Carnival of Education
Send in your educational tidbids for the next Carnival of Education, hosted by the Ed Wonks (http://educationwonk.blogspot.com ).Submissions may be emailed to owlshome at earthlink dot net. The carnival has become a weekly series of "must read" blogs from many places of the edusphere. You are sure to find something of humor, something of rant, something of value you could use in your own educational life. Even if you don't submit to the Carnival, You really must read it ! You won't be sorry or feel like you have wasted your time !
When my grade level team gets together to plan for instruction, discuss common assessment results and intervention strategies (Professional Learning Community schtuff!), we’ve been known to get off task now and then. One such dalliance last week resulted in a frank, frustration-based discussion: how and why do teaching strategies common to the first grade classroom get blacklisted?
Is it new research that sparks a strategies’ downfall? If so, why don’t teachers get information on it? Is it that our curriculum leaders find new, more exciting ideas? Do strategies simply go out of vogue, seem out-dated, maybe less pc?
We got to this discussion because in meetings with upper level grade teachers, it became clear that our students’ basic math facts skills are weak. The idea about conducting daily Mad Minute timed practice tests came up as one intervention strategy. One of the veteran teachers remembered several years back teachers were told not to time kids; timing caused a stir among parents and therefore, some school leaders. So no more Mad Minute.
We want to try this strategy again. But should we? It’s not in this team’s nature to rock the boat, but we really want to do all we can to change the status quo.
The real question is this: Will the Mad Minute strategy work? I remember that critics say that concentrating on memorizing math facts rather than building math reasoning skills is just bad teaching. But there has to be more. Our county curriculum leaders just haven’t provided the information we teacher’s really need to make a sound decision.
Especially with the new focus on Professional Learning Communities and teachers’ call to “shake things up”, we need full disclosure of how and why we are asked to teach the way we do… and the ways we DON’T.