A radical new schedule.

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Sarge, Feb 16, 2011.

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  1. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Or they could be like my career changer husband who screwed off in high school because he was "only going to tech school". Now, a Bachelor's and part of an MBA later, in charge of a huge division of his company and answering straight to the VP at corporate, he really wishes he would have taken more math and writing back when it was easier to learn...
     
  2. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Not to mention that even in the military, students will have to pass the ASVAB and that determines what job these kids will have. There is a lot of math on the test as well.

    kc~our husbands sound the same...except mine hasn't made it past his bachelor's yet...though he's working on it!
     
  3. TeacherGroupie

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    There's also a certain amount of math on teacher tests - and should be.
     
  4. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I like the full-time aide idea. It's only me, and while I only have 10 students, there's too much for me to get done.

    Personal projects-I like...If the day was being slightly extending for that, I could see the value.
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

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    Sarge, did you have this schedule in mind just for elementary, or for middle and high school as well?
     
  6. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    And keep in mind, there are plenty of elementary teachers who have middle and high school responsibilities. I am one. I teach elementary kids, and middle schoolers, and I coach high schoolers.
     
  7. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I've taken four different Praxis exams and none contained math. Is there a particular test you're referring to?
     
  8. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    Feb 17, 2011

    So right now I have:
    6.5 hours at school
    minus 40 minutes lunch, 20 minute morning recess, 40-80 minutes of specials.

    16 kids

    So I am actually "teaching" for just under 5 hours a day, with 16 kids.

    But yes, I do have a really spectacular school. I would have 30+ at any other nearby district.
     
  9. TeacherApr

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    ??? Maybe if you have to take a Math test because you minored or majored in it. I haven't had to take any math.
     
  10. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    A lot of questions. Let me try to cover them all.

    Extracurriculars would be part of the regular school day - because the school day would be longer.

    And remember, the purpose of the longer day is not to pile on more reading, math and science for the purpose of raising test scores. It's to provide more enrichment, support, and remediation according to the student's needs. I got to thinking, the only way my plan would work would be for there to be a state law that guaranteed every student a minimum number of hours in non-core subjects. Sort of the anti-NCLB.

    Basically, the idea here is to get some flexibility into the daily school schedule. For example, it's 5:00 right now, and I'm about to go over and work at our schools talent show. I'll be leaving around 7:30, after being at school for 12 hours. I get nothing for this - it's one of our mandated additional duties.

    With my proposal, a teacher who works a dance, a football game, etc. might just be able to come in a little late the next day or leave a little early. That's what they do in many other jobs. If a situation dictates you stay late, in lieu of overtime, you get to come late the next day or get some other sort of time compensation.
     
  11. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    It may not be as bad as you think. Remember the school year would be longer. So the percentage of time that a student is out would be less. In a class of 30 students, there would, on average, be one or two out at any given time. Remember, they are at school a lot longer each day and their is more time for them to get caught up. Perhaps, when they return from vacation, they miss music or art for a few days while they make up reading and math.
     
  12. John Lee

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    Then isn't this all moot?

    I don't like this because like you mention, I don't like teaching with someone else around. And I actually think the future of teaching should go the other way: Make teaching compensation/benefits more in terms of lifestyle benefit and convenience (i.e. having more time off) to compensate for the modest pay.
     
  13. Bogart

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    Feb 17, 2011

    I didn't read all the replies, so maybe you already answered this, but 4:30 seems late for kids. What if they have an after school sports activity or something? Also, I don't know if it's good for kids to graduate at an earlier age. I couldn't imagine a bunch of 16 year olds away at college.
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

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    Praxis I and most states' basic skills tests (CBEST, WEST-B, New York's LAST, and similar tests for other states that don't use Praxis) certainly test math. In addition, elementary-teacher tests such as ORELA, CSET-Multiple Subjects, AEPA, MTEL, GACE, FTCE, CEOE, MTTC, and ICTS - including early-childhood tests and the subject-matter tests for special education - do include components that test math.
     
  15. JustMe

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    It was my experience only certain individuals had to take the Praxis I based upon perhaps GPA when being accepted into the program. I didn't have to take it. I'd be curious to know the specifics of this.
     
