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December 1, 2008 at 7:31 pm Leave a comment

Blogging Expanded my World!

My blogging topic on NCLB opened my eyes to see that we as a nation are failing our future generations.  Many articles I read gave me a feeling that there is nothing that teachers can do to help there students overcome the mechanical structure that is set up in classrooms across the nation.  From this experience it seems to me that the district administrations and government generally do not value the opinions of the teachers or teachers themselves.  They merely give them a list of tasks to complete and tell them to make it work and when the students do not meet AYP they place blame on teachers.  I think the teachers need more authority in their classrooms because they are the people who work with these children day after day and they have more insight as to what works and what does not.

From my blogging experience, I also found that he RSS feeder was an uncomplicated way to get the sources that was needed for my responses.  I am extremely appreciative to have learned about the RSS process, because I had no idea it is so simple to gather quality information on one topic.  As a teacher I will definitely use RSS feeders in the classroom for my students and projects.

This blogging experience is the first time that I have participated in something like this.  I really found this practice very enjoyable and enlightening.  In general most people look at the world from one perspective, their own.  However, by reading the different blogs you get a sense and understanding of how many other people can view certain situations.  From this experience I learned to open your eyes to see past your own front yard. 

I never considered blogging as a source for the classroom, because I did not fully understand the potential methods that could be used to expose students to situations outside their communities.  I think blogging is a creative and independent process to challenge a student’s thinking.  In addition, blogging is practice that can get students to think about their opinions and beliefs in a more in-depth manner because there is someone who may dispute their viewpoints.  I believe as teachers, one practical strategy that we want to embed in our students is the ability to think independently.  Blogging is a way in which students can receive feedback from other sources outside their families and classrooms.  I also feel that blogging will help them to become self-sufficient young adults who are able to openly discuss issues and concerns openly.

October 23, 2008 at 2:24 pm Leave a comment

There is no Way for NCLB to Suceed!

The NCLB act has not lived up to the expected ambition which was an endeavor to have one hundred percent of students proficient in academic areas by the year 2014.  Because of the continuing troubles within many school districts with NCLB some researchers  decided it would be ideal to test the theory to see if the claim having all student proficient by 2014 achievable or not.  In the article, All Students Proficient on State Tests by 2014? Link it mentions,

 

“the researchers analyzed state assessment data from more than 4,900 elementary schools in the school years 2002-2003 through 2006-2007, then made projections of future proficiency scores using three different mathematical models.

    “Even using the most optimistic model, the analysis found that nearly 100 percent of California elementary schools failed to meet AYP by 2014. In fact, average proficiency in English Language Arts fell short of AYP by the year 2011, and math proficiency fell short by 2012”.

 

 

The NCLB act has not lived up to its assumed potential.  I think that it is ridiculous the amount of pressure that the government wants to put on its teachers to “teacher to test”.  With these type of agendas being executed in  the classroom, it is no surprise that so many of our students are not reaching test goals.   It is imperative for the government to step in immediately and do something about this problem that is occurring in schools with NCLB.  There are to many “what if’s” that can promote or hinder, passing a state test.  Our students today are our future and if we continue to judge them based on test scores we as a society are setting them up for failure. 

Because of NCLB I also feel that teachers are not teaching our students the importance of thinking and strategy, they are being taught to do mechanical work.  It is imperative that our students have the ability to problem solve and think out of the box.  NCLB leaves no room for teaching students to think rather it focuses on teaching studnets to get the work completed and getting the work right. 

By Kansas City Infozine

September 30, 2008

 Link  

 

 

 

 

 

October 23, 2008 at 1:40 pm 2 comments

Good? or Bad?

NCLB has gotten a bad outlook and results from many school districts from the beginning of its implementation.   However, not all schools are having the problem that the majority of school districts are having with NCLB, or it seems. The Salt Lake Tribune, reports that the state of Utah schools has gained five percent in their Adequate Yearly Progress goals.   Although the schools in Utah have increased their the numbers in some areas they have loss numbers in areas as well.  The article I am referring to begins talking about the how well many schools are doing in Utah, and in the same note talks about the complications with the NCLB policies. 

 

Monte Vista Elementary School in South Jordan missed making AYP because not enough of its students with disabilities hit the mark on the state math test. Principal Tom Little called the miss frustrating.”

 

“Overall, schools across the state had a difficult time making sure students who have disabilities, who were learning English, who were Hispanic or were from low-income families hit testing targets. Students learning English didn’t hit the targets at 20 percent of the state’s elementary and middle schools.
    “It’s just one of the reasons No Child Left Behind is so difficult,” Park said. “They’re called English Language Learners because they don’t know English. You’re never going to get 100 percent proficiency on that subgroup. It’s impossible because the definition of the group is they’re not proficient.”

 

Because if the title of the article and the gracious approach from the author I did know whether or not she was praising or criticizing NCLB.  But from this excerpts it looks as though she is wanting to get across that it is absurd to think that you can judge all students from all different backgrounds on the same scale.  I think she wanted to get across in a subliminal manner that this policy will do good things who already has an advantage, but will hinder those who do not.

 

By Lisa Schenker

The Slat Lake Tribune

2008 September 30

Link

October 23, 2008 at 1:30 pm Leave a comment

Making Individual Choices

From an individual school district stand point, I think it is important to set distinctive goals based on the districts’ environment and its residents. I think that setting separate, yet achievable goals is what is important for schools because all schools do not need the same scale for achievement. There are so many outside factors that contribute to how a student learns it is foolish to have one standard. I think it is imperative for the government, teachers, and administrators to take into consideration who their students are and where they are teaching. In an article I read the school district has set goals outside of the NCLB and the goals presently complies the NCLB standards. The article states, link



“According to the strategic plan established in Spring 2007, one of the district’s objectives was to have all sites achieve “Performing” status by September 2008.”

