Looking Past the Assessment: Widening the Lens

What I am about to say is obvious, any teacher knows the importance of assessments. Assessments are an integral part of education. They have value in that they provide a probing into performance and progression. Evaluations allow us as teachers, to understand how well we did at facilitating a lesson as much as they demonstrate the acuity of our students. Assessments are necessary for so many reasons: They validate growth, expose deficiencies and make evident the needs of our students. They can be formal like a multiple-choice test or informal like a 1-minute check-in, both of which will indicate the need for enrichment or remediation. Assessments of course, are also formative, monitoring growth consistently throughout a unit of study with consistent feedback or summative, like a final exam or end of unit project. Either way, they are a component we can not displace or ignore. They are tools we need to use for more than just calculating a grade. They need to be a part of the process of…

Looking Past the A: What Does an A Really Mean: Isolated Achievement or Large Scale Connection?

There are three types of learners: those that have an innate talent or skill where understanding and demonstration come easy, those that through hard work, dedication, motivation and practice achieve their learning, and those that always seem to fall short, they struggle and without tutoring or mentoring they just seem to barely make it, but with a little finesse and facade building they can fake their way to a passing grade and even sometimes an A. All of these students receive A's for projects even assessments but they are mastering the content at very different levels. So, what does an A actually mean?

An A is a snapshot, a glimpse of comprehension. The information aligned for them, creating a synergy of assimilation, perception and realization. But, does that moment of synthesis last? When the class moves on to the next lesson is there a retaining of that knowledge? Can a student store this previous evidence into their database to be pulled and added to future endeavors? Will …

Pod Cast Examples: A First Attempt at Pod Casting: Endocrine Glands POV

Notice they are not perfect but that students did include all the vital information in a fun way. These are their first attempt at pod casting. Later on I will include some of their pod casts and it will be obvious that trial and error and experience will make their pod casts more professional. But, as a first attempt, they did pretty well. Now its practice, practice, practice and building confidence.

Interviews, Pod Casting and Collaboration: An Experimentation in Large Group Dynamics

Working in a large collaborative group can be daunting. There are so many voices all trying to be heard, or not heard for that matter. It brings out the best in many people: natural leaders tend to migrate to the forefront. But, it also isolates those quiet voices that tend to be muted by the din of extroverts. Even with the challenges, large group collaboration is a skill every student should be presented with. It pushes them to find their voice and their point-of-view.

Participating in such a high-energy, fluid, environment builds camaraderie as well as strengthening confidence and personal identity. It may seem shaky at first, but given time to overcome the hurdles of personality clashes and the inevitable talking over one another, the process will generally lead to some great results. It reinforces mindfulness and respect and forces students to listen one another.

This week my students had to join up as a team of four to research an assigned Endocrine gland and then as a group com…

The Moment of Inception: A Journey of Empathy

The Moment of Inception

I was twelve, I remember it vividly, I had spilled apple juice on my literature book and the corners of the book were soaked. This had happened in my back pack, a lunch bag explosion that occurred frequently because of the amount of books we had to lug around throughout the day. We couldn't afford a lunch box so my lunches were placed in paper bags, like most of my classmates. But, I chose to stuff mine in the top of my back pack rather than carry it around. Mostly because it generally ripped open at some point, before lunch, spilling the contents all over the floor. The situation made more embarrassing because I was an outsider, a target, and no one would help me pick it up. Instead, they would deliberately stomp on the food or kick my sandwich down the hallway. That day's lunch had a chocolate pudding cup and Mandarin oranges, my favorite, so I was being over protective. Unfortunately this vigilance led to another altercation with my literature teache…

The Adventure of a Lifetime: Anticipation, Agitation, Action!

When you are feeling under the weather and are stuck in bed with the flu two things happen: You sleep a lot and you reflect. I spent the last five days reflecting on why I became a teacher. I thought about how I learn, how we all learn and grow. Also, how each of us are so unique and beautiful but how we are also connected by three universal themes: adventure, curiosity and conquest of self-doubt and ignorance. No one chooses to be uneducated or illiterate. In fact, the pathfinder and pioneer in all of us needs only to be supplied with the tools of exploration and discovery and with a little imagination, we will always try to answer the questions that our minds ask. It is a human trait to be inquisitive. As educators, we need to recognize this and simply step aside and let students loose on their adventure, devices and implements in hand.

We Are All Adventurers 
At heart we are all adventurers. We love the anticipation of traveling somewhere new and exciting, even if it is …

The Singular Moment When You Lose Faith

I have been judged, ridiculed, even chastised. I have been corrected, "put in my place," even been told off. I listen and rarely fire back, I always think of comebacks or responses long after the person has left. They feel smug, entitled. I feel broken. I do not have thick skin, although I wish I had. As a professional one rightfully expects to be treated as one. When you are not it chips away at your spirit. It hardens you. The joy wheezes out leaving you deflated. Feeling disenfranchised and forgotten. I give it my all every day, never compromising or taking the easy way out. I wake up and decide intentions, which I speak aloud, reinforcing their power, their allure. I repeat them like a mantra.

It is all about perspective. I accept the backlash from being a rogue traveler. I listen to criticism and try to improve myself. I reflect a lot. I take responsibility for my short-comings, of which I have many. I am the only one to blame when things do not turn out as planned. I m…