  16. TeacherGroupie

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    In many states, JustMe, either the equivalent of Praxis I is required - GPA notwithstanding - or some other test may be substituted that tests math (and reading and writing) at a greater level of sophistication.
     
  17. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Feb 18, 2011

    I love the idea of sports and other extracurriculars being the students independent study or simply part of their school day. I can see more of our students being able to participate if it was part of the school day.

    In my district we get compensated for our extracurriculars the run after-school. So, maybe the teachers wouldn't get extra compensation for practices (because it's just part of the day), but games, plays, and other performances would probably still be after the school day to allow parent and community participation-those I would hope would stay paid opportunities.
     
  18. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I was in the same boat. I screwed off in high school and went in the military. After the military, I went to college and got very good grades. I found math and writing much easier to learn when I was older and not thinking about girls, cars, and music every 1.2 seconds. If I had gone to college when I was 18, I'm pretty sure I would have flunked or dropped out.
     
  19. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I think that if the parent and student are involved in the decisions of which classes to take and why, it would be a better plan than now. But yes, these decisions need to start young!
     
  20. TeacherApr

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    I took content and professional knowledge in elementary education and did not have to take math. I will also be taking early childhood education content knowledge and there is no math because it's set up to be evaluating various situations and deeming what is developmentally appropriate.
     
  21. tchr4evr

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    Extracurriculars as part of the day is nice, but logistically, i don't think it would work. Here's why.

    I'll use drama as an example. We rehearse everyday for 5-6 weeks, 2 hours a day (no weekends, except set construction). I have kids that are also on the football team, chorus, etc. I have kids in my drama classes that don't want to be a part of the productions. So, if in this schedule, they take theatre, they are in the production. 1) I would lose kids. 2) Unless they have theatre every day, the rehearsal period would have to be extended, which means we would do less productions in a year. 3) In the class, other learning would be excluded during play production (and there's a lot more to theatre than putting on a play) 4) Those football players would have to be in my class to be in theatre, but what if it's at the same time as football. 5) A kid is in my class say freshman year, but then wants to be in a play his senior year, but can't because he's not in my class.

    Again, it's nice in theory, but I would need to get paid a whole lot more than I do now.
     
  22. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Nice idea, but the problem is that our profession is under attack.

    There is a whole array of political forces and movements that want to dismantle public education in this country. These forces include CEO's who think schools should be "run like businesses" and other CEO's who see no need for an educated workforce at all because they see a future where all manufacturing and consuming is done in China and India and American becomes a third world country where the people fight for low wage service jobs. There are also religious zealots who think that schools should be privatized and secular and other religious zealots who think that there shouldn't be any schools at all. There are people who envision a future where students don't go to school at all, but just go online and get their education that way.

    Most of these people think that education is too expensive and that we are the reason that education is too expensive. How often have we heard "But you only work 6 hours a day, 9 months a year. How can your job possibly stressful." Heck, even my own wife has said that before.

    The thing is that if you just simply add to our teaching load, you get more burned out teachers. I think that there's a critical mass that one reaches after about 4 hours of "on your feet teaching" where the quality of instruction diminishes. I think what teachers need is more time during the day to prepare, to reflect, to simply breath.

    We also need more time to connect with students in groups smaller than 35. Time to help those 3 or 4 kids who have trouble getting fractions, time to give that individual assessment, time to actually talk to that kid who's short temper is getting in the way of his learning. And this time needs to be available in such a way that it doesn't subtract from time I give to other students. The problem is that nearly every minute that my students are at school is time when every one of them is in my classroom. I can't help one without putting the rest on autopilot.

    One thing that has driven me to this idea has been the fact that in recent years, the number of "interview" individual assessments we give has dramatically increased. Individual fluency tests. Core phonics tests. Interview math assessments. I'm required to give these one-on-one assessments to all of my students on a regular basis. My district gives no support. No sub, no aide, and we don't get specials. Most teachers just show movies and give the assessments. That ends up being a lot of movies because the assessments take forever since you have to deal with behavior 20 kids while trying to give the test to one kid. I've started taking a personal day out of my sick leave, getting a sub, and doing the testing in another room.

