Saturday, January 29, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Achievement Reflection

I like the description on the inside cover on the ‘who’ this book is for: “It is essential reading for parents, policy makers, and anyone interested in seeing our young people succeed as employees and citizens.” The world around us is constantly changing and upgrading the tools used and how they are used. However, it seems that education, even though its purpose is to empower future leaders and citizens has not evolved with the outside world. This book demonstrates what businesses deem important and how these aspects may be implemented in the classroom.

Mr. Wagner describes seven survival skills that are essential that students achieve in order to become competitive in the world-wide marketplace. Being a math teacher, I liked how these skills align very well with what is being proposed with the common core standards.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book and will have to say that I agreed with it. Very interesting to see what the business world has to say, along with what the 'good' schools are doing.

Monday, January 10, 2011

animoto Danielle Hunt

My computer would not let me listen to the samples of the songs so I picked one. I thought that the title was fitting "Everyone is asking" If is not an appropriate song I apologize. Please let me know. thanks danielle

Final Reflection

I did not have a good taste for this book when I started. Unfortunately, I was the Super Summary person and bashed the book. I felt like the author was attacking me. As I read on, he finally mentions that the change is bigger than teachers. I totally agree with this. We need to look at what is best for the students. If it is a bridge that brings the school and business world together, then let's do it. Money and politics are such large factors in this equation. As I also said in my Super Summary where are the businesses in helping good for Xerox to bring in 15 year olds.

As teachers we have a short time to fill all of our curriculm requirements and be accountable for testing. As a computer teacher, I am also accountable for a technology test at the end of 8th grade that may or may not cover my standards (seems like a guess every year). I would love to be able to give technology "challenges/assignments" and see how students respond but I have only 7 weeks with students to cover all of my curriculum. Wagner has valid ideas and some solutions but it has to be decisions far above my job position. I was happy to read he does recognize teachers are stuck.

I liked the way he mentioned the "Growing Up Digital" section (pg 170+). These daily/hourly tasks that every day people are using are banned in our schools ( MySpace, cell phones, You Tube). Technology is instant and that is the way our students are learning.

He has great ideas that could really work but it is going to take time, money and changing people's perspectives which is hard to do.

This book reminds me of a program that we are doing at the middle school on our Friday Intersessions. We have a DI team which comes together and the students solve problems. They compete and did well last year and year before. But once again, not all students come and use this opportunity because we do not have time during school. It all comes down to testing and money.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Reflecting on the Achievement Gap

The Global Achievement Gap focused on how schools need to change instruction in order to ensure student success in our changing world. It discusses ways that schools should prepare students for the work force: motivating students by encouraging the use of new technologies, teamwork, and multitasking. The author points out that textbooks and standardized tests are not beneficial in preparing students for the work force. The emphasis is for students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers. There is a difinitive need for schools to play "catch up" to the changing world, updating the way education approaches instruction.

Many aspects discussed in the book resonated with me as an educator. I see the need for educators to change the way they teach and think about students in this era. The need for student-based instruction is more important than content-based instruction. Teaching 21st century skills is so important to the success of students as well; although, content standards do not focus on students being taught these skills. As educators, we are continually placed in the middle of a difficult conflict: the fact that we need to be teaching students how to thrive in our society and the fact that NCLB tests students and holds schools accountable for information on a standardized test.

Overall, I feel the book made some great points. However, I do see folly in some of the notions as well. For example, the book emphasized the importance of critical thinking, expressing that textbooks should be thrown out. The problem with that is students need background knowledge in order to think critically. How are students suppose to make connections when they have a limited background of information to connect to. I feel this type of teaching will create a gap as well. A gap between the students who have an abundance of learning and life experiences and the ones who do not.

The Distance Between Us

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