Thursday, November 18, 2010

Topic: Reading for Errors in Writing

10-second review: Teach students how to read for error

Title: “The Location of Error: Reflections on a Research Project.” Dean Cook. Teaching English in the Two-Year College (September 2010), 22-33.

Summary: Teach students how to read for error in their compositions. Reading for error is different from normal reading for comprehension which leads to passing over errors. Read with the intention of finding errors in their writing. The author suggests keeping a record of errors found in published writing. The author also includes a simplified checklist of word-level errors, sentence-level errors and “other punctuation errors.”

Comment: The author of this article emphasizes reading with the intention of finding errors. How do teachers read to find errors? How do they find errors in their own writing? One thing I have learned from experience is that if I am too familiar with the material, I will miss errors, especially typos. However, as a teacher, I know the errors I am looking for. The author’s checklist of errors might be useful in helping students learn ahead of time the errors they are looking for. Interesting. RayS.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Topic: Teaching

10-second review: When the teacher misunderstood the apparently disruptive behavior of a student in her teacher education class, she suddenly realized that the student-centeredness she thought she was exhibiting was actually teacher-centered. A few adjustments changed her practices.

Title: “Teaching English Education and Lurching Forward.” Linda Shadow. English Education (October 2010), 97-106.

Summary: The central questions she had been asking herself about her teaching needed a change of focus, from teacher to student.

Original questions she asked of herself:
. Who am I in this class?
. How can I present this information?
. How am I experiencing my teaching?
. How do I think my teaching is going?
. What classroom approaches make sense to me?

The changed questions:
. Who are you in this [class]?
. How might you approach this [class]?
. How are you experiencing the learning?
. How do you view your own work?
. What is the potential impact of classroom practices on you?

Comment: The importance of the perception of the students’ experiencing the class cannot be underestimated. Once you understand how the students view the class, your teaching will change. I say that ruefully. RayS.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Topic: Equity Audit

10-second review: A questionnaire that reveals a great deal about the makeup of a school district.

Title: “Seeing, Inquiring Witnessing: Using the Equity Audit in Practitioner Inquiry to Rethink Inequity in Public Schools.” SL Groenke. English Education (October 2010), 83-96.

Appendix A: Equity Audit

General Data
. Number of students in your district
. Number of students in your school
. Number of staff in your school (certified and noncertified)
. How many teachers in your school teach outside of their content/expertise area?
. How many teachers in your school hold (a) bachelor’s degrees; (b) master’s degrees; (c) doctoral degrees?
. How many teachers in your school have been teaching (a) 1-5 hears; (b) 6 – 15 years; (c)15-20 years; (d) more than 20 years?
. What is the teacher mobility/attrition rate at your school?
. Who teaches advanced classes at your school? Long-time teachers or beginning teachers? Who teaches lower-track classes? Who teaches seniors? Ninth graders?
. Number of students who transferred or moved into the school the last academic year
. Students who transferred out of the school in the last academic year
.Fraction and percentage of staff in your school who are associated with student services (e.g., special education, counselors, nurses, bilingual specialists, reading specialists, literacy coaches, etc.)

Status of Labeling at Your School
. Students labeled “gifted” in your school
. Student labeled “at-risk” in your school
. Students labeled with a disability in your school
. Students labeled ESL, ELL, or bilingual in your school
. Students with any other kind of label in your school (include the label)
. Graduation tracks at your school (e.g., “basic,’ “advanced,” “honors,” “college prep,” “AP”

Discipline Data
. Students who were suspended in the past year
. Students who were expelled in the past year
. Students who were placed in alternative school setting
.Low attendance and/or truancy
.Other relevant discipline data

General Achievement Data
. Eighth-grade achievement
.Tenth-grade achievement
. Graduation rate
. Graduated with an advanced/academic diploma
. Drop-out rate
. Participation in ACT, SAT, AP courses/exams
. Test results of ACT, SAT, AP exams

