Author Topic: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26, #56, #141 (mini), #151, #165  (Read 31861 times)

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Sharnita

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26, #56, #141 (mini)
« Reply #150 on: October 30, 2012, 11:09:55 PM »
If a project has multiple parts that can be turned in over a period of time, I will put the grades in as kids turn in their work. I can't wait till the end and put them all in at the same time. It would be overwhelming. I have a button I have to click for a project to counted as graded. If they haven't turned it in and the due date hasn't passed. The button is unclicked

Yes, If it included a map, a graph a quiz, a report. And the child had turned in some of those but had time to get in the rest I would set up my gradebook so I could record each portion as it came in..

Coley

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26, #56, #141 (mini)
« Reply #151 on: October 31, 2012, 01:02:20 PM »
Update: Meeting with principal

The meeting went pretty well I think. It does not appear that the science teacher's curriculum is required by the district. The principal was not familiar with that curriculum. I gave the principal the handout that we received at Open House. She looked it over, and she saw some areas that she thought were unclear or confusing. She also said she has received a complaint from a parent with another science teacher's class, and she knows DS's teacher and this other teacher are collaborating. She thinks there may be a connection in terms of lack of clarity between the two classes.

In reviewing the handout about the curriculum, the principal had concerns about how students are being graded. She says that this type of curriculum is considered "enrichment," so firm deadlines may stand in the way of measuring what students are learning. I brought that back around to the issue of resources both in parents' homes and in the classroom and said that some kids may be performing at C level not because they don't know the material but because they don't have the personal resources to complete the C-layer work before the deadlines. The principal agreed and said she was glad I had brought up the issue.

When I began discussing concerns more specifically about the science teacher, the principal got a little defensive, but it wasn't too bad. She wanted me to know that she considers this teacher to be excellent because she emphasizes hands-on learning in the classroom. I agreed that it's a positive quality. I said that my concern about the teacher mostly involves communication and organization.

We talked about the chaos surrounding the field trip and the absence for illness and how that affected the deadlines. I told the principal that communication really is key. It's hard for parents to know how to support their kids and monitor their progress when the deadlines are shifting and the status of assignments is unclear. The principal agreed with that. She said it sounds like more information needs to be provided on an ongoing basis. She said she'd have the same concern as a parent.

I specifically addressed the issue of DS being denied the opportunity to do his experiment twice. The principal was concerned about that. She said she wants to speak to the teacher to find out more about the situation. She does not want to see higher-level kids held back so lower-level kids can get caught up. The principal informed me that there are far more than four microscopes available in the school, so she wasn't pleased when I said DS had encountered that problem as a barrier.

We discussed the delay in grading. Almost as soon as I brought it up, the principal said, "That should be all caught up by today. Is it?" I said that I noticed yesterday that nearly all of the missing grades are current.

We talked more broadly about pedagogy and how enrichment curricula are supposed to work. Teachers in the school are not teaching from the same curriculum in any subject or assessing learning in the same way, so each classroom may be unique. The principal plans to meet with all the science teachers now to find out more about their curricula and assessment criteria. She also wants to know how they are addressing the issue of varying resources between kids' families and the question of equal educational opportunity. She said she'll get back with me after she holds the meeting.

Our public school district has identified an achievement gap that affects students of lower socioeconomic status. The district is supposed to be addressing that problem because it continually presents itself in the results of the state assessments. The principal took the equal opportunity concern very seriously and said that if she discovers it exists in this curriculum, she's going to address it.

All in all, I thought it was a positive meeting, and I feel good about the way it played out.

JenJay

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26, #56, #141 (mini), #151
« Reply #152 on: October 31, 2012, 01:07:47 PM »
Sounds like a great meeting! I'm curious, did you bring up that the kids have spent three full days watching a movie that seems barely relevant, and what did she have to say about it?

Coley

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26, #56, #141 (mini), #151
« Reply #153 on: October 31, 2012, 01:41:37 PM »
Sounds like a great meeting! I'm curious, did you bring up that the kids have spent three full days watching a movie that seems barely relevant, and what did she have to say about it?