    I shouldn't have to take personal leave to give tests that are mandated by the school district. But I do. It's the only way that I can see my students individually.

    I have 3 kids in my class who are not reading. IF I can get them tested, and IF they qualify for an IEP they would get close to the help they need. But the best help they can get is if their own classroom teacher were able to work with them in a small group rather than a resource teacher. But under the current system, there is virtually no way that can ever happen. Yet it is the best way to help them.
     
  23. TeacherGroupie

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    Feb 18, 2011

    If your early childhood ed exam will be AEPA 36, you might want to look beyond the single-sheet list of test objectives to the full study guide. Under Learning in the Content Areas it shows Objective 0009 as "Understand math concepts and skills." Similar story for Praxis 0022, which bills itself as Early Childhood Education: Content Knowledge. (Content Knowledge is Praxis-speak for "multiple choice test of subject matter".) Of course you're right that Praxis 0020 doesn't test math - professional-knowledge exams, of which it is one, generally don't.

    Anyone who's taken AEPA 01 or either of Praxis 0014 (Elementary Education: Content Knowledge), or Praxis 0012 (Elementary Education: Content Area Exercises) has certainly been tested in math. Praxis 0011, Elementary Education: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, may not test a teacher's ability to do math, but it certainly does test a teacher's awareness of how to teach math - which should involve some conceptual understanding.
     
  24. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I do not see why their couldn't be a theater class as well as a play production rehearsals during the day when the day is 8:30-4:30 for students. We are already adding more to the add for them, so the extra time could be used for this.

    Yes, it might be hard for a student to do football and play during the same season, but don't our students face this difficult now?
     
  25. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    OK- Here I go. My son is in football, livestock judging, powerlifting, and shooting sports. He gets up each morning at 4:45 to drive the 17 miles to lift for powerlifting and football. He then runs to my mother's and showers and gets dressed for livestock judging practice at 7:20. From 7:20-until the end of first period he practices judging (during football season he has football first period.) He goes to powerlifting and track last hour where he works out everyday until 3:30-4:00. Then he goes home where he walks, treadmills, sets up, and feeds his five sheep (before the last big terminal show it was nine sheep.) He then goes in eats, showers, does homework and falls into bed by 9. Once or twice a week, he has shooting sports practice -- usually on Sunday afternoon and another evening. Your schedule would not allow him to do all of this. I have had people tell me that we should only allow him to do one or two things, but why? He is an 4.09 gpa student, he is an officer in the FFA, he is outgoing, he started his own business last summer, and he volunteers on football day (they don't have last hour those days) in my classroom where he is worshipped by 6 year olds. Why limit him if he can do it all and do it all very good?

    Programs like FFA, take kids out of school a lot. He will miss almost twenty days this sememster between powerlifting, track, and FFA. I agree that is a lot. But the benefits out weigh the problem. All of the kids on the FFA teams (meat, livestock, land, and parli) are 4.0+ students with other activities. These are the brightest and best. The skills that they are learning are wonderful. This schedule would limit the amount of practice and time these kids have and make them have to choose. The livestock team is made up of four boys who play football, two girls that run track, one girl that is a cheerleader, and one boy that is in STUCO. This are our leaders of tomorrow, so I would hate to limit them. This is just my two cents!
     
  26. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I call my idea radical for a reason. One of the things is that it entirely changes the way schools do business with regard to things like drama, sports, and music.

    For example, a high school junior or senior my spend a large chunk of his day at football practice. Especially if the longer day in the first 8 or 9 years of school allowed him to be finished with most of his course requirements. As I said, students would finish between the ages of 16 and 18. One person remarked that having a lot of 16 year-olds in college could be a bad thing. Not sure I agree entirely, but they do have a point.

    So, you keep the student in school until they reach the normal age to graduate.

    Now, due to the longer year the student is ready, academically, to leave school at 16. Or maybe even younger. What does that student do for their last one or two years where they still need adult supervision from a social standpoint, but are ready for the adult world in terms of academics and employability?

