SPF 611

In addition to classroom blogging, I will be blogging regularly about this book:  Classroom Assessment for Student Learning by J. Chappuis, R. Stiggins, S. Chappuis, J. Arter.  This is for my grad class (hence the funny title SPF 611 – which is the label for the class) on assessments.  I’m excited about this book and hope that I will be able to do this book justice.  This is also the book that our school uses to guide our school’s assessment structure.


Today’s Number is..?

I got this idea from here.  I just started using it so I’ll have to see how it goes.  I use it as part of my math rotation.  The students work on it and mark it themselves and I check it at the end of the lesson to see how they did.

We are wrapping up our unit on fractions, percentages, and decimals, so I’ve added all of that for consolidation.

You can probably modify it in so many different ways for math and even for language arts.


Ulterior Motives to Teaching

Ulterior Motives – from World Wide Wonderings

Why did you become a teacher?  I don’t hear this question as much as I used to when I was a student teacher.

This blogger, Abby, talks about her ulterior motives of becoming a teacher.  It’s not for the long summers or “supposedly” shorter working hours.  She just thought it would be the best way to change the world.  What other reason is there to be teaching?  It just made me smile.

Why did I become a teacher?

Here are a few reasons why I thought I should become a teacher:

  • I like being with children.  I like that they say funny things that wouldn’t be funny when an adult said it.  I like that they are so uninhibited and so expressive…they are so many things that I adults are not.
  • I thought I could do it.  I chose teaching because I thought I could do it.  What arrogance, right?  I’m still working on being that teacher that I thought I could be.  I hope I never stop working on it.
  • I would get to be in a position where I can really influence someone…and if I got it right, I had the power to influence the entire course of someone’s life…talk about high stakes…
  • My plan always was this, that whatever profession I chose to be in, I would teach.  If I had chosen to be a nurse (another profession, I was considering actually), I would’ve wanted to teach other nurses later in my career.  And that would be the same, whether I became a pilot, a journalist, a painter etc.  I’ve always thought that it is the best way to give back what I’ve received.

People always talk about not becoming complacent….that we should remember the ‘first love.’

Today I thought I’d remember mine.  🙂  And also wish Abby, good luck!

It’s not her fault…

I have rotten apples and oranges in my classroom.  My students have brought in their science projects after working on them for weeks.  Finally we will have a well-deserved celebration in the fourth grade classrooms.  Most of their science boards, at a glance, are outstanding.

One particular student’s board was getting a lot of attention from the other students.  Not because it was a stand-out but for the opposite reason – because his science board was so poorly done.  I work at an international school where most of the students are paying a ridiculous amount of tuition to be at this school.  Needless to say, these students are aggressively competitive when it comes to education.  So, this student’s (I’ll call him Joe) cardboard cut-out turned science project was a crowd magnet in the morning because no one would dare to risk losing face by doing such an atrocious job on something as important as a science project.  How would he save his face, right?  I felt bad.  I was also very annoyed.  Not with him but with his parents.

I am a huge promoter of encouraging independence.  And throughout the process of this science project, I emphasized to the parents and the students that the parents are only there to help.  I said that all the thinking and doing needed to be done by the students.  But, these students are 9 years old.  I expect some support from parents. Particularly for a student like Joe – who constantly loses things, forgets instructions and has trouble following directions.  The academic hurdles he faces daily, is a whole other story but I was just annoyed with the fact that Joe was left all alone to do this huge project.

I told him to stay in at lunchtime and I got some butcher paper to cover the back of his board and we colored his scribbled drawings to give the board a minor face-lift.  As we were working on this, I asked him if his mom helped him with his project at all.  Joe must have sensed the tone in my voice.  This little guy just said, “Miss A, mom’s busy with my younger brother.  He’s really young and mom needs to spend time with him.”  I got the subtext:  “Miss A, don’t blame my mom.  It’s not her fault.”  And then I just felt bad overall for jumping to conclusions about Joe’s mother.

Parents freely talk about teachers who have disappointed them.  How some teachers have not met their expectations.  Whenever I hear or read about these rants, I always think to myself, ‘If only you knew what we are dealing with in the classroom everyday.’  I think that some mothers may be thinking that way about me right now.  I can’t judge Joe’s mother because I don’t know her story.  My assumption may be right.  But they could be completely off target.  So.  No judgement.