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Passions in Poetry

How would you handle this situation?

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Sunshine
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0 posted 04-03-2008 03:24 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

If you were a school teacher, and the link below was your problem, what solution might you provide to improve the scores and abilities of today's students?

In Test, Few Students Are Proficient Writers


And then, you can compare what the nation thinks overall of the education system to kids like this:

A Do-It-Yourself SAT Class, With No Whining, or Parents, Allowed


serenity blaze
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1 posted 04-03-2008 03:49 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I would try to first engage them with reading. My own daughter fell in love with White Oleander. (I wonder why? hmmm... )

But it would actually depend on the kids and the vibe of what they are into, so first I'd talk to them about what they find entertaining. I'd give fan-fiction assignments for hot topic tv shows. Just short stuff. I'd try to make it fun for them.

At first, I'd be easy on them. Judge them on content and creativity. Later on, I'd hit 'em with Elements of Style. *wink*

Yanno? Once upon a time I was an English Education major, and that's exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted the tough kids, too.

But, that was when I was a tough kid myself.

Now I'm considering...everything.

*Caution*

Quick Bragging Rights!

I got a phone call from my daughter's teacher last night and he informed me that she is a joy to have in class. He says that she makes the discussions interesting for everybody and that makes his job a lot easier.

She's a great kid.



(She's a reader. Nod. I just looked on her shelf and found MY "Swamplands of the Soul.")

* * *

Okay. I'm done. But yep.

First I'd try to make it fun for them.

I'm gonna shaddup.

Somebody might actually offer me a job.
nakdthoughts
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since 10-29-2000
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2 posted 04-03-2008 05:00 PM       View Profile for nakdthoughts   Email nakdthoughts   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for nakdthoughts

From what I have seen and been involved in, if they would stop all this testing that takes up so much school time and allow the teachers and students to be creative in the lesson plans and activities of students' interest, I am sure the  children would enjoy writing and their performances would improve.

The school day is so tightly scheduled that there isn't much  time to have "fun" anymore  except in the  arts and special classes.

They also believe in the layering of learning so if the kids don't "get" something this year on that day, too bad,
well they don't actually put it that way ,but they will be exposed to that skill again the next year, and the next until after 12 years or so, they should have acquired the skill.(hopefully)

Years ago you would stay with a topic and help those  who needed it until they understood, before you would go onto  the next topic or skill. Today you have to finish at a certain place in the books before they go on to the next grade whether they learn or not.

No wonder so many educational companies have appeared and grown...there is a need for places like Sylvan and other after school programs to help those whom the school systems are leaving behind.

I am only in the elementary schools right now, as a Reading specialist helping children with some special/individual needs.

As soon as I complete the required lessons I plan on having some fun with the students and do some chapter books and allow them to do some creative writing.

Just an opinion
M
serenity blaze
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3 posted 04-03-2008 05:23 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Oh Mo...

no...your opinion is EXPERIENCE.

You are exactly right.

It's a challenging thing--I told you about my friend before. She's teaching inner city schools, and she's to get everybody settled down just to take roll call. That leaves her with...what? Thirty minutes to try to make an impression.

Nodding. She spends a lot of her money on school supplies for those without, and her day doesn't end when the bell rings either.

So I toss roses to all of you who do this.

I've been thinking I might like to teach...in prison.

(I'm not even kidding.)

At least they would be motivated and want to be there...besides, I've got a bit of prisoner mentality goin' on here. ?

Sunshine
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4 posted 04-03-2008 05:33 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

I found the dichotomy of the two articles very interesting. I now work in an area where we have consultants [mostly former teachers] who teach the teachers on new ways to educate the children; and in turn, as a Service Center, we also help administer different testings required by the State. Several of our workshops are set up, of course, for teachers to gain their hours to retain their certification.

There are so many reading programs out there now that it becomes a matter of choosing which one is the best, and they seem to make them harder with every passing day. Sometimes I think if the States got back to the basics, along with advanced technology, everything would fall back into place.

Has anyone ever seen:
Eighth Grade Exam

and if you have, did you try taking the test?

