Teaching since Fall 2001 – 3rd year in 2nd grade

Posts tagged ‘Texas’

New Curriculum Will It Really Deepen Student Learning?

De Cito Eindtoets Basisonderwijs.

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I’m processing a couple of new things right now. I’m moving to 2nd grade, and just confirmed I will be G&T Self Contained. Earlier this week I went to a workshop on our district’s new curriculum. Of course Texas sets the standards. The curriculum is how the district sequences it and suggested activities.

There are many good points. Topping the list for me is that it is online, less paper wasted. There seems to be some collaborative tools. Teachers can make notes in their digital copy of things they have on their campus or classroom to add to what the district has listed.

A big selling point they pushed at the workshop was that we were going to focus on deeper understanding instead of a mile wide and inch deep. Part of this is the focus on Power Standards that we should go in depth on. The power standards were determined by commitee using 4 filters.

  • Leverage – Standards that are critical for the next level of learning
  • Endurance: Standard that have value for life.
  • Success in learning standards that apply across disciplines  and promote higher levels of learning
  • STARR – on test

That sounded great. I’m scheduled to take another workshop in August called IMath Academy. As part of that class we were assigned to read Teaching for Tomorrow. I have been reading it and am quite impressed.  Today while I was reading this quote struck me:

What I find most disturbing about the current focus on standardized testing is that the evaluative “tail” is wagging the instructional “dog” in education.

Ted McCain. Teaching for Tomorrow: Teaching Content and Problem-Solving Skills (p. 48). Kindle Edition.

So I tweeted “good point will the new power standards deepen learning or make teaching more shallow” from my Kindle. Unfortunately all that went through was deepen learning or make teaching more shallow with the link. Not surprising I haven’t received any responses back.

Right now I’m inclined towards the opinion that the new curriculum will deepen our student’s learning. One big advantage is instead of each TEKS getting a set number of days or in some cases minutes, the year is divided up into units. Most units have a Power Standard that is an larger concept and other supporting TEKS and you have weeks to explore the concept. Sure we teachers could have done this ourselves, but it is a lot of work.

Also as a school on the revolving door circuit – I like the idea all the schools in the district working together and being in basically the same place. That way you don’t have huge holes in students’ knowledge especially the basic building blocks like adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.

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Enhanced History

The Fort Bend County Courthouse located at 29....
Image via Wikipedia

I was listening to the FourCast Podcast episode 42. One of the forecasts was that we would have Enhanced Reality devices that showed you how your location looked like in say the 1940’s. Tom asked if you could go back and see anything in history, what would you want to go see? It struck me I would love to go back and witness my grandparents eloping.

My Paternal grandparents eloped by driving out to Richmond, Texas, near where I work, and getting married by the Fort Bend County Justice of the Peace. Then they went home and lived with their parents for several weeks before fessing up.

My Maternal grandparents eloped due to religious reasons. My grandmother was Scottish Protestant. My grandfather was Irish Catholic. That was a bid deal in early 1930’s Prince Edward Island, Canada. By the time the grandchidlren came much was forgiven.

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Workshop Scammers

I as reading Dr. Z Reflects post Professor Destroys Laptop as a Warning for Students, my thoughts went on a slightly different track from Dr. Z’s topic about teachers fearing technology. I started with how do people who need adaptive tech survive in this person’s classes? I was thinking about the times I had to threaten to call HR, because an inservice presenter told me couldn’t use my laptop during their presentations. Each time they backed down because of me bringing up ADA. I’m very dysgraphic and somewhat dyslexic.

Then I went off track. Each of the presenters that objected, were bad presenters. Not bad at presenting – they were good snake oil salesmen. What they were presenting was a rip off. Most of the time I could find/do the same things online for free or near enough to free. I would show this to my friends at lunch – which has resulted in uncomfortable questions for the presenter.

In one case – it went further. I showed some friends how the techniques the presenter was using on us and wanting us to use with kids lined up with warning signs of a cult. The 2nd day (it was a 5 day presentation) my friends and others joined me in the hall on restroom breaks during parts of the demonstration that were basically self help/group therapy techniques. The 3rd day, I asked about the great leader founder’s qualifications because I couldn’t find evidence of him being a licensed psychiatrist in the state of Texas. My sister, who works in a hospital, couldn’t find him on any lists of licensed psychiatrists. When I refused to tell the group the worst experience of my life – I was threatened with losing the DMA hours. I told the presenter I wanted to see his qualifications as a licensed mental health official. I got my hours.

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