I should have included that. Thanks. Yes, I did bring up the videos. The principal stated (in the context of defending the teacher) that she thinks the teacher has some great videos and makes good use of them. I suppose I could have argued the point, but I opted not to do that. I did say that they mostly recently spent 3 days watching "Osmosis Jones" instead of using class time on the science unit, so she has that information.

JenJay

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26, #56, #141 (mini), #151
« Reply #154 on: October 31, 2012, 02:07:59 PM »
Sounds like a great meeting! I'm curious, did you bring up that the kids have spent three full days watching a movie that seems barely relevant, and what did she have to say about it?

I should have included that. Thanks. Yes, I did bring up the videos. The principal stated (in the context of defending the teacher) that she thinks the teacher has some great videos and makes good use of them. I suppose I could have argued the point, but I opted not to do that. I did say that they mostly recently spent 3 days watching "Osmosis Jones" instead of using class time on the science unit, so she has that information.

I'd be worried about a principal who thought that was an acceptable use of class time when half the students were barely getting Cs. Hopefully she was just maintaining a professional attitude while secretly thinking "What the heck?!".

thlayly

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26, #56, #141 (mini), #151
« Reply #155 on: October 31, 2012, 02:11:57 PM »
I agree with JenJay, especially since Osmosis Jones is mildly scientific at best- it's an animated comedy about a white blood cell, not an instructional video. I loved watching fun movies in school like any kid, but I would have hated not being able to get my work done because of said movie. Personally, I liked those movies as a reward for getting something done and when we had extra time.

Anyway, I hope the issue gets resolved soon for you and your son. Good thoughts being sent your way!
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PastryGoddess

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26, #56, #141 (mini), #151
« Reply #156 on: October 31, 2012, 02:34:07 PM »
I think you had a pretty productive meeting with the principal.

I think that the principal needs time to speak to both the teacher and the science chair to get a full picture of what's going on.  While Osmosis Jones is a pretty bad movie, there is more to what's going on than watching the video.  The video is just one of many things that are wrong with this class.


Giggity

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26, #56, #141 (mini)
« Reply #157 on: October 31, 2012, 03:42:14 PM »
When I began discussing concerns more specifically about the science teacher, the principal got a little defensive, but it wasn't too bad. She wanted me to know that she considers this teacher to be excellent because she emphasizes hands-on learning in the classroom.

That's interesting, and currently inaccurate, in view of how much movie-watching they're doing, which is by definition the opposite of hands-on learning.
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kherbert05

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26, #56, #141 (mini), #151
« Reply #158 on: October 31, 2012, 07:27:27 PM »
I found the comment about all the teachers not teaching the same curriculum disturbing. You MUST have vertical alignment or you end up with holes that some poor teacher is trying to stuff full with a looming deadline of the state test*.

Since state tests in secondary can effect if a child graduates this is very very important. That doesn't mean you can't put your own personal stamp on things - but you need to highlight what is going to be taught.  My team and I plan extensively together. But you will see 5 different "lessons" if you walk into any one of our rooms. We are making sure the kids get the same information, but it has our personal stamp on in. Example students will research animals. In my classroom they are using World Book of Animals app, making circle maps, making sequencing maps, writing a paragraph and publishing on our blog. In my neighbor's classroom they will make a book that goes in the class library, and they use books to do their research. (Works out well because we don't have enough English Level 16 (beginning 2nd grade reading level) books to divide 3 ways and have a good selection. )

*Please don't yell at me about teaching to the test. If the state sets the final exams, and they do in certain subjects in Texas where I am, you have to make sure the kids are going to have the information to pass the test.
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Marbles

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26, #56, #141 (mini), #151
« Reply #159 on: October 31, 2012, 11:45:50 PM »
Wow. I've heard of these sorts of assignments being given to students who finish their work quickly or who need the intellectual stimulation, but never as a way of determining grades. I think this teacher (and her colleague?) are significantly mistaken in how this is supposed to work.