Amazing...


nakdthoughts
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5 posted 04-03-2008 05:38 PM       View Profile for nakdthoughts   Email nakdthoughts   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for nakdthoughts

well my opinion is my experience but..if they heard me say that within the school system I would be looked down upon and told not to make waves, which is very hard for me as I really do want the children to learn and be successful. It's not just a job to me...but I am very disappointed in how  our educational systems in the US are more concerned about tests and tests results  today rather than giving children the tools they need to succeed in life...and be happy productive citizens.

I am trying to decide if I should continue to teach as the bureaucracy is so emotionally draining.


M
serenity blaze
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6 posted 04-03-2008 05:40 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

And whoops...

I'm nodding as I read that, Kari.

As I type, I not only have my own great kids here, but her boyfriend just scored full tuition, dorm, food vouchers, book allowances, right here at the University of New Orleans. He did this all throughout a LOT of personal trials, too. (Katrina, death, et al...) His GPA is, well, lemme go ask him--

He's just scooting over 4.5!

Both of my own kids are in the TOPS program as well. They also participate in online courses via LSU.

They are so focused, they have inspired me.


I knew they could get an education out of a public school though.

I told them that when a teacher finds a kid who is alert and interested and actually wants to learn, they'll take a personal interest. And those teachers did, too.

I try to be supportive as well--I don't go out much anymore, and circumstances are such that I have cut ties with the majority of old friends. I actually prefer the company of these "kids".

Being smart is COOL here.

They LOVE my house!

(I'll bet I have bought at least twenty copies of "Catcher in the Rye" too--they just keep disappearing. What is it about that book?)

It isn't easy--maybe we're just lucky--but way back when they toddled off to kindergarten, my own attitude with the kids was like, "you just do what you have to do there--and we'll keep doing what we do at home."

It seems to be working.  
nakdthoughts
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7 posted 04-03-2008 06:06 PM       View Profile for nakdthoughts   Email nakdthoughts   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for nakdthoughts

I give a lot of credit Karen, to your children and those in that article.

But it shouldn't have to be that way. I don't mean being as interested as your children are ...I mean no one should have to practice and prepare that much strictly to take those tests. The knowledge should be learned over time.

Many schools are getting their funds based on the testing scores. I have seen and been in a few schools that teach to the test... meaning every test you give each day (and they do test in some schools every day at the end of a lesson both in Math and in Reading) is designed exactly like the state assessments, almost always multiple choice with sections of constructed responses or what we would call mini essays in explanation of their choice of answer.

They have started this in second grade and you know how hard that is for children to rationalize in words to "prove" why their answers are correct at such a young age.

They have also given up on handwriting by then, since they don't think it is  important anymore because of the computer.

If we ever had losses of batteries and  electricity and other modern technology, much of the nation would not be able to spell nor write legibly enough to be understood today.

Just a pet peeve or two of mine. And Karen, another problem, though many would  deny this, is that parents are just not  as involved in their own children's education as they should be. I don't mean teaching them but at least showing an interest by  looking over their homework or being there for them.

I have two students who always  have unfinished  homework who say they don't have anyone to check over it when they don't understand, as they live with grandparents who work at night and  they are left alone until morning. It is a sad world we are living in (for many children.)

Sunshine
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8 posted 04-03-2008 07:38 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Serenity, Kudos to your kids and those they hang with. Smart ones! There ARE kids who will work hard, and defy the logic of their teachers by forging out on their own, and to those kids, well, I just wish the National News would pick up on stories like them...and not bury them between all of the stories of the kids who only cause trouble, or just don't know a better way out.

Maureen, you're so right. I hear from several teachers who are only "working their job" because it's all they know to do anymore, because if they DO try to speak their mind, they're rapidly put in their place. Schools get a lot of $$$ from the government agencies to have "more kids" in the schools, but that money doesn't always equate [IMHO] to a better education for the children.

I was involved with my kids, but not as much as I should have been. It didn't help that I worked 20 miles away or it took 30 minutes to drive the 8 miles to the house in the various areas in which we were transferred to, but when we came to Salina, my youngest daughter did better HERE in a smaller town than she had done in California. And I recall a particularly excellent teacher when we were in Park Forest - he was keenly aware in my elder daughter's fifth grade students...and he pushed them properly, and with a grand expertise. All of the children loved him, and he expertly dismissed the problem of color. Mr. Brown [yes, that was his name] was one of my older daughter's best teachers.
c_fuller
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9 posted 04-04-2008 03:15 PM       View Profile for c_fuller   Email c_fuller   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for c_fuller

"Just a pet peeve or two of mine. And Karen, another problem, though many would  deny this, is that parents are just not  as involved in their own children's education as they should be. I don't mean teaching them but at least showing an interest by  looking over their homework or being there for them.

AMEN!

parents today think that the schools are there to raise their kids. my children knew how to read before they reached kindergarten. my daughter has already been jumped up a grade.
what they need to do is stop throwing money at the problem and reward good teachers and get rid of crappy teachers. it shouldnt be so easy to achieve tenure.

but the biggest part of it has to be the parents!

just my .02
serenity blaze
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10 posted 04-04-2008 06:24 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Nodding here.

That friend I mentioned says her job reminds her of a joke from M*A*S*H, where "Radar" has to fill out a requistion form for more requisition forms...

Judging by the state of my own room and papers, I don't think I could handle that part alone.

My kids had some bad teachers too. With one guy, I totally dropped the ball, too. I had dismissed my son's complaints with a lecture.

"School is more than books and tests. You need to learn how to get along with people that you can't stand sometimes."

I told him that it was just for one year. That when he grew up and got a job, he might have to put up with such a person for YEARS, and act grateful for the privelage too.

Well I was wrong. That situation escalated to such a series of mishaps, and my son is paying the cost of having to make up time in his senior year.

I very much regret not stepping in. I regret not pressing charges.

That man is still teaching.

Just know that I'm not attempting to speak for everyone. I did talk to my friend about this though. (I once went to court with her because she was spat on by a student.)

I know it's rough out there.

But like she said, every year is a different experience, and 'round about this time of year, everybody is edgy. I was thinking that things were so different these days in comparison to when I went to school, but I was looking through my deceased sister's yearbook, and yep, the styles are different and the kids looked more like KIDS, but one caption startled me.

The picture showed a group of happy kids, grinning from ear to ear, walking down the steps of the same high school my kids attend now. Underneath the photo, the text was..and I'm paraphrasing because I don't feel like looking for it,

"The kids manage to salvage a day of fun after a bomb scare."

The year was 1967.

So? I don't know the answer. More money? I'm sure that would help, but the people I know who teach don't do it for the money.

It takes a special quality to be a teacher.

More parental involvement? My friend says she's not so sure about that either. Some of these kids are parents.

Standardized schools and more government scrutiny? Um, how many more forms do we need?

I'm just suggesting to parents out there, that if you want your child to receive an education, take it upon yourself to give 'em one. It's not somebody else's job.
Sunshine
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11 posted 04-04-2008 11:33 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

quote:
The picture showed a group of happy kids, grinning from ear to ear, walking down the steps of the same high school my kids attend now. Underneath the photo, the text was..and I'm paraphrasing because I don't feel like looking for it,

"The kids manage to salvage a day of fun after a bomb scare."

The year was 1967.


I may have shared this before; but in 1969, when I was attending my first year of college at the age of 17, my mother's Christmas letter spouted the proud fact that our home town Hancock Junior College had not undergone any "scares" of the bomb-type, and that our home town was in fine shape; that year was one of the first years that we got our "yearly Christmas letter" out in early December, just prior to my 18th birthday. Maybe what, two days after she mailed it? The letter was wrong.

Even then, the parents didn't know "what was happening" to today's youth. Neither did a lot of the youth.

And now, I worry about my six grandchildren...

The Shadow in Blue
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12 posted 04-06-2008 11:38 PM       View Profile for The Shadow in Blue   Email The Shadow in Blue   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit The Shadow in Blue's Home Page   View IP for The Shadow in Blue

On the topic of lower/stagnate test scores,especially with writing-which is a shame admittedly-I would have to agree with Serenity. But apparently some school districts think differently (ie: mine)

Based on their logic, to improve test scores they are going up the load of requirements, not taking into acount the arts or creative endeavors at all. This forces students to choice between thought provoking/challenging course such as the arts instead of allowing them to select the schedule right for them.

I'm not saying we as an educational system should underachieve, but by burdening the students with so much requirements you don't necessarily get the desired results-results that can complete with other countries. In fact, this onus only adds on to the pressure and lack of detail the class can offer. I'd rather have a managable classload of requirements that i'd be able to understand than a overload of requirements that I merely memorize.

Sorry for the rant,but it sort of relates to the writing test score dillema in a way-I hope.

~J
Bob K
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13 posted 05-03-2008 04:56 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K




     I just stumbled across this thread on 5/3/08.  I've often thought  that William Stafford makes a lot of sense when he talks about writing and teaching writing.  Stafford was such a common sense and low key guy that It was almost impossible to sustain a disagreement with him if you spent any time listening to what he had to say.  One of the things that I've always found useful for poetry is that if you've got writer's block, lower your standards.  There will always be some point at which you will be able to write.  The rest is simply revision.

     I recommend his book, [1]Writing The Australian Crawl[/i] as a beginning.  In part I suspect that the whole notion of examinations may be part of the problem.  Part of what prevents people from being able to do the learning process, and some other evaluation process might be more usefully applied.

     I notice that kids seem to do pretty well with being able to master text messaging, which is a writing skill, which is taught through a reward process.  The more fluently you can text-message, the more easily you can talk with your friends in reasonable security.  I don't see a large movement for supplying remediable text-messaging classes.  People start from where they can start in, and learn the skills as quickly as they can acquire them because the rewards are built into the process.

  
serenity blaze
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14 posted 05-03-2008 05:36 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Thank you BobK.

I think you may have helped me out with that.

Are you a psychologist by any chance?

*waving hey to K*
Essorant
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15 posted 05-03-2008 12:59 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I think people ought to be taught about Modern English grammar by studying Old English and Middle English, the roots and history of the language.   That is how people shall have a true understanding, not some collection and reiteration of definitions and stipulations.  People may hold up the branches better when they stand on the foremost support and roots of what they are learning in the first place.

I also think teaching Latin and Greek should be revived in schools.  Latin and Greek offer much insight into the manners of language and writing, but also much insight into many words in English that later came from those languages.  

But since these things most likely won't happen in schools, thankfully there are books such as Wheelock's Latin, through which a teacher/professor offers much more teaching through a book than many ever offer through a school.


nakdthoughts
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16 posted 05-04-2008 09:56 AM       View Profile for nakdthoughts   Email nakdthoughts   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for nakdthoughts

Karen ...just to  put in a comment..it IS  a teacher's  job to  help educate children and hopefully offer them the knowledge they need to succeed in life..BUT and this is a BIG BUT  it IS the parent's or parents' job to be a parent and give their children the love and support and behavoral skills  they also  need to be  successful adults.

And that is too often missing and  pushed on to the school systems and guidance counselors who must work though behavior problems and lack of attention.

And  even though children spend many more close hours in school than with families, families have at least 2 full weekend days to spend with and share with each other. I don't see a lot of that happening. I see children in sports, karate, dance classes, dropped off to spend more time away from home. Wouldn't eat be nice if  families ate meals together again at a breakfast or dinner table where they could discuss the days' activities instead of stopping at fast food places and  children then rushing off to play  on computers or play station or wii or whatever technology they have that keeps them from learning how to socialize?

A very tired me this week~~~
M

Essorant
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17 posted 05-04-2008 01:05 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Our word school comes from the Greek σχολη [schole]meaning "spare time, leisure, rest, ease"

And in Latin the word ludus meaning "play" was the word used to refer to school.  

Originally people had a much more leisurely notion and approach to school.  In other words, almost the opposite of what we have now.  

Bob K
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18 posted 05-05-2008 08:34 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Serenity Blaze,

           Social worker, but not practicing right now.  Spent a long time doing psychotherapy, though.  Thanks for asking.  Yours, BobK.
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