Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Carnival Of Education: Week 43

Welcome to this week's edition of The Carnival Of Education. All entries were submitted by the writers except those labeled "Editor's Choice," and are grouped into several categories. As always, one can find a wide selection of posts from a variety of educational and political viewpoints.

A successful carnival is a team effort. Please consider helping spread the word. And as always, your comments and constructive criticism are most welcome.

An Important Announcement: Next Week's Carnival midway will be guest-hosted by The Science Goddess over at What It's Like on the Inside. Please send contributions to: the_science_goddess [at] yahoo [dot] com. They should be received no later than 6:00 PM (Pacific) 9:00 PM (Eastern) Tuesday, December 6th. Please include the title of your post, and its URL, if possible. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the midway of the 44th edition of the Carnival should open next Wednesday morning.

Last week's Carnival is here. See the complete set of archives
there. For our latest posts, please visit our home page.

Let the free exchange of thoughts and ideas begin...

Teaching and Learning:

My goodness. Could you imagine teaching a college-level biology course in only eight meetings? Well, that's what Coturnix over at Science And Politics does, only he has found a sure-fire attention-grabber for his students! (Key vocabulary needed: malaria, SARS, avian flu, Mad Cow disease)

What would you do if your kid
came home from school with an "F" minus on his or her report card?

Over at Teacher Lore, which is written by a group of Montana-based teachers, they describe this week's entry in
much better terms than I can:
Thinking in terms of narrative intelligence, narrative identity and narrative environment can go a long way toward helping teachers stay alert to some of the teaching opportunities that arise serendipitously once classroom learning becomes a story.

By the simple expedient of conceiving of teaching units as projects that students accomplish, learning becomes a story. This means that students become characters with goals who must respond to what they encounter, using what they already know to solve problems, stretching and rearranging what they already know to accommodate new information, and then pulling everything together by articulating a coherent version of what has happened for an audience that matters to them.
Next week's guest host, What It's Like on the Inside, is having to consider new ways of teaching students while keeping all the new terminology straight.

Tim Fredrick is well known for his highly-readable reflective posts on teaching, but now he's written an engaging post
on reflective learning.

Special education teacher Erin works with very young children. She asks whether or not consistency (as practiced in her classroom) is always a good idea as she prepares kids
to function in the real world.

Education Policy:

Should principals be empowered to hire and fire teachers at their school sites? No matter how you feel about this long-running debate, over at Going to the Mat
they have some ideas that you should consider. (In my 14 years in our district here in California's "Imperial" Valley, no administrator has ever been fired or laid-off although plenty of teachers have gotten the axe, both for cause and reduction-in-force.)

Tim at Assorted Stuff
closely examines The Washington Post's Jay Mathews' assertions that A.P. classes and programs such as the International Baccalaureate should be taken by most students, even if they don't do well.

Is education policy being set by the Political Left? Some say yes, others argue no. The need for more balance between the political and right in the formulation of education policy is the clarion call
being sounded by TMH's Bacon Bits. (Watchout for that horse's kick!)

The teaching of Islam in California's public schools continues to be discussed in cyberspace, with CrossBlogging
giving us the latest news from San Francisco's 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

It is rare to see an honest to goodness essay on teaching methods and education policy, but here
we have a well-crafted one submitted by Letters from Lisa in which she addresses issues that have arisen over how reading should best be taught.

The title of this week's contribution from The Ruminating Dude says it all: "
Should We Be Turning Japanese?"

Editor's Choices: There's been quite a bit of buzz in the EduSphere concerning what we can learn (if anything) from the Japanese education system.
Jenny D, Alexander Russo, Chris Correa, and Jim Horn's Schools Matter all have thoughts on the subject.

Is sex education on the decline? Scott Elliott, of Get on the Bus, asserts that it is. A thought-provoking topic if I ever read one.

I had not heard that the Texas State Board of Education had withdrawn from the National Association of State School Boards. It came as quite a surprise to me, but the reasons why were
even more surprising.

