Author Topic: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26, #56, #141 (mini), #151, #165  (Read 29298 times)

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sidi-ji

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #105 on: October 27, 2012, 11:29:54 AM »
Firstly, you have not even approached the event horizon of a helicopter parent.  And I just want to say how much I admire your thorough command of the timeline of events.   Even if this is a half baked program that has been mandated, the teacher could  make a better job of it by explaining in advance(to  students and parents alike) what was possible, and what was desired.  In other words, she was well aware of the insufficient  microscopes, and the insane time crunch facing even the "C" level  aspirants. Thus the deadline extensions, not- in my estimation- based on the fieldtrip, or her illness playing havoc with her schedule.  (She has no schedule or program, in actual fact).   But  I hope  that I am wrong about her character.  Muttered asides are way unprofessional and  can break down  a proper student teacher  gestalt.  Any how  OP, your intervention is critical for your DS.   His work ethic is awesome!

GSNW

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #106 on: October 27, 2012, 12:27:22 PM »
I also want to point put that a new curriculum like this, if it is mandated, generally comes with advance notice and a ton of support and training.  If this teacher didn't get the requisite support I do feel for her.. that's still no excuse.  Videos are a grey teaching tool for science when used appropriately.  They are not supposed to babysit the class!!

Sharnita

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #107 on: October 27, 2012, 01:56:48 PM »
I also want to point put that a new curriculum like this, if it is mandated, generally comes with advance notice and a ton of support and training.  If this teacher didn't get the requisite support I do feel for her.. that's still no excuse.  Videos are a grey teaching tool for science when used appropriately.  They are not supposed to babysit the class!!

That greatly depends on the district.

SingActDance

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #108 on: October 27, 2012, 03:58:05 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

My senior honors English class spent a week watching all the Star Wars movies to drive home the lesson on archetypes.
Most people look at musical theatre and think "Why are those people singing and dancing in the street?" I'm sort of the opposite. I see a street full of people and think, "Why aren't they?"

Sharnita

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #109 on: October 27, 2012, 04:00:29 PM »
Star Wars can also be used for mythology.

ClaireC79

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #110 on: October 27, 2012, 04:02:55 PM »
We watched Blackadder in English, following war poetry lessons (it was the final episode in Goes Forth not Baldrick's Boom, Boom poem)

Bethczar

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #111 on: October 27, 2012, 05:42:35 PM »
We watched the "Sydney" episodes of MASH in high school psych. That being said, maybe this side topic could use it's own thread?

Count me in as another who could never have gotten an A or B with this set-up.

miranova

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #112 on: October 27, 2012, 07:22:49 PM »
This would never fly in my district.

First, the students have the right to a FREE education.  It techically should not cost them anything in terms of equipment (beyond the basic pencils, paper etc).  If anything is assigned that requires equipment or the internet for that matter, then equipment must be provided along with time to use it.  In fact, if the teacher's only method of communication is email, how are the students and parent without internet access getting any of this information? 

Secondly, schools here at flat out NOT allowed to require students to come in before or after school in order to meet the basic requirements of the class.  For make up work or extra tutoring, sure.  But not just to get the regular work done.  That's what class time is for, and it needs to be used wisely!  Requiring students who want anything more than a C to come in after hours is ludicrous and probably against district policy.  In your position I would complain LOUDLY about that one, for all of the students out there whose parents CAN'T get them to school early or pick them up late.  It's just massively unfair and while I'm not suggesting what you should do, I personally would go to bat for those kids regardless of whether or not my son's grade was adversely affected.  It's just wrong, and the school needs to stop it.  I really get irritated by teachers who set up any system that virtually guarantees that all students without involved and/or economically blessed parents will fail or never achieve the highest level of success.  Public school is supposed to create an even playing field for all students.  All of them should be given the same opportunity to be successful.  And the sad thing is, the students who have the uninvolved parents, the parents who just don't care (these parents do exist), these students will not only NOT be driven to school early, but when they fail, those same parents won't advocate for them.  Someone needs to.

*Just in case it isn't clear, I am NOT saying that any student who can't get to school early has uninvolved or uncaring parents.  I know that a lot of parents simply have to work or don't have transportation.  Just saying that the students with uncaring parents get the double whammy of not being able to get there AND not having a parent who will raise a fuss when they inevitably fail.

DoubleTrouble

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #113 on: October 27, 2012, 08:00:35 PM »
This would never fly in my district.

First, the students have the right to a FREE education.  It techically should not cost them anything in terms of equipment (beyond the basic pencils, paper etc).  If anything is assigned that requires equipment or the internet for that matter, then equipment must be provided along with time to use it.  In fact, if the teacher's only method of communication is email, how are the students and parent without internet access getting any of this information? 