    They could play sports. That would be a great incentive for some students - work hard, and you can spend most of the time in your junior and senior year playing ball.

    As is for sports, the schools could provide the same opportunities in art, music, and and drama.

    Schools could start providing comprehensive vocational and technical education. On site.

    Schools could bring in college-level instructors to teach actual transferable college coursework to students who are academically ready for college but still only 16 years old and not ready to leave home.

    Or, in some cases, those students should be able to take their diplomas and enter the work force. Sadly, for many kids, having to start working 16 is the only option they have. For these kids, when they went to look for a job they would at least be doing so armed with a high school diploma.
     
  27. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Feb 18, 2011

    The problem with schools today is there is rigid inflexibility with regard to the 8:13-2:42 schedule. You are lucky. In my school district, where daily attendance is rule of the day no matter what, those 20 days would probably be counted as unexcused absences.

    One of the things I keep pointing out is that with my longer day and year, you have more time. In other words, taking him out of the classroom for extracurriculars would be less of a problem. Moreover, since the school would be staffed at a much higher level than it is now, he could probably work those things around the academic schedule. Or perhaps by the time he reached his junior year, most of his academics would be completed and "school day" would consist mainly of the things you describe.
     
  28. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Feb 18, 2011

    Sarge---I am now thinking about the vacations.

    If a student were to take a vacation during the fraction unit for a week and say miss adding and subtracting fractions, but returned as we moved on to adding/subtracting mixed numbers, when would they catch up? In class would they be expected to work on what they missed and then move onto mixed numbers during the tutoring sessions? Or would they need to struggle through in class?

    What about in reading when you are reading a novel. Does the student start at the beginning and work through or does the student just jump in with the class?
     
  29. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Feb 18, 2011

    A longer school year would mean that the introduction to fractions unit would be longer.

    One of the problems in education, as we all know, is that far too many topics are taught briefly before moving on to another topic. We cover way too many skills but few of them with enough depth or repetition for students to truly grasp them.

    One of the things that led to this idea was trying to figure out a way for kids who fell behind to catch up. Now, if adding and subtracting fractions is such an essential skill to have before moving on to other topics, then in my opinion it's insane that it's covered in less than two weeks of school.

    I think it goes without saying that one more "radical" aspect of my idea is that it will require a complete re-thinking of how curriculum is written and delivered. But that has been a long time in coming regardless, if you ask me.

    As for novels, suppose the kid who comes back from vacation having missed the first half of the novel has the option of getting an alternate assignment until the class finishes the novel. What do you do when a kid joins your class and you are half way through a novel? My guess is that you would do the same thing. I taught middle school English. I never found any single novel so important that if a student skipped it they would lose out the major goals of the course.

    And, once again, you have more time. So, depending on the situation, both the student who missed the fractions unit and the student who missed the first week of the novel would be able to catch up within the confines of the school day.

    For my idea to work, some major outside the box thinking is required. I'm even starting to think that the whole notion of a school year and defined grade levels could change.
     
  30. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Here's an interesting side note to the insanity our current system. When I taught sixth grade, I had a student in my class who was 14 years old. His birthday was in January, which made him older than most of his peers when he started kindergarten. Then he got held back twice in 2nd and 3rd grade. The reason he was held back was attendance. His mom just couldn't get him to school and the district he was in had very arbitrary policies that if you missed X number of day, you got held back. Period.

    If he stayed in school, he'd be 20 when he graduated. Since our district would probably not allow a 20 year old to attend the regular high school, his chances of having a normal high school experience and walking across the stage in a normal graduation were effectively set at zero two years before he even started high school. They might let him go to the continuation school. More likely, he would have to get his diploma through adult ed. If he hung around that long.

    He was far ahead of the class in reading and math. Back then, the standards at our middle school were pretty low and there were lots of 8th graders who bordered on illiteracy and ill-numeracy and had skills far below what he had. And these kids were in regular ed. I knew, because a few years prior I had taught 7th and 8th grade at the same middle school.


