Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Adopt-an-Anchor....Problems With “Reading, Writing, and Math Across The Curriculum” © 2004 Crawford and Colleagues (crawford_colleagues@yahoo.

There are three main problems with our current approach to reading, writing, and math across the curriculum:

1. The Cinderella Factor: “The shoe has to fit!”

Secondary teachers sometimes see the reading, writing, and math Assessment Anchors as an impediment to teaching their subjects, an intrusion into their curriculum. Quite frankly, at times — perhaps even “often” — they are right. Expecting all reading, writing, and math

Assessment Anchors to be taught in all subjects has its problems. Some Assessment Anchors are a good fit, and others have little to do with the subject at hand. The glass slipper simply doesn’t match all feet, no matter how hard we try to force the fit! By compelling everyone to be responsible for all Assessment Anchors, we can inadvertently end up with no one fully responsible for any Assessment Anchors other than English and math teachers.

2. The Swiss cheese Factor: “The holes have to work for the whole!”

Typically teachers select from the vast array of Assessment Anchors at the individual level.

There tends to be little school wide orderliness in the process of deciding what Assessment Anchors to teach in each discipline, even less tracking of the decisions that have been made.

Sometimes particular Assessment Anchors are emphasized across the school, based on areas of need, but there is typically no systematic system to monitor when and where these highlighted

Assessment Anchors are taught. As a result, some Assessment Anchors are relatively ignored — hence the “holes” in the Swiss cheese! Without a tracking system, these holes are invisible, and it’s easy to ignore key Assessment Anchors without meaning to.

3. The Post-It Note Factor: “Full ownership, not ‘Lick and Stick’!”

If students don’t know how to perform the reading, writing, or math Assessment Anchor being taught, does the teacher stop and teach them how to do it? Often teachers focus on including the reading, writing, or math Assessment Anchor in their lessons, but are not able to stop and teach those Assessment Anchors to students who don’t get it. They literally “stick” the reading, writing, or math Assessment Anchor onto lesson plans where they see a fit, but their focus remains firmly fixed on their own course content — a kind of Post-It Note strategy. As a result, the reading, writing, and math across the curriculum strategy tends to give opportunity for students who already know how to do the work, while students who don’t know how to perform those Assessment Anchors with some degree of skill remain in the dark.

Why does this happen? Among other things, it happens because:

1. Time is short, and every teacher has lots to teach in every course.

Let’s look first at why it does NOT happen. It does NOT happen simply because teachers choose to ignore reading, writing, and math Assessment Anchors. If you look at the amount of time available per course, you will see that there are precious few hours of class time, and that time is typically filled to the brim with content. Adding Assessment Anchors that are not a good fit on top of huge content requirements can make the teacher’s job impossible.

2. We don’t have good strategies for working as a school-wide team.

So why DOES this happen? It happens because we don’t have a good strategy for designing a school wide system of teaching reading, writing, and math that makes sense. It happens because we don’t coordinate as a team.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Appraisal Day 2009

As part of the Ministry of Education "Appraisal Day 2009" ESQID, marked its own appraisal day.

Performance appraisal represents one of the management's most important responsibilities. Everyone likes to know the answer to "How am I doing?" "What can I do to improve?'

Highlighting the event was a session taken by Gretchen. The focus of the activities conducted was :"The whole is equal only to the sum of its parts." ESQID'S performance is based on each office personnel's accountability skills, interpersonal skills, communication skills and service.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Integrating Language Arts and Science by Ellen Lawrence Pesko, Teaching Assistant, University of Michigan

The language experience approach has always involved engaging students in brainstorming and dialogue, in having students collaborate and interact on using their ideas and information they gather and on a question/problem solving approach to communication of ideas. To use this with science content means adding the role of scientist, that is, observer, former of hypotheses, information organizer, evaluator and conclusion maker.
When students study content areas such as Science, it is critical that they organize and connect what they have experienced and already know with new information (Santa, Havens & Harrison, 1996).
Specifically nutrition-related topics, like sampling food, changes the classroom atmosphere because it invites social interactions such as sharing of common experiences, and it sets the stage for learning activities built on conversation and discussion of a shared experience.The topic of food and nutrition encompasses a wide range of science explorations and activities that may be integrated with other topics, such as food preservation, analysis and testing, product development, marketing and advertising, additives, weighing and measuring, ecology, geography, and natural resources.