Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bloom's Taxonomy Tats, Frozen Classrooms, and Basic Educational Guerrilla Warfare... Yeah, it must be a Wednesday!

Bloom's Taxonomy... This Wheel Should Be Tattooed on Every Teacher's Chest!  Why have my coworkers never heard of it?

The conversation in the staff room lately has been about two things:  What's up with the frozen classroom here on the Equator and ...our crappy curriculum?  Or more likely, why we don’t have a curriculum that isn't full of said crapola?  Guys have ideas…oh yes, guys have ideas…but it hasn’t come together.  I’m a clog in the wheel.  I know that.  But nothing anyone has suggested has any teeth, and I can't let the issue rest.
So Paul and I call a staff meeting and put together a presentation... we say, reading… what is reading?  Reading is what you make a kid demonstrate back to you that he understands form a text.  He identifies, defines, locates, predicts, infers, relates, examples, concludes, compares, and paradigms.  It’s a set of skills based on critical thinking over a 4 to 6 year period… these skills have a progression toward a higher-order of thinking…you assess this formatively through standards that are ongoing.  You know ... Critical Thinking... You dig?
Everyone in the meeting scratches their head.
Hartenstein Bundles and Braces for Nuclear Fall-Out and Curriculum Guerrilla Warfare

Then we say, writing… what is writing?  Writing means composition and composition is the essay.   Essays are specific measured explanations of certain skills called "Benchmarks" that are assessed summatively over the same 4 to 6 year period where kids define, postulate, compare / contrast, cause / effect, list, sequence, quote, disprove, research, and persuade... all gradually increasing in depth and difficulty as the mind develops into either “Exceeds” or “Pass” or “Not Yet Pass.”  
You know…?  The Essay... Benchmarks?  Really?
Now there is even more head scratching... we bundle up in the frozen cement classroom and stare at one another until the administrators say they will get back to us, which they do a week later saying:
"It is our conclusion the English Department must teach more vocabulary."
I said, “Yeah, we sure do!”

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