Blue Serials (4/10/16)
Ode to Standardized Testing:
You can see it in students' hollow little eyes, and read it in the angsty tone of recent edu-bloggery. The shaming season is upon us.
It's time to label kids and their teachers based on unreliable tests given under the most bizarre and unnatural conditions. We call this unholy ritual "high standards." It's like the Hunger Games, but without provided supplies or anyone actually winning.
Nevertheless, there are wonderful things going on in the world of online edu-ligtenment and pedagogi-bonding - some inspiring, others sobering, and some just lotsa truth smacking you upside your weary head.
Stuff You Shouldn't Miss From The Past Week in Edu-Bloggery:
Loyd has a new and improved blogsite, and has finally added that 'About Me' section Scott Haselwood wanted (he's very particular about these things). The defining theme at For The Love has always been unrelenting passion for kids, for teaching, for 'the calling' - but something about this brief post, this week, put together this way... It kinda got to me. That's good, right?
Get to @meghanloyd on Twitter and find out more 'About Her' and her upgraded edu-licious bloggery. Watch out for the unicorns - they're usually hanging out near the rainbows. #oklaed
Intro to Genius Hour - Jennifer Williams, JennWillTeach, has been steering her online writing towards practical classroom strategies and reflection - as opposed to those of us who mostly lob antagonistic grenades from the sidelines.
This week she began her foray into Genius Hour - intentionally setting aside one day a week, or about 20% of classroom time, to encourage students to explore and learn in any direction they choose. Williams goes in as neither a starry-eyed idealist following every new edu-trend nor a jaded cynic resistant to all change. She's a realist, albeit a sassy one (it's much of what I love about her), determined to explore anything of potential service to her kids and their growth as learners and people and stuff. I hope she keeps us in the loop for the rest of this part of the journey.
Keep @jennwillteach in your loop on Twitter and find out for yourself how things unfold. #oklaed
In an Effort to Keep Our Kids Safe, We May be Silencing Their Voices - Jamila Carter, in this piece shared by EduShyster, offers one of the more balanced critiques of highly regimented, 'no excuses' type learning environments.
I'm generally hesitant to 100% condemn approaches which might work for some kids in some situations. I cringe anytime I read well-intentioned discursiveness claiming hugs and warmies as the universal keys to all academic advancement for all kids everywhere.
Carter has clearly wrestled with the complexities, however, and come through unconvinced that compliance = self-discipline or scores = progress. Her conviction is tempered by thoughtfulness, but it's still pretty persuasive conviction.
The problem is, I really like some of the results - like this post, for instance. It's a simple reflection on folks on the Twitters who've meant a great deal to her on her journey - not merely as entertainment, but as... you know... reflective thinky carey stuff types. Like, NOT what I do at all - but still totally legit and important.
I almost issued this as an edu-blogger challenge, but as I said - not so much for the feelings over here. YOU can have feelings, however, perhaps even sharing them with @edifiedlistener on Twitter should you wish.
Happy Testing Season, Kids! - Rob Miller, A View From The Edge, MIGHT be using some of that infamous sarcasm of his again - despite Jay's warnings about such dark methodology. Either way, this is a fun little vent on standardized testing and a good way to wrap up this week's, um... weekly wrap-up.
I've GOT to work on my phrasing.
Follow @edgeblogger on Twitter for more pith and vinegar about a wide variety of edu-topics. #oklaed
**Filing For OK State Elections is almost here: April 13th - 15th, 2016!**
A record number of educators are running, and why not? It's half the calendar for twice the pay and obvlously almost zero expectations - if there's not already a promising edu-candidate in your district, you should run yourself!
Keep up with #OKElections16 here, or by joining Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education on Facebook (and following @angmlittle on Twitter).
FortySixNews.com is new to me and I don't actually know much about who they are or what they're about yet, but they have an entire page devoted to state elections in general, which I've already found useful several times. They also seem to have a knack for breaking news whenever an interesting new candidate enters an Oklahoma race. Worth bookmarking this site. They're also on Twitter at @FortySixNews.
Finally, giving credit where credit is due, The McCarville Report has come through repeatedly when I'm researching OK candidates for state office this cycle. Their mojo says they lean pretty far right (they even link to our good friends at Middle Ground News), but their stuff on edu-candidates has been spot on so far. If you're trying to keep up, you should probably bookmark them as well. Like all the cool kids, @McCarvilleRept is on Twitter as well.
Breathe deep, my darlings - we've many miles to go. But if you wanted a job that was possible, you should have become an accountant or started selling shoes. This here's one of them 'idealist' gigs.