Showing posts from June, 2016

Preparing Our Students for College and/or Careers

"College and Career" has become the new buzzword in American high schools.  We want to prepare students to be ready for the social and academic demands of college; and--for students who go to college and don't go to college--we want to prepare our students for the demands of being in a working environment.  This has become a rallying cry for our P-12 school system because of so many surveysstudies (also see this study) and articles that have touted how unsuccessful our schools have been at accomplishing this goal.

       Certainly many recent high school graduates (and their parents) can speak from personal experience.  They completed high school and received their diploma, but they couldn't do the same in college.  Among students that began college in 2007, less than 40% completed their Bachelor's degree by 2011.  Even if you give them another two years the college graduation rate is still very low--59.4% (source).  Employment rates for high school gra…

Is Your Child Advanced in Mathematics?

It seems that, more than in other subjects, the placement of students in advanced mathematics is often a contentious issue. Elementary schools have different policies about placing students in classes that teach math at grade levels that are above the student's current grade.  Middle schools often offer high school mathematics classes, but some stop at Algebra 1 and some go beyond Algebra 1.

       The ability of a school or school system to determine a student's math ability (or "advanced" math ability) can be hard to do with great accuracy--especially when we are trying to make this determination with eight and nine year old children.  It's not enough that they are getting good grades in their math work; math is more than mere calculation.  And higher-level math is all about reasoning and thinking and understanding.  The kid that is good at memorizing, isn't always good at (say) the abstraction that comes with manipulating variables and graphing a l…

Reflecting on the School Year

Did I do all I could to help my students to learn?
       Did I improve as an educator this year?
       Did I encourage my quietest students to participate?
       Did I emphasize "learning" over "getting-a-good-grade"?
       Did I communicate my expectations clearly?
       Did I establish good relationships with my students?
       Did I call on every students everyday?
       Did I help my reluctant learners to do their best?
       Did I work with parents to help my struggling learners?
       Did I push my highly-able students to do better?
       Did I model a growth mindset for my students?
       Did I provide appropriate and timely feedback?
       Did I demand the best from all of my students?
       Did I engage my students in their learning?
       Did I collaborate with my colleagues?
       Did I try something new in the classroom this year?
       Did I share my knowledge with other teachers?

       Teaching is an imperfect profession.  We ge…