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"Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day..." - 6 new articles

  1. Here’s A Short List Of Articles Describing Alternatives To High-Stakes Testing — Help Me Find More
  2. Teachers Must “Focus Attention On Relationships Among Ideas, Facts & Procedures”
  3. “Five Questions That Will Improve Your Teaching”
  4. Secretary Duncan Announces Virtual Town Hall
  5. Good iPhone Apps
  6. The Best Comic Strips For Students & Teachers In 2011 — So Far
  7. More Recent Articles
  8. Search Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...
  9. Prior Mailing Archive

Here’s A Short List Of Articles Describing Alternatives To High-Stakes Testing — Help Me Find More

I’ve been trying to identify the best articles/posts that describe alternative ways to assess student learning other than high-stakes testing, and would love suggestions from readers for others. I’ll put them all together in a “The Best…” list.

Here’s what I have so far:

Teachers: How do We Propose to Measure Student Outcomes? by Anthony Cody

Bonnie Bc on Twitter suggested these:

A Child Is Not A Test Score by Monty Neill

Authentic Assessment and Accountability from Fair Test

The Case Against High Stakes Testing
from Fair Test

Please leave other suggestions in the comments section of this post. Thanks!


Teachers Must “Focus Attention On Relationships Among Ideas, Facts & Procedures”

Thanks to Jason Flom on Google+, I learned about a new article titled Closing The Teaching Gap.

In it, the authors describe their research and observation of mathematics teachers from around the world and compare what they saw in “high achieving” countries with what they see in United States classrooms. Even though they talk about math and, of course, the definition of “high achieving” is always debatable, they do make some important points applicable to any kind of teaching.

Here’s an excerpt:

[The was a] striking similarity among higher-achieving countries. About half of the problems in those countries emphasizing relationships [among ideas, facts & procedures] were worked on with students to do just that. The other half…were changed so that students practiced procedures or recalled information they had learned before. In contrast, few problems in the United States with the potential to emphasize mathematical relationships were used to teach those relationships. Nearly all of them were merely used to practice procedures or recall information….Students…ended up with very few opportunities to learn the concepts.”

The authors say that one tool to change this might be for teachers in the U.S. to incorporate the collaborative style of Japanese Lesson Study instead of our existing model of professional development. That sounds good to me!

I suspect their observation of teachers emphasizing recall instead of relationships between concepts holds true in a lot of classrooms besides math ones. I’ve previously posted about research from McRel using 90,000 classroom observations:

Just under two-thirds of observations (60%) indicate that instruction is at the lowest two levels of the Blooms Taxonomy.

At our school, one way we try to help make those relationships connections is through the use of inductive teaching and learning.

Do you agree with the authors’ critique? How do you help students “connect the dots”?


“Five Questions That Will Improve Your Teaching”

Five Questions That Will Improve Your Teaching is my newest article in Education Week Teacher.

Feedback — positive or critical — is welcome…


Secretary Duncan Announces Virtual Town Hall

From U.S. Department of Education:

The Department of Education announced today that Secretary Arne Duncan will participate in the first-ever #AskArne Twitter Town Hall on August 24, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. EDT. Veteran education journalist John Merrow will moderate the town hall that will also be broadcast live on ED’s ustream channel.

My expectations are low, but I would be happy to be surprised….


Good iPhone Apps

Here are the newest additions to The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me:

50 Best iPhone Apps 2011 comes from TIME Magazine.

Lifehacker Pack for iPhone: Our List of the Best iPhone Apps

Add Pictures to Your Audio Recordings with Snoozerr
is a Lifehacker post about an app that lets you make an audio recording connected to the photo you’re taking.

100 Cameras in 1
looks like a useful app.

iPhone App From SimpleGeo Discovers the History, Politics & Wildlife Around You


The Best Comic Strips For Students & Teachers In 2011 — So Far

I usually just do a year-end list of The Best Comic Strips and many other topics, but it gets a little crazy having to review all of my zillion posts at once. So, to make it easier for me — and perhaps, to make it a little more useful to readers — I’m going to start publishing mid-year lists, too. These won’t be ranked, unlike my year-end “The Best…” lists, and just because a site appears on a mid-year list doesn’t guarantee it will be included in an end-of-the-year one. But, at least, I won’t have to review all my year’s posts in December…

You might also be interested in:

Part Two Of The Best Comic Strips For Students & Teachers — 2010

The Best Comic Strips For Students & Teachers — 2010 (And Earlier)

Of course, teachers and students can also make their own comic strips. Check out The Best Ways To Make Comic Strips Online.

Feel free to add your own favorites in the comments section of this post.

Here are my picks for The Best Comic Strips For Students & Teachers In 2011 — So Far:

Whenever You’re Tempted To Use Punishment As A Classroom Management Tool, Remember This Comic Strip: I doubt that there are many of us out there who have not been tempted, and sometimes given into the temptation, to use punishment as a classroom management tool at times. I’ve been guilty of it before and I’ll be guilty of it again, I’m sure. Whenever any of us feel that temptation, though, we might want to remember this Pickles comic strip. It shows what happens next — maybe not as quickly as in the comic, but eventually….

Here’s A Comic Strip To Help Teach The Concept Of “Confirmation Bias”:

This comic strip reminds me of so-called experts in school reform who have never taught in a classroom:

Here’s another comic strip on Confirmation Bias: This one is from Candorville.

Another strip reformers who have little (if any) direct experience in education but have unhelpful ideas — and the power to push them. A little information can be dangerous. The difference, of course, is that unlike the gophers in this strip, when some “school reformers” push a new and shiny idea that blows up, our students, their families and us are the ones who get hurt. The school reformers usually do fine.

Pearls Before Swine

These comic strips are great for Theory of Knowledge classes:

This is a link to a great New Yorker cartoon on the limitations of logic.

And here’s a link to a great Candorville strip on knowledge.

Here’s a Dilbert comic strip. Is there any connection to what’s happening in many schools now?

Many teachers use Calvin and Hobbes comic strips in lessons. There is now a Calvin and Hobbes search engine where you can type in your query — homework, reading, etc — and then get the text and, in many cases, a link to the strip itself.

Another commentary on school reformers, perhaps:

Here’s a Dilbert comic strip on how to communicate effectively (or not):

Did you read my long e-mail?

This New Yorker cartoon gives a picture of the attitude we teachers should NOT have when we ask students to evaluate us and our classes.

And this New Yorker cartoon gives a good picture of the attitude we teachers should NOT have when eliciting ideas from our students. Another New Yorker cartoon provides the same kind of commentary.

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at the 700 other “The Best…” lists and consider subscribing to this blog for free.


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