Dare to Care

create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically

23/Apr/2017
by Denise Krebs
2 Comments

What’s My Teacher Doing Here?

“Miss, I saw you yesterday at City Centre!” my student shyly said to me this morning.

After yesterday’s Labor Day national holiday, we came back to school and I was greeted by two children telling me something very similar about our separate chance meetings at the mall yesterday.

“Yes, I did see you yesterday in the food court! It was so nice to see you and your family at the mall. Did you have fun?” I responded.

It was fun to see my students. I was able to introduce my husband to their parents and see their sweet enthusiasm for seeing their teacher in an unusual place.

It reminded me of when I was in sixth grade and I saw my teacher at church one Sunday. It was so odd. Even though I spent hours a day, five days a week with the man, I remember this chance meeting like it was yesterday. I can picture him coming out of the washroom, and walking down the sunny corridor, smiling when he caught my eye.

We spoke very briefly, but it was so awkward for me. Even as a tween, I still had the idea that teachers belong at school. My compartmentalized life was getting shifted, like the young narrator in Judy Finchler’s Miss Malarkey Doesn’t Live in Room 10.

How about you? Do you have memories of seeing your teachers out of context? Or students seeing you?

This is a post for the Tuesday Slice of Life and from tell a story prompt for #edublogsclub.

18/Apr/2017
by Denise Krebs
5 Comments

Standards and Assessment

Standards and Assessment – A few random thoughts for this week’s #edublogsclub prompt.

I’ve taught with and without standards, but I prefer and believe we need standards-based education.

I also believe we need standards-based grading. We should be able to look at the standard and using descriptive narration tell how the student is and isn’t meeting the standard. It seems simple to me. However, I spend so much of my precious preparation time grading and recording numbers around learning. Sometimes numbers make sense, like recording how many sight words this child can read. More often than not, though, numbers don’t give any added information. For instance, in the following standards, how can a number help us know what the child can do?

Pose and respond to specific questions by making comments that contribute to the discussion and elaborate on the remarks of others.

Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb tense.

Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

I think a number does not show growth. Numbers tend to stop conversation. The student and parent are either happy or unhappy with the number, but not much else is discussed except the number.

Tomorrow we will have Student Learning Presentations, where parents, teacher and student come together and report learning. It’s a beautiful thought, but I know from experience, the numbers will trip us up at times.

This year one of the goals of our School Improvement Plan is “All students at Al Raja School in grades KG-5 will improve reading and writing in English.” We have chosen to measure our success on this goal using the fall and spring scores on our computerized standardized test: Measures of Academic Progress (MAP).

Last year we had only 26% of that age group make annual yearly progress. This year at the winter midpoint, I’ve just stopped to look at the data I had so far. This winter, we had 46% meet or exceed their progress goals.

So, there is an assessment that helps us see if we are growing. I’m pleased with the progress so far, but not satisfied, of course. We have work to do.

Fortunately for us, we aren’t driven by tests. We are new to standardized tests. It’s only our second year taking the MAP. We look at the data, and try to let it help us get to know, teach, and help our students, but it’s not the only measure.

I still hope we can eliminate grades and use paper and digital work, photos, video, stories and other evidence of the students’ learning to report about their learning.

I guess I feel the way we take the MAP test can help in that reporting, as well.

What do you think?

04/Apr/2017
by Denise Krebs
8 Comments

Tipi and Slice of Life Tuesday – No Grades

Today, to be honest, I should not be blogging. I should be finishing my grades for quarter 3, which are due any day now. (Like tomorrow, but I am having a hard time admitting that!)

After a month of blogging daily in March, I am relieved and excited to join the only-once-a-week Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge. I’m looking forward to spending a bit of time on Tuesdays with my new Slice of Life writing tribe, for I know they will help me kickstart my neglected blogging habit. Thank God no one grades me on my blog posts. Instead, encouragement from this group helps me practice and learn, so I can grow as a writer.

