A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Getting back into the thick of it

I've enjoyed my little vacation-- and little is the mot juste, as our school district calendar keeps sliding staff development days in near holidays so that now there's basically only two months off, which no doubt is based on some half-baked study from probably Iceland (No offense to any Icelanders out there. Hvernig gengur? Mer likur vio Sigur Ros!) that this lack of down time as a bloc will somehow double our test scores or at least our sports teams.

Yesterday, it was announced that John Hughes had passed away. I am spending the weekend watching his films again. Yesterday was Sixteen Candles. Today, I think I'll do Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and of course Ferris Buhler. God bless that man.

My students' AP scores arrived. I must say, they exceeded my expectations! Yay, kids! You really WERE studying! And the kid who told me the Gettysburg Address was 1511 Gettysburg Avenue- you are forgiven. Almost.

The homework controversy rages on. Homework in kindergarten? Yeah, that's a bit much. However, I shudder to think what happens to high school kids who don't do homework when they get to college. Wait. I know what happens, because I had a dorm-mate for one semester who had never done homework in her life after she graduated from some hippy-dippy private school. Note that I said, "one semester," too. She got to spend two thousand bucks to learn that she wasn't prepared for college. Tough lesson. You get that for which you work (see how homework taught me not to end my sentences with a preposition? Thank you Mrs. B Smith, my 9th grade English teacher....).

Oh, and on July 28, A Shrewdness of Apes turned four! Thanks for hanging out with me during this time, and I will be a better blogger than I have been lately, I promise.

So. How are YOU doing?

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At 8/8/09, 3:26 PM, Blogger bun2bon said...

Homework is a good thing!


At 8/9/09, 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In elementary school, the vast majority of my kids' homework has been useless busywork. I am finally at the point of just writing notes to the teacher that it will not be done.

Homework in high school can and should be useful.

I hope that it will be.

At 8/9/09, 11:39 AM, Blogger Dr Pezz said...

I use clips from Ferris Bueller's Day Off to show how the fourth wall is broken in literature, and almost every time the kids want to go and get the movie to watch the whole thing. It really translates well (except for the whole upper middle class homes) when looking at the humor, fear of the first college year, and the desire to have an epic hookey day.

The homework issue is an interesting one. I have always believed that in my high school English courses, I primarily have the students read for homework, review notes, or finish what didn't get done in class. I don't have regular homework for my students, and I can say with honesty I am not a real fan of homework. Am I alone on that one?

At 8/9/09, 11:55 AM, Blogger Mrs. T said...

Dr. Pezz- though I doubt you are alone, I will say that I am not with you on this one. I teach Spanish and I am a huge believer in homework- I think students need time away from the classroom to review concepts and vocabulary taught. I give homework 4 nights a week. I liken it to a sport or playing a musical instrument- in order to develop the desired skills, you need to practice.

At 8/9/09, 11:05 PM, Blogger Dr Pezz said...

Mrs. T -

In your discipline (Spanish) I would bet that the time your kids spend reviewing is probably equal to the reading time my class requires, which is essentially homework for my classes. The reading can take up to an hour a night, so I don't add any more. This way the students use the reading to work on concepts in class and do the analyzing in class.

Otherwise, they wouldn't have time for Spanish. :)

At 8/11/09, 12:33 PM, Blogger Lightly Seasoned said...

Reading IS homework. No offense, but the pervasive idea that, "Oh, I don't have any homework tonight, just reading" is a huge nightmare... because they don't do the reading. If it were considered not homework because it is such a delight to do, then that's different, but I suspect not the case.

To reading, I add frequent essays.

At 8/11/09, 3:07 PM, Blogger Dr Pezz said...

LS -

I also try to get my students to do their reading first from time to time. They usually tell me that they do it last because "it's just reading."

However, the real test is to teach them to "study" the pages rather than simply "read" the pages. They hit a point where they can't just read the words on the page; they have to study them by re-reading, taking notes, and reviewing reading before class.

At 8/11/09, 9:33 PM, Blogger Mrs. T said...

Dr Pezz- point taken. Reading IS homework and you are right- it often doesn't get done. Truth be told, neither does the Spanish. :)


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