“White said the achievement was earned due to the staff’s continuous work on aligning curriculum to state standards and then in turn teaching to those standards.”

The six focus points established in the strategic plan as goals from 2007-2011 are: district-wide achievement and accountability, academic learning standards, resource planning, student support and safety, staffing and professional development, and community relations in partnerships.”

I found this article intriguing because the district was ambitions and developed a plan which seems to be working for them, while still abiding by NCLB. I think the government should help in the individual development of some programs to help schools improve but they should not have total control on how schools operate. It is very easy to look at a problem from the outside and pass judgment, make laws, and assess schools based on test scores. But it is not getting to the core problems that exist within “failing” schools. I feel that it is important for teachers, and the government to work together and try to solve this problem. The government needs to take into account the people who works with students on a day to day and value their input, experience, skills.

Coolidge News

By AMANDA PATTON, Editor

October 14, 2008

Link

October 16, 2008 at 10:29 am 1 comment

Should there be different Standards?

No Child Left Behind has tougher, more difficult standards to reach year after year. However it is extremely difficult for schools to reach these goals if the students fail the previous year, which means the teachers and students have twice as hard to reach Adequate Yearly Progress goals. This endeavor is extremely difficult when districts have different subgroups that are “lacking” in many academic areas. I read an article link which discussed the students with disabilities and their inadequate test results. Many students with disabilities are missing school because of complications. How can the state hold students with disabilities in the same category as the regular mainstream classroom. Yet, NCLB does not take any of these issues into consideration when the results are in.

“Stephen Knolls School suffered the ignominy of failure under federal law in 2006 and 2007 for low test scores. This year, the Kensington school finally made the grade in reading and math — only to be sanctioned for poor attendance.

The challenge in this case is not truancy. Stephen Knolls serves medically fragile children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida and Rett syndrome.”

“Some schools attended by children with severe disabilities are being sanctioned under NCLB for poor attendance that educators say is tied more to students’ fragile health than truancy. “We know that there are legitimate reasons for [students] to be home,” said Tina Shrewsbury, coordinator for a Maryland school that serves many children with physical and cognitive disabilities. “They’re going to [medical] specialists. … They’re having lab tests done. They’re being hospitalized.”

It is currently very difficult for teachers to reach Adequate Yearly Progress goals within the mainstream classes, but then to add burden of holding teachers accountable for students who has disabilities is problematic. There is so much pressure from administrators and the state to prepare the students for state standardized test it is challenging for teachers. When a school is sanctioned there is the speculation that teachers are not doing an adequate job and I think that is a stressful and discomforting label to put on a teacher who is there to help. Because of the different learning styles, education levels, and knowledge of children, NCLB needs immediately evaluated and needs to be restructured to become an asset rather than a disadvantage.

By Daniel de Vise

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 14, 2008;

Link

October 15, 2008 at 1:56 pm 1 comment

Christopher Paul Curtis

The Underground Railroad Conference of Michigan held at Grand Valley State University was one of the most enlightening experiences that I have had since attending this school.  I had the opportunity to have an in-depth and more personal look at the Underground Railroad, its contributors, its survivors, predecessors, and its successors.  One of the most inspirational speakers of the event was Christopher Paul Curtis.  Curtis was a middle class, blue collar worker like many other Americans, yet he ventured out and made a name for himself as a highly regarded author.  I found his presentation very enjoyable and humorous at times.  His speech was sophisticated, charming, and polished.  During his speech he talked about his transition from a factory worker to an author.  He also discussed his inspirations for his writings and how and why he decided to write his latest novel in the first person.  After he finished his introduction on the how’s and why’s, he presented his most recent book and read excerpts from the text.   I was really moved by the text and I found this novel would be an excellent teaching tool.  I thought his entire presentation was very insightful and the delivery was fantastic. 

            Christopher Paul Curtis presented his newest novel Elijah of Buxton.  Curtis talked about his inspirations for the book and his journey in writing this book.  He explained to the audience that he wanted to delivery a novel from the view point of a young African American boy who lived in the established township of Buxton.  Buxton was a city founded for runaway slaves.  Curtis gave details about Elijah and his point of view of the world before he truly understood the truth and after he was educated on the harsh realities of the world in which he was living.  Elijah was born in Buxton, so he did not have experience of being a slave or the journey to freedom as most of the adults living in this community.  However as Elijah matured and encountered different experiences of his reality, he began understand and appreciate the life he had and value the adults in the community for what they had endured for his independence.   Elijah was described as a very rambunctious, typical seven year old boy who would soon learn the cruel ways of the world. 

Curtis is a very talented writer who knows how to delivery good, quality reading material.  I have never heard of Christopher Paul Curtis before I was advised by a few instructors that he would be a magnificent speaker to encounter.   After his reading I was very impressed by his mannerism and performance.  Following his presentation I went home and started a searching Amazon for his books.  I think he is a very gifted writer and I also feel that his books would be a wonderful tool for teaching upper elementary and middle school students.  I think his books are not only relatable to elementary aged children, but adults as well.  His stories cover a significant part of history that is imperative for children to learn and I think he did a fabulous job at creating something so well put together.  His novels can attract a mass of audiences from different backgrounds, races, and socioeconomic statues.  Overall I was really pleased with everything I had experienced and as a future teacher, his literature will definitely be apart of my curriculum.

October 13, 2008 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

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