Just about any occurrence in society has the potential of ending up as raw video on social media these days. One of the lasted classroom witness videos that went viral is one depicting an officer forcibly removing a defiant child from a classroom. This sparked much discussion about the appropriateness of using such physical force on children.
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Halloween is a celebration observed in many countries on October 31. The customs may have begun over 2000 years ago by the Irish Celts. November 1, marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of winter where many crops “died” back and the days became dark and dreary. The Celts also believed that on the day before the new winter season the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. They set up feasts and set places for the dead. Children went door to door to collect food for the feasts. Costumes were worn to hide from some of the more evil spirits.
The tide of Common Core criticism is growing – some of it deserved, but much of it not. I have noticed a rash of attacks lately that really have nothing at all do with the Common Core standards. Some of those attacks involve beloved math strategies that I have taught and used with students for over three decades. How they can be maligned is one thing, but then to attribute them to the “failed” Common Core goes over the top. In this article I will describe three math techniques that are currently under attack.
When I think back to my elementary school experience in the 60s (yikes!), I recall several homework assignments. I don’t remember any everyday assignments, but I do remember the larger projects that took several days or weeks to complete. My favorite project revolved around the solar system (pun intended). I was in fifth grade in Mrs. Wall’s class and had to write a report and draw pictures on each of the (then) nine planets. It took me a good day’s worth of time to complete each planet and was very labor intensive. The end result was a bound “report” consisting of about 20 pages – all handwritten and hand-drawn.
As soon as I started a new school year, I was inevitably hit with the dreaded hoarse and strained voice. There were just so many procedural discussions and student and parent meetings at the beginning of the year that my voice just couldn’t take it – especially after being accustomed to a long and restful summer break.
I taught long enough to experience the transition from chalkboards to whiteboards in the classroom. Instead of dealing with dust and stubborn chalk lines, I dealt with squeaky markers, dried out tips and lines that wouldn’t erase completely. Still, I’d take whiteboards over a chalkboards any day.
My favorite time of the school year is when those kids first walk through the classroom door. To see those eager faces as they walk into the room and nervously look around is priceless. And it’s not just the students who are eager to begin, so am I, the teacher.
Students are being over-tested these days and the backlash against testing is growing. However, whether or not over-testing is reined in or not, testing in some form will be part of most schooling situations for the foreseeable future. Preparing students for taking tests. . .