Monday, November 19, 2007

CSAP scores revealed-SCARY

Last week, teachers of ninth grade and tenth grade students were given in their mail boxes a highlighted sheet of their students who are partially proficient or unsatisfactory. Out of the 24 students I have in my ninth grade class, 11 are in the above categories. SCARY! I always have these weird feelings about test scores when they come out. One, I get really worried that I am going to somehow be measured as a teacher by their ninth grade test scores. What if they don't improve? If they don't improve then I am not doing my job. Also, I want to know what has happened to these kids? How can they not have applied all the writing strategies their teachers have used up to this point to this test? What is even more scary is that it seems that these students scores compared to former students are lowering at a greater rate.

So why write about this? I guess because I am frustrated. What should I do? If I am overly committed to them succeeding on this test, I could offer for them to come in on all of their off-hours form now to CSAP working on CSAP type exercises so that they actually apply the strategies we are working on in class to the standardized test. I actually offered this the other day and only one student out of all 11 wanted to come in.

I believe in all the writing exercises and real world applications I am doing in class, but I worry that those techniques won't transfer for them.

I guess I am wondering what to do? I know I am going to spend some serious time at the beginning of second semester working on their struggling areas, and I hope this works. I just wish I felt they cared as much about improving as I feel like their teachers do.

Rubrics, rubrics, rubrics

I was sitting in class the other day and had what I like to think of as a Ah-ha moment- or environmentally conscious moment. It was nothing too revolutionary, but here I sat grading presentations on Personal Learning Networks and The Chosen background information as well as previously had graded This I Believe essays. With all of these, I printed out rubrics I had created on the computer. Why did I do this? It seems like a no-brainer that I would use my laptop to assess my students work rather than printing out a rubric and then handwriting illegible comments for my students to later decipher (I actually think I have nice handwriting but I guess my students would beg to differ on the writing they see). This is a change I want to make. I want to be able to use the rubrics online and then comment directly on them.

No big in depth revelation here- just an easy solution.

Reflections on PLN...12 weeks in

I want you to take some time and really reflect on our use of Personal Learning Networks. Think about the following questions and compose a detailed and thoughtful response in order to guide our use of PLNs for second semester.

1. What do you like about PLNs?
2. What are some challenges of PLNs?
3. What do you think of the PLN presentations in class on Fridays?
4. Does reflecting on your presentation in an evaluative form in your personal blog help you?
5. Do you access the audio version of your PLN presentation? If so, does it help you? If not, why not?
6. Does it help you to read the reactions of your classmates to your presentation?
7. Are the categories of your subscriptions helpful?
8. When you don't complete an assigned PLN, why don't you?
9. Are there any suggestions or changes you think we need to make for next semester?