Wednesday, November 21, 2007
a thanksgiving exchange
As part of staff development day, we 7th and 8th grade English teachers met with district high school English teachers for an hour this morning. (Please comment: have you experienced similar conversations with colleagues who teach at higher or lower grade levels?)
The main topic, overt or not, was "what DO you teach at the middle school?" since many HS teachers hear "no, we didn't learn THAT" from their students. Isn't that a lovely way to start a 7:25am meeting on the day before Thanksgiving?
Regardless, we made the best of the situation, explained what we teach without being too defensive (IMHO) and provided sample lessons/worksheets/assignments/assessments.
I shared these thoughts out loud to my colleagues:
a) Students don't know what knowledge they have, even if they have it. Metacognition is hard for adolescents.
b) Students use ignorance as self-preservation strategy.
c) Re-teaching, aka judicious review, is good.
Then, to make the meeting SEEM more like an exchange of information and less an interrogation, HS colleagues showed us example year-end portfolios, upon our request. We're piloting a portfolio system this year (7th grade) that will replace the final exam.
There was one "old friend" HS colleague with whom we reconnected, and we made one "new friend" HS colleague who just wrote and published a novel.
Oops, I said novel. I confess, I've NOT been working on my novel. Can you tell?
The beautiful irises in the picture were sent to us by my husband's aunt/uncle/cousins who live in Fort Myers, Florida. The odd-shaped paper on the table next to the vase is a "pilgrim turkey" that my daughter made. Gobble, gobble, everyone!