Thursday, September 6, 2012

To Tech or Not to Tech....

I am back in the classroom after a two year stint as a technology resource teacher.  Teaching 8th grade science.  I am a bit torn.  Last year at this time, I had used computers twice in nine days.  After nine days this year, I have not used them once.  Where is the line?  Most computer programs do not allow kids who use them for assignments to make mistakes; real scientists DO make mistakes.  In other words, I do not see programs for science that allow errors.  Real science makes mistakes; measurement errors, calculation errors and so on.  Software does not allow this.  So when do you use tech as a substitute for a good hands-on lab with real-world applications?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Girls and STEM

According to Education Week, girls are being outperformed by boys in science and tech classes including Biology, Chemistry and Physics.  This gap gets bigger as kids age.  I would have thought that the opposite would be true.  What are we doing to our girls?  Are we purposely scaring them away from STEM related career choices?  And don't even get me started an what we are doing to our African American girls when it comes to STEM.  We need to show our girls that they do belong in the science and tech fields.  My question is, how are you exposing girls to and promoting STEM in your classroom?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Reform in Education?

So I am a liberal. Those who know me are saying "duh" upon reading this. On Friday at MSET I heard 'education reformer' Diane Ravitch (@DianeRavitch) speak. She made me feel like a moderate! Is the state, feds, and business are not fit to decide what is taught to our kids and how it is taught, then who is? Do we really want local jurisdictions and all of their bias' to alone determine what our kids are taught?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Common Core for the Common Good?

Well here we go. The education pendulum has swung back again. When I started teaching in 1991, it was all about skill based learning. It moved to performance based assessments around 1993, then back toward functional tests around 2000, then those went away in favor of this thing called MSA around 2007. Now, MSA is going away to make way for the Common Core; a set of standards that is supposed to normalize content taught in all states in the country. However, my beef with these changes still have one thing in common....tests. Now, with Common Core, many states, including MD are making student test results link to teacher evaluations. 7 years for MSPAP testing and it did not work. 7 years for functional test which did not work, now 5 or so years for MSA and that did not work. Maybe the problem is not the curriculum, or the books, or the teacher. Just sayin'

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What does "No parking" mean to you?

So I went to the pharmacy (at a grocery store), parked in a spot and walked to the door. On the way, I passed a car in the HP spot with no tags or stickers stating that it was OK to be there. There were two other vehicles parked in the fire lane where it clearly states "No Parking". I could understand if this was an elderly person waiting for their spouse (but it is still wrong). But this one car was there when I walked up and there when I walked out. As I am driving away, a person younger than me gets into the waiting car.

I ask you, what message are we sending to our kids when we, as adults, do not follow the rules?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Technology overuse?

For a long time now, David Warlick has been one of my favorite bloggers. In a recent post about technology he writes...

"I honestly believe that these educators are seeking new ways to use new information and communication (literacy) technologies in teaching and learning for the very best reasons. But we need better answers than, “Because it’s technology. Our children will do anything if it’s with technology.” ..and “this is the engagement!” pointing at the an iPod Touch.

I continue to maintain that the little box is not what engages them. it is what happens through that box. It is the information experience that…

  • Is responsive
  • is fueled by questions
  • provokes conversation
  • is rewarded with currency
  • Inspires personal investment
  • is guided by safely made mistakes

When we talk about modernizing formation education, this is what we should talk about, not the technology."

In education, these are the things that I feel that we should be discussing instead of test scores. Technology is a tool, just like the book is a tool. Neither should be used to the exclusion of the other.

See the full text of Mr. Warlick's post at

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Change in the classroom

Check out this video done by kids about how they feel they'd like to learn.