Author Topic: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26, #56, #141 (mini), #151, #165  (Read 32799 times)

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Lauren

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #90 on: October 26, 2012, 09:18:49 PM »
I remember watching exactly one movie (as in not an education movie) which was an Aussie movie 'The Castle' and since I was doing legal studies it was appropriate. It was also the last day of term and we had a double lesson so could watch it at once.

I can't imagine having assignments due and having to watch a movie for THREE lessons!

WillyNilly

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #91 on: October 26, 2012, 09:54:02 PM »
Osmosis Jones isn't even a good movie, sheesh.

I can see some films, if they are very scientific or every historical, or maybe a heavy dialog film in a foreign language class, but Osmosis Jones is not a science film, its a Chris Rock, Lawrence Fishbourne, Bill Murry movie.

Iris

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #92 on: October 26, 2012, 10:22:26 PM »
DD1 was made to watch Deep Blue Sea for Marine Studies class. When I rang the school to object they decided that the class was nearly finished watching it so DD1 would just sit it out. In the corridor. For two HOURS because the teacher decided to be 'cool' and let them watch it twice. Being regularly hassled by passing teachers who assumed she was outside the classroom for discipline issues and reacted accordingly.

Big mistake. Huge. I am not afraid to be THAT mum and also have a working knowledge of departmental guidelines which state that children that age can not watch M (15+) rated movies at school without express, written permission from parents and a very solid educational reason. Mama bear made an appearance that day, believe you me.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0149261/ if you are not familiar with the movie. NOT educational (although possibly hilarious).
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ettiquit

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #93 on: October 26, 2012, 10:32:05 PM »
DS told me that the class did a worksheet while they watched the video. The video was "Osmosis Jones." I just looked it up. It's a Farrelly brothers movie from 2001 about a white blood cell that is trying to stop a virus from killing a human. They will spend Monday and Tuesday continuing to watch the movie.

I had a history teacher who let us watch a Simpsons episode one, but it was on the last day of school before Thanksgiving.  I can't imagine watching a movie trough several class periods.


My high school history teacher let us watch Monty Python's Holy Grail, but it was...historically relevant.

Or something.  ;D

violinp

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #94 on: October 26, 2012, 11:08:01 PM »
The more I read in this topic, the more I see red!  This teacher is using videos as a crutch, absolutely.  Videos that are shown should correlate directly to a state standard, and should be used sparingly.  Ask your DS- are they doing a supplementary activity with the movie?  IME, movies are not useful at all - even really good ones - unless students are thinking critically about what they are seeing.

DS told me that the class did a worksheet while they watched the video. The video was "Osmosis Jones." I just looked it up. It's a Farrelly brothers movie from 2001 about a white blood cell that is trying to stop a virus from killing a human. They will spend Monday and Tuesday continuing to watch the movie.

DS also told me this evening that one of his friends is in his science class, so I may try to contact that boy's parents to see if they have any opinions about this curriculum. DS told me that his friend is still on the B-layer work. He also told me that he spent yesterday working with his friend to help him with his projects because he couldn't work on his experiment. He said he spent Wednesday's class time reviewing his plans for his experiment. He said he didn't really have anything of his own to work on either day.

I asked him if he's aware of how many other kids are in the A-layer work right now. To his knowledge there are three in his class, including him.

Coley, this work sounds like it's on the level of the high school advanced biology course I took that was the first part of a college prep series. There is no need at all for 11 and 12 year olds to be learning that much stuff. Plus, this teacher sounds like she's trying to fail the kids with her behavior. Both of those things add up to a recipe for utter failure for everyone. I'm glad you're going to speak with the principal ASAP.
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jedikaiti

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #95 on: October 27, 2012, 12:43:44 AM »
DD1 was made to watch Deep Blue Sea for Marine Studies class. When I rang the school to object they decided that the class was nearly finished watching it so DD1 would just sit it out. In the corridor. For two HOURS because the teacher decided to be 'cool' and let them watch it twice. Being regularly hassled by passing teachers who assumed she was outside the classroom for discipline issues and reacted accordingly.