Secondly, schools here at flat out NOT allowed to require students to come in before or after school in order to meet the basic requirements of the class.  For make up work or extra tutoring, sure.  But not just to get the regular work done.  That's what class time is for, and it needs to be used wisely!  Requiring students who want anything more than a C to come in after hours is ludicrous and probably against district policy.  In your position I would complain LOUDLY about that one, for all of the students out there whose parents CAN'T get them to school early or pick them up late.  It's just massively unfair and while I'm not suggesting what you should do, I personally would go to bat for those kids regardless of whether or not my son's grade was adversely affected.  It's just wrong, and the school needs to stop it.  I really get irritated by teachers who set up any system that virtually guarantees that all students without involved and/or economically blessed parents will fail or never achieve the highest level of success.  Public school is supposed to create an even playing field for all students.  All of them should be given the same opportunity to be successful.  And the sad thing is, the students who have the uninvolved parents, the parents who just don't care (these parents do exist), these students will not only NOT be driven to school early, but when they fail, those same parents won't advocate for them.  Someone needs to.

*Just in case it isn't clear, I am NOT saying that any student who can't get to school early has uninvolved or uncaring parents.  I know that a lot of parents simply have to work or don't have transportation.  Just saying that the students with uncaring parents get the double whammy of not being able to get there AND not having a parent who will raise a fuss when they inevitably fail.

Miranova you put into words what I wanted to say. The number of children in our district who are now identified as homeless has risen in the past few years. Their parents struggle to make ends meet with several jobs & to have something like this happen would be setting the kids up for failure. Even if my kid was not affected by this I would still raise a stink because it is not fair to those families who are trying their hardest just to keep their kids clothed & fed.

Sharnita

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #114 on: October 27, 2012, 08:17:17 PM »
This whole set up reminds me up multiple professional developments where teachers and administrators look at a pyramid.  At the base of the pyramid is the content and work every kid should be able to do and understand.  The center is content and/or work that is more complex and/or involved.  Some kids might not be able to get this, some might. The top might be really difficult in some way and maybe only a few kids will be able to get it. it sounds to me like that is being implemented really badly in the classroom.  I am not sure if the teacher has misunderstood it, an administrator, some board member or maybe there is a massive fail on all parts.

Coley

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #115 on: October 28, 2012, 06:27:16 AM »
This whole set up reminds me up multiple professional developments where teachers and administrators look at a pyramid.  At the base of the pyramid is the content and work every kid should be able to do and understand.  The center is content and/or work that is more complex and/or involved.  Some kids might not be able to get this, some might. The top might be really difficult in some way and maybe only a few kids will be able to get it. it sounds to me like that is being implemented really badly in the classroom.  I am not sure if the teacher has misunderstood it, an administrator, some board member or maybe there is a massive fail on all parts.

Sharnita, you may have hit the nail on the head here. The handout we received at the open house about the layered curriculum has a pyramid on the front page. I wish I could paste it here for you. The bottom of the pyramid is the C-layer work with this description: "Students demonstrate a basic understanding of the material through rote learning (facts, vocabulary, skills)."

The B layer is in the middle of the pyramid and has this description: "Application of ideas gained at the C layer."

The A layer is at the top of the pyramid and has this description: "Critical thinking and analysis of real-world issues."

I see what may be a misunderstanding of pedagogy at the A layer of this pyramid (evidenced by use of the phrase "critical thinking"), and I think I understand the pedagogy because I use Bloom's taxonomy in assessing my college students' work. From what I can see in this pyramid, each layer represents demonstration of critical thinking, with "basic understanding" at the lowest level, "application" at the middle level, and "analysis" at the highest level. It is not that students at the B and C layers aren't using critical thinking skills. It's that they aren't using the same level of critical thought about the material that students at the A layer are displaying.

It appears that the goal is to have all students demonstrating at least a "comprehension" level of critical thought, to correlate this model with Bloom's. Assignments become increasingly complex through the B and A layers. Some students will advance to the "application" level, and some may advance to the "analysis" level.

The problem with this model as it is applied in this classroom is that all students don't have equal access to the resources needed to achieve the A and B layers. In addition, it does not appear that the classroom has sufficient resources (e.g., microscopes) to ensure all students have equal opportunity to achieve the A and B layers. From that standpoint, I would argue that the measure of critical thinking in this case may not be valid. We cannot say that we are measuring what we think we are measuring. We have external factors at play that may influence students' demonstration of critical thinking skills.

I have given my approach to this problem quite a lot of thought over the past few days, and everyone's suggestions and insights have been very helpful to me. My plan is to meet with the principal to discuss my concerns. At the beginning, I will present my concerns in the bigger picture (my paragraph just above regarding equal educational opportunity) and the possible effects on students who are of lower socioeconomic status as well as those with parents who have a lower level of involvement. I then plan to narrow my focus specifically to DS and his/our experience with the work in this unit.

Whether it is DS or any child in this class, the issue is the same: Do the students have equal opportunity to demonstrate the critical thinking skills required to earn an A? If they do not, then I believe this curriculum as presented in this classroom may not provide a valid measure of learning.

