Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Working with National Board Certification Candidates

I'm in the middle of my National Board Certification support workshops, spending my Saturday assisting teachers who are pursuing this advanced certification, reading entries and watching videos, and generally asking lots of questions to get teachers to come to their own conclusions about their instruction.

Is it working? Maybe.

I'm still amazed at this point in the process (deadline to submit is March 31st) how many folks have barely even gotten a start on the process. They've brainstormed, planned, organized maybe, but they haven't taught a single lesson that they are planning on picking to pieces and analyzing as part of one of their instructional entries. It's mid-January, folks! You don't have much longer, and what is it you're actually doing every day? Aren't you teaching already? Then use one of those lessons to describe, analyze and reflect upon to show you're an accomplished teacher!

Maybe I've forgotten how to work with those less confident educators or maybe I'm stressed or maybe I'm just ready for folks who decide to take the plunge into the NBC process to suck it up and actually read the instructions and BE. A. PROFESSIONAL.

But then there are the positive moments, when a teacher shares her portfolio entries and she's dead on, providing concrete evidence of how her particular accomplishment impacted her students' learning or how a particular instructional strategy really worked for that specific group of students. All questions answered. All evidence presented. Good, strong stuff.

Maybe I'm getting too cynical.

I do still believe that the NBC process is some of the best professional development, makes you more analytical and reflective on your teaching process. I'm probably most concerned that due to the changes in funding the process in NC that too many educators who were not ready for the process dove in head first with no real understanding of what they were getting into. And with the changes in funding, there will be fewer candidates and therefore, less money going into NBPTS. What will that mean for that organization?

And what will that really mean for this certification? Will it be valued? Or will it just be another piece of a paper in a nice frame on my wall?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Post It Note Wednesday

Thanks to my friend, Andrea, over at Good Girl Gone Redneck for the Post-It Note ideas.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

100 Books in 1 Year

Some ladies in my mom's group decided to start a reading group (through GoodReads) and kicked it off with a challenge: Read 100 books in one year. That's only 2 books a week, they said. Certainly we can do that.

Once again my appetite for reading and the number of free hours in my day to read don't match up well enough for me to actually accomplish this task. But my Type A personality eagerly jumped up and down and exclaimed, "Sign me up!" Right.

What I've read so far this year:

1. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson - The story of Isabel, a slave who gets sold to a not-so-nice lady and her husband, during the Revolutionary War and her struggle to survive. YA

2. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell -- This book makes logical sense out of why people are successful, using some famous and not so famous examples of successful folks.

3. Momfidence: An Oreo Never Killed Anybody and Other Secrets of Happier Parenting by Paula Spencer -- This is a book of essays on motherhood, funny and true. NF

What's on my list for the rest of the month:

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins -- This is the sequel to Hunger Games that was an incredible YA hit last year.

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller

Paula Deen: It Ain't All About the Cooking by Paula Deen

What are you reading right now?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Give Up and Google!

For the past semester, we've been working with sixth graders on the Big6 Research process. We've stressed the use of appropriate resources for the type of information you need. We've shown them online databases for specific content areas. We've directed them to thick reference books with more than enough details for all the note-taking that needs to take place.

So what do the kids do today? They listen politely to my student intern as she reviews resources with them. She sets them lose in the library media center. And where do they go?


I'm going to have to just give up and give in to Google. It's not that I'm a Google hater. I use Google all the time. But guess what, folks? I get good results because I do good searches. Also I'm willing to scroll down past the first couple of hits or, God forbid, I'm actually clicking on the NEXT PAGE!

So I probably just need to rethink how I teach the research process, maybe do a whole class on Google searching. What is it that I want the kids to get ultimately? I want them to be able to evaluate the resource that they are using (whether that's a site they found while Googling or a book they pulled from the nonfiction shelves) and find the appropriate information from that resource.

Rethinking Google...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


It's NaBloPoMo , or National Blog Posting Month (even though technically it's NaBloPoMo every month!), and I'm committing myself to post every day. It appears I'm already five days behind!

But that's the trouble with making resolutions, isn't it? We rarely stick with them. We shoot for the perfect, all-or-nothing, and when we don't achieve it, or we have one back step, we completely give up.

Well, this year that's not happening! It's not that I haven't made any resolutions. I have. I have made the same three that I make every year:
  1. Do something to improve my health.
  2. Do something to improve my intellect.
  3. Do something to improve my spirit.

What will be different about this year? I'm not going to beat myself up when I backslide. It will be okay if I over indulge on an extra piece of cake, or if I oversleep and don't make it to church, or if I put a book down and don't finish it. It's not the end of the world, and it's not the end of my resolve.

So I'll keep writing, and hoping that I can post every day, but if I don't, I'm not going to beat myself up over it. I'll just write the following day!

Happy new year, folks!