You've created some really valuable content on Tumblr that a lot of teachers have benefited from! My EDD question for you is, what are some topics you don't know as much about that you'd like to see on Tumblr?
First of all, thank you for saying that about the content I try to push out. It cuts to the core of what I believe as an educator, and that’s collaboration. Sharing our resources allows us to create better resources. I don’t really create a lot of worksheets per se, but I try to send out relevant and engaging websites and tools and helpful hints for teachers to use, while being a bit sarcastic on the side. I’m interested in helping and collaborating, not commanding my information passively; it means a lot to me that you would make mention of that.
Four and a half things that I would like to see more about:
Language Objectives/Bilingual Education
I do not have a bilingual education endorsement, but I have a number of students who are on the WIDA scale. For someone who does not speak Spanish it’s tough for me to even come up with the various modifications and accommodations for my assignments even with those objectives clearly presented. Many of my co-workers who speak Spanish have no trouble at all coming up with resources, but it’s tougher for me. I know that the logic of Language Objectives is that you don’t NEED to know the language to help the students succeed, and I understand that, but what is out there? What resources are out there for ESL/ELL students? I saw a post going around that had a packet of activities linked to various WIDA standards, but beyond that Bilingual Education (for whatever language, in Chicago it’s usually Spanish or Polish) never seems to get a lot of attention.
Standards Based Grading
I know that there are whole books written on this topic, but truthfully I struggle with what a day-to-day SBG classroom looks like. I understand the rubrics and I get the point scales and whatnot. How do I put an assignment that assesses multiple standards into the gradebook? Do students redo assignments on their own time or during class? How do I explain this to parents who will see a 3.1 as a 3.1/100, not out of 4? (I figure I’ll just convert the percentage, but still.) I see a lot of kick-butt resources sent around without rubrics or grading criteria at the end, and I hope that eventually everything comes with a standards-based rubric attached. I haven’t had the opportunity to go into a class and just scope out what assignments look like and what grade reports look like, so anything on SBG I would LOVE if people were discussing more.
Social/Emotional Learning Standards
I say that knowing full well that often times these standards are an after-after-afterthought because of all the other content we have to cram in before testing. However, I see very little on my dash about Social/Emotional learning (save a few links about holistic education, which is a nice thought but the practicality of it in under-performing under-funded schools is questionable.) I would love to see ways that teachers incorporate those actual standards day-to-day. So often activities come off as a “one-day” sprint, not a whole-year race. This is a major place of weakness for me, as I try to have conversations and meet my students at the door, but beyond that I can’t honestly say I’ve made these SEL standards a priority.
This is an odd subject to write about because I don’t fully know what that would look like, but sharing resources on how to support yourself in this ever-increasingly political profession. From the ground up. What if a parent fights you on a book selection? What do you do if a principal retaliates for a personal slight and tanks an observation on you? If your district gives you a pink slip with no notice, what is your recourse? If a congressman makes an inane decision in your state, how can you fight it? I don’t see that really discussed a lot in the #edchum community because I think it’s really too depressing and scary to think about. Others have really good unions that keep them informed, others are not so lucky. This community is absolutely a place to share resources, and that’s what it should mostly be about. However, occasionally, we have to defend ourselves against political agendas or personal agendas, and some resources on handling those situations would be nice.
And a minor portion that doesn’t particularly deserve its own blurb: if you do something cool and put up a picture, INCLUDE INSTRUCTIONS. It’s like an awesome looking cupcake; it makes me say ’dude that cupcake looks awesome, but I don’t even know what went into it, so I won’t bother.’ I feel like so much about WHAT we share (myself included) is about content and where to pull texts, which is crucial, but I feel like we put all this “resource gasoline” in our car but then sit there in the driveway because we don’t know how to drive stick-shift.
That all being said, I can easily say I am a better teacher, and a better person, because of this #edchum community. I cannot thank you all enough for the materials, the kind words/tags, and the humor.