Links around the Net

Joanne Jacobs has an article on how one school isn’t allowing students to skip turning in homework. They have to turn it in, regardless of whether it is late, and 98% of the homework is coming in on time.

This is an approach I took with my boys, when they were working with someone else. It didn’t matter if they didn’t get credit for the work; they still had to do it. Of course, for me, they had to make a 100%, but I was a little pickier than public and private school teachers have time to be.

Core Knowledge Blog links to an intriguing article on how the neighborhood effects student achievement.

Of course, the report’s authors say, it is difficult to isolate the physical aspects of environmental decline from the social ones. But those they spoke to saw a clear link between the physical symbols of urban decay and behaviour, truancy and teacher morale. The researchers found the link between the physical environment and exam results harder to establish.

The report’s chief author, Katy Owen, says she found that urban decay could “easily impact upon pupils and their teachers”. She says: “They may demonstrate poor behaviour in the classroom, have low self-esteem, little appetite for educational attainment and have little cultural or social capital to draw on. Their teachers may become disillusioned and frustrated with their limited ability to teach in a community where crime and incivility is rife.”

This has a lot to say about students from low SES, even in colleges. I think it is worth pursuing further. “One More Broken Window: The Impact of the Physical Environment on Schools was written and researched by Perpetuity Group, a Leicester-based research and consultancy firm, for the Nasuwt teaching union.”

teacher-w-computerPedablogue offers “The Writing Teacher’s Taxonomy” which is garnered from a book edited by Safire and Safire. Teachers, he says, stimulate, organize, affirm, and interpret. Then he says, “The better writer you are, perhaps, the better teacher you can be.”

That’s an interesting thought and one I want to pursue when I have more time.

Erin O’Connor at Critical Mass offers an interesting discussion on the difference between reading and teaching. She begins with a quote, “The problem is that Poe has been so completely taught that he is very rarely read with the eyes of a reader.”

She says that all too often teachers introduce literature in such a way that the teacher becomes a crutch. Students don’t read for the love of reading and they don’t feel they can read without help.

I’m not sure what all that entails, though she hints at several points. But I am fairly sure I don’t do that. I ask students to take a point of view about the work and argue it from the text. I tell them that as far as reading goes, if they can support it from the text, it is correct. There is no “one right answer” in reading. And I tell them why and how this is so.

I often introduce problematic stories (like “Young Goodman Brown”) and we talk about whether the story is one way or another. We argue both sides of the question in class and leave it at a draw. It’s the way reading should be, I think. And I think O’Connor would be happy with my reading classes, since I too make the heartbeats for “The Tell-Tale Heart,” which, by the way, my class is reading on Tuesday. (So I found this post particularly timely.)

News Alert asks if college is worth the price of admission. According to the video:
People don’t earn $1M more with a bachelor’s degree.
If you are in the bottom 40% of your high school, odds are you will never graduate from college.
Think twice before you go to college.
Instead they suggest vocational school.
People are status-driven. We have a myth that prestigious careers are the source of happiness.

2 thoughts on “Links around the Net”

  1. I went to the post and read what the author (you) had to say.

    I am glad that the students are doing comments to each other’s blog posts. I have found that this, as the author (you) mentioned, the students enjoy the feeling that their writing is read. Isn’t that why we write? Someone may read our writing, but unless they respond, we feel as if we are writing to ourselves. I use my blog for that, too, but it is encouraging to hear that others read it too.

    The commenting on blog posts by students also facilitates discussions, as we know where everyone is coming from and we have all had a little time to consider the thoughts of others and so expand our own thoughts.

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