Time to Teach
I’ve been hanging out with some tired teachers this week, people who have come to the end of another school year, exhausted. They recount high points of the year, especially a last trip or a great theater production that wrapped things up. Teachers remember mostly the good things along with some disappointing outcomes or unresolved issues. Above all, though, they are heaving great sighs of relief that there is now time to rest.
Although we have become accustomed to this year end exhaustion, I would suggest two possible remedies.
First, we can enjoy true rest by slowing… Continue reading
There were the two weeks of nothing but CSAP testing in March. And then there was a ragged week of make-up tests mixed with remnants of projects and curricular themes still remembered that were cobbled together in those four days of the last week of school before spring break.
Returning to school as we turned the page to April, how did our six students restart and recover from this long pause that featured such intense scrutiny of what they had learned?
Mason has been mostly adrift, unable to remember his enthusiasm for the Marco Polo report he started sometime… Continue reading
This morning I have a few extra minutes before leaving for school. The administration has canceled all morning meetings for faculty so that we can be ready for the CSAP (Colorado Student Assessment Program) tests, which begin today. NEVER on Mondays! I’m trying not to be cynical, not to think too much about the implications of canceling meetings for these tests. Trying not to dwell on the many many morning meetings that have prevented me from being adequately prepared for the lessons of the day—introducing the Periodic Table, for example. Or organizing my notes so… Continue reading
November 24 – 25, 2008 Tally of Curriculum and Instruction Time
Monday, November 24 Uninterrupted day = 5 C & I hours
Tuesday, November 25: Uninterrupted day = 5 C & I hours
Wednesday – Friday, November 26, 27, 28 were Thanksgiving Holidays
NOTE: A substitute supervised the class on the two school days, and he reported that students had a moderately productive two days. I surmise that they learned about independence and self-reliance to make the classroom function normally. That’s real curriculum!
Total C & I Time = 10 hours
November 17 – 21, 2008 Tally of time for teaching and learning
Monday, November 17: Uninterrupted day = 5 C & I hours
Tuesday, November 18: Uninterrupted day = 5 C & I hours
Wednesday, November 19: Routine interruptions for art and gym = 3.5 C & I hours
Thursday, November 20: Uninterrupted day = 5 C & I hours
Friday, November 21: Specials art/gym in the morning. Total = 3.5 C & I hours
Week’s Total C & I hours: 22 hours
Personal Note: I am teaching double time this week because I will… Continue reading
November 10 – 14, 2008 Tally of time for teaching and learning
Monday, November 10 Veteran’s Day Holiday = Zero C & I hours
Tuesday, November 11: Uninterrupted day = 5 C & I hours
Wednesday, November 12: Routine interruptions for art and gym = 3.5 C & I hours
Thursday, November 13: Uninterrupted day = 5 C & I hours
Friday, November 14: Specials art/gym in the morning. Total = 3.5 C & I hours
Week’s Total C & I hours: 16 hours
NOTE: Discipline problems have compromised Curriculum and Instruction time very seriously… Continue reading
November 3 – 7, 2008 Tally of time for teaching and learning
Monday, November 3: Uninterrupted day at school = 5 C & I hours
Tuesday, November 4: Uninterrupted day = 5 C & I hours
Wednesday, November 5: Substitute hired for my class so that I could attend the annual Shakespeare Workshop for teachers who coordinate their school’s Shakespeare program aimed at performing at the Denver Shakespeare Festival in May. Unfortunately, the report from the substitute was dismal and I am quite certain that very little curriculum or instruction occurred. Behavior problems trumped. Zero… Continue reading
Monday was, of necessity, a day of independent student work because I was giving DRA reading tests. Rosalee was finishing her report on Jordan. She had been working on it for three weeks, letting me help her at each step of the research process—finding resources, taking notes, organizing them in piles, writing a rough draft, editing it together, finding pictures and the flag and a map she could reproduce, learning as much as we could about Jordan’s beautiful young queen. Rosalee was increasingly excited—partly about what she was learning and partly about the feeling of accomplishment at… Continue reading
October 27th – October 31st, The Eleventh Week of School
Monday, October 27th No teaching time. The DRA Reading Assessments were due by 2 pm, they said, and of the 16 students who were not reading at grade level according to previous assessments such as the spring CSAP tests and/or the May benchmarks and/or the September benchmarks, I had only measured the reading deficits of 7 students with the DRA test. There were 9 left on my list, and one had been suspended for the day, so I was able to give the DRA test to only… Continue reading
Friday we got the news that all of the DRA assessments were due. That they were actually “overdue,” but the powers that be down at DPS headquarters had granted an extension until Monday for turning scores in. A month ago I took all the various sets of scores on previous assessments into account (as directed) and learned that I had 16 students who had not performed in the “proficient” band when it came to reading and, therefore, that they needed to be assessed with the “DRA” instrument. I was further advised by an administrative person that each… Continue reading