Please keep us posted, Coley. I'm quite curious about what the principal has to say after she speaks with the teachers.

RooRoo

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26, #56, #141 (mini), #151
« Reply #160 on: November 01, 2012, 01:03:07 PM »
Quote
Our public school district has identified an achievement gap that affects students of lower socioeconomic status. The district is supposed to be addressing that problem because it continually presents itself in the results of the state assessments.

Well, maybe they should make sure that getting high grades is affordable. Families of "students of lower socioeconomic status" may not be able to get their kids to and from school outside bus hours. And they certainly can't afford to buy PowerPoint.

Neither of those things should be required for a higher grade. No student, whether or not they are "students of lower socioeconomic status," should be kept from a higher grade simply because they must spend money for something outside of regular school supplies.
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citadelle

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26, #56, #141 (mini), #151
« Reply #161 on: November 02, 2012, 04:33:20 PM »
In my experience, this type of grading is referred to as "Grading for Learning"' and is in concept what Coley linked to earlier.

I think one point of confusion is what grades mean to different people. If a C is truly meant to represent average, then not every student will have access to an A. On the other hand, if a person carries the philosophy that every student should have access to an A for doing average work, then the  system would seem unfair.

Another point is that students do have a right to a free education, but they don't have the "right" to an A grade. Though it certainly seems as though Coley's son has earned his A!
« Last Edit: November 02, 2012, 04:47:26 PM by citadelle »

Sharnita

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26, #56, #141 (mini), #151
« Reply #162 on: November 02, 2012, 04:38:52 PM »
It can get even more tricky.  I know teachers who were told that if they had too many students with low grades it would adversely affect their evaluations.  At the same time we were told that students should not be getting high grades if they could not pass the state standardized tests and that such disparity might be seen as evidence of grade inflation.  There are times when teachers seem to be sent mixed messages on purpose so that no matter what happens the  people at the top can say "Well, we told them ..."

Onyx_TKD

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26, #56, #141 (mini), #151
« Reply #163 on: November 02, 2012, 04:47:56 PM »
In my experience, this type of grading is referred to as "Grading for Learning"' and is in concept what Coley linked to earlier.

I think one point of confusion is what grades mean to different people. If a C is truly meant to represent average, then not every student will have access to an A. On the other hand, if a person carries the philosophy that every student should have access to an A for doing average work, then the  system would seem unfair.

Another point is that students do have access to a free education, but they don't have the "right" to an A grade. Though it certainly seems as though Coley's son has earned his A!

I don't think anyone here is arguing that every student should receive an A for average work. What people are arguing is that every student should have equal access to the facilities and equipment required to demonstrate above-average work and earn an A. In such an environment, actually earning the A would still require the student to have the ability to grasp the material and the work ethic to perform A-level assignments well, so it would still indicate above average work. I think what people are arguing is that the current system in Coley's son's class will result in grades that reflect things like whether the student can get to school outside normal school hours and whether the student has Microsoft Office at home rather than the skill level and ability of the student.

jedikaiti

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Re: Teacher situation (long) -- UPDATES #26, #56, #141 (mini), #151
« Reply #164 on: November 02, 2012, 04:53:24 PM »
In my experience, this type of grading is referred to as "Grading for Learning"' and is in concept what Coley linked to earlier.

I think one point of confusion is what grades mean to different people. If a C is truly meant to represent average, then not every student will have access to an A. On the other hand, if a person carries the philosophy that every student should have access to an A for doing average work, then the  system would seem unfair.

Another point is that students do have a right to a free education, but they don't have the "right" to an A grade. Though it certainly seems as though Coley's son has earned his A!

True, but everyone should have the opportunity to earn that A if they are so inclined. Requiring extraordinary access to resources (coming in before/after school on a regular basis, for example, or needing internet access at home, for example), denies that opportunity to students who have reduced or no access to those resources, and favors those who do, so you end up with kids who want to do the work to earn the A, but are prevented from doing so due to circumstances beyond their control.
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