For anyone who might be interested, here's an example of a layered science curriculum that I found online for 7th graders at another middle school. https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxtcnNjbGFya3NsaWZlc2NpZW5jZWNsYXNzfGd4OjcyNzliMDVkNTJlOTlkZWI

This example is comparable to the one used for the current unit in DS's class, but there are significant differences. This example indicates the location where students are expected to conduct the work (method column), and deadlines also are reasonably clear. The number of points possible to achieve full credit for each layer also is provided. Another difference in comparison to the curriculum in DS's class is that there is just one assessment at the end of the unit rather than an assessment at each layer. In DS's class, students are not allowed to progress to the next layer until they have completed a quiz at the previous level. If I'm reading this example correctly, it appears that these students have 14 days of work time. Ten work days include in-class exercises, and each layer is represented in class time. This is not the case in DS's class because class time is not specifically provided for each layer. In this example, it appears that students who progress through the C-layer work fairly quickly may have four in-class days to complete upper-layer work. In theory, students in this example could complete the four C-layer assignments labeled "homework/individual work time" at home or during a study hall during the first week of the unit and move on to B-layer work. None of the homework/individual work assignments at any level require resources beyond pencil and paper, which means that students should not have to make special trips to the classroom outside of class time. This would, it seems, minimize the impact on students of lower socioeconomic status and those with less parental involvement.

DoubleTrouble

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #116 on: October 28, 2012, 09:06:07 AM »
Coly I think that example you found is a good example of how this should be done & I would bring it with you to enhance your point. I was thinking more about it & you mentioned that to do A-Level work your son had to do PowerPoint slides. That is an expensive program (unless you use the free trial) & for many people a difficult one to understand & who knows if all the features are available in the trial. For a child of lower socioeconomic status this type of work would most likely be completely out of their reach & it would be a disservice to those children to prevent them from being able to achieve the higher grade simply because the cannot afford it. Public education is free for a reason & children should not be forced to choose between food/clothes/shelter to receive an education.

I mentioned your situation to my husband who has a PhD in chemistry & he was appalled at what these middle school children were expected to do. This type of work is more in line of what he did while in grad school where adequate resources were provided. It's just insane to expect this of middle school students.

snowdragon

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #117 on: October 28, 2012, 01:24:25 PM »
I am in Grad school. I have not spent that amount of time on anyone of class projects ( reading, yeah - projects no) this semester. Seriously this scheduling is nuts and seems to punish the students who want to get "A"'s I would be starting with the principal and go from there.

RooRoo

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #118 on: October 29, 2012, 08:48:14 AM »
Corey said:
Quote
At the beginning, I will present my concerns in the bigger picture (my paragraph just above regarding equal educational opportunity) and the possible effects on students who are of lower socioeconomic status as well as those with parents who have a lower level of involvement. I then plan to narrow my focus specifically to DS and his/our experience with the work in this unit.

This is a good idea. I would end by saying that, since DS has turned in his last assignment and has 99% so far, thus will probably get an A, this isn't an issue for you, but have they considered that this has opened the district to a possible lawsuit?* This should be said with a concern for the schools, not as a threat.

No student should have to settle for a C because they canít get to the school for extra time, and/or canít get the equipment needed. (To do Power Point, you have to buy some nice expensive software. And, if the school wants them to learn power point, they should darn well give a class in it.) Nor because they aren't allowed to start the higher level work until everyone has met the C requirements. One slow student, and...

*Note: this is not legal advice. It is just an eye-opener for them; a motivator, if you will.

And, please keep us updated!
"Someday we must write a book of Etiquette for sensible people," said Mrs. Morland, "though apart from a few rules it really boils down to an educated mind and a kind heart." ~ Angela Thirkell, Never Too Late

NyaChan

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26 and #56
« Reply #119 on: October 29, 2012, 08:58:02 AM »
Corey said:
Quote
At the beginning, I will present my concerns in the bigger picture (my paragraph just above regarding equal educational opportunity) and the possible effects on students who are of lower socioeconomic status as well as those with parents who have a lower level of involvement. I then plan to narrow my focus specifically to DS and his/our experience with the work in this unit.

This is a good idea. I would end by saying that, since DS has turned in his last assignment and has 99% so far, thus will probably get an A, this isn't an issue for you, but have they considered that this has opened the district to a possible lawsuit?* This should be said with a concern for the schools, not as a threat.

No student should have to settle for a C because they can’t get to the school for extra time, and/or can’t get the equipment needed. (To do Power Point, you have to buy some nice expensive software. And, if the school wants them to learn power point, they should darn well give a class in it.) Nor because they aren't allowed to start the higher level work until everyone has met the C requirements. One slow student, and...

*Note: this is not legal advice. It is just an eye-opener for them; a motivator, if you will.

And, please keep us updated!

Wasn't that 99% on the C level work though?  I think he has to get good results on the B level work and then the A level work to actually get the A, but if he never gets the opportunity to do the A level work, the highest he can get is a B?  Or am I missing how this works?  As someone who has been a student for almost 20 years (wow  :o), grading scales and expectations can make or break a class.  I've never minded a harder class as long as those things were clear - but "easy" classes were my grade was up in the air or out of my control? Not so much. 

I really hope things get cleared up to your satisfaction soon & also hope that the school is not already aware and content with the way things are running.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2012, 08:59:46 AM by NyaChan »