An article entitled I Can't Answer These Texas Standardized Test Questions about my Own Poems in the Huffington Post is worth a read. Most teachers have felt the frustration of test prep and experieced a sinking feeling as we read over released items that seem poorly written, unfair or frankly, just plain wrong. I'm not anti-testing nor am I anti-data, but I do think we should try to make our assessments as authentic and real-world as possible. This article just reinforces what so many of us already know: there has got to be a better way.
So know I've mentioned the New York Times Learning network before on our blog, but I just have to give a shoutout to a particular feature that I absolutely love. In What's Going on In This Picture? a caption is removed from an image and students have to try to use visual clues to figure it out. I love the way this activity blends critical thinking, mystery, and creativity with current events. Students can even comment on the site, discussing what they see with students around the world, Later in the week, the circumstances surrounding the image are revealed.
As a parent and as an educator I have thought a lot about homework (due to my role as a librarian, I probaby think about it much more frequently from the parental perspective). I certainly understand the pros and cons of homework from an educational perspective, although my secret admission is that I like to see homework for my own kids; it clues me in a bit on the content being taught in the classroom (although one could argue that there are other ways to convey this information to families). With my bias out there in the open, I appreciated this piece from blogger and high school math teacher Michelle Russel, What's the Best Way to Give Math Homework? Armed with the idea that homework is "practice" Russel discusses her own swinging homework pendulum as a teacher: offering regular homework, removing homework from her curriculum, bringing homework back and checking it daily, and ending with her current method of suggested problems accompanied by homework quizzes. I love Russel's thoughtful application of new ideas and the way in which she discusses what works for her and what doesn't in her classroom.
What made you think this week?
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