Mister Teacher: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the 162nd edition of the Carnival of Education. We're coming to you live, deep in the heart of March Mathness, and with the big tournament mere days away, we've got analysis on many of the top stories of the week. As always, I'm joined by my easily excitable colleague and friend, Dick Vitale.
Dick Vitale: Thank you, Mister Teach! I'm so excited to get things started, baby! But I have to say, the tournament directors have really made things weird by adding a 65th team! How do you get half of 65?? Somebody needs some Fractorix, baby!
MT: And somebody needs some Valium. Remember Dick, basketball is next week; today we're focusing on educational topics, like this post about integrated math at Wayzata High School, from Matt the Scholar.
DV: Oooh, higher mathematics? When it comes to math, I understand 2-point buckets and the deep 3, baby! The kind of math teams will be doing next week in the Big Dance! But speaking of dancing, you gotta check out NYC Educator's post about Tango class going on in the hallway right outside his classroom!
MT: In the words of Pink Floyd... Hey, Teacher! Leave those dancers alone! And in the words of Lead from the Start, let your kids play! If you don't let them play, it might lead to ADHD!
DV: That's what I always say! Let the kids play, ref! Stop calling so many fouls! But you know something that's really foul with a capital F? This post from Joanne Jacobs that says a court ruled that the strip search of a 13-year-old honor student (accused of hiding Advil!!) was reasonable!
MT: Disgusting indeed. As is the prevalence of cheating in schools today. The Science Goddess reports that "Everybody's doin’ it," but not everyone's definition of cheating is the same.
DV: Like Bill Belichick and the Patriots don't think that videotaping other teams' play calls is cheating!
MT: Stick with the sports you know, Dick. But while we're on the topic of secret videotaping, Scott at Dangerously Irrelevant offers up seven YouTube videos for your viewing pleasure. What do they have in common? They are all short videos of teachers, taken during class with cell phone cameras. These vids will make you sad, angry, and sick to your stomach.
DV: Mister Teach, you're dragging us down, baby! Let's get back into the spirit of March Mathness! Here's something that will take us off the bubble, baby! Just look at these ideas from Music Makes Sense and Day by Day Discoveries about using parachutes and comic books in school! That's Awesome with a capital A, baby!
MT: You're right Dick, and here's another fun post from The Elementary Educator, where he asked his kids outright, "What do you really want to know?" He got some excellent inquiries, including "What does God look like?" "What is the Bermuda Triangle?" and "Does life exist off Earth?"
DV: Life HAS to exist on other planets, because how else can you explain Billy Packer? Life also goes on in other countries, and Mom Is Teaching has a few comments about how Finnish kids are outperforming American kids.
MT: Yeah, well, my guess is that the teachers over there don't have to worry about their students putting nasty videos up on FinTube. Dave on Ed might have something to say about Finland's success. In his Management by Fad he complains (rightfully so!) that when something works in another country, schools over here jump all over it and try to push it into play -- but they don't train the school personnel on how to implement it!
DV: Sounds like those guys need a T.O. baby! Hey, while we're still talking about other countries, I should mention The Tempered Radical’s success stories with using digital applications like VoiceThread and Ustream. His students even Skyped students in Denmark!
MT: Oooh, that sounds dirty! But Mark at elearning would be proud to know that he's not alone in considering the technological world that kids live in nowadays. And this should please Loonyhiker that some teachers at least are ready for 21st-century learning. China is part of the 21st century, but Mama Scheiss can't seem to decide is China purple or is it orange?
DV: When I was in school, we called it RED China! Sometimes Oklahoma seems like a foreign country too, baby! Check out this House bill that proposes to make opinions based on religious beliefs just as valid on tests as opinions based on science.
MT: That's from VJack, and while I don't agree with the theme of his blog, he certainly has a point with this post. You know, Oklahoma's definitely not the only state with some questionable practices. There's quite a brouhaha going on in California, due to a recent court ruling that basically outlaws homeschooling.
DV: Henry at Why Homeschool sounded off about that ruling, and Ms. Cornelius shared her thoughts as well. Also, in light of the recent uproar, Rose ponders whether a teaching credential is really necessary. I wonder what Governor Schwarzenegger says about all this, baby!
MT: Probably something like, "My kids will be tutored by the T-2000. Come with me if you want to learn..." before we leave Cali, Darren of Right on the Left Coast takes a few potshots at the latest issue of California Educator Magazine. Closer to home, here in Texas, we gave out the first round of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills last week.
DV: That's right! A lot of Texas teachers weighed in with thoughts and stories about the TAKS! Diaper Dandy Bellringers had ninth graders that day, and when they finished early, she had a hard time keeping them quiet! Also, Nun of the Above shares her thoughts on the TAKS.
MT: Being a Texas teacher myself, I had some Panic a-TAKS as well, and the always unbiased Mike in Texas writes about State Sponsored Torture.
DV: Mike in TX is on my all-Renaissance Team, baby! Just check out his medieval video!
MT: Texas isn't the only one with tests, though. NYC Student has a few Hot Sports Opinions about the Weighted Regents Tests in New York.
DV: You know, Mister Teach, I probably couldn't pass the TAKS or any of those tests even if I had a dictionary and an encyclopedia in front of me!
MT: I'm not going to disagree with you there, Dick. But if you ever have to take the SAT, the good folks at Accepted to College have a few tips on how to optimize your score.
DV: No way, baby! Me and the SAT are a mismatch! A big-time MNMer! You'd have to pay me some serious moolah to get me to take that test again!
