It’s not the amount of data, it’s if the data is useful in teaching.

1)      More data is not necessarily a good thing.

  1. Useful data is given to teachers about their students in a time frame that allows them to do something with it to help students learn.
  2. Navel-gazing about SOL data from last year is not very much help in a school with a 25 percent student mobility rate and the fact that the 75 percent of the student who actually stay change so much in 6 months the data is almost useless.
  3. Useful data comes to the teachers during the window the stuff is still being taught, and the data should reflect what the kid is supposed to know, and should be delivered in a manner that doesn’t take a lot of effort to analyze.

Little Brother

Here’s an email I sent the staff today …. activating “Little Brother” the most disturbing of all dystopian visions…

In the novel 1984 George Orwell outlined a dystopian world in which government cameras monitored all of us, coining the term “Big brother is watching.” In our modern world the power has shifted and it’s “Little Brother” (or your students) that have all the power.
1) The Power to record events and happenings in your room.
2) The Power to record assemblies, concerts, and reader’s theater.
3) The Power to record a warm afternoon on the playground or a fire drill.

We could really use pictures you (or your students) take around the building.
We have 150 families who follow us on Facebook. We have a student newspaper that needs ideas.
If you take pictures and send them to me I can post them. I can also have 5th graders write stories for the Terrace Times using these photos.


Teacher Work Day

By calling it a Teacher Work Day, they diminish the rest of our work the rest of the year. Are those other days “Teacher Not Working Days?”

Perhaps they should call them “Professional Development” Days.

Three Stages of Truth

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

—Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher (1788 – 1860)

Creativity Elementary vs Middle & High School

In a meeting today, a group of elementary and high school teachers were asked to list the attributes we looked for in student who were thinking about their learning.

A list of 16 items came up on the board and the one thing lacking was “creativity.”

We discussed why.

“Creativity is not valued by our society,” said one high school teacher.

The elementary school teachers were shocked it was a subject for discussion. Frankly, everything in elementary school is fueled by creativity and fun. In K-5 we can’t demand students do their work. Yelling at a student to finish a worksheet only ends in tears and a meeting with the parent.

Apparently, one can give a boring assignment to middle school and high school students and simply demand they do it and threaten punishment (letter home, referral to principals office) if they don’t comply. “This works?” I’m thinking.

Apparently, in high school, creativity is reserved for GT, International Baccalaureate and other high-end endeavors.