Mr. McNamar's Mail Time
If I lacked confidence, my first attempt at a mailbag might cause me to never blog again. It's a sad tale. I went from being a 2006 Best Blog of the Year Finalist to having only one person ask me a question. Don't worry Sport's Guy, I'm not much competition for you.
Now to the mailbag:
What's your idea for the perfect use of the results of standardized tests?
I feel that standardized tests are much like instant replay in baseball. People fear that they will ruin the integrity of the classroom; but the fact that schools keep getting it wrong by graduating unprepared students creates the need to implement them. Here's how I would implement them:
1. Move the test to the first month of school.
2. Use tests that allow for quick use of gathered information.
3. Inform instruction based on the skill sets of the class.
If a braineater landed on Margaret Spellings' head, what would happen?
Re-sist temp--ta-tion...Re-sist temp--ta-tion... Seriously though, she's got to have something going on up there. And by the way, I did a youtube search for her appearance on Jeopardy--came up empty. I don't know why, but I couldn't find her clips.
And anyone able to get that position has to be smart enough to at least know the right people!
If we want to keep our jobs, what books should we recommend to high school students who ask us for suggestions?
Suppose we didn't have to give them all the same books, that students actually had interest in reading outside of the classroom; the first book I'd recommend is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This is the one book I would choose to keep in every student's curriculum.
In general though, I would respond first with a question of my own: "What are you interested in?"
For students who have never valued reading, or, haven't been taught by parents to value reading, it is important to allow them to read books that don't have the literary merit of the classics. If they don't engage in reading what they are interested in, then I don't believe we can engage them in the more complex classics.
On a different note, I would recommend that every student read a book like StrengthsFInder 2.0 by Tom Rath, or How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath. This non-fiction genre provides students with the skill of self-reflection, which is essential if we ever want to influence them.
Okay, thanks Joe for using the mailbag. I enjoyed my first opportunity, and I hope in the future it works out even better.