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I started today thinking a lot about how teachers are expecting students to be able to participate, without modifying the way they teach. I see a lot of teachers who are modifying and adapting the assessments, but I am wondering what they are modifying for materials and teaching methods. How are they assuring that those students are able to understand what they are teaching? One student, AA for example, is stuck on learing vocabulary terms for Human Geography. He is oblivious to their meaning in context or how to use the vocabulary to demonstrate his own understanding of the concepts. It’s very clear that little attention has been paid to his learning. In no way am I blaming the teachers. It’s not their fault. Hell, I barely get time to ponder these problems within my own classes. But we cannot keep going in this direction in hopes that they will someday catch on. This is just one student out of many who fall into this category. I did get to watch the end of the Liverpool game with my students after shool. It was fun putting the game up on the projector and taking a few moments (more like the like the last 13 minutes of the game) to not focus on school or work. I wish the games were a bit later in the day so we could get a full match in. One thing that hit me like a sack of jello on the way home was a continuation of my thoughts from yesterday. I was considering testing and what its role is in student learning. I think I mentally came to a happy medium by considering my job to be short term memory. My job is to teach and get the students the information checking that learning using formative assessments along the way. Their job is then to convert the knowledge into long term memory by reviewing, studying, and synthesizing the information at home over the course of the semester. With this grand epiphany I realized a few things that will need to change in my courses moving forward. First, we have to teach study skills explicitly. Even though we are talking about seniors who “should” have learned these things a long time ago, it’s never a guarentee. Second, we need to stop collecting cornell notes at the end of the day. While we do give them back after 24 hours of grading time, this window of time is critical for students to be able to review their notes and study them (which by the way is the original purpose of cornell notes). Lastly, we need to ensure that students are obtaining the information using formative measures and conferring. This quarter gave me almost no time to work with students personally and work through concepts that they were struggling with. This is clearly reflected in their test scores. All in all, I have a lot of leg work ahead of me. Also, I hate leg days. Squats were never my forte. It is going to take some time to change the system that I am currently operating within.

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