Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Self-Reflective RAGNAROK!

And today was the students' last day to prepare for their presentations. At the end of the day some of them seemed ready, and some didn't. Here's hoping they'll all do well tomorrow.

Earlier today my loving wife was telling me about a story on NPR about teachers who got fired and/or investigated because of things they wrote online. That's always a chilling topic. Like the Kindergarten teacher who made a crack about her class on Facebook, and got suspended? Crazy. Loving wife said, "But I think you're doing everything right," in reference to my online conduct, and the fact that I don't write negative comments about specific students here on the blog.

Since I started this blog, I've always kept in mind that students, students' parents, and administrators could read it, so I haven't said anything I would be embarrassed for them to read. This has occasionally made the blog more boring than I would like. Specifically the part about the administrators . . . occasionally I'll want to write something like, "Oh my God, I don't know what I'm doing," and then I think, "My boss could read this. Or my boss's boss. Or the superintendent. Do I really want to go on record saying I'm incompetent?" So I delete it, and say something bland, like, "I am certainly eager to try this new lesson plan." This blog is supposed to chronicle my efforts to create and teach a class, though, so who cares about my personal feelings? They are irrelevant! 

(And really, I mostly know what I'm doing. Much of the time.)

Speaking of me being an ice-cold professional, you may not be aware that this class has been "standards-based." Standards are the big thing in secondary education, the lists of things you're supposed to teach, so the students can be tested, and you can be punished if they don't do well enough on the tests. When I wrote up the proposal for Creative Reading class, I had to include a list of the standards we would cover.

Our final project is specifically based on the following Common Core standards: 


Research to Build and Present Knowledge

·                                 W.11-12.7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
·                                 W.11-12.8. Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.
·                                 W.11-12.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.


Comprehension and Collaboration

·                                 SL.11-12.1. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
·                                 SL.11-12.2. Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.
·                                 SL.11-12.3. Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

·                                 SL.11-12.4. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.
·                                 SL.11-12.5. Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
·                                 SL.11-12.6. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating a command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.


  1. I find myself moderating my comments to your blog for the same reason...I'd hate for you to get in trouble because you have crack-pot liberal fiends on the interweb.

    That being said, I've really enjoyed this class, and hope you continue the blog into the new year so I follow along and learn some stuff about movies too.

    Seriously. I learned a bunch of stuff this semester.