Saturday, August 16, 2008

New Blog

I've moved to a new blog, The discussion will continue there.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Back at the Ranch

Now that I'm married, I'm ready to start thinking, really thinking about what I want for the kids and myself this year. Almost as if he read my mind, dy/dan posted his newest question:

The ultimate end of your classroom structures should be invisibility. eg. The best classroom management is unnoticeable. The best classroom lesson plan camouflages the planning while pushing the learning to the foreground. The extreme opposite of this is the teacher who creates a new seating chart every day.

  • How have you set up your classroom routine so that the wires and pulleys disappear?

This is somewhere I'm really still working. I know I'm doing well when the kids say, "Hey, this reminds me of...." I'm still working on invisible-izing the SMARTBoard, and I'm hoping that actually getting to do the same curriculum two years in a row will help. Next year is the year I finally get to roll out "Words Have Power" and I'm going to start the days with quickwrites to set the tone (Is that what the kids are talking about when they say "bellringer"?).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Power of the Individual in American Classrooms

Thanks to my friend Frau for pointing out an article on the German political arena from Der Speigel.
I think it explains a lot about German culture that is totally unspoken there. As Maria said, it is observable, but not always obvious.
The comments about American children are also fascinating. While we talk about the differences between the way our children are raised and the way children are raised in cultures we may find more alien, like Asia or Africa, I've never been so struck as when I read
Obama, notwithstanding his unique abilities, is a typical product of American culture, the outcome of an approach to developing a child's personality that begins in kindergarten. In the United States, even three-year-olds are encouraged to bring their favorite things to school and explain them to other children. In high school, the art of giving presentations is a fixed part of the curriculum. The goal is to teach young Americans early on how to talk about one thing above all else: themselves. This too explains the audacious nonchalance with which someone like Obama presents himself -- an attitude that Germans find nothing short of astonishing.

I don't know enough about how small children are educated in Germany are educated to make a clear or fair comparison, but I am definitely thinking on this one.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Cop/Teacher Continuum

dy/dan started with this question:
1. How does a policeman's ethic of care mirror that of the classroom teacher?

which brought him to this conclusion:

dy/av : 006 : carver's classroom management from Dan Meyer on Vimeo.

I meant to blog/reflect on his question before watching his video and then again after, but I just couldn't stand the suspense anymore. Apparently I'm a blogging machine tonight, either b/c I'm avoiding fretting/planning/packing for wedding lift-off tomorrow, or because I like feeling productive for the first time in sometime (again, wedding, etc, etc.). So, here's my response with only the after:

I think the link between the classroom teacher and the police officer is an interesting one (wish I had thought of it) b/c it's so cyclical. Put parents in there and you might have the life cycle for kids in their formative years. Maybe the real issue is how kids see teachers and how teachers play the balance: parent/nurturer or "cop"/punisher. One of my struggles has been getting through to the kids who feel everyone in their lives is the latter--trouble at home, trouble at school, all leading to trouble with the law. If the kid comes to me with that baggage, it's so hard to find the cracks in the armor that might let me in. Not impossible, but so hard.

I'm still percolating on this one. Check out the discussion over at Dan's blog.

Telling a Person They're Racist... or Not

Thanks a ton to Jennifer Gandin Li over at Crucial Minutiae for reposting this video:

The conversation over at Racialicious is interesting as well.

I'm thinking about how I might use this in the fall. If I go back to my pre-teaching gut, I need to be thinking about the power of words. Period. I like how Jay Smooth approaches the conversation, because it's that basic psychological premise that attacking the person might not change anything, while a discussion about the action can cause change b/c we can change what we do, but not who we are.

Something to Think About

I’m considering continuing this blog (maybe with a different URL) to enter the edu-blogo-sphere in a more real way, rather then staying a bystander and just commenting occasionally.

This could be a way to better process what I read, actively continuing my education, as well as giving back to a community I’ve gained a lot from.

Plus, then my friend-friend and I can better dialog through posts, since it’s hard for her to link to the Mac blog.

The next thought is if I want to stay anonymous on that blog or not. Hugh O’Donnell’s recent comments (btw, I was able to find that using GoogleReader's handy search field, which I've never done before. Maybe everyone already does that.) got me thinking, but I’m not sure how I feel.

Thoughts? Suggestions? It will need a really good name. It can’t use Random Thoughts, since that one is running again.

Yea, Amos!

Amos, prince among men, helped me out so now my Mac site is working again. Huzzah!