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Showing posts from April, 2014

I'm Back!

It has been exactly 15 days since my last post. This, after writing every day for 6 weeks!
I had vowed to continue along the same lines but a nasty cold definitely put a dent in that plan.

Although I'm still not completely well, I am feeling well enough to resume writing - every day.
Today I just want to send a shout out to all of you out there - family, face-to-face friends, cyber friends, acquaintances, and my PLN - for being YOU. I know that in our busy lives we sometimes forget that what really matters are the relationships that sustain us every day.
I appreciate all of you and just want to say, thank you.

An ordinary day

Today is my birthday.
It was an ordinary day.

I'm on spring break but that doesn't mean much because there's always something to do.
My husband and I ran errands.

Later, our niece and nephew came by. We celebrated with cake and ice cream.

I don't need much for my birthday.
All I want is family and friends around.
I know it may sound strange and like I'm being modest,
but it's the truth.

So, talking with my daughters on the phone, and spending time with my son and
my husband is the only gift I want.

All in all, it was a good day. I even bought a Mike Wazowski for myself!



Seriously, though, I'm grateful for what I have and that's all that really matters.


 Source: http://monster.wikia.com/wiki/Mike_Wazowski

Cross posted to Two Writing Teachers Tuesday Slice of Life.

Cup half full or cup half empty? How do you see the world?

How do you view your days?
As a cup half empty or a cup half full?

Although, I move between the two perspectives,
I try to stay inside the "cup half full" camp.
Sometimes I succeed but not very often.

I know it's more pleasant and enriching to see the positive side of things.
But I have a difficult time letting go.

I read somewhere that it is "human nature" to hold onto the negative aspect of things.
So I'm OK, right?

Either way, I'm working on letting go of what's not working,
such as holding onto grudges, negative thoughts or feelings.

What about you?

What role do/can/should students play in their own assessment?

Today I am going to try to respond to another question I posed in a recent post about assessment. If you want to read my musings about the first two questions, you can read them here and here. I don't pretend to have all the answers to these questions but ruminating about them allows me to consider some possible solutions or points of view. I invite readers of this blog to engage in this conversation with me. 

I also want to acknowledge my PLN - #sblchat - for bold discussions on standards based grading and learning that are enriching my thinking about assessment.

What role do/can/should students play in their own assessment?

This is one of my favourite questions about assessment.

For me, it is so crystal clear that students need to be involved in their own assessment, that it's almost a non sequitur. Creating projects; setting goals and developing plans to meet them; assessing progress on those goals; and setting new goals, are all important aspects of the role students can play …

Is it too late?

She tries to stare me down.
Get my attention.
Let me know that she is there.
I never look,
though I am tempted.
I watch the video and
keep my gaze steady
the whole time.

In the hallways, she smiles now.
A mocking smile.
A smile that says, "I'll get you."
"You think you've won,
but this isn't over yet."

She walks around the school,
with her entourage,
and stealthily commands
their attention.

How does an early adolescent
amass so much power and
lead the rest astray?

Someone said that a person's
behaviour is set by age 8.
Is this why no one attempts to reach her?
Everyone has given up?
Settled in?
Found a comfortable spot from which to view
her world?

But, I refuse to accept that there's nothing
that can be done.
Is it too late?

It's never too late.

Cross posted to Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life.





What should teachers do to prepare students for an upcoming assessment? Is this even the right question to ask?

Today I am going to try to respond to another question I posed in a recent post about assessment. You can read that post here. And if you want to read my musings about the first question, you can read it here. I don't pretend to have all the answers to these questions but ruminating about them allows me to consider some possible solutions or points of view. I invite readers of this blog to engage in this conversation with me. 

I also want to acknowledge my PLN - #sblchat - for bold discussions on standards based grading and learning that are enriching my thinking about assessment.

What should teachers do to prepare students for an upcoming assessment? Is this even the right question to ask?

No. This is not the right question to ask. Preparing students for an assessment means that everything we do in the classroom is geared towards taking tests. Preparing students for an upcoming assessment is tantamount to teaching to the test. 

Instead, we should be doing everything possible to provi…

Haikus

After blogging for 30 days and continuing this habit in April, I took this weekend off to see what it feels like. I think I like the idea of not posting on Fridays and Saturdays. It seems like these are good days to do something else. But, it's Sunday and so I'm back.

In honor of Poetry Month, I decided to write a couple of haikus. Even though haikus are traditionally about nature, mine are about mundane, everyday topics. Maybe it will inspire you to write some poetry.

Note: This site explains that there is variability in the number of syllables used in a haiku written in English as opposed to the original Japanese haikus. I chose to write my haikus using the traditional three line 5-7-5 syllable configuration.



Haiku #1 The hot sun beating on my red face makes me sweat. It's time to go home.

Haiku #2 Our dogs run freely across the wide and green field. Out of breath, they rest.

Haiku #3 The soccer game starts. The home team controls the ball.  Quickly they lose it. 




Lighten Up Your Load

A few weeks ago, I decided to cut down on the amount of work I was bringing home. A heavy bag that never got opened once I'd get home, wasn't making me happy.

I would leave school every day thinking that when I got home I could put in a few hours of work before going to bed. I never seemed to remember, while in school, that at home there would be other tasks that needed my attention. Some of them had an educational focus but were not school-related; my doctoral work alone occupies a huge space when I get home. And, of course, there's my family that needs me as much as I need them.

So, I decided to conduct an experiment. I would only bring home one or two items that I knew I needed for planning purposes, such as my calendar, my teacher journal (sometimes I'd be able to write before I left school), and a professional book and/or teacher guide.

I am happy to report that his experiment has been very successful! I don't miss all the papers and books I used to carry back…

Defiance and Disrespect

Have you ever had an uncomfortable encounter with a student who was defiant and disrespectful?
I have, and on more than one occasion.
I am always shocked when this happens because I feel that I am the opposite, or at least I try to be.
When it seems that I'm not, then I apologize and try to make amends.

I've been thinking about this lately because perhaps I'm too easy on kids when they behave inappropriately.
I talk too much and explain things too carefully.
Maybe, I need to be a little firmer when these situations arise.
Fewer words and zero tolerance.
Of course, we all make mistakes, including me, so there's always the opportunity to make amends.
But, when students are recalcitrant and have no regrets for their actions, I worry.
It makes me think that there's a powder keg in there ready to explode.

How can I help a student like this reflect on his or her actions in order to make retribution?
How can we help children learn how to handle emotions and think before a…

After a month of slicing...

The March Slice of Life Challenge is officially over but I am planning to continue slicing on Tuesdays,
and to blog every day barring any unplanned contingencies.

I am looking forward to this new blogging commitment.
I've done this before - committed to blogging every day -
but I have never been able to go through with it.

The fact that I blogged 30 out of 31 days during the month of March means that
I can keep doing this from now on.

During this month of blogging, I learned not to worry too much about what I was going to write.
I learned that I only need to sit down and start writing.
I'm no longer paralyzed by not knowing because it seems that once I start writing,
the ideas start to flow.

Sometimes, my posts say something meaningful and, at other times, not so much.
The point is to keep writing; eventually, I will find topics that are important to me.

For the moment, I am going to pursue the following two ideas for a series of posts:

assessment practices.writing about my col…