Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Carnival Of Education: Week 8

Welcome to the eighth edition of The Carnival Of Education. What we have done is assemble a variety of interesting and informative posts from around the EduSphere (and one or two from the Larger 'Sphere) that have been submitted by various authors and readers. We think that they represent a wide spectrum of topics, political/educational viewpoints, and writing styles.

A very special thank you goes to Jenny D for hosting the carnival
last week. Her outstanding work has set a new standard for the Carnival that we here at the 'Wonks will strive to attain. (I think that the operative word is strive, not attain...)

The secret for success of any Carnival is publicity. We are deeply grateful to all those sites that have helped publicize this effort.

An Invitation: All writers and readers of education-related posts are invited to contribute to the ninth edition of The Carnival of Education. Please send your submissions to: owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net. We should receive your contributions no later than 10:00 PM (Pacific) Tuesday, April 5, 2005. The Carnival midway will open here at the 'Wonks Wednesday morning. Get our easy-to-follow entry guidelines here.

And now...let's take a stroll down the carnival midway...

As host of last week's Carnival, Jenny D's place is the first exhibit on the midway. This week,
she offers us a sneak peak at her dissertation. What on earth are grad students doing these days? Maybe thinking about fourth graders...maybe wondering how to serve them so well...that middle and high school teachers are happy as clams.

Rights of passage for high school sophomores are the
subject of discussion over at What It's Like On The Inside. See how the kids reacted when they were shown the wonderfully vintage 1950s science film (Directed by Frank Capra!) Hemo The Magnificent in "glorious 16mm." (Hey, Ms. Science Teacher...What's a projector?)

Each year in Texas, students in grades 4, 7, 10, and 11 write an essay component as part of their annually mandated tests. Precinct 333 is telling us that in some of these essays students write about being
depressed, hurt, or wanting to die. The state refers to these as "outcry" essays, and they can be an important signifier of kids in need of help.

Moebius Stripper (Google Moebius Strip--you'll learn something) at Tall dark & mysterious teaches intro-to-college-math. The Stripper has developed a
pre-calculus bingo game that may be used for assigning scores to the predictably bad tests results of her students. Moebius is now sponsoring a contest, "Pre-Calculus Bingo: the multiplayer edition." Here is a chance to participate in a new paradigm-setting method for assigning test scores.

What does a busy New York Science teacher do when she completes work on the annual Science Expo? Ms. Frizzle rehabilitates herself by getting some work done and
asking for feedback from her staff and students. Some of the responses are surprisingly positive and candid, though one young man did not mince words.

When Chris Correa was very young, he learned how to make a "wonderletter" for multiple choice quizzes. (A wonderletter is, "A symbol so poorly drawn that it could be seen as an a, c, or d.") Chris demonstrates how
some basic assumptions that many of us have regarding tests could be less than sound.

An economist nowadays, Katie writes A Constrained Vision. While she was a college student, she taught undergraduates and tutored high school kids. While teaching, she
developed an excellent device for checking student understanding while working one-on-one. All of us who teach should take a look at this post.

Who would have thought that an overlooked provision of the No Child Left Behind Act would result in the
outsourcing of tutoring jobs to India? Interested Participant tells us exactly how this unfortunate circumstance occurred, and what U.S. teachers unions are doing in order to reverse this trend.

This week, The Super's Blog examines Indiana's Constitution and what it has to say about the state's obligation to provide a Common Education and tuition free schools. Then, as usual, The Super takes a satirical turn and puts forth a
proposed constitutional amendment that more closely resembles the state's current stance on public schools. (Don't miss a chance to take a look at the EduSphere's best satirist; the Super is always a great read.)

Joe Gandelman's site, The Moderate Voice,
has a comprehensive take on that New York teacher who paid a developmentally-challenged man $2.00 to take a teacher's certification test on his behalf. See who answered the door when a newspaper reporter went to the crooked teacher's house to ask a few questions...

The Blueberry Story has been a common topic of discussion recently among sites in the EduSphere. In fact, it is on the cusp of becoming the EduSphere's first meme. Dave Shearon gives us his thoughts about those Elusive Blueberries. Personally, every time I read the story, I come away with a different interpretation... but then again, I'm still trying to figure out exactly what is the sound of one hand clapping.

Over at Pratie Place, they discuss a variety of education-related issues. If you have ever sat through one of those endless powerpoint presentations, you will appreciate Melinama's insights concerning
the current fad of having kids (especially those that can't read English) prepare their own slide shows.

Girlontheescape, who writes Se Hace Caminar Al Andar, wished to post a comment regarding powerpoint over at Pratie Place, but the commenting system was down. So she has
made her comment here.

