Here is an interesting follow up to the statistics quoted in Waiting for Superman. I’ve not seen the movie yet, but find it interesting that the statistics being bandied about from the movie are being called into question. The great thing about statistics is that you can make them say just about whatever you want.
Here’s the start of the blog post:
In the movie Waiting for Superman, nominated for an Oscar as the best Documentary of 2010, the following statement is made:
” …in Illinois, 1 in 57 doctors loses his or her medical license, and 1 in 97 attorneys loses his or her law license, but only 1 teacher in 2500 has ever lost his or her credentials.”
The post then goes on to give very different statistics:
In reality, only 121 doctors lost their licenses in Illinois in 2009, out of 43,670 physicians, rather than 1 in 57, as the movie claims. That means an average of 0.3% of doctors per year lost their licenses; or 3 out 1,000 per year – about one tenth of the figure claimed in the film.
Over the last five years, the number of Illinois doctors who have lost their licenses annually ranged from 173 to 99 each year, so the rate has not varied much over time. Similarly, 161 physicians in New York State lost their medical licenses in 2009, out of 64,818; about 0.2%, or 2 out of 1,000 per year – an even smaller figure.
It is a short interesting read. Read with a critical eye. However, it probably presents a much more balanced and accurate picture of what really happens. More educators are “exited” from the educational field then doctors, lawyers.
Here is a great write up of the PISA scores and what they mean. Mel Riddile wrote the piece for NASSP. It is definitely worth a read. A few excerpts to whet your whistle:
Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, should be providing the nation with a proper vision and focus for public education. He knows our challenges all too well. He confirmed that he gets it when he recently wrote me saying, “We must build a culture nationally where great educators … choose to work with children and communities who need the most help.”
Tirozzi demonstrates the correlation between socio-economic status and reading by presenting the PISA scores in terms of individual American schools and poverty. While the overall PISA rankings ignore such differences in the tested schools, when groupings based on the rate of free and reduced lunch are created, a direct relationship is established.
There are several easy to understand charts accompanying the article. The end result, while there needs to be an emphasis and hard work in education, the real challenge may in addressing poverty.
Instead of finding blame to pass around, maybe its time that we actually acknowledge some of our real challenges.
This is taken from Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, but makes some interesting points:
Simply put, the highest-achieving countries in the world out-prepare, out-invest, out-respect and, as a result, outperform the United States.The top-performing countries on PISA — Finland, Singapore and South Korea — place a heavy emphasis on teacher preparation, mentoring and collaboration. They de-emphasize standardized tests, and each has a well-rounded curriculum that teachers can tailor. The top-performing countries provide a more equitable education for all students and offset the effects of poverty through wraparound services that support students and their families.
Little Freddy’s second-grade teacher was quizzing them on the alphabet. “Freddy,” she says, “what comes after ‘O’?” Freddy says, “Yeah!”
Miss Jones had been giving her second-grade students a lesson on science. She had explained about magnets and showed how they would pick up nails and other bits of iron. Now it was question time, and she asked, “My name begins with the letter ‘M’ and I pick up things. What am I?” A little boy on the front row proudly said, “You’re a mother!”
On Our Mind:
WOOT! It’s Christmas Break! (then 2 weeks ‘till exams after that . . . )
Australian schools got out this past week for their summer break …
Edublog Awards: Congrats to all the winners!
“Managing Students in the Computer Lab”
Source: Teresa Sutherland, Retired Middle School Teacher
Keep a red plastic cup at each computer. When students need help, have
them place the highly visible cups on top of their monitors. Students
won’t be calling for help or spending time with their hands raised in
Here’s an alternate idea: check your local Dollar Store for mini orange road cones. The shape works well on thin monitors and they last a long time!
Use 3 cups to monitor group work. Use green cups for groups to self report that they are working fine, yellow for they are starting to struggle, and red for need teacher help.
Swedish group has combined several different artists into a new video.
Caveats of Networked Learning
What the web is good for
Wes Fryer’s response to Digital Natives:
Digital Refugees – Ignorant or in Denial
Digital voyeurs – Knowing
Digital Immigrants – Participating
Digital Natives – Living
All of the above are digital (tool) specific
Growing up with a computer on your hip….doesn’t make you hip to the use of computers.
