Showing posts from May, 2010

Are We Testing Enough?

As I watched my sons play a new video game the other day, it occurred to me that maybe the problem isn't that we are assessing students too much, it's that we are assessing them too little. Look at gaming environments. Players are constantly being assessed, challenged, and tested. They adjust and maneuver or crash and/or die. Then they get back up and begin the process all over again. It's demanding but the gamers are resilient.

I have often wondered how this type of learning could be transfered to the literature classroom. An obvious possibility would be to create time periods or even particular settings so that students could experience them first hand. Imagine going into the house from Poe's "The Black Cat" and interacting with the characters. I am not sure what the "game" would be - stop the murder, find the body, or even attempt to throw a dead cat through the window? What fun! My parent/teacher conferences would be standing room only. While thi…

A Questionable Pedagogy

Tony Wagner's The Global Achievement Gap left me with many ideas and much inspiration. My main take away has to do with teaching and learning which was my main purpose in reading the book anyway. In his many interviews and observations, Wagner mentions that one of the most important aspects of teaching is learning to ask the right questions. If we can do this as teachers and get our students to do the same we will have much success.

Upon reflection on many of my most "successful" lessons based on my perception of student engagement (therefore, VERY unscientific), it seems to hold true when I ask the right questions. I had not concentrated on working toward students learning to ask their own "right" questions but I am sure that at least part of the time they were heading in that direction and that is why they were so engaged.

While I have several pages of notes from the book about successful schools and approaches, it seems if I always come back to the central que…