Thursday, January 3, 2013
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Anyone who thinks that the Texas Legislature is going to restore the deficits they stuck to the Texas public school system is merely fooling themselves. All you have to do is look at who controls the political process in Texas to know that there will be more dark days ahead. Yes, that's right. I am a Texan and I am not a Democrat and I am calling out the Republican Party. Let me go even farther. I grew up a Republican and I have voted Republican in almost every election since I turned 18. This year, I chose to vote Independent. I simply cannot vote for someone who represents being the enemy of public schools everywhere and I couldn't vote for a man who continues to lay the blame for his lackluster presidency on George W. Bush.
I am going to state this quickly and simply. Republicans do not want our educational system to succeed. They would love to go to a voucher system or charter school system that pays teachers less and cuts programs for students. The best way to do that is to continue to put budgetary hardships on school districts. They argue that private schools and charter schools out perform public schools but they fail to understand that they also do not educate everyone the way that public schools do. If private schools were forced to take every kid regardless of disability, apathetic parents, or criminal background I think they would fare no better than any other district.
I hope I am wrong but I do believe that the Texas legislature will play their political games and tell everyone that they are being fiscally prudent. Yeah right.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Add to the above statistics that teachers no longer feel that they are in control of the education they present to their students due to state mandated standardized testing and you can see the roots of dissatisfaction. Teachers are required to teach to a test instead of teaching real skills nowadays as seen in other posts I have made on this blog. Could this be why teachers are so pessimistic? Surprisingly, more teachers (43%) than parents (39%) are pessimistic that the level of student achievement will be better 5 years from now.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Many books list the reading level of the book right on the cover and even tell you what age children it is appropriate for. Other books have the information you are looking for near the barcode on the back cover. But, what do you do to determine the reading level of a book if the information is not listed?
Many teachers use a method of leveling a book on the spot.There are many methods that teachers have been using in their own classroom to determine if a book is an appropriate book for that certain child. Leveling a book on the spot is usually done to see if it fits a certain child.
The "five finger rule" is an easy way to level a book for an individual child. Open the book up to a random page and have the child start reading. Every time the child makes a mistake, hold up one finger. When the child makes five mistakes before getting to the end of the page, this book is above their reading level. A mistake can be not knowing a word or even leaving the word out.
The reason the methods like the "5 finger rule" have been around and continue to be used is because they apply book leveling to an individual child, which only makes sense. All the book levels in the world won't do you any good if that child can't pick up the book and read it.
Another method is to go through about 5 pages of the book and see if you can find 20 vocabulary words that a child does not know. If you can find 20 or more words, this book is over their head and should not be read at this time.
There's millions of different ways to check, at a glance, if a child should read a certain book. The examples I have given so far mainly gravitate around fluency. But comprehension should not be ignored, because, ultimately, it is what matters most.
Many people have the child read to them out of the book and check for fluency when reading. The problem with this method is that they may not comprehend the book at all. Many students are excellent word callers but do not comprehend what they are reading and others read very slow but comprehend everything. Be careful using this as a quick way to determine the reading level of a book.
Having a child read to you for fluency and then doing a comprehension check will only work if you have a knowledge of the book and that can be hard when you have many students interested in many different topics.
You can use the Internet to find reading levels of books too. The Teacher Book Wizard by Scholastic is a good source. It lists the levels of hundreds of books.
The Fry Readability Formula uses a graph and can be found at Wikipedia. It is a good way to also find a level of a book and should be checked out, but if you want to find a quick way to determine the reading level of a book and you do not have time to use the Internet, I suggest you use the "Five Finger Method"
I hope this was helpful and that you can get some good out of it.