Tag Archives: education

Vol.#29: Well, A Happy Anniversary to Me

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Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/theresasthompson/2311733808/

Today marks one-year from my very first post on “Teaching Speaks Volumes” titled Vol.#1: Saying Goodbye. I had planned on writing the predictable retrospective post with analysis on how blogging has changed me this year.

However, sometimes an opportunity for material simply presents itself.

My post last week about the NC Senate budget went viral. Well, by my standards, anyway. I am typically excited to get four or five hundred visits per post on TSV. However, when last I checked, “The Blame Game” had received 62,869 visitors and counting. Discussion in the 60+ comments has given me several topics I look to writing about in upcoming posts.

Apparently when I wrote viscerally and emotionally, it was entertaining. However, it also did not reflect my best research. That post was truly “shot from the hip” and it shows in the facts: Continue reading Vol.#29: Well, A Happy Anniversary to Me

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Vol.#28: The Blame Game

Edit 6/9/13: Updates and corrections to this blog post on this week’s post here.

Attention: Rant about the current critical period for the teachers in my state of North Carolina forthcoming. You’ve been warned.

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When I arrived from South Carolina in 2002, North Carolina was 21st in teacher pay. Sadly, we are now 48th. Forty-eighth. The “Thank goodness for Mississippi” joke is wearing thin. Especially when we can no longer say “Thank goodness for South Carolina.” or “Thank goodness for West Virginia.” They both now outrank us in teachers’ salaries.

This Tuesday, the NC House it supposed to vote on the Senate’s budget, which puts education in this state in very dire straits indeed. And if you’re not outraged, and alarmed at the sneaky, underhanded dealings, you’re not paying attention.

Teacher pay in North Carolina has been frozen for five years. In 2008-2009 a teacher with five years’ experience had a base salary of $35,380. Today, that teacher earns $31,220. However, this proposed budget would also stop paying teachers for advanced degrees and National Board Certification. I am going to illustrate this by making it very personal – because it is very personal. To every teacher in this state. Continue reading Vol.#28: The Blame Game

Vol.#23: What’s at YOUR Teaching Core? [Cross-Post]

pixlrI was afforded the opportunity to have “blogging training wheels” in the way of writing a few Guest Posts for Scripted Spontaneity throughout the year before I started Teaching Speaks Volumes this past June. One of these posts from about a year-and-a-half ago still remains one of my own personal favorites that I’ve written on education.
So, I hope my readers don’t mind a cross-post as I include on my own blog, and will perhaps even provide some fresh perspectives in the comments.

“If our core belief is based on what other people think, then we eventually will allow their opinions to become our reality.” ~Darren L. Johnson

image credit: Wikimedia Commons user unununium272
image credit: Wikimedia Commons user unununium272

Our school is currently developing Core Belief Statements. First, each of our interdisciplinary teams and elective departments generated their own and submitted them to administration. Now these statements have been compiled and shared with the staff. They’ll be used to create Core Belief Statements for our school.

It’s wonderful that this process has opened dialogue, but it begs the question: Does something so personal coincide with asking for a standardized consensus? Perhaps I am borrowing trouble and these statements will be vague enough where everyone can agree, but some people have very passionate beliefs when it comes to teaching and education.

Scripted Spontaneity followers know there’s been recent discussion here about standardization of teachers’ practices. But what about standardization of Core Beliefs? Even if teachers can all agree on a statement like, “We value what is in the best interest of the students,” . . . what if we don’t agree on what that should be? What happens when caring, brilliant teachers who work daily with purpose and precision … don’t agree on what these practices are?

Case in point.

Continue reading Vol.#23: What’s at YOUR Teaching Core? [Cross-Post]

Vol.#22: The Dark Side of Choosing School Choice

Freedom-of-choice-a22077920During the time I was visiting these four schools and writing these posts, this article was released about Wake County dropping the choice plan. However, when I entered my address in the Student Assignment page today, I still got a total of 16 elementary schools, 10 middle schools, and 9 high schools in varying Base, Calendar, and Magnet options for the upcoming 2013-2014 school year. This still looks far from resolved, however.

So…what does all this mean? After visiting an array of options as both a teacher and a parent, what is my final analysis? I have two responses to these two questions, one for each of my two roles.

As a parent… Continue reading Vol.#22: The Dark Side of Choosing School Choice

Vol.#20: Wake Young Men’s Leadership Academy


In Volume #17 I discussed my County’s various options for parents, such as magnet and application schools. This is the third school in a series of four that I’ve visited and am discussing in the context of school choice in my County.

