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    Should Students Be Able to Grade Their Teachers?

    Should Students Be Able to Grade Their Teachers?
    My first year teaching in Compton, California, I asked some of my students who they thought was the meanest teacher in the school. The consensus was unanimous: "Ms. Wysinger is SO mean! She makes you do all your homework. If you don't, you miss your recess. And she's always giving quizzes. And you can't talk in her class." After a few ...
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    Teacher Accountability Does Not Equal Evaluations Tied to Test Scores

    Teacher Accountability Does Not Equal Evaluations Tied to Test Scores
    Here in New York State, Governor Cuomo is making it his business to tie teacher evaluations to standardized test scores. The teacher’s union is fighting it, and well they should, because judging teachers on their students’ test scores is about as fair as judging Cuomo on the state’s economic condition. In both cases no one would get rehired, and that is ...
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    Three Ways to Cut Down On Grading

    Three Ways to Cut Down On Grading
    Grading is one of the most time consuming parts of teaching. The average high school teacher probably collects about 450 assignments per week! (90 students X 1 assignment per day) If you cut down on the amount of student work that you grade, then you will have more time to do such things as create engaging lesson plans, or you may ...
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    How to Give Students Meaningful Feedback

    How to Give Students Meaningful Feedback
    Being a teacher means that you are wearing many hats at the same time. One part of a teacher’s job is to help students build reliable self image. It is being like a mirror for students, so that they can reflect themselves and see a clear and correct picture. How would students otherwise know where they should improve their learning, or ...
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    Teaching is Not a Four Letter Word

    Teaching is Not a Four Letter Word
    I recently won a copy of Teaching is Not a Four Letter Word: How to Stop Worrying and Love the Job by Tom DeRosa by entering his blog contest (Check out his awesome blog I Want To Teach Forever). I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this book and I’m ashamed to say I might not have if ...
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    Building Relationships Through Assessments

    Building Relationships Through Assessments
    Does this sound familiar? Student: “What grade did you give me?” Teacher: “No, the correct question is, ‘What grade did you earn?’” No matter how many times we explain to students that they earn grades, instead of being given grades, the fact remains … students do not always understand how they earn their grades. Since assigning letter grades first appeared in ...
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    Are You a Good Teacher Quiz Results

    Don't peek at the answers if you haven't already taken this quiz! 1. Students take too long to get their materials arranged for a test. c. Tell them they can have one minute to get ready and then time them by pointedly watching the clock. 2. A student is lost in a daydream instead of finishing a reading assignment. c. Move ...
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    5 Tips On Writing Better Recommendation Letters

    5 Tips On Writing Better Recommendation Letters
    Each year, teachers are asked to write countless letters recommending their students to colleges and universities all over the United States and abroad. While this labor of love is not on the advertised list of job requirements for a teacher, a good recommendation letter can really help an application get noticed by the folks in the admission office. Here are just ...
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    First Days of School and Pre-Assessing Students

    First Days of School and Pre-Assessing Students
    Already into the first week of the school year, you will want to determine the specific needs of your students. This can be accomplished by conducting an informal needs analysis or pre-assessment. A pre-assessment is an organizational tool to help you identify differences between current performance and desired performance. It allows you to determine what the students already know and what ...
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    The Best Way to Identify Gifted Students

    The Best Way to Identify Gifted Students
    Two weeks ago, the New York State Department of Education announced that it sought a better way of identifying gifted students in its public schools. The move is intended to help find talented students amongst lower income and minority populations, which are underrepresented in current accelerated classrooms. An interesting conversation on the subject is taking place over at The New York ...
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    Who’s to Blame for Boys’ Low Academic Test Scores?

    Who’s to Blame for Boys’ Low Academic Test Scores?
    “Girls go to college to get more knowledge. Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider.” I heard this rhyme over and over growing up, and I have to admit that it has played a role in forming my view of the differences between the sexes. As an adult, I assumed this idea—that girls were more conscientious and dedicated to their ...
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    Make Grades More Meaningful for Students

    Make Grades More Meaningful for Students
    At the end of my second year of teaching, I was asked to do some research on why so many freshmen were failing English. The results were fairly predictable: most of the kids were either not doing their homework and failing or not coming to class and failing. This led to a discussion among the administrators and teachers about whether or ...
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    The Debate Over Assessing Student Performance

    The Debate Over Assessing Student Performance
    A week ago, the Department of Education announced that as part of its Race to the Top initiative, it had set aside $350 million for states to join form groups that would explore the "next generation of assessments"—essentially redesigning standardized tests so that they are more effective at determining "what students know and can do." The experts at The National Journal's ...
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    Does Teacher Tenure Devalue Teaching?

    Does Teacher Tenure Devalue Teaching?
    In the rarified world of academia, the mantra is "publish or perish." Young professors need to get their work out to the extended community of researchers or the general public via scientific journals, academic presses, and other means—hopefully garnering grants and attention for the university they work for. Bust your hump proving your academic bona fides for several years, litter publications ...
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    Teacher Effectiveness - As Defined By A Bunch of People Who Have Never Taught

    Teacher Effectiveness - As Defined By A Bunch of People Who Have Never Taught
    I perused an article today about Obama's plan to stress more competition for teacher grants aimed at improving teacher effectiveness and quality. (Phew - that's a mouthful!) (Imagine saying all that if you WEREN'T an educator already immersed in that dialogue and those ideas.) (Wait. What? A bunch of people who AREN'T teachers did just that? You're shitting me...) This article ...
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    A Tutor for Every Child

    A Tutor for Every Child
    For all the words spoken, books published, and legislation written about them, teaching and learning aren’t all that complicated. Teaching is simply the process of one person helping another person understand something. And learning is the process of figuring out what something is, how or why something works, or how to do something. Why, then, do so many children struggle in ...
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    11 Grammar Mistakes to Avoid

    Professional writers often worry that their work is unnecessary. After all, can't anyone with even a basic education write? The answer: no, they can't. Even college graduates don't seem to be learning composition basics. Of course not everyone is going to be the next Mark Twain, but career success does depend on avoiding certain errors. It takes just one person ...
    Rated: +14
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    Reclaiming the Lost Moments of Your Teaching Career

    Reclaiming the Lost Moments of Your Teaching Career
    I frequently ask my students for feedback, both formally and informally. Arguably the most important feedback I get is from mid-year and end of year surveys that ask a lot of probing questions. Normally I look at the results just after the school year is over, but last year was different. I had a traumatic year, both personally and professionally, that ...
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    5 Ways to Quit Taking it Personally

    [photo:86610]Sometimes the biggest on-the-job hazard for teachers is not being able to let things go. We think about our students, school, our principal, our evaluations, and parent interactions all day. We want things to go perfectly, and when they don't, we're devastated and disappointed. Finding success at work and at home is finding ways to not take things so personally. Teaching ...
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    Teaching Students to Accept Criticism

    Teaching Students to Accept Criticism
    I really don’t think we teach our students how to accept criticism and learn from it. Most teens get defensive and shut down but learning from criticism can be a positive experience if we choose for that to happen. When I was trying to get my students into the work place, one of the items on their evaluations was a question ...
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