Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Again, More Hard Questions

Ooh, stopWith your feet on the air And your head on the groundTry this trick and spin it, yeahYour head'll collapse And there's nothing in it

Where Is My Mind? The Pixies

Twitter is not what it used to be (whatever that means to you.) If you are not new to Twitter then you probably lament the days past when interesting conversations abounded without the inundation of pic quotes, avalanches of links, and attacks by trolls who can't seem to understand context. So, that leads to the first question:

1. What amazing, classroom changing conversation have you had in the last year on Twitter? Do you remember any?

Over testing has become a problem, not because of the high stakes test we see this time of year but because of all the testing required through the year to gather the data. Of course after those tests are given you are required to go through the scores and glean information that can help you make decisions about what to do next. Typically, the high stakes tests scores don't get back in time for this to happen during the end of the school year and that leads to question number two:

2. Do you secretly enjoy the high stakes testing because you can slack off on your lesson plans, have a few (or many) periods when the kids are unusually quiet, and know that you won't be meeting with other teachers in the next few days to data crunch?

You have hopped from one education fad to another. In the last few years you have flipped your classroom, gotten rid of all your desks, gone wild with clickers and had kids break into boxes. While not all fads are bad, they do seem to come and go pretty regularly. This leads to question number 3:

3. Which, if any, education fad has been so valuable to your students that you will continue to implement it when it is no longer in?

Time is getting shorter, the days are getting longer and the countdown to summer vacation is on. It is hard not to get excited about the opportunity to sleep in, travel and have conversations with others much closer to your age. So:

4. Have you spent more time in the last few weeks planning for your summer vacation and travel than for your students lessons?

There is no expectation for you to share your answers in the comment section of this post, but if you  do that would be alright by me ;) 


  1. Not being a teacher, I don't feel it's my place to ask them, but as someone who has worked with teachers for more than 3 decades, I always appreciate the questions you ask!

    1. Our profession is in danger when those who don't teach don't feel they have the right to ask us hard questions :(

  2. 1. I found and connected with someone on Twitter (@thebiospace) after an on-person conversation around interactive notebooking. I'm teaching a new course next year and I want to focus on record keeping and data collection in science, but without papers flying everywhere. I love the idea and finding her on Twitter helped clear up some logistics confusion on my part.

    2. Not gonna lie - at this point in the year (both chronologically and content(ally?) - a break from day to day is nice when that student isn't in class. I hate the mood it puts the school in and the drain it puts on students, but I'm human, too. I also wouldn't put it past students to enjoy the quiet mornings taking a test rather than doing some hard thinking in class.

    3. This is a tough one. I'm still flipping, but the implementation has been significantly different as I've matured as a teacher. I'm going to continue next year (screencasts paired with inquiry and investigations in class) because of the value I've seen in science engagement.

    4. I think I've done okay so far, focusing on the lessons we're finishing the year with. But, June is looming, and family time is exciting. It's not bad to get excited about trips and plans, but you're right - the balance has to stay in the correct position for the next six weeks.

    1. Thanks for the answers, Brian. you made the 'hard' questions seem pretty easy ;)