Big mistake. Huge. I am not afraid to be THAT mum and also have a working knowledge of departmental guidelines which state that children that age can not watch M (15+) rated movies at school without express, written permission from parents and a very solid educational reason. Mama bear made an appearance that day, believe you me.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0149261/ if you are not familiar with the movie. NOT educational (although possibly hilarious).

That looks like the type of thing you only watch when you have insomnia!!

I do hope the teacher got their patooty handed to them for that - including having to explain to all the other teachers that the student was in the hall because the teacher was an idiot, and having the other teachers apologize to your kid!
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Iris

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #96 on: October 27, 2012, 01:32:50 AM »
DD1 was made to watch Deep Blue Sea for Marine Studies class. When I rang the school to object they decided that the class was nearly finished watching it so DD1 would just sit it out. In the corridor. For two HOURS because the teacher decided to be 'cool' and let them watch it twice. Being regularly hassled by passing teachers who assumed she was outside the classroom for discipline issues and reacted accordingly.

Big mistake. Huge. I am not afraid to be THAT mum and also have a working knowledge of departmental guidelines which state that children that age can not watch M (15+) rated movies at school without express, written permission from parents and a very solid educational reason. Mama bear made an appearance that day, believe you me.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0149261/ if you are not familiar with the movie. NOT educational (although possibly hilarious).

That looks like the type of thing you only watch when you have insomnia!!

I do hope the teacher got their patooty handed to them for that - including having to explain to all the other teachers that the student was in the hall because the teacher was an idiot, and having the other teachers apologize to your kid!

According to the Principal's very grovelling reply to my email, they held a special staff meeting to address the issue, ensure that all staff were aware of the guidelines and implemented new procedures to make sure they were followed. He knew that if I chose to go to the Education Department over it people could lose their jobs. The school in general was great and very supportive when DD1 got sick so I didn't want to land the whole school in hot water. Hopefully it will never ever happen again, but it was almost professional darwinism!
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trailgrrl

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #97 on: October 27, 2012, 03:53:13 AM »
Not to Threadjack, but the last semester of my son's Senior English class, the class was assigned 'Into The Wild' by Jon Krakauer.  Now since it wasn't curricula material, there were no books assigned as there weren't enough for the class.  No, they had to listen to it on tape  >:(   And then watched the movie.

I'm not sure which was more irritating; the fact that it wasn't even one of Jon Krakauer's better books or the fact the kids weren't even required to read it  ::)  I would have thought 'Into Thin Air' or 'Under the Banner of Heaven' to be better discussion starters.

My son, who was not a great student by any stretch, was thoroughly bored and disgusted.  Bored by listening to a book on tape for weeks, disgusted because in his words "The story was about an idiot who walked unprepared into the Alaskan wilderness, WHO DOES THAT?"

Anyway, I let it pass.  It was the last Semester and it was one the few class he was actually passing at the time.  I had bigger fish to fry (not with the school, with my kid).

End Threadjack

OP, What is going in your son's class in beyond unacceptable and I'm really glad to hear you're bringing to the school's attention.

kherbert05

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #98 on: October 27, 2012, 06:48:29 AM »
I am with the others that this sounds like a program that could be forced on a teacher without proper support.

About the field trip - even though it was presented as she decided to go - she might have been required to go. When I taught 4th, I was required to go on a 5th grade field trip - because I had been to the location multiple times and the grant money could not be used to pay parents' transportation or admission. So they had to pull staff from lower grades to have the legally required number of chaperons.

About the videos - Videos instead of textbooks are becoming more common for science. The reason is that you can show things in video that you can't duplicate in the classroom for safety reason. That said it sounds like the teacher would benefit from information about "flipped classrooms". In a flipped classroom the video and any reading would be assigned as homework. That way classroom time can be devoted to actually doing experiments.

Haves and have nots comes into play. In theory I could assign my 2nd graders to watch certain videos from discovery streaming. They have log ins and I could create a play list for them to watch. My problem is demographic - a good number of my kids don't have internet at home and those that do have it on mobile devices and the student log in doesn't work on those.

About the A B C level work - I do this with my 2nd graders. A C project will look like this, a B product will look like this, and an A project will look like this. The diffidence is they have access to everything from the time the project is assigned.

