Time to Teach

Week Seven: Time to Teach/Time to Learn Tally of Hours

September 29 – October 3, 2008:  Tally of Time for Teaching and Learning

Monday, September 29:  Uninterrupted day at school = 5 C & I hours

Tuesday, September 30: Uninterrupted day = 5 C & I hours

Wednesday, October 1:  Routine interruptions for art and gym = 3.5 C & I hours

Thursday, October 2: Scheduled interruption was a science lesson in the library, so total is = 5 C & I hours

Friday, October 3:  Specials art/gym in the morning; Hearing/vision tests in afternoon. Total = 3 C & I hours

Week’s Total C & I hours: 21.5 hours

A Special Education Assessment: Speed up Learning!

On the first day of October, I attended a meeting before school with the Special Education team to discuss the academic capabilities and needs of a boy who is in my class for the second year, now as a fifth grader.  I had been informed that this boy had scored “Unsatisfactory” on all sections of the CSAP (Colorado Student Achievement Program) tests that he took last spring, and that the Special Education staff believed he needed special help.

The boys’ mother was in attendance, but the boy was not.  There was a psychologist present along with a second… Continue reading

Assessment Blunders

Friday shortly before noon I learned from the assistant principal in charge of assessments dropped by my classroom to tell me she would need her help.  It seemed that some of the scoring sheets for the Benchmark tests of two weeks ago were missing for students in my class.  When lunchtime came, I visited her office and found her in a sea of papers paper-clipped in various bundles with notes attached.  I listened carefully as she described what was missing and tried to ignore my frustration.  Having counted and recounted each of the scoring sheets, each… Continue reading

Six students the second week after Benchmark testing

Melissa didn’t complete her math homework because she said she couldn’t “get it,” and for that matter, neither could her mother.  She did very little math during the week at school, although the math lesson on Monday had been given explicitly to prepare them to do their homework and to give them several options for math projects to work on during the school day.  When Melissa stayed in for recess Friday so that I could help her with her math homework, she understood pretty quickly and was able to complete the work mostly on her own.  I… Continue reading

Week Six: Time to Teach/Time to Learn Tally of Hours

Time to Teach/Time to Learn:  Tally of Time for Curriculum and Instruction in my Classroom

Monday, September 22:  An uninterrupted day  =  5 C & I hours

Tuesday, September 23:  Subtract 45 minutes for the Art teacher’s project (finishing the Peace Pinwheels and installing them in the grass.  Should this be called Curriculum and Instruction?  probably, but once students are outside their normal learning environment, their “time to learn” seems compromised)    4.25 hours

Wednesday, September 24:  Specials in the morning.  Week’s total = 3.5 C & I hours

Thursday,… Continue reading

Time to Learn

As I explore all the issues associated with assessments and accountabililty, I have begun to see that the time squandered is not only lost Time to Teach, but lost Time to Learn.  If I manage the time available for Curriculum and Instruction well, I can probably give adequate lessons.  I can squeeze them into every crack that appears in the routinized schedule of schoolday events.  The students, however, have very limited time to process those lessons that I give.  So often there is another activity or scheduled event that follows on the heels of the lesson,… Continue reading

THE BENCHMARK DILEMMA          September, 2008                Denison Montessori School

1. The only possible merit of all that time spent—taking and scoring benchmark tests—is the opportunity to study your own students’ responses.
We have to do some higher level thinking here, not get trapped in the myth of number-crunching.  Scores don’t matter; essays and incorrect answers might, if we take time to read them and think about them.  We might even raise test scores by directly… Continue reading

Week Five C & I Tally

Monday, September 15:  Picture Day.  Subtract one hour.  C & I = 4 hours

Tuesday, September 16:  A full day = 5 hours

Wednesday, September 17:  Minus specials = 3.5 hours

Thursday, September 18:  Because Friday is cancelled, students have 1/2 specials totalling 1 hour.  At the end of the day there is an assembly about the big Chocolate Sale fund-raiser, a kind of pep rally.  Total C & I = 3.25 hours.

Friday, September 19:  Assessment Day for Teacher’s to score Benchmarks.  No students.  No C & I… Continue reading

Benchmark Madness

September 19, 2008

Today there were no students attending DPS schools.  It was a day set aside for teachers to score the Benchmark tests and (in the extra time, of course) to do other kinds of assessments.  I invested about 10 evening hours this past week scoring the Benchmark tests of my students so that I could use this day to administer the DRA reading assessment that had been mandated for all students who were not “proficient” on the CSAP tests last spring and/or those who did not test in the proficient zone on the Benchmark tests administered… Continue reading

Benchmark Reading Test Results for six students

Melissa wrote a good summary of the first story, but her answers on comprehension questions were weak throughout the test.  I notice that she hasn’t picked up a book in the week since we tested.

Jonas seemed to have a good understanding of the first story, but he left out key words in his summary, so it wasn’t possible to give him a good score.  Most of his answers throughout the comprehension session were cursory, lacking any indication of deep understanding or interest in what he had read—or on doing well on the test.  He didn’t appear… Continue reading