Education News » November 2015

Monthly Archives: November 2015

Education

A Gratitude List…

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So this past week I spent a lot of time thinking about how much I love being an educator, and about how grateful I am to have found a life’s work that fills me with such passion and purpose and joy. I love getting up and going to school everyday, and if I’m being honest, I don’t quite understand how some people in the world would rather do something else with their lives other than spending their days with kids! Anyway, I decided to put together a non-exhaustive list of the things that I am most grateful for in education, and it is these very things that keep me sprinting to school every morning, and make the happiest educator on the planet. So, here we go…in no particular order, I am truly, truly grateful for…
The Noise – Have you ever taken a few minutes in the day to stop and listen to the white noise of a school? If you haven’t then do it on Monday morning…it might just be the most beautiful sound you’ll ever hear. It’s a constant hum of laughing and learning and failure and success, and teaching and determination and love. One of the best parts of my day is to walk down a hallway and to listen from outside the door to the sounds of kids engaged…or to stand off in the corner of the playground during recess time and listen to the shouts and squeals of happiness, as kids play and make new friends and learn how to fit in…it is definitely music to my ears, and without a doubt, the soundtrack to a beautiful day.
Education

The Lesson Plan For A New School: Teaching ‘Joyous Service’

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Taylor Delhagen is one of the founding teachers at Brooklyn Ascend High School.

Julienne Schaer/The Hechinger Report

The two births that would change everything for Taylor Delhagen were due to occur 24 hours apart. If all went according to plan, his school would come into being one day, and his first child would arrive the next.

The baby boy’s impending arrival had Delhagen contemplating the gravity of his role as a teacher opening a charter high school in one of New York City’s poorest neighborhoods: Brownsville, Brooklyn.

Four of the five founding teachers, the 31-year-old Delhagen among them, came together from a nearby charter, where they’d had success producing high test scores among low-income students. But they had felt stifled in what they see as a more vital task: developing human beings.

Now comes the chance for Delhagen to more freely offer an education he would want for his own son. He’s teaching in a community that’s four miles away — but in many ways a world apart — from Brooklyn’s gentrified Fort Greene, where rent on his family’s two-bedroom apartment just spiked 18 percent.

 

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Education

4 concerns with applying education research in schools and how to address them

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One of the great concerns of some teachers is school leaders going to conferences. Concerns may be aired as, “what are they [the leader] going to bring back this time for us to do?” Another concern may be of the school leader who likes to read books about education in their summer vacation. Again, concerned voices can be heard saying, “what great finding are they going to share with us and ask us to implement this time?” When education consultants and keynotes speakers are brought in to work with schools, similar types of concerned reactions can occur. Note that depending on the situation, all, most, some, or just a few teachers may display an element of concern.

So what lies behind these concerns? Here are four possibilities:

  1. Could it be that teachers are fearing yet another new initiative?
  2. Could it be that teachers do not understand why engaging in this new learning / idea / initiative is important?
  3. Could it be that teachers do not respect the educational research / ideas presented?
  4. Could it be that teachers do not view what the leader is asking them to engage with as important; the teacher(s) have other priorities?

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Education

Goodbye, No Child Left Behind

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In 2008, President George W. Bush addressed his No Child Left Behind act. Congress now appears ready to overhaul the law, which is the nation’s most important federal education act.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

After a long stalemate, a bipartisan team of congressional negotiators has agreed to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The law, currently known as No Child Left Behind, sends roughly $14 billion a year to schools that serve mostly low-income students.

Here’s what we know about the rough agreement. First, annual testing — a major feature of NCLB — would remain for grades three through eight and at least once in high school. Schools would still have to test 95 percent of their students and report the results by race, income and special need.

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Education

A Mother Hangs Her Hopes On A New High School

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Attending a new charter school, Jann Peña has had to get used to wearing a uniform daily and being in class an hour and a half later each afternoon. Here, he watches classmates during a group project.

Julienne Schaer/The Hechinger Report

Last year, when Jann Peña was in eighth grade at a public school and his little brother was in second grade at a charter school, the little brother got more homework.

That was just fine with Jann, an easygoing 14-year-old who passed his ample free time racing cars on his Xbox. But it was unacceptable to the boys’ mother, Jovanka Anderson, a Dominican immigrant who wants to give her children a better life than she has.

 

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Education

Teaching By Doing Something Meaningful

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A MiddleWeb Blog

kids_cusp2Last time I sat down to write a post, my mind was racing. Actually, the last few times I sat down to write a post, my mind was racing. Could you tell?

Thankfully, every November, when things calm down a bit, I seem to have a shift in perspective, a moment of pause, and I forget I have been racing around for weeks, trying to “get everything done.”

Those first few weeks I forget some core wisdom, like the importance of taking a step back. I forget the value of slowing down, taking a breath. I am so focused on “doing things” that involve a lot of deadlines and paperwork, that I forget the essence of why I teach, which can’t be measured in statistics driven by SGO’s and SGP’s, no matter how hard the data is analyzed, revised, or tweaked.

Finally, a Deep Breath in November

When my head is in the world of corporate education, my heart isn’t fully in my job. When I am focused on how much there is to “do,” I lose some of my teaching magic…and unfortunately, so does my audience.

abracadabra w rabbit 300There are still many abracadabra moments that take me away from the sideshow of Big Education, like the move I use to emphasize 2-sided worksheets. As I dramatically swing my sample copy front-to-back, eliciting mock-gasps and signs of feigned but supportive amazement, we join in laughter and camaraderie, part of an unwritten curriculum.

Thoughts of impending deadlines and the inputting of online grades for a report card that doesn’t really align with my idea of authentic assessment slip into my head, uninvited at times (or prompted by the latest email). But each morning, when I greet my little people at our classroom door, those thoughts disappear into thin air somehow. That’s my kinda’ magic.

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