working machine; they change and flow from one need to the next. And they get stuck in ruts. They need to “Change the way you think about it.”
I’m going to start by asking my students what “work” they want to do — as readers, researchers, and authors. Perhaps, we’ll change our way of thinking about our skills together, as a community of learners.
It’s actually starting from them now. We just finished a short iSearch project in which students learned questioning, research, collaboration, analysis, interpretation, presentation, speech. Two students asked, based on their chosen article [ Drama VS Bullying ], if they could create a video about their learning. Their work will be my first model for the others… They have changed the way they thought about their research. I love that.
— David S Perrigo (@dperrigo0209) January 29, 2014
How do we change our thoughts on grading so that we are teaching and assessing for learning with feedback so students can improve? Teaching for learning does require patience, reteaching, kid-watching, and engaging tasks that require thought. I don’t want to catch kids — I want to inspire them to be more.
I’d like to also to change our thoughts on assignments that focus on one objective. People don’t learn to ride a bike by 1) practicing pedaling, 2) practice steering, and 3) practice braking before 4) putting them together. No, we get on and ride. Shouldn’t we dive into good books? Write about what know and read about? Then get feedback on how to do it better, based on the real work being done?
I blame Henry Ford for breaking things into pieces and organizing assembly lines. Many of our schools with students who need more positive experiences are just like assembly lines — not places where we actually “do” stuff together, and learn to get better. Students enjoyed the work, did better on more skills, learned more, and liked school with authentic projects — something that required integration of skills with mini-lessons and flexible grouping to help. We created posters, brochures, skits, models, memoirs, video-memoirs — filled with our learning and all requiring reading and writing. When I’m told to post my objectives every day, it seems that we are focused on the parts and not the whole; we’re teaching the bits and not understanding the world of authors, scientists, historians, etc. We’re pushing the pedal, but not steering towards anything authentic.
What do you want for your child? Objectives for Test Prep or Authentic Projects ? Tell your school board today, and tomorrow, and the next day.
Pause… for a roundup for #zerotohero: Day 23
Education rethinking is the vision I have and the blogs I follow.
One of the most important one is the work of Jackie Gerstein. She specializes in what works and what could be better for education. This one is important:
Teachers are beginning to speak up about the attacks on their professionalism. Every day teachers are vilified by people who have no clue what it means to be in a classroom filled with amazing, yet individual personalities and talents. Here’s one at Chalk Face:
And, of course, Diane Ravitch’s blog, where she attempts to show the truth to politicians who are heading our education system completely in the wrong direction. The problem is, no one is listening. But someone listened in New Jersey:
Parents need to get involved — to see how much their teachers care about their kids, and to support the work they doing. Our children are our future, and they are not test scores. They have personalities and talents that should be developed. If parents begin to speak up, we’d stop the madness of testing — or of privatizing schools. I believe that’s what happened in New Jersey.
Think about open education. That is what Kevin Hodgson did with this flowchart. He was working on several projects, and reflected on why. He said, “open learning is a way to dip into topics and communities and go as deep as you want or need or desire, with personal goals guiding you forward.”
He discovered that “I keep meeting incredibly interesting people in Open Learning environments who stretch my thinking and push me in new directions. We need that in our lives — folks inside our learning trajectory who show us new paths to pursue and new ideas to consider and new schematics from which to observe the world.” In other words, by following his interests, he meets those who help him grow. Wouldn’t that be something great for learning for our students?
He developed this humorous flow chart to synthesize his reflection, and it may help you see Open Learning in a new way: Be sure to go here to the interactive ThingLink image:
If you read through the flowchart, you’ll get a sense of different learning platforms, and his perspective with humor.
What I found terrific about this, is that he enjoys his learning and plays with it. He’s showing his learning with humor, putting a spin on it that reflects his learning in a deeper way, which is something most kids don’t get to do. Why is that?