Mrs. R teaches students with emotional disabilities. Writing from her site, Mentor Matters, Mrs. R is concerned
about the fact that the No Child Left Behind Act also applies to her students, who are already at least 2-3 years behind their peers. Her's is a call from the classroom that really should be heard.

Darren, over at Right on the Left Coast, wants to see a lot more openness and democracy from the teachers unions, to which
he must pay fees. Recently, Darren received a union magazine that calls for the membership to oppose Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's initiative that would force unions to get permission from their members before using funds for political purposes.

At Wizbang! Jay has the story of what happened when 15-20 high school students showed up drunk to their school's Luau dance in Belmont, Massachusetts. Here's a hint: it's often associated with a type of fishing... only this time it involved lots of ambulances.

Would you believe a lady that homeschools six children? Somehow, Spunkyhomeschool finds enough time to write an interesting and informative site. This week,
she tells us about a young man that had planned to kill his mother and several classmates at a school that is only about one hour away from Spunky's home.

A brand new site, A Difference, is written by a math teacher. This week, Mr. Kuropatwa, briefly examines some
basic blogging vocabulary. As a bonus, we are pleased that Mr. Kuropatwa has a classroom blog for his students, which is called Pre-Cal 40S . Take a look at it here. We wish the class many happy hits! (We can only wish *sigh* that EdWonk's school district allowed student/class blogs.)

Only about 25% of high school seniors are proficient in their knowledge of civics. Mark Lerner
urges the value of Civics education with this great quote from Thomas Jefferson,

"I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion."
Joe Thomas is an articulate and well-reasoned opponent of school vouchers. His site, Shutupandteach, is calling out Goldwater Institute C.E.O. Darcy Olsen and ex-Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Lisa Keegan for their pro-voucher stances. Joe urges that greater effort be put into funding Arizona's public schools instead.

In Denver, Colorado, contract negotiations between teachers and Denver Public Schools are at an impasse. Last Thursday, about 1000 Denver, Colorado school teachers picketed the administration building demanding higher pay and "respect." Jerry Moore, who writes My Short Pencil,
doesn't think much of the shenanigans after taking a look at the teachers' pay scale.

What do practicing classroom teachers think about the various merit pay schemes that are out there? Polski3 is an open-minded advocate for the classroom teacher. This week, his View From Here has some thoughts about
the merit of merit pay for teachers.

Technology will increasingly become a part of our everyday classroom environments. Teach42 is a site that specializes in these issues, with an especial emphasis on the new technique of "pod-casting." Steve
speculates on the possibility of using headphones with students that are suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder. (You may need to scroll-down after arriving at the site.)

If you are a teacher that works in Hawaii, you had better not be overweight. There is a plan afoot to take "appropriate measures" Number 2 Pencil
has the details.

Students that are able to critically view both sides of a given problem are
what's on the mind of Joseph, over at No Left Turns. To illustrate his point, he effectively uses the controversy surrounding Intelligent Design vs. Evolution. (Warning: the post is about education, not I.D.)

Alexander Russo's This Week In Education takes a break from exposing dysfunctional bureaucracies and illiterate kids. This week, he
examines that commercial from Century 21 Realty that features and (obviously) pregnant woman chasing a school bus while hollering questions at the kids about the neighborhood. (Have you ever noticed that the "typical" houses that are in these commercials tend to be the type that *real* people can't afford?)

Did you know that
March is Homeschooler Burnout Month? At Ed Dickerson's Homeschool Essentials, each post in March addresses some aspect of Homeschool Burnout. (After clicking the link, scroll all the way down, and then begin reading up.) We are very intrigued...

And now, a few that are the Editor's Choice:

One would think that the New York City Department of Education would have a basic grasp of spelling and punctuation. Joanne Jacobs
demonstrates that this is not the case. Shockingly, the errors are found on an official test preparation booklet issued by The Department of Education.

Mr. Babylon teaches in New York City's Bronx. For the first time in one and a half years,
Mr. B was tardy getting to school. The "adventures" that he had to go through in order to do his job reminds me of this movie.

A schoolyard blog is written by a classroom teacher.
In this post, a schoolyard gives us some straight talk about the type of things that we teachers should to be discussing among themselves, including the need to be honest with students and their parents.

The hipteacher is an engaging and authentic voice from the classroom. Her classroom has days that are good, and days that are not so good.
Take a look at one that she calls, "the flow."

Finally, here at The Education Wonks,
we offer this post that attempts to explain what we are trying to accomplish and why.

Carnival Archives

The first edition can be seen here, the second here, the third, here, the fourth, here, and the fifth, here, the sixth, here, and the seventh, over there. To get to EdWonk's main page, (with a variety of education-related posts) please click here.