Always, always, always, no matter what, keep up with the syllabus.
Always have your reading done for each day.
This includes the days after you have been absent, after snow days, or after a suspension.
1. As discussed in the new book iGen by Jean Twenge, the generation born after 1995 tends to be wonderfully open minded, well behaved, and well meaning; however, because so many parents of iGen-ers may have asked too little of their kids in terms of doing chores, making their own decisions, completing tasks for themselves, and fighting their own battles, too many members of this generation lack confidence, a sense of individuality, the ability to complete tasks on their own, and a sense of self reliance. Schools have reinforced this type of incompetence by focusing so much on creating a mythically perfect environment, to the point where the schools, rather than students, now take on the onus of learning. Schools enable kids with such ideas as grading policies with no penalty for late work, constantly-negotiable due dates, individually-customized lessons, and test retakes--creating students who, no matter how much feedback is given, respond, “I just don’t get this.” “Can you just show me how?” “What exactly do you want me to do here?” We know that the most important tool a child/student can have is grit, but too few of today's kids are ever given a chance to develop it. The tendency by parents and schools to do too much for the iGen generation has left them with significant gaps.
2. If grass is over watered in the spring, the roots will be underdeveloped, and the grass will later die because it didn't develop the root system needed to reach water. The same is true for students--and kids overall.
3. Doctors talk all the time about how tests can have false negatives and false positives. They use individual tests only as single, somewhat unreliable, data points in an overall complex and sophisticated evaluation that ultimately relies, on professional judgment. Why is this approach never taken in education, where obviously the same dynamic is true? Particularly, with false negatives, where negative test score (or even a history of negative test scores) may or may not reflect the reality real-life for a student or a teacher.
4. No sport relies more heavily on statistics than baseball. Yet, while commentators rely on myriad statistics to better understand and analyze teams and players, they spend a good part of their time explaining how statistics very often do not reflect reality. Why don't politicians and educational leaders extend such a reality-check to schools and teachers?
5. The classroom is no longer an isolated place where discrete knowledge is passed from teacher to student. Today’s classroom is a complex environment where an overwhelming abundance of constantly-changing (and often conflicting) content from around the world (and beyond) is judged for validity, organized, measured, compared, adapted, synthesized, and then used to initiate and develop new ideas. This content can be imported into the classroom in real time and is managed (read, written and/or spoken about) with an always-evolving student skill set. And then new ideas are published with the world without leaving the room. This new paradigm requires entirely new skills, behaviors, ways of thinking, activities, assignments, technologies, and ethics. I am doing my best to prepare kids for a world that I can barely imagine.
"If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the alter of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams" --Martel