On a loosely related topic, at school today my small group built.

This quarter, each teacher was assigned eight students for group work, and with them we were to choose and study a tribe of people from anywhere in the world. We chose the Nez Perce in North America because our supervisor is from the Nez Perce tribe. She has lots of amazing relics, so we were able to learn from her and see first hand some of the valuable art and artifacts from this group of Native American people.

Today my group built a tipi.

It was great, and it was better than thinking about blogging.

It was most certainly better than thinking about and / or recording and finishing grades.

It was exciting.

It was real.

It was math.

It was problem solving.

It was critical thinking.

It was dangerous.

It was kinesthetic.

It was making.

It wasn’t a number on a report card, and it never will be.

It’s like life. We do things, like blogging and baking, but we don’t get graded on them. My students would be shocked and appalled if I tried to assign them a grade for their work on the tipi. It just would be a distraction and a disappointment, no matter what grades were “given” or “earned.”

It’s not that we didn’t do our best. As in life, there are always consequences for what we do. Did we do a good job? Did we figure out what we have to do to make it easier and better next time?

If we didn’t, our next attempt may result in the same mistakes. If we did really learn something from today’s activity, then we’ll be even more successful when we build it again for our presentation.

Can’t we do more authentic activities?

Can’t we do real-life work that doesn’t require grades?

 

Filling the frame with a tipi today. #cy365 #t365project

A post shared by Denise Krebs (@mrsdkrebs) on

More tipi building.

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31/Mar/2017
by Denise Krebs
11 Comments

Currently – A Slice of Life List

Looking Around My Home

  1. Piles of work, unfinished and begging for attention.
  2. White walls
  3. A painting my daughter made in high school. I love it. (It’s also the header on this blog.)

My daughter’s painting on one of my white walls.

Looking Out My Window

  1. The 24-Hours Market
  2. Dust
  3. Minarets

Found: a few balloons on a rainy day. #cy365 #t365project

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Looking Around My Classroom

  1. Furniture that at the beginning of the year brought great hope for a classroom full of alternative seating, but now I’m ready for it to go away
  2. I wonder if it is a place for learners to learn English?
  3. I can no longer find a pencil.

As I Ponder…

  1. I’m saddened about the fighting in U.S. politics
  2. I find it hard to keep my eyes off news shows
  3. I still have hope.

What I’m Learning

  1. How to personalize learning for my students

What I’m Creating

  1. A Breakout EDU game
  2. Lots of writing on my blog
  3. Keeping my class blog organized

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I’m Reading

  1. Bible stories
  2. Queen Bee
  3. The Story of Waheed

What I’m Watching

  1. News
  2. Politics
  3. Children playing

What I’m Hearing

    1. “The Gummy Bear Song”

What’s on My Camera

  1. Lots of pictures of Grade 5 events and learning
  2. Photos for my Capture Your 365 challenge

What I’m Drinking

  1. Mango tea
  2. Skim milk
  3. Water

What’s Happening in the Kitchen?

  1. Roasted chicken
  2. Bran muffins
  3. Roasted cauliflower

A Quote I Want to Share

My 6-word memoir to share with you today.

30/Mar/2017
by Denise Krebs
7 Comments

Grateful Slicer, Day 30

I am a grateful slicer, a new slicer in 2017.

Thanks to all those who have read my posts this month and left kind, helpful and quality comments.

A special thanks to my regular visitors, Aileen Hower and Erika Victor. You have each been a cheerleader to keep me writing on this journey! It seems I could always look forward to your helpful and encouraging responses. When I didn’t feel like writing, or thought I had nothing to say, I somehow knew you would notice. Thank you!

Although, I didn’t make the full challenge, I did manage to post each day. I forgot to add my link to the SOL website a couple times, and I had a week of little to no commenting! All in all, it’s been a great adventure, and I look forward to keeping up my writing with the weekly Slice of Life Tuesday challenge.

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