15 November 2006

93rd Carnival of Education: Get Your Feast On

The doorbell rang. Three teachers, dressed in warm winter coats and holding bowls of food, awaited entrance.

“What did you bring?” asked Mr. Lawrence.

“Well, I made my green bean casserole. It’s my grandmother’s recipe,” Mamacita proudly stated. “Would you look at this rain? I was just blogging about the weather. Somehow I didn’t picture this.”

The NYC Educator shuffled his feet. “Yeah, well, I never pictured that we’d get stuck with a secretary who thinks a bit too highly of herself. I’d always heard that it was best to make friends with the office manager of any school since they run the place, but I thought it was just a euphemism. Looks like some of them take it to heart.”

"That must suck," said Mr. Lawrence.

The door opened. “Welcome!” said the Science Goddess and she smiled. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had you all over to my place. Looks like a great start to our potluck. Let me have your hats and coats. Have you met John Dewey and the Textbook Evaluator?”

The teachers looked over at John and Text. They appeared to be engaged in quite the discussion.

“You know,” said John, “I’m not entirely convinced that constructivism is the way to go...especially in math.”

“I think you may be right. I was just looking at some current research. It doesn’t seem entirely supportive of the model,” said Text.

Dr. P walked out of the kitchen with some crackers and a bit of dip on his tie. “Maybe we should be looking at the whole idea of ‘highly qualified’ in math and science, too.”

“Or,” said the HUNBlog, “perhaps we should just take a closer look at how we use constructivism. Inquiry should be appropriately guided.”

“Teachers—especially in the area of math—also need to be strong in their content knowledge,” added NCLBlog.

“That gets back to my point,” Said Dr. P., as he wiped his tie.

More teachers came through the door.

“I have the pecan pie!” cried Margaret, the Poor Starving College Student. “Hang on just a sec...someone’s texting me.”

Ms. Cornelius rolled her eyes. “Did you see that New Zealand is actually going to allow kids to use text message style writing for classroom pieces? What’s up with that? And where do I put the mashed potatoes?”

Margaret replied, “I don’t think I saw that. But hey, you can’t read kids’ handwriting these days, anyway. I just can’t figure out whose job it is to make them write legibly: schools or parents?”

“Ugh. Cell phones,” said 3σ to the Left. “You should hear what all my principal and I had to deal with recently. This parent just couldn’t understand why the school rules about cell phones should apply to his child. Why can't parents act like parents?”

“Don’t parents get any of the burden for student achievement these days?” asked the Education Wonks. “We read that some schools are now closing the achievement gap, but are still wondering why the government makes the schools solely accountable.”

“I know,” said the Science Goddess. “I keep thinking about how to get parents involved in positive ways. They’re such an integral part of the puzzle.”

Mister Teacher groaned. “Don’t get me started on parent issues. Have you seen the way they drive and park in school zones? It’s enough to give me second hand road rage.” He walked toward the bar area.

DeHavilland got up to follow. “Schools can definitely see that there are achievement gaps. But instead of supporting them with the best instructional tools, we give them a lot of rules and roadblocks. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

“Are you talking about tools like strategies for vocabulary development?” asked D-Ed Reckoning, walking the other way. “It seems to me that we have all kinds of ways to get kids to standard in many areas of education, but until we can consistently help students develop vocabulary, we’re going to be in trouble.”

“Maybe we just need to learn more about how to think outside the box,” said the Eides. “The problems in education aren’t going to be solved in traditional ways.”

The table was finally set. “Come on, everyone,” the Goddess called. “Soup’s on!”

“Is there assigned seating?” asked Mr. Lawrence, suspicion gleaming in his eyes. “You know, at this one school I sub at, the kids choose to segregate themselves into separate lunchrooms. I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.”

“Probably not,” said Ryan from Edspresso. “But hey, some people moved to the ‘burbs thinking that they would find a better school system for their children. That isn’t necessarily the case.”

“Which way’s the bathroom?” asked Mike.

“It’s down the hall,” said Alex, “but I think that Janet’s in there.”

