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On the Shoulders of Giants

Ariel Sacks

March 4, 2013

Is your class important? Conversation overheard on train…

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Riding the train home from work today, I was sitting in the vicinity of two 14 year old-looking boys I'd never seen before. They were having a somewhat raucous conversation about taking pictures and posting them and then deleting them and getting girls' numbers and that sort of thing. My tired mind tuned it out, and when I happened to tune back in, the conversation had taken a turn:

"Nah, I didn't do that either," said the first boy.

"I might fail that class," said the second boy.

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Ariel Sacks

February 25, 2013

Why must we evaluate reading with tricky multiple choice questions?

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I was writing a piece of my book about assessing students' reading levels. I lean towards lots of informal assessment, through conversation and observation, as well as authentic assessments in projects, discussions, and my students' reading notes. However, I appreciate the insight I get from conducting a formal reading assessment of my students. I've used QRI, DRA, running records, and Leveled Reading Assessments from Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.

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Ariel Sacks

January 31, 2013

Flipped hierarchy

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I often dream of a flipped hierarchy in education, where at the top of the pyramid are the classrooms with teachers and students, and below us are all of the other people in supportive roles, holding up the most important work we do. 

If you are not a teacher, but you're looking at this image, thinking, "Yes, that's exactly how it is," then you should try talking to some teachers.  

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Ariel Sacks

January 27, 2013

The era of the lockdown drill

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My mother used to tell me about the shelter drills she had to do as a kid growing up in the early cold war era. It was foreign to me, and I understood only the part of it that resembled the fire drills I grew up doing in school. Friends in California also had earthquake drills. Today, I experienced my first lockdown drill, and it felt like the beginning of a new era.

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