Social Class Data
. Students receiving free and reduced-price lunches in your school
. Students receiving free/reduced-price lunches in other schools in your district
. Students identified for special education in your school
. Of the number of students identified for special education, what fraction and what percentage receive free/reduced-price lunches?
. Students labeled as “gifted” in your seeing who receive free/reduced-price lunches
. Students  identified as “at-risk” who receive free/reduced price lunches

Race and Ethnicity Data and Analysis
. Students of color in your school? How does this compare with other schools in your district?
. Students of color in the total district
. Of the number of students labeled for special education, what fraction and percentage are students of color?
. How many students of color are labeled “at-risk”?
. How many students of color are labeled “gifted”?
. Total certified staff who are people of color in your school
.  People of color serving on the school board
. Report two pieces of academic achievement data (reading and math) as they relate to this area of diversity

English Language Learners (ELL) and Bilingual Data
. How many English language learners are in your school and what languages do they speak? Compare to other schools in your district.
. How many English language learners in the total district?
. How many ELL students are labeled for special education?
. How many ELL students are labeled “at-risk”?
. How many ELL students are labeled “gifted”?
. What is the total number of certified bilingual staff at your school?
. Bilingual people on school board
. Report two pieces of academic achievement data (reading and math) as they relate to this area of diversity

Disability Data
. Number of students labeled with disabilities in hyour school
. How does this number compare with district total
. Number of special education referrals a year
. Report two pieces of academic achievement data (reading and math) as they relate to disability

Gender Data
. Females on the teaching staff at your school
. Females teaching science/math classes
. Females teaching English
. Females teaching history
. Females teaching at the highest level of math
. Females teaching AP courses
. Out[of-school suspensions/expulsions by gender
. Females/males on administrative team
. Females on school board
. Report two pieces of academic achievement data (reading and math) as they relate to this area of diversity

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
. Does your district have any active policies that address sexual orientation and gender identity?
. How and to what extent does hour district’s curriculum provide instruction related to sexual orientation and gender identity?
. Does your school have a Gay/Straight Alliance?
. Assess your school’s library/media holdings related to sexual orientation and gender identity
. To what extent has professional development addressed sexual orientation and gender identity?
. To what extent are students teased or called names because of their gender identity or sexual orientation at your school? How do you know?

Comment: Read the article to find out how to use this instrument. RayS.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Topic: A Teaching Technique

10-second review: Teachers improvise by means of conversations with students about what they are doing with an assignment when they are obviously uninterested in it.

Title: “Positioning Students as Readers and Writers Through Talk in a High School English Classroom.” Amy Vetter. English Education (October 2010), 33-64.

Comment: First, you will really need to read this article to get an accurate flavor of it. This is another article in which teachers improvise in the middle of a class. I reviewed a recent article, for example, about tensions between teacher and student or student and student in which the teacher and the class make an objective attempt to try to determine the cause of the tension. I think some teachers can pull this off and probably some can’t.

The situation in this article is an uninteresting assignment in which students are acting out their boredom with it. The teacher takes the stage and discusses with the students the assignment’s purpose and its importance in developing a language skill. The students have to discover its importance for them. It’s a risky business because it has to be a conversation, not a lecture. Interesting. RayS.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Topic: Teachers as Writers

10-second review: Teachers in a graduate course learn to write editorials to be published as guest editorials in local newspapers.

Title: “Writing for the Public: Teacher Editorializing as a Pathway to Professional Development.” Jonna Perrillo. English Education (October 2010), 10-32.

Quote: “…this article will focus on what I have come to call the Editorial Project, a project in which I mentored more than 30 teachers/graduate students across three summer institutes to write 600-word editorial guest columns for submission to our local newspaper.”

Quote: “Writing Prompts to Prepare to Write Editorials on Education Issues

. Write your first thoughts on a question that is important to you as a teacher right now.

. Tell the story of how this question lives in your classroom. Create a vivid scene.

. What misconceptions or lies have you been told about this question or in response to this question?

. Explain this question’s importance to someone who is not an educator. You can choose who that person might be (a student, a parent, a school board member).”

Comment: Now that is what a call a summer writing institute. The writing is challenging, the ideas are provocative, the audience is real and the goal is publication. What a great idea. RayS.