Supplies - I would definitely address the lack of equipment in the lab when speaking to the principal. Only 4 microscopes - we have 3 x that in our elementary lab and we are a Title I low socio/eco school.
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Coley

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #99 on: October 27, 2012, 07:45:01 AM »
I am with the others that this sounds like a program that could be forced on a teacher without proper support.

About the field trip - even though it was presented as she decided to go - she might have been required to go. When I taught 4th, I was required to go on a 5th grade field trip - because I had been to the location multiple times and the grant money could not be used to pay parents' transportation or admission. So they had to pull staff from lower grades to have the legally required number of chaperons.

About the videos - Videos instead of textbooks are becoming more common for science. The reason is that you can show things in video that you can't duplicate in the classroom for safety reason. That said it sounds like the teacher would benefit from information about "flipped classrooms". In a flipped classroom the video and any reading would be assigned as homework. That way classroom time can be devoted to actually doing experiments.

Haves and have nots comes into play. In theory I could assign my 2nd graders to watch certain videos from discovery streaming. They have log ins and I could create a play list for them to watch. My problem is demographic - a good number of my kids don't have internet at home and those that do have it on mobile devices and the student log in doesn't work on those.

About the A B C level work - I do this with my 2nd graders. A C project will look like this, a B product will look like this, and an A project will look like this. The diffidence is they have access to everything from the time the project is assigned.

Supplies - I would definitely address the lack of equipment in the lab when speaking to the principal. Only 4 microscopes - we have 3 x that in our elementary lab and we are a Title I low socio/eco school.

My main concern about the field trip is that it came up rather suddenly in the middle of this science unit. The calendar she provided for the unit doesn't indicate that she planned to be out for a field trip that week. Whether she was assigned to go on the field trip or decided to go is a moot point in my mind. The timing wasn't good. It disrupted the workflow considerably for this unit, and it resulted in confusion about assignment deadlines and limited students' work time. Between the field trip, her illness, and yesterday's video, some kids (but not DS) have had two days of class time to work on their projects since Oct. 16.

You mentioned flipped classrooms. Ironically, the teacher gave a handout during open house that discusses the flipped concept. She explained in the handout that she would be using a website to deliver short lectures and that the kids would then participate in online discussions about the lectures. She said in the handout that this would allow more class time to be spent on labs as well as interactive and self-paced learning. So far, it looks like the website has been used as a communication tool to deliver messages to students and store assignment guidelines. Perhaps this will change over time during the school year. 

As you mentioned, the socioeconomic implications of this curriculum are worrisome as is the lack of equipment. I don't know that the students will need microscopes for every unit, but if those are limited, I do wonder whether other equipment or supplies also will be limited for upcoming units.

Thanks for your input. I appreciate it.

Redsoil

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #100 on: October 27, 2012, 08:16:23 AM »
I think it's sad that bright, willing students are being deliberately obstructed in their abilities because the teacher seems to feel it's "appropriate" to hold them back so the rest of the class can do their basic work.  This whole story sounds like it's enough to put your child off science at school - exactly the opposite of what a good teacher should want!  I do hope there is a good resolution, and that the program is tweaked so it flows better.  Students at this level should not have to be going in to school very early to gain sufficient time for their A level studies!
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weeblewobble

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #101 on: October 27, 2012, 08:47:19 AM »
The large urban school district where my mom teaches actually banned teachers from showing videos because of teachers who do this - filling up class time with pointless videos instead of teaching.  There was also a teacher who taught a high school psychology class and thought showing a seriously gory horror film was an appropriate illustration of psychosis.  Yikes.

It's now written policy that teachers can only show videos that either accompanied the textbooks or was issued by a legitimate educational publisher.  And they have to be approved by the principal.

Showing a cartoon that contains, at best, minimal information about the immune system when the kids have deadlines looming that affect their grades is SHAMEFUL and this teacher needs to have her lesson plans, grading policy and classroom management skills reviewed.

Thipu1

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #102 on: October 27, 2012, 10:13:27 AM »
I can understand some use of videos in science classes.  Some of the old Disney productions such as 'Hemo the Magnificent' could still be good for younger students. 

Episodes of 'Nova' or 'Through the Wormhole' could provoke fruitful classroom discussion for higher grades. 

