The Tempered Radical
Late last week, I wrote a piece titled How Testing Will Change What I Teach Next Year. In it, I detail the 48 DAYS that I spent teaching high level skills -- things like interpreting nonfiction text, evaluating the reliability of online sources, and building new knowledge through collaborative dialogue -- that are in my curriculum but that WON'T be covered on the new high-stakes multiple choice tests that our state is using to evaluate teache
One of my all-time favorite assertions about grading in schools comes from Grant Wiggins. He writes:
"The most ubiquitous form of evaluation, grading, is so much a part of the school landscape that we easily overlook its utter uselessness as actionable feedback. Grades are here to stay, no doubt—but that doesn't mean we should rely on them as a major source of feedback."
Let's start with a simple truth: Schools have limited budgets and every time that we make careless spending choices, we tie our own hands behind our backs.
As a result, I've worked HARD over the past several years to encourage both teachers and school leaders to think systematically about just what they want to see happening in classrooms before they spend ANYTHING on technology.
Blogger's Note: I read a John T. Spencer bit a few weeks back that touched a bunch of emotions. That's led to a bit of unvarnished truth that I wanted to process here in a post that is decidedly light on the smiles and candycorn. Hope that doesn't shake you.
A close friend who works in a leadership role in a local school asked me an interesting question this week. "I just want to build something that teachers can buy-in to that will help kids," she said. "How do you do that?"
Chances are that if you've worked in schools for any length of time, that question resonates with you, right? We've ALL had moments where we were completely frustrated by a group of teachers who just weren't interested in moving forward with a new project and/or program.
In a recent bit over on his blog, my buddy Tony Baldasaro argued that the decisions schools make are often designed to support the system rather than to support students or to advance learning.
Let's start with a simple truth, y'all: Student engagement matters.
When kids care about the lessons that they are learning, they are WAY more likely to master the kinds of essential skills, content and behaviors that will help them to become productive, contributing members of our society.
Blogger's Note: My thinking here is unpolished. I'm wrestling with the time-honored notion that one of the primary purposes of high school is to prepare kids for college. As a teacher, that's always rubbed me a little wrong. Not sure I have the answers, but I wanted to have the conversation. Looking forward to hearing what you think.