violetrose1922: (flowers Victoria)
But I just don't love it. It always seems to let me down or something. I think the show has such great potential, but then the writers just drop the ball. Theses tribute episodes never seem to do much but re-create old videos and such. There is nothing new there. It is like watching karaoke or something. The show is great when it does original stuff, but it so often falls short. Sigh.

I am a bit afraid this could out me in real life.... Tomorrow my school is getting to do something really cool. We are getting to downlink (or uplink?) with the Space Station and talk to astronauts. That is a really big deal, I am happy that a lot of kids are getting the opportunity to do something so cool. Of course since there are 1500 kids in my school, only a few hundred actually get to participate. The rest of us are watching live from classrooms. Still a cool opportunity for the kids.

Now the seemingly requisite bitching: The school district has spent thousands of dollars planting grass the last two days so the front of the school will look nice for the "important people" who are coming to this thing. The kids are threatened with Saturday detention if they walk on said grass before the big day. We also planted tons of flowers and such, but kids helped with that so it bothers me less. Now my school also was named a National Blue Ribbon School this year. Because we have almost no achievement gap between our student subgroups. That kicks ass. We are a low income school, with a very diverse population, and in numerous areas all these groups perform at an extremely high level. But hey, when they had the totally lame ceremony, in the middle of the day so the teachers couldn't actually go, no one thought we needed money spent on the school. The district did nothing to reward the kids. The superintendent never even said the word "teachers" in his little celebration speech. So all this ridiculousness for the NASA thing just ends up pissing us off. And that is a shame, because it is a really big deal.

Education reform has been in the news a lot lately. My school does a lot of things really right. Our kids are cared about, they like school, they work hard, we try-no matter that education now discourages it completely-to teach them to think critically. We worry too much about test scores, but our goal is that students are commended, not just pass those tests. Our administrators are not nearly as smart as our teachers are and we put up with all sorts of dumbness and we do it for the kids. A good teacher in every class room? What makes a good teacher? I don't know, but I do know it isn't effing grass.

Sorry for the rant. tomorrow will be a long day.
violetrose1922: (Forks High School)
Sorry for all these boring RL posts, but the end of school testing is such a big deal.

Am I a horrible person for hating all the importance we place on students' standardized test scores, but being shocked (in a really happy way) that 100% of my kids passed their state test this year? That has never happened; I teach in a huge, Title I, urban middle school with over 60% at-risk kids. My 150 students are very diverse and I teach everyone from special ed kids in an inclusion class and gifted and talented kids. No one get 100% passing on any test.

Even more meaningful to me was that 61% of my kids were commended on the test. Way better judge of if they really learned a lot this year. So that number always makes me happy if it is above 50%.

So I was really happy with test scores today even though I hate what they represent for education and for children. And I feel sort of guilty for being so happy.
violetrose1922: (Forks High School)
This week we have been taking standardized tests all week. That means stuck in a room all day with the same group of kids who have to be completely silent. It sucks for them and it sucks for teachers also. There is nothing more boring than watching kids take a test.

Why, a reasonable person might ask, would I be able to do nothing but watch kids take a test? Because the district and state I work for assume we all cheat. So they send out people who make a lot more money than I do to walk around the school and make sure we are doing nothing but monitoring kids. No sitting, no reading or writing anything, etc Because, you know we all have no personal integrity.

And the tests...are fine as part of accountability, but tomorrow my students (the ones I actually teach, not just watch) will take a 48 question test that will be used to determine how effective I am as a teacher. Now I have been working with those kids since early last August. Doing all sorts of fun learning activities, helping with high school magnet applications, having intense debates about current events and all sorts of other important things. Kids love my class, but really, how the kids answer those 48 multiple choice questions tomorrow is all that matters. Oh, and the test is not actually high stakes for the kids. If they fail it, nothing happens except it goes in their permanent record.

Now my kids will do great tomorrow-they always pass at an extremely high rate (every sub-group above 90% passing, if I may brag a little). But how can anyone think this insane focus on testing is good for teaching or learning. All kids end up being able to do is pass a test.

So end of rant...and muchas Margaritas tomorrow afternoon!!!! And Supernatural in half an hour!!!!!

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violetrose1922

October 2011

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