Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Great advice on using tablets in the classroom

MindShift posted this great piece about ways to use tablets in class effectively without losing control.

From Toy To Tool 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Value of Teachers

Two great pieces crossed my eyes this morning, both touching on the value of educators to the students they teach.

The first is a sweet reassurance to teachers that their work matters, that parents and kids value what they do.

Dear Teacher

I need your voice in my child’s life.
I need you identifying my daughter’s strengths and weaknesses.
 As strong as a voice and presence as I am in my child’s life I know it is not all about me.  She needs you to tell her that she has a knack for writing or a gift in math because the next thing I know she is identifying herself as an author or a scientist or a mathematician and the next thing we all know she is an adult and that teacher voice is still inside her head and she IS an author, a scientist, or a mathematician.

The second is more salty, more in your face. Someone asks a teacher what he makes (salary) as part of a diatribe about teachers being second-class citizens in their disciplines. That conversation actually happened in front of poet Taylor Mali, who turned it into a poem, which was then illustrated as a comic over at Zen Pencils.  
I must admit, I smiled when I read this one. (Passed on to me by a former student.)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Link: We Will Never Be Truly Standardized

"We have to teach specifically to our students. We cannot plow our way through scripted curriculum and not stop when a child doesn't understand or we see an opportunity for further investigation. If we do, then we are not doing our job as teachers. The very nature of what we do and who we do it with prevents true standardization even if politicians think they can test us into submission and sameness."

We must recognize that all good teaching happens in the context of a relationship. In fact, I'd say it's impossible to achieve GOOD teaching without building that bridge to every individual student.
And once you've built the bridge, you can no longer ignore the individuality of the learners who populate your classroom. 

I don't have as negative an opinion of the Common Core standards that this blogger does -- I found the reading & writing core to be helpful and thoughtful.  But no matter how "standardized" our curriculum could become, education rests on the backs of individual TEACHERS.  
And any teacher worth his/her paycheck knows that you cannot standardize wonderful, difficult creatures we know as humans.  It's part of the imago Dei.