Tuesday, September 20, 2011


P.O.E. stands for Predict, Observe, and Explain.  I use this in my classroom every Wednesday.  The only hard part about it is getting a demonstration together to show my students.  Last week I did a P.O.E. where I poured water down a wet string from one beaker to another. Before I actually did the demonstration I asked them to predict what would happen when I poured the water.  They usually write this prediction down in their notebooks as part "P".  I then do my demonstration and the students observe and write their observations in part "O".  The hardest part is "E" which is explain.  My student have to explain why things happened as they did during the demonstration.  They all look forward to P.O.E days!  Oh gotta run, P.O.E. day is tomorrow!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

And Now For Some Good News!!

Ten years ago I didn't think the World Trade Center would ever be rebuilt.  I thought it might have some sort of memorial built at ground zero, but I didn't have an inkling that there would be a huge building sitting there a decade later.  The planning for the new tower started almost immediately after 9/11.  Originally called the "Freedom Tower", the skyscraper is now known as the One World Trade Center and is well on its way to being finished.  Here is a short time-lapse video of the tower under construction.  Enjoy!

I Feel Like a First Year Teacher!!!

     I have been a teacher for fourteen years and I feel like a brand new teacher right out of college.  Why you ask?  I think it is the slow piling of more responsibilities over the last ten years on my shoulders.  I am so overwhelmed that I can't keep my email at work straight!  How could this happen?
     About ten years ago we started state "high stakes" testing.  It seemed like a good idea back then.  Soon after the testing began we started interventions.  At first, interventions was leveled by using the state test and you saw the same kids every day.  Then we decided to retest every quarter and switch the students around in interventions  depending on how they scored on the quarterly tests as well.  Three years ago I moved to a school that switched interventions daily!  Some teachers like this, but I never like anything that switches around too rapidly. 
     Last year we lost our wonderful language arts teacher in 7th grade to retirement.  She was not replaced.  I have been told I should be very happy about this due to the fact that I could have been fired (I'm the science teacher) so the school could hire a reading/writing teacher.  So who is teaching reading?  Well our grade level has joined with the sixth grade teachers so we can get all subjects taught with minimal teachers.  That means that I am now teaching reading, 6th grade science, and 7th grade science. We have 36+ in a class.  My principal is very worried about reading because it is now in the hands of several people. 
    I ask you, how can a school get good scores on a state test when there is not enough teachers to bring the class size down to a manageable level?  How can reading scores improve when there is no reading teacher?  How can anyone possibly think that cutting science teachers is an option?  There will be jobs in science in the future.  Will the United States have anyone to fill them?  One thing is for sure, if we pull it off and our students meet the standard on that reading test this year, we won't be getting another reading teacher...

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