Friday, February 24, 2012

Charting Who Will Fail, Who Will Not - And Acting On It

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district in North Carolina is tracking how their students are doing, looking for early signs that may lead to school failure. They have a "risk-factor scorecard,"and as they see signs that hint at later failure, the school moves in. Monitoring begins in elementary school. Very proactive, a wonderful idea. Most schools I've worked in have child study teams of some sort, but if I read this correctly, this district doesn't wait until the child is heading toward special education but rather just a child who needs monitoring, extra observing, a cautious eye. Great idea.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

For Teachers: Project-Based Link

It seems as if we are all huge fans of project-based learning, and when given the chance, we find our students blossom. Here's a link to masses of project-based ideas.

Okay, right after testing...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Great Source for Quick Photo Searches

I just ran across this great photo searcher, Photo Pin. The best part about it is it searches the Creative Commons section of Flickr, so the photos it finds for you are fine for use (just as long as you aren't using them for profit). I won't be using it right now, but the photos I pulled up (at least the ones I found) look quite professional.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Websites for Children

Many teachers and parents already use for reading activities for beginning readers. I just  ran across and (knowledge bears) that seem to engage children, as well.

I must say I am still disappointed I can't find anything that I feel would justify using it in the classroom -- I'm all about making the most out of whatever time we have, and the internet programs I find seem to spend too much time getting to the purpose of their activities. But the best way to tell, of course, is to use these sites with children, and that I haven't done, yet. More later...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Standards-based Classrooms

I am a huge advocate for the upcoming Common Core -- at least what I know of it -- and along with that, the standards-based classrooms. I realize change is difficult, but if politics doesn't destroy a good concept (as often happens, especially in an election year), I think we teachers will have more freedom to involve our students in project-based and interdisciplinary work that will inspire our rooms. I know I'm doing quite a bit of it already -- setting up the learning objectives with students, testing each to show him/her visible progress made to date, making lessons relevant -- but I want to continue, of course.

And that is why I entered education to begin with -- the promise of very real, very relevant school days for students, one that they leave with solid skills to use in their lives. Barbara P. Benson has an intriguing book that others have written about and I plan to pick up, How To Meet Standards, Motivate Students, and Still Enjoy Teaching.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Gap Widens, But Not Between Black and White

Interesting research coming out from Stanford, Michigan, and other research bodies now indicate that the educational divide is not so much between white and blacks but between the wealthy and the poor. As blacks enter the middle class, that only makes sense. We all knew it was the function of economics, not race, that often kept educational success from reaching our children. Whether it's the stress of low income living or, at times, a difference in chosen life paths, it is one's economics that divides our educational worlds from our youngest Americans.