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In the eleven years I’ve known Paul Cancellieri, three of which we were on the same interdisciplinary team, I’ve never known another educator with such universal appeal. “Mr. C” is the teacher every student wants to have and the colleague from whom every teacher has much to learn. If a teacher were a doctor, Paul is the world-renowned surgeon teaching the top Attendings (tech-saavy teachers) and Chiefs of Surgery (administration) the best practices to pass along to the resident physicians. Or at least he should be, whenever his time permits it.

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Wake Young Men’s Leadership Academy is a public school application option for Wake County parents. Currently in its inaugural school year,  Continue reading Vol.#20: Wake Young Men’s Leadership Academy

Vol.#18: Enloe High School

In my last post I discussed my County’s various options for parents. My year round school’s track outs provide an opportunity to visit the several types of public schools while they are in session.  This is the first of the schools I will discuss in a series of four.

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I visited my esteemed colleague and fellow 2013 Kenan Fellow Priscilla Chappell at  one of the magnet options: Enloe High School. She has an ease and rapport with her students that is obvious immediately upon seeing her interaction with them. A theme emerges if you peruse her online reviews; while not considered “easy”, she consistently has top marks for being helpful and clear. (This, in my opinion, should be the goal of all teachers.) It’s no wonder she was a Teacher of the Year semifinalist for Wake County in 2011, which any teacher in Wake can tell you is no minor accomplishment.

Enloe Hall

So, onto what makes Enloe…Enloe. Continue reading Vol.#18: Enloe High School

Vol.#15: The Edmodo Education

I started using Edmodo over the past couple of months. Specifically, I offered it as one option to complete a reading project. I’d thought having a smaller group of students to start would help me ease into it, however over 75% of my 109 students opted for the Edmodo choice instead of the more traditional alternative.

 
I used the Edmodo quizzes as part of the assessment for the project. Now having used them, I see the quiz feature as having a likely future in my classroom as formative assessments, such as homework, as opposed to actual “quizzes”. Edmodo does not allow retakes easily and both the timed feature and occasional glitches in the system make quizzes that “count” stressful. However, the instant feedback it provides would be very vaulable in the formative stage and would reduce class-time reviewing answers on completed assignments, allowing for more time on new, engaging tasks and collaboration.

While pondering the future of this possibility, I had my students complete the following Consens-o-gram. Continue reading Vol.#15: The Edmodo Education

Vol.#13: Metamorphosis

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a profound change in form from one stage to the next in the life history of an organism

This past week marked the third and final Professional Development Institute for myself and the other 2013 Kenan Fellows. It will likely be the last time we see each other until the celebratory events planned at the end of the year when the Fellowship is completed. It was wonderful to see everyone, though it was far too brief. As always, I learned so much more from them than it feels I must ever give back. (I’m looking at you Karen and Vance.)

I don’t know if other Fellows have been experiencing some of the same seismic shifts at their schools that Continue reading Vol.#13: Metamorphosis

Vol. #8: Tech Tools are the Power Tools of Education

Last week’s post evidently left some room for further interpretation and discussion. My colleague Paul Cancellieri*, as usual, pushed my thinking deeper. He rightfully noted in a comment to the post that I did not completely and fully answer the question posed by the Kenan Fellows program:

“How we can best use technology to its maximum advantage in education?”

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, and I certainly don’t know more than some* about technology. However, it is my assessment that this question is most powerfully, truthfully, and best answered if it is simply as flipped as some of the cutting-edge classrooms of today:

We can best achieve an educational goal to its maximum attainment by utilizing technology.

This may seem at odds with what I stated in the previous post:

“It is important to remember is that technology is simply a tool. It no more accomplishes an educational goal in and of itself than a pencil and sheet of paper (or a slate and chalk before that.)…”

However, I go on to say:

“Educators’ understanding the right tool for the right task is imperative. A hammer does the plumber fixing the leaky faucet very little good.”

Please allow me to develop this “metaphanalogy” further… Continue reading Vol. #8: Tech Tools are the Power Tools of Education

Vol.#6: Changing the Core

As a multi-track  year-round teacher, I’ve just completed the first week of school: a new administration, a new demanding schedule, a new PLT, a new batch of seventh graders, and many other new challenges. However, this group of students is wonderful, my new PLT is off to a great running start, and this new administration has expressed unwavering high standards for its staff. If your undergo a change in your surroundings, I think it’s safe to assume you’ll change as a result as you adapt.

So looking ahead to this school year, I realize this new context coupled with the unique and intense Kenan Fellows experience will be nothing shy of completely transformative for me. Continue reading Vol.#6: Changing the Core