If a history class had sharp students and a teacher with a good sense of humor, I can see screening 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' because it takes on a lot of medieval legend.

Still, in most cases, a video, especially one that's basically commercial entertainment, is a waste of valuable time for education. 

GrammarNerd

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #103 on: October 27, 2012, 10:14:55 AM »

Coley, this work sounds like it's on the level of the high school advanced biology course I took that was the first part of a college prep series. There is no need at all for 11 and 12 year olds to be learning that much stuff. Plus, this teacher sounds like she's trying to fail the kids with her behavior. Both of those things add up to a recipe for utter failure for everyone. I'm glad you're going to speak with the principal ASAP.

Re: the bolded: In my first job out of college, I didn't make very much, and part of my compensation was based (quarterly) on quizzes that the manager would give me based on things that I should have learned for the quarter.  For one quiz, I got an 88% and I was very disappointed by that; I thought I could do better.  So basically, I got 88% of the bonus that was available to me for that quarter.  My manager, however had a different viewpoint: he remarked that I did a lot better than he thought I would.

I mentioned that remark to someone who opened my eyes about what he'd done: essentially, he never had any intention that I could earn the full bonus amount, because he admittedly made a quiz that he KNEW was too hard!  He was messing with my abilty for compensation, and was lying to me, and that was so not cool.  The 'test' should have been designed so that I would, if I learned everything, have the ability to get the full bonus amount. 

This came to mind when I read your situation, OP.  All of those children should have the ability to get the best grade possible.  Right now, they can't do that. 

A few points I would hit with the principal:

1. Since so much emphasis is on videos, how are the videos being graded?  Are they C level work?  A level work?  GET an answer to that.  If they are C level work, then why is your son forced to watch them if he's on the A track?  That is holding him back and penalizing him.  If he's being forced to watch them, then they need to count toward the highest possible grade that he can achieve...an A.  That is the ONLY fair way it can work.

2. Why did your son get so much flack about getting the salt to do his experiment, when the teacher was the one who assigned the experiment?  Does she not know what she assigned?  And stress that not only does this come from your son, but you observed it.  And what you heard and witnessed doesn't give you a lot of confidence in the teacher's curriculum knowledge.

3. A research paper and powerpoint presentaton on a thoroughly different topic (as I understand it) seems like WAY too much work in order to get an A at that age.  Like another pp said, an A should be on mastery of topics taught in class and meeting all of those requirements, not jumping through hoops to do extra work on your own.

4. How does the grading work for the A and B levels?   If they do it, they get the grade?  How picky is she being with her critique of the A work?  Is it such that even after putting in all of this work, your son still wouldn't get an A?  (and frankly, I'd worry that if the teacher didn't know that salt was needed for the experiment, she wouldn't even know how to grade the assignment fairly or objectively)

5.  At our middle school, they have prescribed topics they have to cover.  So by this teacher extending the due dates, does that mean that other parts of the curriculum are not being covered?  And why is this?  Why are due dates being extended, yet they're not working on the work that they need to do?

I also have a 6th grader who is very smart and loves science.  If he brought home that much extra homework just to get an A (which apparently needs to be self-taught!!), I would have had a lot of issues with that.  I didn't have to do that much for honors biology in high school!  Reading, yes, but papers?  Presentations?  No.

Please keep us updated.

faithlessone

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #104 on: October 27, 2012, 10:55:17 AM »
Like everyone else, I am shocked about this. It would be one thing if there were three levels of work right from the beginning, and students could pick whether to do the C-level, B-level or A-level work - but forcing all the kids to do all three levels (if they want an A) seems crazy. Adding on that they are required to do extra work (and a lot of extra work, from the sound of it) outside of class in order to get above a C, and that's bizarre. Then, finally, to hear that this teacher seems to be intentionally holding students back (neglecting project time in favour of videos, interrogating students for basic supplies, preventing them from using equipment), and that's just mean!

Coley - I really hope you can get something substantial done about this. I highly doubt you're the only parent who feels that this is unfair and stupid. I would hate to see a whole class of young students completely turned away from science because of one ill-advised programme or one disorganised teacher.

Keep us updated! :)