There is a difference between what they do and what we want them to do.
How does technology fit in to what I do?
Check out his blog for information on the presentation.
Video on “this generation”.
Norweigan band that rips off a number of other bands.
Caveats of Networked Learning
What the web is Good For
Marc Prensky reference.
Dangerous dichotomy of Native vs. Immigrant
Wes Bryer: Digital Landscape
1. Digital Refugees
2. Digital Voyeurs
3. Digital Immigrants: Participating
4. Digital Natives: Living in the zone.
Growing up with a computer on your hip, doesn’t make you hip to the use of computers.
We need to teach them how to use the tool.
California Velcro Crop
Dihydrogen Monoxide dhmo.org
Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus
We need to help our students and teachers develop a filter to determine good and bad information on the web.
Information = danger?
The Power of the web for today’s students
It’s not information overload, it’s filter failure. - Clay Shirky
3 Things that the Web is good for.
Skype an Author Network
Contact Experts in the Field you Study
Other classrooms: SkypeInSchools Wiki
Edmodo – private Facebook – style network for education.
It’s not about knowing all the tools. The important thing is that you have a toolbox full of opportunities ready to meet a specific task.
Learn from a Network
He knows nothing, proven mathematically.
The network is smarter than the node.
What I know – Infinity divided by what I know becomes zero.
Learning Network names
PLN – Personal Learning Network
NIHCTTAR – Network I Have Come To Trust And Respect
Networking Tools … New and Old
You don’t learn how to swim sitting beside the pool. You can’t learn about networks without diving in either.
Smartr* portal smartr.edc.org
Designed for students to get in and build some of their learning.
Dead Tree resources
Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, by Will Richardson
Rethinking Education In the Age of Technology, Allan Collins and Richard Halverson.
By Walt Gardner on December 8, 2010 7:05 AM
PISA measures learning that has taken place since birth, but not necessarily what students have learned during their previous year in school.
About 5,100 students only from Shanghai were chosen. But Shanghai is hardly representative of China because it is an industrialized center with scores of modern universities.
According to a study in the International Journal of Education Policy & Leadership in April 2008, the relationship between student achievement rankings on international assessments of reading, mathematics and science and a nation’s future economic growth is untenable and not causal.
None of the above seems to sink in. In fact, any explanations are immediately labeled as excuses. This attitude effectively cuts off a rational discussion because it puts the other side on the defensive. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/walt_gardners_reality_check/2010/12/the_astonishing_illiteracy_about_pisa.html
Dr. Betty Greene-Bryant named NMSA Senior Director of Professional Services
“Betty comes to NMSA from the Maryland State Department of Education where she coordinated the Maryland State Improvement Grant (MSIG), a U.S. Department of Education OSEP Professional Development Grant. Previously she has served in the roles of director and assistant director for other U.S. Department of Education grants. Betty served as the first principal in residence at the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and director for professional standards at the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), and has served as a middle and high school principal for more than 10 years. Her other work in the field has been that of a college instructor in the area of school administration and teacher training at American University and Coppin State University.” – From the NMSA website.
This week’s show is a recording of the dinner conversation we enjoyed during the National Middle School Annual Conference. There is a lot of background noise, but the audio is surprisingly decent considering. The conversation revolved largely around the Department of Education questions that Shawn was asked. We should be back with a “normal” show next week.
Scott McLeod does some terrific work. He has posted a comment about the cost of athletic programs as it relates to implementing a 1 to 1 computer program. He points out that it is not about knocking athletic programs. Athletics are important and have a role. Rather, this is about considering costs and coming up with comparables. It’s a short post and worth reading. He finishes with three questions:
How much money does your school district spend per year on athletics?
How many student/teacher laptops (at, say, $1,400 apiece) would that buy?
Which offers greater benefits for students and/or the district (short term and/or long term)?
All fair questions. I’d propose a few questions myself:
Are these questions that we are talking about as educators?
Are we talking about them as a school community? As a larger community?
