Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Teaching Thoughts: Week 7

Teacherscribe's Teaching Thought #31


Teaching Thought #31

Here is an interesting take on the Ten Things Teachers Should Unlearn, this one instead looks at what  Parents Should Unlearn.

Sixth, Homework is an essential part of learning.

We had this very discussion in class one day.  A student shared a line that he tried on this mom one night after she told him to get working on his homework.  He said, “Mom, how long did you work at Digi Key today?”

“Eight hours, why?”

“Well, I had eight hours of school and two hours of practice after that.”

“So?”

“So,” he said with a smirk, “instead of sitting down to The Real Housewives of whatever why don’t you go back to Digi Key for a couple more hours.”


Now, I don’t necessarily support such talk back to parents, but it raises a very intriguing issue – sometimes we forget just how busy the lives of our students are.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Teacherscribe's Teaching Thought #30



Teaching Thought #30

Here is an interesting take on the Ten Things Teachers Should Unlearn, this one instead looks at what  Parents Should Unlearn.

Fifth,  Parents and teachers should discuss students without the learner present.

Kudos to the parents who bring their daughters and sons to conferences!  I have had a handful of parents bring their children with them.  And it’s always so effective.  It might seem a little uncomfortable at first, but now that I’m used to it, it is so rewarding. 



Friday, October 12, 2018

Teacherscribe's Teaching Thought #29



Teaching Thought #29

Here is an interesting take on the Ten Things Teachers Should Unlearn, this one instead looks at what  Parents Should Unlearn.


Fourth, The internet is dangerous for children.

This one surprised me a bit.  It’s not like there are predators lurking behind every single site.  This reminds me of the old advice parents used to get regarding home computers: put the computer in a high traffic area like the dining room or living room so you can see what your children are on all the time. 

So much for trust, right?

How about having a talk with your children about what is appropriate and what is inappropriate to look at on the computer?  


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Teacherscribe's Teaching Thought #28



Teaching Thought #28

Here is an interesting take on the Ten Things Teachers Should Unlearn, this one instead looks at what  Parents Should Unlearn.

Third, Children need to be protected from any kind of failure.

We cannot insulate our kids/students from failure.  If there is one thing wrong with Gen Z, it’s that they have been far too sheltered and have a melt-down whenever they get criticized or called out.  One of my favorite titles is Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones by John Maxwell. If I could, I’d buy a copy for every single parent of every single student.  Another great title from Maxwell that goes well with this is his Sometimes You Win – Sometimes You Learn: Life’s Greatest Lessons are Gained From our Losses.

Anyone who is successful at anything knows failure is vital.  I just don’t get why we try to bubble wrap our kids from it.

So try to build in non-fatal chances in your classes for kids to fail.  One of the most demanding things my College Comp class does is their final 8-12 page research paper where they have to read two novels and then compare three themes the novels share.  There is a very specific way I want the paper structured, especially the supporting paragraphs analyzing each theme.  Before they do that, though, I build in several chances for them to write supporting paragraphs in the precise format I want based off several short stories we read prior to their novels.  This is all done as practice for their final product.  In fact, I am hoping they fail early on in these paragraphs, for this is where I can do some of my best teaching.  When they fail here, it’s for low stakes as opposed to never mastering the supporting paragraph format and failing their final research paper.





Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Teacherscribe's Teaching Thought #27



Teaching Thought #27

Here is an interesting take on the Ten Things Teachers Should Unlearn, this one instead looks at what  Parents Should Unlearn.

Second, Product is more important than process and progress.  

For this all we have to do is look at our own lives.  I built a patio in our former home in RLF.  The end result in that was really all that mattered.  I slaved over it for a week and learned a TON in the process and progress, but if I had focused on the process and progress it would have taken me a month to get it done. Yet, had I had a better process, it would not have ended up slanting toward our house, which really made spring thaw fun.  And if I had to build it again, my process would be far different to get a better product.

Sometimes to get stuff done in the ‘real’ world you have to draw a line in the sand and just get shit done (which is something I tell my students all the time).  That is also how things get done in school too.  But I’m quick to tell my students that if they can get their process of writing down early and make steady progress, they will save themselves a lot of headaches and late nights.  And I model this for them all the time (now that I finally have my writing process down).  When writing a major research paper (8-12 pages), I show them how I have crafted my thesis early on without bothering to develop my introduction (I’ll write that much later).  Then I start hammering out my supporting paragraphs.  I strive to get two pages done per day.  By the following week, I’m adding in my introduction, conclusion, and fine tuning my works cited.  Then I contrast that with my experience of writing an 8-12 page research paper in an blind 18 hour rush.  It was terrible.  My lack of process and progress bit me in the ass.

Honestly, do you correct six tests a night until you have the whole class graded?  Do you have a great process for updated grades or do you binge grade like me?  But at least I know that about my grading process.  And I make sure to get all of my other non-essential grading out of the way so I can have some free time to grade 25 essays in one sitting.

Getting an A (product) is great, but I would argue learning the key attributes that lead to a great work ethic is far more important.  At your first job, no one will care that you earned an A in College Composition, but they will care if you have a great process to accomplish what needs to get done.






Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Teacherscribe's Teaching Thought #26



Teaching Thought #26

Here is an interesting take on the Ten Things Teachers Should Unlearn, this one instead looks at what Parents Should Unlearn.

First, learning is best measured by a letter or number.  

Grades.  Parents, it’s a great honor to see your kid give that beloved speech at commencement, but that will not guarantee them a job let alone success anywhere in life.

B’s and C’s earn degrees.  Sometimes the work is just too much for the kids to juggle everything.  Sometimes they procrastinate and turn in less than stellar work.  Life happens.  Move on.  Did you give a speech at your commencement due to your 4.3 GPA?



Monday, October 08, 2018

Teacherscribe's Teaching Thought #25


Teaching Thought #25

In prepping for my UND Teaching and Learning 250 class a few years ago, I came across this interesting read, Ten Things Teachers Should Unlearn – I revisit it before every school year.

Tenth thing teachers should unlearn:  Homework is an essential part of learning

The 10,000 dollar question here.  This ties in well with how worksheets support learning.  If homework moves you closer toward your assessments and learning targets, then it is essential.  But if homework is just assigned because it is what is expected or what we as teachers feel we should do or else we aren’t ‘teaching’ or, God forbid, if it’s just busy work, then no it is not essential at all.