Saturday, March 31, 2012

TC2 Teacher Job Fair! April 17th

Teacher Candidates completing their teacher licensure programs at TC2 partner colleges and universities are invited to attend a Teacher Job Fair on Tuesday, April 17 from 4:30-6:30 at Hamline University in the Bush Student Center Ballroom (2nd Floor), 1561 Hewitt Avenue, St. Paul. TC2 partner institutions include:
Representatives of the Minneapolis public school district and the St. Paul public school district will be available. Attend the event to learn how your career goals may fit their current and future hiring needs.

Representatives will have the opportunity to identify candidates to interview during the fair, so bring copies of your resume with you!

You do not need to register ahead of time for this event. Parking is located in the visitor parking lot at the corner of Hewitt Ave and Pascal Street in St. Paul. See the TC2 website for a flyer for contact information if you have any questions about the event.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

teaching Trayvon Martin

Sometimes things happen that captivate the attention of people in powerful ways. Along with many others, I have been thinking a lot about Trayvon Martin's death. In a middle school and then a high school earlier this week, I overheard several conversations outside of class between students discussing the case and their responses to the murder, and there have been events in schools and college campuses all week to help people make sense of what happened. Along with the huge response by young people to the Kony video posted on YouTube a few weeks ago, there are a lot of discussion of race, power, rights, and justice happening with our youth lately.

It can be complex and scary to hold discussions of these topics with students. Navigating conversations about race can be uncomfortable and messy. These conversations get charged with emotion and, I know in my own experience until I was more confident in leading these discussions, it can seem easier to shut it down and move on. But the students in our classes are concerned about and engaged in this case, and need space to have structured dialogues with people who can help them make sense of these issues that, for some, have daily implications for their lives.

Below are some resources if you are interested in having conversations about this case with your students.
  • The Learning Network blog at the NY Times has a guest blog post written by a 19-year-old black teenager's response to the case. 
  • Teaching Tolerance has an insightful and powerful blog posting related to Trayvon's death. 
  • A teacher's blog post provides links to some helpful readings to understand the context of the outrage over this murder. 
  • Though written for teacher educators, this article might have some helpful ideas to think about for leading discussions around this case.
Have your students been talking about this case? How have you navigated these conversations in the classroom? Any advice to other teachers wanting to find a way to start these dialogues?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

upcoming education job fair_April 23

Next month, on Monday April 23, the 2012 MN Education Job Fair will be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The fair will be held from 10-3, though interviewing with districts may occur through 5 pm that afternoon.

This is an event open only to MN college and university students and alumni. In order to register, you must go through your college or university's career services office. You can find contact information for MN college and university career service offices here. Your college/university career services office may be planning an information session to help you get prepared for the fair, so visit the website asap to get that on your calendar.

The MN Education Job Fair site has a very helpful pdf download available with tips to help you prepare for the job fair. Look under the "Student" section on the left-hand site and click "Prepare for the fair." Aside from researching districts that will be there and completing applications ahead of time for the districts you are most interested in, the preparation sheet advises job seekers to have copies of an outstanding resume to hand out and prepare (and practice!) a 30 second "elevator speech," giving the highlights of who you are and your experience. You can search this blog for posts labeled "job search" for more helpful tips in prep for the Job Fair.

This is a great opportunity for folks about to graduate or those who have already finished but are still looking for a job or looking to switch positions. If any readers went last year, what are some words of advice for attendees?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

analyzing data

When I was first teaching and the principal would ask us to "analyze our student data," I wasn't always so sure what that meant. It wasn't until I went to get my MA that I really had explicit instruction on what that process really looked like.

In this season of assessment, you might be getting requests to analyze data. It might be standardized test data, like MAP or AimsWEB, or it could be common assessments from your team or grade level. Whatever data you are looking at, I've found the following guiding questions helpful in starting the process of analysis.
  1. What the purpose of the assessment data we are analyzing?

  • If a standardized assessment, review the test specs or search online for information about what specifically this assessment is designed to measure. 
  • If a teacher-developed assessment, list how this assessment was created and for what purpose. 
  2 What do we know as a result of examining this data?
  • List facts.
  • List quantifiable statements.
  • List statements that cannot be debated or argued about.
  3.    What do we think as a result of examining this data?
  • List what we think this tells us about what students know and can do.
  • List what we think this data suggest that students are struggling with.
  • List the kinds of instruction we think are going on.
  • List hunches we have. 
  4.    What don’t we know as a result of examining this data?
  • List information that we cannot know just by looking at the data and, therefore, should not consider in our decision.
  5.    What do we want to know as a result of examining this data?
  • List questions that we have about student performance.
  • List questions that we have about teachers' instruction.
  • Note other information we may need to look at.  
  6.    How does/will this data help us improve instruction?
  • The point of looking at data is to prepare and plan for the most effective instruction to meet student needs. List some ways we might do that.

 Do you have a framework to help you analyze student data that works for you?

Adapted from Moran, M. C. (2007). Differentiated Literacy Coaching. ASCD.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

moving beyond disillusionment

A few months have passed since I last wrote about the common phases of first year teachers. At this point in the year, firmly into second semester or starting your final trimester soon, there is a new excitement. Some of it is overwhelming (I only have 57 days left in the school year and I need to accomplish all this?!?!), but some of it comes from taking a look at what you've done so far and how much your students have grown. You might be feeling more comfortable with the curriculum and the workings of the building. Maybe you've developed a unit you're particularly excited to try. Maybe, just maybe, you're able to reflect on what you'd like to do next year. Hopefully, you have moved out of disillusionment and into rejuvenation.

For today's post, I wanted to share an article written by a first year teacher, because I think it will speak to many of you. Posted on the New Teacher Center's website, I think that the experience of this new teacher will strike a chord with you.

How are you feeling at this point in the school year? Are you moving beyond disillusionment?