kitchen table math, the sequel: Down the rabbit hole

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Down the rabbit hole

The opt-out movement may become a force to be reckoned with, if and when it organizes effectively. What has to happen, it seems to me, is that the movement must also be FOR something. I suggest a straight trade: two weeks of project-based learning for every day of testing AND test-prep! In other words, don’t just stay home; fight for positive changes.

The Common Core Brouhaha by JOHN MERROW on 24. APR, 2014 in 2014 BLOGS
I was sitting here mulling what a terrible fate this would be when it came to me: "two weeks of project-based learning for every day of testing AND test-prep" probably isn't a bad  description of what's happening in my district now.

That along with insane homework loads in the run-up to the tests. Parents here were complaining a couple of months ago about having to drive their kids through hours of HW every night because the middle-school teachers were worried about their evaluations.

I've seen the same thing in a neighboring district, where middle-school kids seem to spend their time either doing group projects and group discussions OR test-prep.

At least some of the time, teachers who've been trained only in constructivism equate direct instruction with cramming.


Anonymous said...

Project based learning sucks. I'd rather my kids take standardized tests.

Auntie Ann said...

Our school's still hooked on it. When doing surface are of rectangular surfaces, they watched some video of a guy putting post-it notes on the side of a file cabinet, were asked to estimate how many post-its it would take to cover it, then told a post-it is 3x3, and finally asked what the surface are was. This one problem took up almost the entire class period.

During that time, they each could have worked a dozen problems and learned other shapes as well.

Then there was the proportion assignment which was to draw, accurately and in great detail, a scale model of the Statue of Liberty--IN MATH CLASS!

froggiemama said...

Oooh, that is dreadful. That is exactly the kind of stupidity that is finally disappearing in my district

Barry Garelick said...

CC math standards in 3rd grade require students to compute areas by "tiling", so I wouldn't say this kind of stupidity is going to go easy in the night.

Auntie Ann said...

I think the post-it thing was not without some value, but they spent an entire class period on it, used a video to show how hip they were(n't), and did it as a time-wasting group project.

This in a school where each year they only get through about 2/3rds of the course material. It is also an EM school with spiraling. What happens to the beloved spiral when you leave 1/3rd of the curriculum behind every single year?

The teachers haven't a care about efficiency of teaching or making sure all the material gets covered every year. Kids progressively regress through the curriculum until 6th grade, which is a holding and catch-up year--pretty much nothing is taught, but it's the time when kids finally spiral back to everything they should have been learning for the previous 5 years.