Blog Post — On Worksheets

This post again combines my job as director of all things curriculum, instruction, and assessment with my family life.  As I said before, I have four children — two are grown, married with children, and living in their own homes; two are at home with my husband and me.  IMG_3041My eleven-year old daughter is zany, artistic, loving, funny, beautiful, smart, and very musical, and she needs additional time and support to be successful academically.  We spend a lot of time doing homework — A LOT of time!!!  Now in seventh grade, she has brought home more worksheets this year — note that it is late November — than all other years combined.  What’s important to note is that what would take my son 15 minutes to finish, might take my daughter one hour.  See what I mean by spending a lot of time doing homework?

Last week we were sitting at the table struggling through an Absolute and Relative Location two-page worksheet.  Each page contained ten questions.  She had to plug in a location, to which the Google page spit back the latitude and longitude, and then she had to write down this information.  She had to do this ten times over.  Then as if that weren’t enough, she had to go back and for each location give three relative descriptions.  It was mind-blowing torture.  She, of course, asked the ubiquitous question, “When am I ever going to use this, Mom?” To which I had no reply because I’ve never used this in my adult life.  Never.

noLGBTQflagAs we continued to slog through, she ran to her computer and pulled up a Google image page and showed me the LGBTQ flag with the No symbol through it.   I figured she needed a worksheet break, so I asked her about this image, and she was pretty upset that anyone would fly or post this image as it would be mean to those struggling with identity (yes, those were her words).  I asked her what she thought she might do about that.  She had already pondered this and wanted to send an email to her teacher and the principal asking if they could put up an LGBTQ flag.  She wanted students to know they are welcome at her school.

She dictated and I typed  the email (typing is another skill that requires a great deal of concentration and can be frustrating for her).  She choose the image below and asked if they could hang something like this in the hallway near the entrance of the school .  She was so nervous, excited, and anxious about hitting send.  At this point, I didn’t have the heart to return her attention to the flag

The next morning, she came flying downstairs to tell me that her principal had responded, thought it was a great idea, and wanted her to go see him after lunch.  She asked her social studies teacher to help create and supervise a Civil Rights Team at her school.

What I find so interesting is that this teacher hasn’t helped my daughter to connect this interest and passion to the social studies curriculum.  How amazing would it have been if this could have replaced the current event article that she had to report out on via Google form, or if an individual project was crafted for my child connected to  locations that are struggling with this issue and have my daughter look at why or what is happening in the culture. Nope.

Next week there will be another worksheet hot off the copier that will list two topics, ask her to choose one, look it up, and report out on it.  She will spend hours writing down information on this worksheet, and she will turn to me and ask, “Mom, why is this important?”  I will have no answer.  Again.


Blog Post — Family First

Is it odd that the first blog post on this new director of curriculum/instruction /assessment blog is about family rather than work?  Not if you know me; family is my first priority, and I have lots of family.  Thank goodness.

I have two grown married children and each one has two children; yes, that means I have four grandchildren — three girls and one boy.  They range in age from three and a half months to seven.  My youngest makes an appearance on this website in my About pic.  Here are the othersIMG_1975

Now here’s the part that where it gets really 21st Century.  I also have an 11-year old and a 12-year old at home.  Yes, really.  My husband and I were lucky enough and worked really hard to foster > adopt both of our children. The KidsAnd, there’s the Doodle, too.  Her name is Embden as in Embden Pond, because we wanted to name her after something we all love, and we love our camp on Embden Pond.  She is one year old, so bouncy enough to still be a whole lotta fun but has enough skills that she is okay to take out in public — most of the time.

Well, that’s my family.  And, I must say that if they need me, I am there.  The nice thing about that is if your family needs you, I completely understand and will urge you to go be with them, too.

Featured Content — Curric/Assmnt

Curriculum — Currently we are revising the big four content areas — English language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science.  All areas are aligned with the Maine Learning Results, and we are working to pull in the Literacy Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.  The members of each Vertical Team are also choosing graduation standards and freshman standards.  Work on the horizon includes reviewing the Maine Guiding Principles and creating a PK-12 system for determining proficiency in these knowledge and skill areas.

Assessments — The next step will be to create common rubrics for the freshman standards.  This will allow teachers to create their own summative assessments but the scoring will be consistent