Stuart's Spectacular Students

This is dedicated to my amazing students. The goal is for each and every one of them to feel unstoppable by the time they walk out of the classroom door for the final time in May. This chronicles their journey; their own Chronicles of Self-Actualization.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Nothing But a Dreamer

Some leading educational experts say if teaching becomes more effective there will be classrooms in the future that reach 90% of the students. This is well above the less than 50% of all students being reached now, and it's questionable that those "being reached" are able to do much more than mimic what the book or teacher has taught/told them to think. I see this as a problem because we are able to get monkeys and parrots to do the same thing......So what are we doing with humans?

A fellow teacher saw me grading a giant stack of papers this morning and asked why I was still working so hard with less than a week to go before state tests. She said, "Do you believe in miracles?"

I paused for a second, letting probably 10,000 thoughts contemplate her query, and then responded with an unquestionable, "Yes!"

100% committed to believing in miracles is the only way to make miracles happen.

A few hours later in reading class we graded the last and hardest test of the book series we've been working on. Not one student failed. Not one! That's a 100% success rate right now in the present! (And most students scored a 100%)

It's taken having to make up to 3,500 different evaluations on student work each night, but it, and they, have been worth it.

5 evaluations per question answered:

1) Did they get the right answer?
2) Were they able to completely explain and prove why it is right?
3) Were the able to completely explain and prove why wrong answer number one is wrong?
4) Were the able to completely explain and prove why wrong answer number two is wrong?
5) Were the able to completely explain and prove why wrong answer number three is wrong?

10 questions answered per student = 50 separate evaluations
70 students answering 10 questions each (reading, math and science classes) = 700 questions
700 questions * 5 separate evaluations = 3,500 different evaluations and feedback on how they can learn and improve today.

And it's taken them, the reading class for instance, to spend 3 hours reading, searching, comprehending, analyzing, justifying and evaluating and most importantly.....thinking and applying those lesson before answering.....all for maybe a two-page story.

Instead of turning in one piece of paper with 10 lines on it (a,b,c or d), they have been turning in up to 10 pages filled with enough brain work to....pull off a miracle.

And after working hard to behave myself all year, I threw over a desk today in jubilation and excitement. 

So do I believe in miracles?

Yes I do.

Along with the miraculous effort it takes to make them happen.

And that the miracle I've been working so hard to get them to believe in, and that they now truly do...... is themselves.


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