Editor's Choice: Consider reading
this thought-provoking post over at Alexander Russo's This Week in Education. The post is called, "Two Warring Camps in Education: PovRacers vs. SchoolRefs." Here's a taste:
Looked at from afar, there are basically two main factions when it comes to thinking about education these days -- those who think underlying problems of poverty and race need to be addressed before significant improvements can be made in education, and those who believe that schools can get much better at helping children learn within the current reality.

Thus far, at least, it seems to me that it is the former, not the latter, that have won the hearts and minds of most educators and the public, and that all too often school reformers forget or fail to respond to the prevailing view.
Muse teaches in Israel. She has heard all about those bogus high school diplomas for less-than-academically-gifted athletes, and lets her own English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students in on the secret for real academic success. And in this bonus post, consider taking a look her thoughts (from an offshore viewpoint) about America's state-federal system of assessment.

The Secret Lives Of Teachers:

Anyone who has ever taught in any public school for any length of time has experienced at least one parent from hell. Take a look at the
one from down below that plagued Mamacita's school. (Until now, I've never even heard of a parent addressing lecturing the teachers as "kids.")

Would you believe that Little Women author Louisa May Alcott's father Amos Bronson Alcott founded an avant guard school and wrote extensively on education? His idea was that when pupils needed discipline, the teacher should get his or her hand
spanked by a ruler. With the pupil swinging the ruler. This gives an entirely new meaning to the term "child centered" education.

The Headmistress of The Common Room has a post that simply
has to be seen to be believed. She has found a copy of the examination that her great-great grandfather was required to pass in order to obtain his high school teaching certificate. Things really were tough in 1900!

The time is drawing nigh to think about New Year's Resolutions. I've never thought of making any as a teacher, (until now) but over at The Median Sib,
they've done just that!


Why do parents choose to teach their children at home? The reasons are as varied as are the individuals who accept the challenge. At Life in a Shoe, A mother of 7 shares with us
her reasons why.

Editor's Choice: Our friend Spunky is hosting the first-ever
Homeschooling Blogger Awards. Get your nominations submitted!

Testing And Technology:

As you might guess, Dr. Stat is interested in statistics. In this week's entry, the Dr. compares the math scores of a number of countries (including the United States) and alerts us to
an alarming trend.

Survival Guide For Parents And Students:

If your child was assaulted by bully, should he or she be allowed to defend him or herself? Number 2 Pencil
has good commentary on Darren's shocking story of a school principal who administers the same punishment to both assailant and victim. And it gets worse...

Is there ever a time when the handcuffing of an out-of-control 8-year-old is warranted? Not just once, but twice? And the second time in front of an entire class of third-graders. Parents are up in arms, meetings are being held, and the debate rages. A Shrewdness of Apes
has broken this very controversial story into the EduSphere.

After growing-up in rural Mississippi, the parents of Alisse wound-up in, of all places, Syracuse, New York where Alisse's life took some very unexpected turns. This is
the latest in a remarkable set of first-hand interviews transcribed by Jones Blog.

submitted for your consideration from The Education Wonks is our post in which we consider some of the legalities that are involved in the current controversy over The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

Editor's Choice: Joanne Jacobs' new book Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea, and the School That Beat the Odds, should now be in a bookstore near you. We've ordered our copy from Amazon and think that it would make an outstanding gift for the educator or student teacher in your life.

Over at Multiple Mentality, Josh is sympathetic to a blogger
who asserts that some college degrees are useless.

Daniel, at Raving Conservative,
has a cautionary tale advising parents to be aware that some colleges seem to be offering courses on, let us say, adult subject matter. College classes have gotten so expensive lately...

Steve Pavlina is reminding everyone that too much Skepticism
may be harmful to one's health. We agree.

As always, we've thoroughly enjoyed this trip around the EduSphere. A special thanks to all who have contributed and continue to make the publication of this midway possible. I'm looking forward to visiting next week's Carnival midway over at What It's Like on the Inside
This midway is registered at TTLB's carnival roundup. See The Education Wonks' latest posts here, and the complete Carnival archives over there.