16 May

Saturday Sentiments

This week was our multicultural fair at school, which I resented tremendously, because it mostly seemed like just one more thing shoved on classroom teachers in May.  When my class actually experienced the fair, though, I completely changed my mind.  The kids were blown away by other languages, sports, music, and dance.  It wasn’t nearly as full of stereotypes as I expected it to be, either.  And my class learned so much about one of their classmates who is new to our country.  More on the process of creating our class project later.

I also attended a professional development workshop with my administrators and technology specialist this week.  It was incredibly energizing and gave me all kinds of ideas for next year.  More on this will come as well, as I am still figuring out a lot of it.  In the meantime, I’ll share this: Plickers is an app that allows you to use one central device (tablet or phone) to have every child in your classroom respond (from their desks) to a multiple choice question.  You get instant class feedback, but can also look at individual students.  How have we not been talking about this more?

15 other websites you might be interested in.  I don’t love every one of these for me for my classroom.  But several of them are absolutely terrific.  Yay technology!

And then, obvi, no talk about tech would be complete without mentioning google.  This list is interesting, but far from complete.  We’ll talk more soon.

There’s an episode of the West Wing, where they talk about how we count poor people.  It goes like this…

Sam: On Monday, the OMB is putting out a new formula for calculating the poverty level.
Toby: I saw that. Doesn’t it need Presidential approval before it goes to Congress?
Sam: Yeah.
Toby: What’s the problem?
Sam: It’s a good news, bad news thing. Under the new formula, poverty is up two percent. It was anyone under seventeen thousand, five hundred and twenty-four before, now it’s twenty thousand.
Toby: What does that shake out to?
Sam: Four million new poor people.
Toby: Four million?!?
Sam: Yeah. Obviously, that’s the bad news.
Toby: Yeah…
Sam: The good news is more people will be eligible for benefits.
Toby: And taxpayers are nuts about that. Let’s get back to the bad news. Four million people became poor on the President’s watch?

Universal free lunch?  Good.  Not knowing how many poor people there are?  Possibly bad.  Let’s think about this.

Should 3rd grade be a pivot point for early reading?  As a 3rd grade teacher, I vote no.  Or maybe just no to so much threat of retention.  And maybe also so much testing, especially at the expense of instruction.  And maybe also to how we ignore a child’s progress up until this point.  And maybe also putting too much pressure on 8 year olds.  And maybe also some other things.  Again, let’s think about it.

Homework.  So many mixed feelings.  So little time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *