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CTQ bloggers write about transforming teaching. Share their posts and chime in!

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Apples & Oranges: Why This Year's State Test Was a Waste of Students' Time

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Last week a group of CTQ-Colorado teachers attended and offered comments at the State Board of Education meeting. The following post is a written version of my remarks. While the board passed a symbolic resolution (in a 4-3 partyline vote) to withdraw from PARCC, one state board member boldy and publicly supported the standards and advocated for the aligned system our students deserve. If we must insist on a standardized test, I want the best one for my students. Core advocates (and skeptics!) -- I hope you'll park your thoughts on PARCC (& Smarter Balanced) here. 

Featured

Speak Less, Act Right

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The first time I read these words by a Holocaust survivor, they haunted me. “My eyes saw what no person should witness: gas chambers built by learned engineers. Children poisoned by educated physicians. So I am suspicious of education. My request is: Help your children become human.” To fulfill that request, our actions matter far more than our words.

Featured

Advice to Myself as a New Teacher

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Dear Mr. Barnwell (version 2004),

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Chào mừng bạn đến Quốc Hoa Kỳ (Welcome to the United States)

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Opening up my e-mail and sipping on my third coffee of the morning, I read the following message:

“Hello teachers.  Please welcome a new 10th grader, Ngoc Trinh, coming to us from Vietnam. We will have to do our best to support this student with her limited English skills.”

“Uh oh…” was my first thought. 

Featured

Simple Truth: Hashtags Can Save You Time

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If there was ONE thing that I'd want every practicing educator to know about learning in social spaces it would be that no matter what field you are working in, there are TONS of folks who are sharing resources t

Featured

Why Don't Those Teachers Own Their Profession Already?

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Hypothetically speaking, let's say a subset of all teachers decided to go against their district's wishes, teaching their curriculum according to a mix of research and expertise, but masking it under the name of the latest district buzzword. Would you blame them for not outright fighting against their administration's wishes or congratulate them for "owning" their profession?

Of course, that's a trick question because it largely depends on your lens.

Latest Blog Posts

Barnett Berry

April 1, 2014

On unions and the future of the teaching profession

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I’m no blame-the-unions pundit. After all, management—not unions—have imposed many of the rules that stifle creative (heck, even just sensible) practices in schools.

But here’s the plain truth: it’s time for unions to innovate.

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Ariel Sacks

April 1, 2014

Testing Eve

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I almost didn't write about testing this year at all.  In fact, two reporters from prominent NYC news publications contacted me in the last week to talk about how I'm preparing for the NY State ELA test, which will take place over the next three days.  I didn't respond.  That wasn't because I don't respect the journalists or their need to cover standardized testing as news; I didn't respond because I felt I didn't have anything I wanted to say.  I don't mind tests in general, but I'm sick of this yearly game.

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Jessica Cuthbertson

March 31, 2014

Read the Book First! (Why Every ELA Teacher Should Read THIS Book)

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Spring Break: a perfect time to dive headfirst into a great professional read. If you have travel plans (or if you plan to stay in the comfort of your own home) check out Whole Novels for the Whole Class: A Student-Centered Approach by CTQ Collaboratory blogger and teacher leader Ariel Sacks. Her approach is guaranteed to invigorate your teaching practice and delight your students. 

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Renee Moore

March 29, 2014

If Digital Literacy is a Basic Skill, Who's Responsible for Teaching It?

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One of my students, a grandmother in her fifties, sat a full arm’s length away from the computer, recoiling from the mouse as if it were a snake. It was the first night of our Freshman Comp I class at the rural Drew, Mississippi campus of Mississippi Delta Community College, and I was trying to introduce her to our class website.

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Barnett Berry

March 26, 2014

The education riddle we must solve now

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Riddle me this: What is plentiful in schools but rarely utilized? What matters a great deal for children—yet carries little weight for policymakers? You guessed it: teacher expertise. 

A new survey reveals that only 32 percent of America’s teachers report their opinions are “heard and valued” at the district level, beyond their schools. And a miniscule fraction of the 20,000 teachers polled by Scholastic believe their perspectives are embraced at the state level (5%) and or national level (2%).  

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Jessica Cuthbertson

March 26, 2014

A Recipe for Home Visits: 1 Afternoon, 2 Neighborhoods, 4 Families & Frijoles

10 comments

Do you know where your students live, work, and play? Do you understand the communities your school serves? How have home visits supported your relationships with families and impacted your instructional practice? 

This is what I learned when I left my classroom for one afternoon to spend time in two different neighborhoods, visit four families, and eat lots of frijoles. 

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