How much do emotional attachments matter?
Is education about reading, writing and math? Is it about different things?
Education is messy. I actually think that this is a strength of education. It makes poor decisions harder to implement. It makes us talk about, discuss, argue, etc. what we want education to do. This is an interesting discussion though. How much does your school (district) spend on athletics?
Here’s something fun that you could do with your class- make cotton candy. This could be a great team treat around this time of year. The kids could do lots of the work and everyone could enjoy the results.
Speed Versus Age
A Policeman stops a speeding car and tells the woman driver; When I saw you driving down the road, I thought to myself, sixty-five at least. The woman replied: “I don’t think that is quite fair. I think this hat makes me look younger.”
Seems an elderly gentleman had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He went to the doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed the gentleman to hear 100%. The elderly gentleman went back in a month to the doctor and the doctor said, “Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased you can hear again.” To which the gentleman said, “Oh, I haven’t told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I’ve changed my will five times!”
Activities – Paid site, but you could gather some ideas.
From the Audience:
In response to Reid’s question on digital science resources, I thought I could share a few thoughts and ideas.
Probably the best interactive online science simulations are called Gismos and can be found at: http://www.explorelearning.com
They come at a cost but when you look at them you will see that they really provide skills in inquiry and understanding. They are very “age appropriate” and include topics in earth, moon, and sun; measurement and lab skills; heredity and genetics; ecology and interdependence; motion and force, electricity and magnetism; and many, many more. You can’t go wrong with Gizmos.
As far as online textbooks go, there are not a lot of choices, unless you go with a textbook company and Reid did not want to go with a standard textbook. I agree that he will have more success if he looks at “units” instead of a “full year.” In Michigan we recommend four 9-10 week units in grades 5-7. In 8th grade we recommend more units, but units that last shorter periods of time. The other negative about online resources is that they tend to downplay inquiry, which is very important, as well as being more “high schoolish” in their content and delivery. But here are a few choices:
Classzone—They provide resources to their student texts, but provide quite a bit of material. Visit: http://www.classzone.com/cz/index.htm
Prisms—PRISMS is a collection of reviewed phenomena and representations for middle school. The goal is to help increase the amount of content aligned and pedagogically useful resources available in the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) for middle school teachers and students. Visit: http://prisms.mmsa.org/
Khan Academy—You have mentioned quite a few times, but is worth a visit at: http://www.khanacademy.org/
I would also recommend that he participate in the National Middle Level Science Teachers Association. Educators can join at: http://www.nmlsta.org/
You mentioned that I write a newsletter and it is the twice-monthly Michigan Science Matters Network eBlast. It is archived at http://msta-mich.org/smn But Science Matters is a network from within the National Science Teachers Association and Indiana is a part of the Network. I would encourage him to contact the State Coordinator: Kate Baird. They are also affiliated with the state science organization—Hoosier Association of Teachers and they can be found at: http://www.hasti.org/
The Secret Santa gift exchange is a favorite Christmas season activity. Put a twist on it in your classroom by having students give each other acts of kindness rather than gifts. Remind students how Secret Santa works. Tell them that instead of giving gifts they will be giving acts of kindness. Supply them with a few examples, such as giving compliments, helping with homework or sharing a joke. Give students slips of paper to write their names on and place them in a bag. Students draw the name of their partner for Secret Santa. Remind students to keep their identity secret.
Give the students pieces of A4 paper and have them decorate with Christmas borders so that they look like scrolls. Each day students write their acts of kindness on their scrolls. At the end of the week, everyone tries to guess who their Secret Santa is, and they turn their kindness scroll over to their partner.
April Tibbles is chief of staff. (I got to sit next to the lovely and talented April Tibbles!)
Greg Darnieder is special advisor to Sec. Duncan. College Access Initiative.
Leah Raphael, Patrick Desmond (Teacher fellows) (LaDezma? A little difficult to hear)
Secondary planning group being developed.
Think about this while we talk: If you had 60 seconds with the secretary, what would you say about middle school?
1st word: Personalization
2nd word: Looping
3rd word: College and career readiness standards.
