01 March 2007

Roundup

It's been a long week here at the ranch: an all-day training that lasted until 8 p.m. on Monday...a meeting with beginning teachers until 6 p.m. on Tuesday...meeting with a group of teachers to do some grade-level work on Wednesday, plus a 4 - 7 p.m. training to deliver...and another all-day inservice for me today. Tomorrow is looking quiet, with a 4 p.m. Happy Hour date with the former Boss Lady and a few others from the office. My brain is feeling too distended to really sort all of these things out and post. The whole week has amalgamated into the oddest blob. Maybe tomorrow I can start sharing some of the bits and pieces---there's been fertile ground for planting all manner of seeds for thought.

In the meantime, here are some tidbits to consider, if you're looking for serious news...

  • NSTA has some food for thought about the middle school years. What should happen with kids in grades 6 - 8? Should they have their own school? Be combined with elementary...or perhaps combined with secondary? They have links to several sources at the end of the article, but what I found most interesting was that in a time where I seem to hear a push for the k-8 model, research is showing that these kids don't perform as well academically. Instead, the 6-12 model may give kids the best chance at success.
  • Should we care that 75% of high school students (out of 81,000 surveyed) said that they were bored in class? I do not believe that teachers owe it to students to be entertaining in the classroom. It's not the prime directive. I do believe, however, that we must plan work that is engaging for kids. As EdTrust remarks, students can do no better than the assignments they are given. If kids are bored, that is partly their problem---they have to make the choice to be ready to learn---but it is partly our problem, too. Could we reduce the dropout rate through more rigorous curriculum?
And I see the stalkers are back from Peru:

4 comments:

Mrs. Bluebird said...

I saw the NSTA blip on the K-8, 7-12 thing as well (in fact, printed out some of the article links for my principal). She put me on our "Breaking Ranks" middle school reform team that the district is organizing at all our middle schools. I tend to favor the 7-12 model personally, although enacting it, in reality, would probably some major investment or retrofitting of buildings. Something taxpayers hate to see. Interestings stuff...and a lot of talk about the various models was heard at the NMSA conference this past fall.

The Science Goddess said...

We have a 7 - 12 school in this district. I will say that in concept, I like this idea. In reality, there are a lot of issues that make it not work so well. Teachers usually have to take on a greater number of preps than in the other schools. The school has to support both a junior high and high school curriculum---but with no additional funding. Athletics, clubs, and other programs have issues. I realize that these are just details, but it does get in the way of allowing teachers there to be able to focus on what's most important.

Jim Anderson said...

I'd wonder if the age range issue is secondary to the "social promotion" concept. That might be the key difference between K-8 and 6-12: three fewer years of it's-okay-to-fail.

The Science Goddess said...

That could very well be---definitely an interesting point.

My hunch is that "successful" schools are what they are not because of the grades they house, but the quality of curriculum and teachers they possess.