MT: Well, no one's going to pay you to take the SAT, Dick. But Out in Left Field reports on a new charter school in New York City that's offering over $125K per year to prospective teachers. Lefty's question is, will money alone attract teachers if there's no assurance of quality?
DV: Sign me up, baby! Right now, I can barely afford lunch at Dairy Queen! But seriously, all that extra money makes me think of the Colossus of Rhodey’s post "I agree with Heather MacDonald." Ms. MacDonald is slamming a proposed incentive program to pay parents to care about their kids.
MT: Hmm… I went to high school with a girl named Heather MacDonald. I often agreed with her, especially whenever she wore those tight sweaters... But I digress. At least sweaters don't need to be tucked in, unlike most shirts at schools with a uniform policy, like mine.
DV: What about the kids who CAN'T tuck their shirts in? That will be more than ever, if Robman’s comments about the state of nutrition and selection in school cafeterias have any merit!
MT: You know who doesn't need to worry about school cafeterias? Homeschooled kids! Becky asks if homeschooled kids are still "real kids" since they don't follow the traditional path.
DV: They are as real as my overuse of the word baby, baby!! Sarah, another homeschooler, points out that we should be wary of relying on Google.
MT: That's good advice! Here's some more! Marc offers "The advice every teacher should give their students" and at Lifelong Learners, Mr. Needleman advises us on the right "Teacher's voice" to use when disciplining students.
DV: Lots of teachers giving advice, but at 3 Standard Deviations to the Left, IB a Math Teacher is seeking it! What do you do when students ask why you're treating other students differently?
MT: A good matchup would be IB and Old Andrew, who has a lot of kids who need to be treated differently in his current "good class." And guest poster Daniel Goleman at SharpBrains can perhaps shed some light, or at least some "Mindsight" on the thoughts behind some childhood feelings.
DV: My feeling right now is I want some sports, baby! Matthew K Tabor compares baseball analysis to educational analysis in "Baseball and Education are Kissing Cousins." That guy can flat out write, I'm tellin’ you!
MT: Well, Dick, speaking of flat, Pass the Torch regales us with the most recent exploits of Flat Stanley (in Europe!). And from the flat to the small, José Vilson imagines what Biggie Smalls might say about school today, were he still alive.
DV: I never followed the rappers, but if we're talking about people no longer with us, how about a crusty old president and a snack cake diva? Elementary History Teacher is making us learn history, baby!
MT: She's very creative, though the folks at Our Educational Books advise parents NOT to put the onus of teaching creative thinking on the teachers -- take on that responsibility yourself!
DV: For a second there, I thought you said anus, not onus, baby! Almost like Terrell at Alone on a Lamb who got too caught up in telling a story and didn't pay attention to how he was misspelling the word "Peninsula!"
MT: I'm sure he would have liked to have spellcheck at that moment. And since computers do so much for us nowadays, Happy Chyck wonders if her kids really need to spend time practicing writing bibliographies.
DV: Bibliographies! Don't they have something to do with books? The Median Sib talks about the advantages of using "Touchstone Texts," or books that the kids read many times over the course of a year so they become very familiar with them.
MT: My Touchstone Text is Learn Me Good, by John Pearson.
DV: Oooooh, blatant self-promotion, baby! You're like the presidential candidates, sneaking in your name wherever you can! John McCain's recent comments on autism and child vaccines led the Eduwonkette to ask if McCain was vaccinated against logic!
MT: I can't speak for McCain, but a few other contributors have made logical claims about the system in general. The English Teacher shares an opinion of why differentiation is necessary, while DaytonOS states public schools need radical reform but asks the question HOW do we as teachers and administrators achieve these goals?
DV: Bring in the Billionaires, baby! David Quintana shares a lengthy, in-depth conversation between the reporter and "five interested parties" discussing "the new world of educational philanthropy."
MT: There you go with the money talk again. You know, sometimes money takes a backseat to free coffee and bagels from the PTA. Though, as Miss Profe points out, some extra time in the workday would be nice, too. Just be sure not to give Edna Lee of Regurgitated Alpha Bits crappy gifts. Especially not tote bags.
DV: Gifts? How about Me-ander’s wish for a day WITHOUT a stink bomb going off in class? Or the concern for Dragonlady when her obvious illness causes a PITA (and you'll have to go there to see what THAT means) to take note?
MT: Let’s also take note of Allison's comment that it's not enough for youths to be mentored and "kept off the streets." She offers a few suggestions for what might be more effective.
DV: Veteran teacher Susan Graham is effective, and she has a few comments on education guru "Checker" Finn’s commentary on Education Week.
MT: On another note, Dr. Homeslice warns of print and media ads, hardly fair and unbiased, targeting teacher’s unions. The Columbus Education Agency has already responded.
DV: Regardless of those attacks, Matt Johnston hopes that Baltimore principals will live by the credo, "With great power comes great responsibility."
MT: And finally, our good friend Joel submits "Around the Blogosphere: NCLB,” a collection of links to posts regarding No Child Left Behind. And that just about does it. Dicky V, I'd like to thank you for being a character, as always.
DV: One more link, baby! M. Cruz of Lesson Plans shows us how to write a paragraph about a character!
MT: Very fitting, my friend. On behalf of all of us at Learn Me Good, I'd like to say it was an honor and a privilege to host the March Mathness Carnival of Education. I hope you've enjoyed it. A link to my post would be greatly appreciated, and I hope that everyone joins in on both the March Mathness Challenge as well as the March Monday Madness Contest. Next week's Carnival will be hosted by Joel at So You Want to Teach? E-mail him or use the handy dandy submission form.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast.