Monday, October 25, 2010

Chapter 2 The Old World of School

Chapter 2 The old World of School
In chapter one it discussed the economic gap between schools. In chapter two it discussed the gap between what students are taught vs. what they need to know.
This chapter talked about the author visiting schools. He would go into the classroom with other school officials (principals, superintendents, etc..) and observe the classroom. The majority of the classrooms visited had lecture based lessons. The group observed that most teachers were teaching the content and not skills. Most teachers were preparing students to do well on the standards based tests.
The only classroom that differed from all the other classrooms visited was an algebra II class.

The teacher:

  1. had the students divided into groups
  2. introduced a new type of problem
  3. told the students they will need to use algebra and geometry to solve the problem
  4. told the students they needed to solve the problem in two ways
  5. told the students he would randomly choose a person from each group to explain

Advice on how to do better on standardized tests was given to a school district. " Using the data you can identify and focus on kids who are close to passing. The bubble kids. Those are the ones who can pass with a little extra help. They'll give you the biggest return on your investment." (The Global Achievement Gap, 73).

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) gave a test in 2003. This test focused on critical thinking and problem solving. The United States scored 29th out of 41 countries. Then the book talked about United States graduates loosing jobs to people in other countries because they don't have critical thinking skills.

Basically the majority of the United States' teachers are teaching to the standardized tests. Many other countries are preparing their students for the workforce by teaching them how to think not how to memorize facts.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

One Gap at a Time

I chose this image for my book cover because "I" want to close one "Gap" at a time. As I thought of what this book might be about and how I will be using the info from this book and from this technology class I have realized that I have a few gaps of my own to close in order to help my students. So I see this student here as a student that might have been left behind and needs to focus on "One Gap at a Time." I see some great opportunities from this book but I may need to slow down and focus on "One Gap at a Time."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I chose this image beause it depicts the traditional look ofa classroom. Students are in neat rows, listening to a lecture. Critical thinking skills are absent in this picture and students are not being prepared for real life situations.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Global Achievement Gap (Book Cover)

I think the publisher selected this image because he is referring to the way it used to be, or the way it is in some schools still today. You have the old desks in rows and papers all over. What interested me personally was that when I attended school thats the kind of desks we used. No technology around and a lot of paper.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Global Achievement Gap Book Cover

The book we selected is called THE GLOBAL ACHIEVEMENT GAP. On the book cover there is a picture with four wooden desks and paper flying in the air to the ground. The book cover could mean that paper/pencil instruction is out and technology instruction is in. It also could mean that if students are only taught by the stereotypical classroom method they may miss the opportunity of exploring the world outside the classroom using technology.
I had a hard time finding an image that was free use. I found two images that were copyrighted. They both had a visible gap in the picture, people divided by the gap, and words that talked about a gap in achievement.
I chose a picture of a child comparing apples and oranges in the mirror. We have all read information on how other countries are performing academically. But...have we thought about who is included in their information. The United States gives information on the majority of that age group. Other countries weed out students who struggle academically. They only include information from students who are academically successful.
Another thing to think about is the opportunity afforded to the students. Some schools give students laptops to use at home to complete their homework. Some students have computers at their home they can use. Some students do not have a computer at home they can use.Some students have teachers who use technology as a teaching tool on a daily basis. Other students have teachers who do not use technology as a teaching tool on a daily basis.

Chapter 1

Chapter 1 in summary, discusses the stark differences between content that is currently being taught in classrooms across America compared to the skills current employers are wanting in their employees. The author conversed with numerous business leaders and asked what they were looking for when hiring new employees. The business leaders replied: 1). we want employees who are capable of asking good questions to identify and solve problems 2). we want employees who are capable communicators - both verbal and written - for the purpose of influencing co-workers who are in various satellite offices 3). we want employees who are able to think on their feet - who are willing to alter their thinking and their responses to continually changing information 4). we want employees who are self-directed and self-motivated to identify and solve problems 5). we want employees who are effective communicators who include 'voice' in written communication 6). we want employees who are able to locate and interpret ever- changing information from multiple sources 7). we want employees who are curious and imaginative. These seven traits are termed the 'Seven Survival Skills'.

A quote that I found interesting from the chapter was, "....what preoccupies many educators, as we will see, are the growing pressures to prepare all students for the increased number of 'high-stakes' standardized tests. They simply don't have time to worry about abstractions like workforce preparedness. They're a lot more worried about their school or district making what's called 'adequate yearly progress' so they're not stigmatized as 'failing'."

This quote directly correlates with my reaction from reading Chapter 1. I feel that I have an understanding now of what 21st century employers are looking for in their employees. I feel that I have an understanding of what millennial students want. I know, also, that schools are not achieving in bridging the achievement gaps - neither gap one nor gap two. BUT how do I bridge the gap in my classroom when I have to focus on getting all of my students to achieve the NCLB requirements to get my school off level 4 improvement? How can I teach my students to synthesize and analyze when some can't decode the words on the page much less draw conclusions from the word's meaning? Is playing the audio version of the text as a modification really preparing them for the future? In later chapters the book indicates that student's should not be pushed into higher order thinking skills until their brains are ready to think at an abstract level - when, developmentally, are student's brains ready to process at this level?

Skill Application

I selected this image as an alternative book cover because it represents a task board. Signifying the application of skills used to identify and/or solve real world situations.

I'm Bored With This Stuff!

I chose this image because it reminded me of some students that seem bored with the same old stuff. We need to use new and exciting technology to keep the students enthusiastic about learning.

Welcome to Literature Circle Three!

Your Super Summarizer schedule is as follows:

Section One--Due October 28, Hillary Aden
Section Two--Due November 4, Andrea Christensen
Section Three--Due November 11, Pandianne (Pandi) Pittman
Section Four--Due November 18, Justin Schlecht
Section Five--Due December 2, Kelli Sundall
Section Six--Due December 9, Brad Young