“Figures,” sighed Mike. “And I’ll just bet that she leaves the seat down. Again. I seem to be always surrounded by female co-workers. My kingdom for a men's room.”

Matt passed the marshmallow covered sweet potatoes to Alex. “So, what’s on your mind this week?”

“Well, I’ve been thinking that in light of the recent election results that there’s a good chance the minimum wage might be boosted. That could be a good thing for schools. Maybe we should rally for it.”

“Very interesting,” said Scott. “Over at Get on the Bus, I was just writing about a different reflection on the political process. I really think it’s valuable to kids to involve them in discussions and let them see you vote.”

“I agree. Have you seen that YouTube video with pre-schoolers and the election process?” said Just a Substitute Teacher. “Check it out when you get a chance.”

Discussion at the other end of the table was a bit different. “I’m so stoked! We’re going to take a group of students to see Julius Caesar. I really have a love of the theater. Don’t you, Darren?”

“Oh, I love a good field trip as much as the next teacher. However, one of our own teachers went to DC to receive our school’s National Blue Ribbon Award. The reception wasn’t anything to write home about, unfortunately.”

“We got to go see a different reading program,” said the Median Sib. “I bet those teachers were relieved when the 20 of us departed for the day.”

Matt perked up. “Did you see anything that might support the learning of gifted students? I notice that we don’t serve them well. Maybe they’d be better off classified as being legally disabled.”

Janet returned from the bathroom. “What did I miss?”

“Talk of field trips, students, and parents,” said the Goddess. You’re just in time to get in the last word before dessert.”

“I could use some chocolate. I finally had some resolution to the issues with the class I told you about last week. Sometimes, you just have to focus your energies where they can do the most good.”

“Indeed,” sighed the Goddess. “Shall we retire to the livingroom for football and a tryptophan induced haze? Or would you prefer to check out the Carnival of Teaching next door?"

“That sounds great,” said the Wonks. “And don’t forget, next week we’re hosting the Education Carnival! The deadline for submissions is: 8:00 PM (Eastern) 5:00 PM (Pacific) Tuesday, November 21st. Submissions may be sent to: owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net . Contributers may also use Blog Carnival's handy submission form. You can always check out the archives here.”

Happy Thanksgiving!


Carol said...

Very clever! I enjoyed the tale!

Mamacita (The REAL one) said...

You've done a wonderful job with the Carnival! Thank you for including me.

I should probably confess, though, that I am quite possibly the only person in the universe who absolutely HATES green been casserole! :)

The Science Goddess said...

I used to not like green bean casserole, either. But then I found a recipe using fresh green beans, a "from scratch" cream of mushroom soup base, and roasted pearl onions. That version is quite yummy---perhaps the only one out there!

Amerloc said...

VERY well done. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Looks like my submission didn't make the cut this week ... oh well. :)

Nice job. Lots of good reading to do.

Darren said...

Muy bueno!

Anonymous said...

Golly...I wish I were so creative. Excellent job. And many thanks!

EHT said...

You did a great job linking all of the posts together. I loved how everything just flowed from topic to topic.

Anonymous said...

Wow. You really took your time with this. An A+ for effort and presentation!:)

Mister Teacher said...

What an outstanding story! I always thought most of these people were real characters, and now, thanks to your story, they ARE real characters...
Plus, I really love the fact that I said my piece and headed off to the bar. Anyone else want a drink? I'm making up a batch of Jedi Mind Tricks...

The Science Goddess said...

Sounds good to me! Now, we'll really get the party started. :)

educat said...

Dude, after the field trip I will need a drink! Hold one for me, Mister Teacher.

And thanks, Science Goddess, for having us all over.

Anonymous said...

Well I liked the guacamole. So there. :-)

Anonymous said...

Very creative and entertaining. IF you actually got all those bloggers together, it would probably be muy interesting!
Thanks for your hard work on this weeks Carnival of Education!

Enjoy whatever break you get for Thanksgiving!

ms. whatsit said...

Enjoyable post. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating read. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

good reading! thanks for the entertainment.

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

Hey, you two! What's with the hatin' about Green Bean Casserole?

Try mine. It ain't Green Eggs and Ham....