Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Absolutely Groundbreaking! #mathchat #edreform #maths #mathed

A research team led by Carnegie Mellon University’s Robert Siegler has identified a major source of the gap — U. S. students’ inadequate knowledge of fractions and division.
déjà vu

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Here's Why I'm Excited About #TeachersPayTeachers

And "no" - I haven't made a dime!
TeachersPayTeachers is an open marketplace for teacher-created materials:  lesson plans, units, activities, projects, exams, powerpoints, smartboard activities, and more.
It’s a place where teachers can openly share (or sell) their instructional materials to other interested teachers.  It's encouraging that its founder had such respect for teachers and the teaching profession to give it a go!  It's inspiring on many levels!  
I agree that "the ensuing exchange lifts all boats and leads to the better sharing of best practices. In the end everyone wins, especially our students."

One big, under-the-radar success story is TeacherPayTeachers, an open marketplace in which teachers can buy, sell, and share their original lesson plans. A former teacher, Edelman launched TeachersPayTeachers in 2006 and sold it to Scholastic later that year. But the recession saw the site’s growth dwindle, so Edelman offered to buy the site back from its acquirer. Scholastic agreed, and it’s been profitable ever since.
Why is TeachersPayTeachers so successful? Because it addresses one of the big problems with education in the United States. Often, teachers will need to stay up hours into the night working on the activities for the next day, improving lesson plans and grading papers. This happens night after night, which turns teaching into a grueling process of nightly routine. At the same time, after years of teaching, teachers start to accumulate stacks of activities and daily lesson plans...
EdTech Digest, December 15, 2011  From interview with the founder, Paul Edelman...
"Some say that’s not possible to do 'at scale' so they are looking for culprits (the unions) and solutions (through technology) that I think are part of the solution, but also often just a distraction from what I think is the real solution. That is, to find, train, retain and sustain 3.2 million great teachers.  We can only do that if we made it a national priority.  Something has to be our national priority, why not this?  I’m happy to be proved wrong. If anyone has an argument that proves that finding 3.2 million great teachers is impossible, please email me."
"If it’s not impossible, then let’s do it.
As my dad always said, where there’s a will there’s a way."
Now THAT's an attitude I can appreciate!!
Lisa Jones
(Yes, I will always be "concernedabouteducation")

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Friday, June 8, 2012

#Teaching Isn't Common

In this month's Education Matters, there is an article entitled "There Are No Miracles, But There Are Teachers:  An Educator's View on the Common Core" (p.2-3)  It is a well-written article by a very dedicated and thoughtful educator.  A couple of things just kept nagging at me while I read. 
The author claims that "True collaboration among teachers could be the single most important result of common standards - if we seize the opportunity."  I love collaborating with my colleagues, and I do not support the Common Core Standards Initiative.  Sure, teachers can and will collaborate while implementing CCS, as most of us have done in the past while working with state and local standards, but it is incorrect to assume that the standards have fostered our collaboration.  Having the opportunity to work within, or create, a trusting and collegial environment encourages teachers to collaborate. 
He also shares a quote, which, in part states, "thoughtfully and faithfully implemented rigorous curricula can move the the achievement needle."  I have thoughtfully reviewed these standards and personally do not agree that they are rigorous at the high school level.  I believe that expecting teachers to be "faithful" to the implementation of a set of standards, as if they should not feel free to scrutinize them as they reflect on their teaching practices, seems to me to border on professional negligence. 
I agree with the author that, "By equating a set of standards with the curricular experiences created by teachers for their students, you immediately undercut the craft of teaching."   I would go a little further and add that linking a set of standards to academic achievement has the same result...
Wait a minute!  Isn't that what the 2012 Brown Center Report concluded? (p.9 of 36)

"Don’t let the ferocity of the oncoming debate fool you.  The empirical evidence suggests that the Common Core will have little effect on American students’ achievement.  The nation will have to look elsewhere for ways to improve its schools."



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