During the barrage of mandatory assessments each spring, it can be tempting to “decide to do very little with our students” between tests, says Curtis Chandler. But why not make every minute count? Teachers can do just that with these engaging cross-curricular activities.
John Merrow weaves a narrative that explores the history of America’s failed school reform efforts and offers a vision for ridding public education of our addiction to more of the same in favor of long-term, meaningful and sustainable change, writes teacher Rita Platt.
Every year, writes teacher leader Jennifer Smith, schools “muddle through” standardized testing days trying to design schedules that take less time away from productive learning. Her 5th grade team tried a fresh approach that both engaged and energized test-weary kids.
Amber Chandler is pondering testing. Not big league, high stakes exams but the run of the mill end-of-unit kind. When 20 percent of her students stumble over literary terms on The Giver unit test, she opts for a flexible (but controversial) “point buy-back” offer.
In “The Educator and the Oligarch,” says teacher-reviewer Elisa Waingort, education activist Anthony Cody has written an informative, highly referenced work that traces the relationship of Bill Gates to the gradual privatization of public education in the U.S.
Veteran educator Cheryl Mizerny is surrounded by committed teachers, but she knows that even the most well-intentioned can fall into bad habits that may make some students dread coming to their class. She shares the warning signs of five problem behaviors.
“There is this race to absorb content just in time for the tests,” writes teaching coach Elizabeth Stein. But where is the time inside our secondary schools that students need to really connect to the learning process? Simple answer: there isn’t any.
Florida teacher David Finkle chronicles middle school life in a daily comic strip for the Daytona Beach News. Here he shares the 15-year story of “Mr. Fitz,” including four sample strips guaranteed to draw chuckles and knowing nods from teachers everywhere.
Looking for lessons to support a Common Core standard? Want to see what other teachers have crafted in your grade or content area? Amber Chandler recommends AFT’s vast ShareMyLesson website to meet these needs and connect with fellow educators.
Special educator Laurie Wasserman shares details of how her co-teaching team and her entire middle school help students prepare for state testing.