I have been thinking about this topic for awhile, how do we live as a PIRATE in a standardized one size fits all test filled world? I have taught more subjects than I can count in my career, each time having to create curriculum anew. I witnessed many educational initiatives come and go, and yet the mainstay in education is there are always students who need to learn new ideas and information, and educators looking for the best means to do this. During my career, in creating lessons, long term plans, and assessments for so many courses, I realized I don't know much about anything I am teaching. I started out trying to be the expert, never having to say "I don't know," but now I am accepting that I will never know everything. I teach world history, 13 billion years of history, and I can't remember all of the events of my own life, so it is okay to not be the all knowing sage on the stage.
This brought me to the revelation that if I can't remember everything about history, why should I expect my students to memorize all things. Tonight I want to look at course design- how do we create classes that help students learn, I mean truly learn our content while engaging them. How do you balance the testing against the experience? How can you justify doing a simulation when it isn't on the standardized test? How do you justify being a PIRATE in a test driven world?
I hope the following questions make sense- I will try to put them into context as I go.
Each student is an unique individual, yet we treat them the same through standardized tests. I think tests do have value, maybe not as they are currently being used for high stakes results, but it is our reality. So how do we maintain a quality classroom environment and obtain the positive test results we all desire?
We have talked about passion before- that is the capital P in PIRATE- but this first question focuses on our Students.
Q1- How do you enlist the passions of your students into your classroom? How do you know what they are, and how do you engage them? Examples please #sstlap
Results are important, we are and students are evaluated based on their performance results. When creating your course, especially in the social studies area, how do you determine content?
Q2- How do you decide what and how you will teach? #sstlap
Q3 How do you test student knowledge? Is it objective, project based, authentic, - how do they show what they know? #sstlap
Q4 What do you do with the results of those assessments? How do you use the results to shape your teaching? #sstlap
Q5 In your content, what are the nice to knows and what are the need to knows? #sstlap
Q6 How does Standardized testing impact how you teach? #sstlap
Q7 How do you maintain your PIRATE PASSION in a test driven world? #sstlap
Going to try something new-- I saw this from a fellow Pirate- Paul Solarz who is using Remind- I started using celly in my class this year, so I will use Celly to send reminders to anyone who wants me to give them a heads up the day of the #sstlap chat. To sign up- create a celly account on your phone or computer- the app and site are free- then search for @sstlapreminder in the cells search. I haven't used celly very much, so there may be some trouble shooting we need to deal with. Let me know if there are any issues.