My budding love of teaching, stemming from my larger love of math and learning

Thursday, October 27, 2011

TIME: ‘Digital Literacy’ Will Never Replace The Traditional Kind Read

I follow Education Nation put out by MSNBC. I think that they post great articles and are a supporter of educators. Not that I agree with EVERYTHING they put out, I would say I probably agree with 90%.

This morning they posted an article by Time Magazine by Annie Murphy Paul talking about how digital literacy is important but not as import as traditional learning.

Some of my favorite quotes from the article:

1) "It would seem clear that what Leu’s seventh graders really require is knowledge: some basic familiarity with the biology of sea-dwelling creatures that would have tipped them off that the website was a whopper (say, when it explained that the tree octopus’s natural predator is the sasquatch)."

HAHA Sasquatch!!! Although I shouldn't laugh to hard, because my father makes a really convincing argument on the existence of such a creature.

2) "In their view, skills trump knowledge, developing “literacies” is more important than learning mere content, and all facts are now Googleable and therefore unworthy of committing to memory."

I think that learning "how to learn" and "literacy skills" are important. I am not a huge proponent of the need to plug and chug to just have to regurgitate the knowledge for some end of the year assessment. But that is where are education system is and that is what is expected of our students when then entire post secondary institutions. But then again, I do believe in a classical type of education. So I guess I am a little wishy washy.

3) “But if you focus on the delivery mechanism and not the content, you’re doing kids a disservice.”
I agree, so maybe I am not as wishy washy as I thought.

4) "Just because you can Google the date of Black Thursday doesn’t mean you understand why the Great Depression happened or how it compares to our recent economic slump."

WHY WHY WHY? Even in my math classes I ask my students "WHY?" They hate it! HAHA

5) But such skills can’t be separated from the knowledge that gives rise to them. To innovate, you have to know what came before. To collaborate, you have to contribute knowledge to the joint venture. And to evaluate, you have to compare new information against knowledge you’ve already mastered.

TRUE THAT!!!!!!!!!

6) At Google and all these places, we make technology as brain-dead easy to use as possible. There’s no reason why kids can’t figure it out when they get older.” What they won’t figure out is deep reading, advanced math, scientific reasoning — unless we teach them.

YES, they NEED US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Great Article...and it mentions Sasquatch.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Since day one of teaching I liked the idea of a warm-up or bellringer. Originally I had student do it on a half a sheet of paper and turn them in. The result: these sheets of paper would just pile up on my desk (or at this time I didn’t really have a desk so they would pile on my in roll-a-desk), and I wouldn’t get around to grading them for weeks because I had to lesson plan or grade quizzes and homework. Then I had student do them in there notebooks at the beginning of each day, but then I didn’t check notebooks like I originally intended because I was always planning or grading quizzes and homework.

New solution: I created a warm-up sheet where each day students date the box and complete the warm-up in this box. Then at the end of the chapter I collect them. I decided this was AWESOME and I was so clever…until I collected them the first time...

A lot of students did not put any effort or pride into completing these. Students didn’t even number them when there was more than once problem to do. Problems were out of order in the boxes, and one student even had 3 different sheets even though there were only 5 days of warm-ups!

When I handed this set back, I explained that next time the warm-ups needed to be in chronological order, as well as be numbered if there is more than 1 problem. If you are absent a day, it is your responsibility to get the warm up. Once a week I am uploading a document with the warm-ups on the class website where the student can go to get the problems. I think some of them think I am kidding. But I think I have covered my butt by having it in multiple places that things need to be turned in to me in order and if they aren’t they will not be graded. Hopefully, there won’t be any arguments, but I keep you posted.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Read Direction Much?

I ask you, what is UNCLEAR about the following statement:

"Put the letter of the answer on the line. Failure to do so will result in a score of zero for that problem"

Apparently everything!!! Multiple students received a score of zero on the first page of their Ch 1 test today.

I hate to read directions (that's why I don't bake), but it is a necessary evil of this world. I beg of you to please don't let students get away with NOT reading directions.