Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Just to clarify yesterday's post, though I personally thought it was already clear: I wouldn't mock anyone, even a math teacher, for turning to an expert for information. That's how we learn, and everyone can learn more. What I do mock, loud and long, in the page I cited, is the guy's follow-up, in which he reveals himself utterly incapable of understanding the response (though he claims off the bat that he did) and simultaneously asks for the answer again, only dumbed down a few dozen notches.


Reading II was easily the most boring three hours I have yet spent at State School, and that's saying something. Really, my neighbors on all sides and my project group all agreed. Okay, we spent the class rolling our eyes and being sarcastic. Ms. L's teaching strategy is to give us reams of handouts --- everything from Flag Day facts (why? why??) to an outline of the chapter we'd read and done homework on --- and then to read them laboriously, line by line, until class is over. Oh, and every now and then we do stupid busywork.

One of our handouts was on Guided Reading (that's another one of those useless bits of jargon designed to make teachers feel important) or, in everyday parlance, "small group silent reading." Here are the two lines that confused our group initially. "Students do the actual reading themselves... silently at their own pace." "Teachers assess students' use of word-identification and comprehension strategies."

"So the teachers are psychic?" one of our group asked. "If the students are reading silently, how do teachers know whether the kids are understanding?"

But upon reflection, I suppose it's quite possible for teachers to see whether students are using strategies for reading. They may not be able to tell if their students are comprehending the text, but they can observe whether their students are, say, underlining any words at all, or taking notes, and so on.


At The Job, we had a meeting with the parent of our one and only LD child, a three-year-old who just arrived in the first preschool. He's got problems with hearing, speech, balance, and fine motor skills. The mother is one of those jet-setting, Blackberry-carrying Type A on-the-go successful professionals; she's out of the country a lot and the kid is basically raised by the full-time nanny. The meeting was nonproductive in that no consensus was reached about what do to with the kid (I'd love to see him in some other school that has the resources to handle his problems), but at least we have a bit more understanding of his background. I guess.

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