Blaming Henry

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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.

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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.

 

21st Century Vision

21st Century Vision

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:

Vision for the Future: The Other 21st Century Skills

 

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:

On Teaching: An Open Letter to Marc Tucker

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:

Diane Ravitch

 

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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. 

It’s Easy…

Pause to Reflect…

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It’s easy to follow the usual road with the time you have in the day speeding by. Sometimes the road is not clear. I read a wonderful post by Chris Wejr, It’s Easy, which I found in my Twitter feed this morning. 

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It’s amazing how the path of a twitter feed leads to solutions. Have you ever felt as if what you do is for naught? –You’re given a task of leading others, and resistance abounds? Or perhaps it just seems that way because you receive little feedback?

The easy path is to give up, but then then this tweet appeared:

Tweetstevejobs

to this post: Steve Jobs: Thoughts on Life   [updated link: Improve it.]

“Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”

“You can change it.” “Improve it.” “Make your mark upon it.”

It’s easy to step back and give up.

It’s hard to keep going to help “change it.”

After re-reading Chris’s post, I could now reply:

It’s easy to read this post and agree.
It’s hard to ignore the ignorers and focus on the movers.

It’s easy to forget that time and lack of tech are issues with teachers who wear so many hats in these changing and budget-strapped times.

It’s hard to search for support and solutions that encourage such choices.

Conversely,
It’s hard to do it all.
It’s easy to take one small step.

What small step?

Two other posts guided the path today:

1) a comment from a colleague, Tracy Watanabe, on a previous post, which included this suggestion:

WOW and a Wonder (something that is a specific praise and a question meant to guide them to think about one way they can improve)

2) a post on Facebook by my granddaughter:

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Relationships are key. Appreciation is key. Build relationships and appreciate what has been done. Teachers are overwhelmed and under-appreciated. We all wear so many hats to help schools function and students learn, and the technology needed is not always at hand. During my teacher prep time (I teach full time), I take Tech walks (my other hat) to see what staff need. I need to preface the visit with a specific appreciation. And in staff meetings, I need to Wow before I Wonder.

Play to learn…

One small step to help move forward would be to WOW with a specific appreciation for what is working and improving. Appreciate the small steps by others. In staff meetings, WOW again the positive steps in tech use throughout the school. Then ask an “I wonder”– a small step that could be taken next — a step towards implementing technology by non-techy staff. Perhaps it will be an app for instruction; perhaps a way to communicate with students or parents; perhaps a tool for productivity.  At any rate, start with a WOW and add an I wonder if…

So the road may be unseen, but find the path while wandering through the blossoms of appreciation to find the next staff-needed I wonder.

It’s hard to do it all.

It’s easy to start with one small step.

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Credit:

Thanks to the inspiration of   and

Wow and Wonder Strategy by Tracy Watanabe

Tracywowwonder