Thursday, March 27, 2014

It's STAAR Prep Time!

I am SO excited to unveil a series of Third Grade Math STAAR Quizzes for Texas Teachers!  Because Texas is not a Common Core State, it can be difficult to find resources tailored to Texas TEKS.  

These STAAR Quizzes cover a variety of TEKS and will give your kiddos a rigorous review!  Look for more to come in the next few weeks!  

Thank you for stopping by!  As always, I would love your feedback if you decide to use them!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

There's a PLC in my Closet!

Teachers are experts in dealing with change.  After all, it is rare that two days are the same.  Lessons change. Seasons change. Partners change. Challenges change.  It's all part of the job.

Now the winds of change are blowing forth a new movement in education that is bringing what is being called a change in culture.   It is called Professional Learning Communities or PLC's.  

So what is PLC's all about?  Here is a short passage from the website All Thing PLC.
"An important step in converting the PLC concept from a "secondary whisper" to "a major rallying cry" was the publication of Professional Learning Communities at Work: Best Practices for Enhancing Student Achievement by Richard DuFour and Robert Eaker (Solution Tree, 1998). According to Professional Learning Communities at Work, when schools function as a PLC their members:
  • Collectively pursue shared mission, vision, values and goals
  • Work interdependently in collaborative teams focused on learning
  • Engage in ongoing collective inquiry into best practice and the "current reality" of student achievement and the prevailing practices of the school
  • Demonstrate an action orientation and experimentation
  • Participate in systematic processes to promote continuous improvement
  • Maintain an unrelenting focus on results"

I recently spent a day hearing all about how wonderful this will be. 
There was even a segment on "addressing resistance".  There's just one problem….these are all the things that a good teacher does.  Things like:
  •  focus on learning, not on teaching.  
  •  review data to determine where to focus.
  • collaborate with team members that teach the same content and grade level.  
  • create assessments together. 
  • share ideas and learn from one another.
Don't we do this already?  But PLC's take it a step further.  It adds structure and expects teachers to march to the same tune.  In fact, if one teacher plays the tune better than you, perhaps she'll teach your students for that objective and vice versa. Can you hear that noise?  That is more of your valuable time being sucked away from you. 

Meet the brain-trust that wrote, and now markets, Professional Learning Communities at Work:

I have a newsflash for them and for all their kool-aid drinkers…


So, I have a dream (forgive me, MLK). 

I have a dream that teachers would be valued as educational experts, just like we value lawyers as law experts or doctors as medical experts.  

I have a dream that education academics and researchers would get in the trenches and walk a marathon in a teacher's shoes before they put pen to paper to write their books. 

I have a dream that we can teach with freedom from the interference of bureaucracy and the nonsense of mandates like PLC's and any other cookie-cutter program that won't mean a hill-of-beans five years from now. 

I have a dream that the money spent on these snake-oil, sales people peddling "I'll fix your schools" promises that are as empty as the U. S. Treasury would be spent on ways to support our children's learning.  

I have a dream that the powers-to-be realize that education is a people-business, that every child is unique, and there is so much about a child's life that is out of a teacher's control. 

I have a dream that we can cut through mountains of red tape when a child needs help now….not nine months from now. 

I have a dream that common sense would rule in the halls of education and that no administrator was stuck toeing the line for rules and laws that do not serve the children. 

I have a dream that I can greet my little students, close my classroom door, and do my job because I am a capable, professional educator that cares more about my kids than anyone who stands high and mighty on a stage with a powerpoint telling me how to do my job.  

Yes, I have a dream.

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