    So I went to the middle school, and asked the counselors if this student could skip the 7th grade and start at the middle school as an 8th grader. He'd still be older, but at least within the range that they would actually allow him to attend the high school for a full four years.

    The counselors at the middle school unanimously said flat out no to my idea. He needed to attend 7th grade and that was that.

    What was worst, however, was their reason. Sure, his reading and math skills were as good as any 9th grader. And sure, in 10th grade biology they pretty much review everything taught in 7th grade life science. However, if he skipped 7th grade, he'd miss out on 7th grade history, and that's the only year that they "cover" medieval Europe, Asia, and Africa.

    I heard a rumor he dropped out when he turned 18. That would have been half way through the 10th grade.
     
  31. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Feb 18, 2011

    With regard to student vacations...

    In my district, families take students on vacations all the time anyway. Just this year, I had a student miss 7 days in the fall when his family went to India, 4 students who missed an extra week around Christmas to go to Mexico, and a student right now who is missing 2 weeks to go to Texas with her family. All of these students manage to get caught up within a few weeks of returning to school, and we don't have any of the special time that Sarge is proposing. It would be much easier to catch them up if there was some one-on-one time built into the school day, but it is still possible in the current system.
     
  32. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Feb 18, 2011

    AG education (FFA) starts in 8th grade. Oklahoma is a large tech education state. Our schools are advance in how we handle career tech. I totally disagree with your schedule, because time is not the issue in livestock judging (which by the way he is a junior and I was contacted by the 4th college this morning that wants him to visit their programs this summer to possible judge for them) it is experience. Seeing and experimenting the actual classes (group of four animals that are judged against each other) is the most important part. Without the years of experience, you are extremely hurting their chance of success and futures. He has been livestock judging ever since 5th grade. Livestock judging will not only pay for his college, but it will also open doors for him in the future. Students who judge at college level in Oklahoma (I am not even going to pretend to know what happens in other parts of the US) have wonderful opportunities available for them. The skills that they learn: making a decision, justifying the decision, and being able to state that decision; will last him a lifetime.

    So sorry...but your schedule would never fly in Oklahoma. I am pretty sure that our career tech people carry enough weight that they would veto it big time.
    Also, some of the issues that I am reading about don't happen in our district or for the most part in our state. Oklahoma has always had strong career techs...most schools have wonderful FFA, FCCLA, and FBLA.

    The other item that others haven't talked about is students holding down jobs. I think this schedule would hurt some of our students who work. I know several students that really depend on their jobs because of bad situations that they are in.
     
  33. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Feb 18, 2011

    First of all, as an urban born and bred Californian, much of what you describe regarding AG ed might as well be a foreign language for me. (What gives humans the right to judge livestock? Aren't all animal equal?:D)

    But as I've been saying, this would be a radical makeover. Much of what you describe would be included as part of the school day or fall into the category of internships or work experience.

    As for student having jobs, by the age of 16, the only students who would still be at school all day would be the ones who either needed to be there for academic reasons or wanted to be there for enrichment. No more arbitrary age and hours of the day that "All minors must be in school." This is one of the aspects of American education that makes our schools appear more like prisons and less like places for learning.

    The bottom line is that there's no reason why a student who had their academics in order couldn't have all the time they needed for either a part time job or the strange activities that students in Oklahoma seem to enjoy. Keep in mind that the driving force behind this idea is to have more enrichment and extracurricular activities and not less.
     
  34. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Feb 18, 2011

    Sarge, if I'm getting this right....most students would have 4 hours for extracurriculars, enrichment, sports, etc. Even if football practice is 2 hours, that would leave 2 extra hours for other options.

    Here's my question, yes there might be more plan time during the day, but not for people who coach or sponsor an activity. Would these teachers receive more pay, flex time, or some other benefit? Or would all teachers be expected to teach some extracurricular or tutor?
     
  35. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Coaching would be part of your course teaching load and count against what the school is paying you to teach. If everyone at a high school taught 4 sections a day, then coaching would count as one or two of those sections. For the players, football practice would be a course for which they would receive credit.
     
  36. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Feb 18, 2011

    Interesting...okay, going to digest for awhile!
     
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