Statistics and crime map…
Feb 24 Published in Untagged by Purple
This is a continuation of my journal from my 2001-2002 school year. Please read the previous posts to give this entry context.
Tuesday – Feb. 19
Progress reports are due tomorrow, but I won’t be here, so in addition to getting set up for a sub, I had to get my progress reports done today.
Here are the results:
Today I went over the book report requirements. I gave them graphic organizers, reviewed how to fill out the graphic organizer on the overhead, showed an example of a completed project, had them take down the due date and grading criteria in their notes, and asked who had books in progress. From time to time, I will be running my PowerPoint reminder to be reading. It will be interesting to see how many projects I actually receive on March 12th.
The Kate Kinsella, Ed. D. Workshop
Expository Writing Across the Curriculum
While my students are slogging through their timed district-wide writing assessment, and my colleagues are attending yet another after school meeting regarding our sucky API’s, I’ve been at the County Office of Education attending this wonderful workshop. Since the County Office is ten minutes from my house and since the workshop didn’t start until 8:30, I was able to sleep in until seven. The County Office is so good about providing treats—bagels, fruit, muffins, coffee, water, juice, etc.
I went through a roller coaster ride on finding a substitute. At the beginning of the year, I’d arranged with a retired teacher to cover my classes. I called her last week to confirm and I was glad I did since she’d had something come up in her personal life that meant she couldn’t substitute for me.
I called a young guy I’d met in a restaurant earlier this year who was planning to become a substitute, but he was working construction. I checked with my friend Roxanne’s sub, but she was already taken. I did finally arrange a sub, an older guy who’s been around for quite a while. I’ve never used him, but he’s seasoned. He was the long-term substitute for many of my students in their math class when they apparently drove their young, new teacher to decide she was unsuited for the profession.
Kate Kinsella is a bright, engaging speaker with usable ideas. She’s a tall, angular Irish woman with blunt cut honey brown hair. She has a habit of jutting her hip to the side and lifting her wire rim glasses with two fingers and perching them more firmly on her nose, a very professorial gesture. One of my writing group members had been to a Kate Kinsella workshop and she gave me a Post It covered with Kinsella terms she’d admired: cognitive floating, Wagnerian presence, cognitive dexterity, grammatical epiphany, rigorous reading, neophyte, subordinate conjunction, front-loading, expository, idea wave, ubiquitous KWL chart, expressive vocabulary, receptive vocabulary, and idiolect/dialect. I enjoyed checking them off and adding to the list: vertical slicing, cognitive levity, lexicon, and EuroAmerican.
From Dr. Kinsella’s presentation, I see things I need to do, like develop more rubrics for specific writing assessments, so my students have a clearer idea what I’m looking for and how they’ll be evaluated. This summer I will work on creating rubrics for the early dialog writing assignment. I might make one for the business letter . . . .
The workshop also suggests possible ways to approach our work to raise our Academic Performance Indicators. CONSISTENCY is big in the doctor’s book. We could start with simple, consistent meanings for words such as respond, evaluate, etc. and consistent marks for correction of mechanics.
During lunch, I walked across the street and worked out at the little Spa Fitness—twenty minutes climbing. A fast way to break a sweat.
The good doctor had us out by 2:30 to a spectacular spring day. The sun dazzling everything washed clean by rain. I was home before the mail.
Thursday - Another Banner Day
The problem with the stimulation of Dr. Kinsella’s workshop is that now I just want to sit for a couple of days to revise my curriculum. Instead, tomorrow I face post-substitute chaos.
One of my colleagues at the workshop went to the after school department meeting on Wednesday. There’s so much going on at the school. One vision, coming down from the top, would restructure our school so all students below grade level in language arts would receive two hours of language arts instruction, one hour of a normal class and one hour in a class designed to teach specific skills, with students arranged according to needed skills.
It’s an interesting concept to me. I wouldn’t be opposed to teaching a skills class if I could teach a skill I’m interested in, such a writing skills. On the other hand, this plan seems so unwieldy, I don’t know how anyone can even imagine it will be in place for next year. Where would we PUT all these extra English classes and who would teach them? What would happen to the elective program with a huge percentage of our students required to take a second hour of English?
All of the English teachers are receiving an exciting little perk. We’ve each been granted $400 to buy books for classroom libraries. The only problem is we have to do it before March twelfth. And, as my husband pointed out, the district isn’t paying us to comb through titles, to go to the bookstore, etc. Most English teachers, myself included, get so caught up in the offer of candy, we clamber into the car.
Dr. Kate Kinsella vs. Eleanor, Consultant from the Pulliam Group
“Teach ‘em where they are.” Pow!
“Teach the standards.” Bam!
“How can students approach high stakes writing tests without scaffolding?” Punch! Oof! Kabloomy!
“How can you send them to take a test on standards they’ve never seen?” Kapow! Bang!
“I’m a high-priced consultant full of cognitive brilliance!” Smack!
“Well so am I!” Crunch!