“The Authority of Inscrutable…”

One constant, unrelenting message we educators hear is data are life. All are data. Data are all.* And yet, I sense our fumblings and amateurish attempts to understand and analyze data fail us, and moreover, our students. We are often told to ignore qualitative factors that any scientist worth her salt would question, annotate, and contextualize. In school, those reasonable questions might include what students are in honors classes, or block schedules, or are they suffering from depression, trauma, or discomfort of food or housing insecurities? Does the staff work in congruent cross-content, grade level teams with a cohort of…

Hot piles of data.

https://giphy.com/embed/xQrlUXZkcH6y4 via GIPHY Addendum: I wrote a follow-up four days later: Adding It Up Well, today we had a data discussion. And it wasn’t pretty. I got a little excited when I saw that the SBA ‘Brief Writes’ had gone up, but that was mostly for 7th grade. And though I shared so much with the 7th-grade team, I tried to sell the 8th-grade team on having students do them, but with no luck, except for one colleague who worked with me the last three weeks before the test. In essence, and in the most passive way possible, an idea…

Miles to go.

  Recently my friend John Spencer posted this lovely sentiment. I responded with a snarky comment. I’m sorry, John. You try to do a nice thing and I roll my eyes. I know you forgive me because you’re cool like that. The bigger question is, can I forgive myself? This led me to consider well, everything. The art of relaxation, and if it’s possible for me to find this place called Relaxation: it’s just as elusive as Happiness, really good deli sandwiches on the west coast, and that other silver earring I lost. It may be hard to locate. But telling…

You know nothing, Mrs. Love, Part II

Another thread on the Notice and Note site that spoke to me so strongly, ‘how do you tell other teachers some practices are out of date?’ And what if they’re not, and what if they just need to be polished? How do you know when to reuse, recycle, or reduce our teaching stuff? One thing I do know, is the good doctor, Sarah Donovan, PhD at Ethical ELA encapsulated what I’ve been attempting to do this year http://www.ethicalela.com/9weeks/ This is what I’m trying to do with my Reading Road Trip, but we haven’t left the driveway yet: I decided the best…

Data driven into the ditch. (And calling a tow-truck.)

About two years ago, I and my colleagues tallied eight weeks of instructional time that went directly to summative assessments provided by the school, district, and state/Federal. We asked, and then begged, for a reasonable conversation and dialogue, but it fell on deaf ears. One test cost $8 per student, and I’m not sure we ever saw the results. Imagine you’re a doctor, you treat a patient, and then never know whether the treatment was effective. It’s kind of like the Schrödinger’s cat of education. Is the test alive, or dead? If you open the box and confirm it, you just…

Lizard Brain Trust.

                  I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.   – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle I most always guess; and, tend to live by intuition, and gut instinct. That doesn’t mean that I make decisions based on my lizard brain (most of the time). My decisions are based on a cultivated mix of experience, heart, soul, data, intelligence, and reflection. There are some lessons I cannot learn–for example, I tend not…

Burning Questions: Sharks and ice cream.

Today I’m having my students analyze and evaluate the article from the Chicago Tribune: Report: Media use by teens, tweens grows to 53 hours a week Cell phones, computers, MP3 players consuming more of youths’ time. I remembered an anecdote (short memory/story) from my master’s program, where the following information is given: The rise of shark attacks is correlated to the rise in ice cream sales. I shared this. The usual responses: well, maybe people taste or smell better after they’ve eaten ice cream, so sharks are more attracted to them. We finally agreed the two facts are mutually exclusive;…