I’ve been saying this for years.
Don Gifford, Kansas Department of Education social studies consultant, has been saying it.
Diane Debacker, Education Commissioner for the state of Kansas, is saying it.
What are teachers supposed to do? Just teach. Breathe. Don’t worry about the test.
What we’re trying to do is change the conversation . . . But we have lived for the past 12 or 13 years with it being all about assessment results, so it’s going to take us a little bit of time.
In an article published in this morning’s Wichita Eagle, DeBacker shared her feelings and suggestions about the new type of test being rolled out this spring. Designed to reflect new Common Core state standards, the new assessments will feature more complex questions and “technology-enhanced” items that require students to enter numerical answers, drag and drop items into correct categories, or highlight portions of text that support a central idea.
The tests will be shorter this year but questions are richer and more complex, designed to better measure students’ critical thinking skills. Read more
Okay. Not sure if I should be impressed or freaked out by the fact that the founder of MapStory was also one of the original officers of In-Q-Tel. In-Q-Tel, as we all know, is the venture capital group working to keep the CIA equipped with the latest in information technology.
I’m gonna go with freakishly impressed.
Because MapStory looks like a very handy tool for teachers looking for ways to incorporate high-level discipline specific thinking skills into their geography and history instruction. And I’m sure there’s not any chance of teachers getting caught up in some sort of illegal international information gathering syndicate through MapStory.
Yesterday I shared some thoughts about using maps to to help generate great questions related to the Kansas state social studies standards and the Common Core. Part of what I didn’t talk about was the last part: Read more
I get the chance to work with all sorts of extraordinary people doing what I do.
Today you meet one.
Don Gifford is the Social Studies Consultant for the Kansas Department of Education and is responsible for the coordination of social studies standards, assessment, and instruction in the state. He spends much of his time working with Kansas districts and teachers to improve teaching and learning.
He’s been herding cats for the last 18 months getting the new state standards written and approved by the state Board. And as a member of the herd, I know how hard that has been! In this podcast, Don talks about the new standards, the perfect social studies classroom, and shares two pieces of advice.
I often get the opportunity to talk with teachers about teaching and best practice. It’s one of my favorite things. Small groups, large groups, one on one. It doesn’t matter. Having conversations about the art and science of teaching is always a good thing.
And I hear myself sharing with teachers one particular catchphrase over and over:
data, information, knowledge, wisdom
It’s basically the steps we need to take when we plan instruction.
- Train kids to collect data.
- Train kids to organize the data into patterns.
- Train kids to make conclusions based on those patterns.
- Train kids to act on their conclusions.
Yeah. I know. Simple on paper, hard to implement in real life. But as teachers, it seems as if we often stop after the first or second step. Read more