Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Testing

by Robert Pondiscio
July 2nd, 2008

…but were afraid to admit you didn’t already know. A really useful primer at Eduwonkette. Clip and save.

R.I.P. Reading First

by Robert Pondiscio
July 2nd, 2008

“Now we’re going to turn back the clock, not only to pre-Bush but pre-Clinton levels. I bet it’s been a long damned time since the federal government spent no money — zero — on reading.”

USA TodayEd Secretary Margaret Spellings in USA Today on the apparent demise of Reading First.

Which Kids Did I Fail?

by Robert Pondiscio
July 2nd, 2008

July is the cruelest month for teachers. The popular notion might be that teachers head off to the beach, blithe and carefree for two months of paid vacation. The reality for most is captured by teacher Bill Ferriter in his essay Which Kids Did I Fail?

Sometimes I wonder whether or not I’m doing a good job. Have I challenged every child? Did stray words said in an instant lift children up or leave them behind? Which kids have I changed forever? Are they academically prepared to succeed in the future? What about emotionally? Socially?

“That question leaves me destroyed each year because I know that there are students who I’ve failed,” says Ferriter. “Kids whose strengths I missed or forgot to celebrate….kids whose weaknesses I overlooked or ignored because I had to move on or fall behind…kids who didn’t feel like I loved them…kids who have a sour taste about learning because they weren’t successful or didn’t feel valued in my room.”

My work can seem completely overwhelming and totally impossible at times. The range of abilities in my classroom each year only seems to grow—-and while I know that challenging each child as an individual is the definition of accomplishment, I drown under that effort. Serving anywhere from 50 to 90 kids a day, I struggle to balance requirements with needs, interests, passions and personalities.

Carnival!

by Robert Pondiscio
July 2nd, 2008

The 178th Carnival of Education is up, featuring Diana Senechal’s takedown of the jigsaw method, among other worthies.  Enjoy!