Why I support Standards Based Grading

As a 17-year-old college freshman and first in my family to attend a four-year institution, I couldn’t have been any greener if I had tried. Physics was overwhelming. I preferred mathematics theory to the practical and found the transition daunting. With a D average going into finals week, I studied for days on end hoping for a B on the exam and maybe a C in the class. I ACED THE EXAM WITH AN A PLUS. When I received my grade card in the mail, my D had somehow become an A.

Being the forever-nerd I was and am to this day, I went to my physics professor to suggest he had miscalculated my final grade. In my mind an A-plus averaged with a D was no more than a C-plus or maybe B-minus. The professor assured me my grade was accurate by saying, “Anyone who can score an A on my exam deserves an A in my class.”

This story resonates with my parents and students. It has been a great motivator resulting in a 99% success rate with my geometry students over the past four years. I refuse to fail any student who genuinely wants to learn.

Two Simple Snack Ideas for the Big Game!!!

The USA soccer match put in the mood for making snacks! So, I thought I would share a couple of my VERY SIMPLE favorites!!

1-2-3 Cookies

This recipe makes up to 3 dozen cookies.

▪   1 boxed cake mix any flavor

▪   2 eggs

▪   1/3 cup of oil

Preheat oven 1o 350

Mix ingredients

Place spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheet 

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned 

Let cool and enjoy!!

###

Grandma’s Tasty Crackers

This recipe is as simple as it gets!

▪   Any brand of saltine-type crackers

▪   No-stick spray such as PAM

▪   Seasoning of choice (Garlic Powder is my fam’s fave.)

Preheat oven to 350

Line cookie sheet with crackers

Spray cookies with PAM

Sprinkle with seasoning

Bake until slightly browned 

ENJOY warm or cool. Can be stored for later!

 ###

 

Sometimes you really should not drink the Kool-aid

Before you begin reading under the assumption this post is metaphorical (and I guess it could be and maybe it is), this blog post is based on a true story and actually is about why sometimes you really should not drink the Kool-aid.

It was the summer of 1985 and my fellow Presbyterians and I were looking forward to our first Vacation Bible School (VBS) using the church’s brand-new professional-grade kitchen. The kitchen was designed to accommodate Wednesday night meals, frequent social gatherings, such as weddings and funerals, as well as our annual week-long VBS attended by hundreds of children.

As per tradition, 1985 VBS snack time included cookies and Kool-aid, which were served by the matriarchs of our church, older women who over the years had moved from the classroom to the kitchen. The VBS Snack Ladies took their position very seriously and arrived early each morning to lovingly organize the cookies as well as make gallons of Kool-aid as they had done for many summers before.

What the ladies did not realize was the water faucets in the new kitchen not only offered the choice between hot and cold water, but soap as well. So, later that day when the children complained the Kool-aid tasted funny, the ladies chastised the children and told them to quit complaining and drink the Kool-aid. One person in particular, Joe, the VBS Recess Organizer, was so adamant the Kool-aid was just fine, he took an extra-large glass and with dozens of children watching downed it in one huge gulp only to immediately regret his decision to do so.

Yes, the Kool-aid really was tainted with soap. Yes, the Kool-aid really tasted funny. Yes, Joe really was sick as a dog shortly thereafter.

And, yes, you really should heed the warning of others because sometimes you really should not drink the Kool-aid.

 

 

 

The Fault is in Our Stars and an open letter to Charles Hemenway, MD, PhD.

Originally posted on Woodard Girl Out:

Dear Charles Hemenway, MD, phD & Shirley Pulawski (author of the Article New movie portrays teen cancer unrealistically, expert says),

  My children and I have been eagerly waiting for The Fault in Our Stars, authored by John Green (#TFIOS) to hit the big screen next week. To watch the trailer of this movie click here.  We have all read it. My first read was painful, I’ll admit. Throughout the entire book I found myself praying for these fictional characters to beat the odds and just pull through. Be the exception to the 46/7 rule. If you’re reading this and you are not aware of 46/7: each school day in America, 46 children are diagnosed with one form or another of pediatric cancer. FORTY SIX. That is the average of TWO plus elementary age classroom. EVERY.SINGLE. DAY. Every school day – 7 children will die. Is this a “scare”…

View original 2,779 more words

Following the Gates-CCSS Money Trail

When I first studied the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), I was a member of the 2010-11 North Kansas City Schools’ (NKCS) Superintendent’s Leadership Institute. As part of a three-member team, which did a comparative study of the then NKCS district curriculum standards and the CCSS, I also studied the ties between the origin of the CCSS and ACT. What my team reported in regard to the comparative study is that our district’s curriculum aligned more closely to the CCSS than some expected. It was my thought that more than anything we were looking at a bigger shift in pedagogy than content. Most of the content was there. It was the delivery that would need tweaking.