4th word: Rigor
5th word: Transitioning to high school.
6th word: Data
Are the needs of middle school students distinct?
What does a middle school look like?
Reauthorization of Perkins is coming up next year.
Should that program be revised to include middle grades?
If you had 60 seconds with Arne Duncan . . .
1. Exploratories to drive desire to learn and career choice.
2. This We Believe – No half measures.
3. We would love to have you on the podcast.
Secondary Schools Working Group
LA Strategies that Meet the needs of the Adolescents
steve spangler – diaper genie and bernoulli’s law.
Get words from other courses.
Put words on an index card. Tape the card on their back. They get 20 questions to figure out the word.
Harley Davidson spelling words. =
• Snap fingers and spell.
• Have them repeat you spelling the word. Change volume to really low.
• Chanting the word by syllable. puzzlemaker.com
Word within a word
Paper plate Spelling – Put one letter on each plate. If a word includes more than one instance of a letter, the holder must move. If they start to spell it wrong, interrupt them. Then go back to them. Each and every group has to recite their answer. The kids hear it many times. (Always correct).
Replace a letter with a sound.
Blueberry and banana sentences. Replace the underline with a word. Use only 2 words to replace the line.
II. Reading Strategies
National Geographics (appropriate). Use for students who are finished with the assignments. Pick interesting articles. Use during pre and post learning time.
Story Pyramid- See handout
Useful for any subject. Just switch the questions.
3 Study card
The art of manipulation. The week of the test (Monday)use outlining, teaches listening skills and outlining. Then combine it down to a smaller piece of paper. Then cut it down to one index card.
Pick a role and sell it to the kid first.
III. Academic Writing Strategies
19 Rules to Final Copy
IV. Creative Writing Strategies
Make the kids be quite for 5 minutes at the beginning of class and write. It gets them focused.
How to make a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich. The follow up is important. Teaches sequence of events and transitions.
Spin a story – Put a brad on a piece of paper with names/locations/conflict. Can also use Weekly World Report – just the headlines.
We don’t think about grammar as visual. Go to the window- does anyone see a noun?
“Fanatasia” the dancing hippos – kids come up with adjectives.
VI. Listening Skills
Place an X on the floor where you give direct instruction.
Sound effects on CD. They write what it the effect is.
“Green Grass Grew All Around”- they listen then quiz them.
VII. Oral Communications
Speak so you can be heard
Have them memorize a poem, then project the words on the back wall.
Use a prop box.
Interactive White Boards are here, whether we like them or not. Golly, if your classroom doesn’t have one by now, I’d be real surprised. And while tech educators often rail against them (because teachers hog them), I’ve decided to throw up the white flag of surrender- for the kids. It would seem teachers aren’t going to give these things up and let the kids use them. Ever. http://www.techlearning.com/blogs/34792
Events & Happenings:
Calendar of Events:
National Conference: Thursday, November 08, 2010 —Saturday, November 10, 2010 Louisville, Kentucky.
Welcome to ScienceFix.com! Your place to get your science fix! It is a resource for middle school science teachers. It has resources (created by me, Darren Fix), that teachers can use such as lessons, science links, video demonstrations and web projects/webquests. There are original resources and of course customized (teaching is all about taking other teachers creations and modifying and tailoring it to your classroom). The site is also a blog. The reason for the blog feature is to share some of the more interesting things that are going on in science that might stir some interest in your classroom or just for your own personal enjoyment. Hopefully you can get some use out of it and also have a little fun!
I have been a science teacher for 14 years. Currently I am teaching 7th and 8th grade science at Spring View Middle School, in Rocklin, Ca. I am also the lead technology teacher and I have a masters in education technology via the iMET masters program at California State University, Sacramento. I am a science and technology nerd who thoroughly enjoys teaching. I love to do demonstrations of science concepts and I also try to incorporate the latest discoveries in science into the classroom. I also integrate computer applications into the science curriculum to further enhance the learning experience. I have presented at education conferences such as the state CUE (Computer Using Educators) Conference as well as the CLHS/CLMS (California League of High Schools/ Middle Schools) Technology Conference.