Monday, October 19, 2009

Two Action-Packed Weeks

I probably won't be around much for the next couple of weeks. In addition to teaching the class on Monday and Wednesday nights and another swim meet for Lucy on Friday night, Jennie and I are doing an assessment workshop that begins tomorrow night and goes through next Tuesday night.

This is our second workshop. We meant to have a whole blog dedicated to our experience and techniques and whatever, but that hasn't happened yet. Then I meant to blog about the last session (in August) because it was such an eye-opener, plus there was so much comedy gold there, but life went on and school started and I didn't get around to it either.

In a nutshell, we're hired by a school district to teach high school teachers how to create an ongoing culture of both formative and summative assessment within their classrooms. Trust me, it's more fun than it sounds. Jennie is the pedagogical and theoretical guru, and I'm there to show them how to write a sound, comprehensive, non-racist or sexist or stupid, measurable test question.

Since our students are also teachers, you would think they would be easier to teach than our regular students and in many ways they are. However, we have our moments, such as when I presented this example: "If you had an apple tree that kept producing bad fruit, you wouldn't cut off all the bad apples, go to the store and buy good apples, tie them all over the tree, and then say, 'There, problem fixed--now the tree produces good fruit.' You'd need to get to the actual root of why the tree was producing bad fruit in the first place." Then one guy said, "Let me give YOU an example. If I'm coaching the football team, I'm not going to have them practice in the basement, I'm going to have them practice on the field."

Um, WHAT? Did he just start playing MadLibs with me?

Then Jennie was discussing classroom democracy and what that would look like, and one student said, "Well, if you had a room of all men and one woman and all the men voted to rape the woman, that would have been a democratic decision."

I'll leave you with this, further proving that art imitates life imitates art and on and on. Suffice it to say, no matter how much I interact with people, they still have the ability to faze me. Enjoy and see you next week...

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