On the other hand, my delving into the ties between the CCSS and ACT revealed what we all now know and that is the CCSS and ACT are closely affiliated. (The CCSS developers are actually transparent in acknowledging that when they wanted a definition for College and Career Readiness they looked to ACT.)

With that in mind, I now find it of great interest as a state which has adopted the CCSS, Missouri has become the 9th state to require all high school juniors take the ACT.

For years, my simple mind has tried to get my brain around how the CCSS were developed in what appeared to me to be a very short amount of time. From my vantage point, the CCSS went from idea to reality in little more than a blink of an eye.

Now, thanks to a recent blog post by Diane Ravitch I understand how it happened. It really boils down to a money trail between Bill Gates and David Coleman, et al.

In fact, I have a sinking feeling everything regarding recent education reform boils down to little more than money and lots of it–pure greed at the potential expense of one of our country’s greatest assets, its students.

Not to say that everything about the CCSS is bad, but I also agree with Diane Ravitch that it is time for Congress to step in and investigate just what and how it all came about.

Then again asking Congress to follow the Gates-CCSS money trail might be like asking a fox to guard the chicken coop.

 

Why this flipping teacher prefers not to flipping flip her flipping classroom

School year 12-13 was my year of the FLIPPED CLASSROOM per this blog post

Flipping does not work for everyone.

Flipping does not work for every classroom.

And it flipping wore me out.

The key thing I learned is kiddos who will do not do their flipping homework on a regular basis will not watch a flipping video outside of the flipping classroom either.

As a result, this flipping phenomenon would get me all flipping stressed out.

And I do not do stress, flipping or otherwise.

I am not saying flipping a classroom can’t be effective. You just have to know what is best for your kiddos. (We don’t all get the same flipping blueberries, do we?)

For me, the art of flipping a classroom was not especially effective.

Therefore, I prefer spending my flipping video-making time emulating flipping Dan Meyer of flipping blog.mrmeyer.com.

You ain’t from around here, are ya?

This is a true story. Enjoy!

We were a motley crew of Presbyterians on a weeklong mission trip to build a wood-frame church in pre-best-place-in-the-world-to-scuba-dive Belize when the mysterious Englishman walked into the restaurant of the motel where we were staying. Despite our best efforts, the Englishman failed to acknowledge the Americans.

Undaunted, a few of us stepped outside to enjoy the sunset as well as devise a plan to engage the Englishman in conversation however brief. It was to be a challenge between friends. Let’s see who the Englishman will speak to first? Will it be the banker, the dentist, the pharmacist, the teacher, the pastor, the businessman, or the lawyer?

As we half-jokingly devised a plan of conversation starters, I spotted a Range Rover in the motel’s parking lot. It had to belong to the Englishman. As nonchalantly as possible, I walked over and began investigating. Who could the Englishman be? Was he a spy? (Of course not.) What were the gift wrapped packages on the backseat? Where was he going in the Range Rover?

“He’s the English Ambassador to Belize,” someone surmised.

“How do you know that?” I asked.

“Tony told me.”

Tony owned the motel, so this idea seemed plausible.

After awhile, some had all but given up on our silly little game, and tired after a day of hard labor, headed to the comfort of their rooms for a good night’s sleep.

But not me. I would see the game through to the end.

And that’s when I observed the Englishman just as he exited the restaurant bump into Mr. Good Old Boy, who became the unwitting winner of our challenge with the classic conversation starter, “You ain’t from around here, are ya?”

I quietly observed with a smile in my heart as two men with little more in common than their proximity to the beauty of the sun setting over a bay in Belize engaged in conversation.

It was a sight to behold.

Correction: My husband reminded me this trip involved the building of a medical clinic rather than the church. That is another story.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,670 other followers