Conversations #54 Nov. 1, 2009

Post-Show description: 

This week, Lisa and Maria responding to a topic posted in Plurk by Beth Knittle - the purpose of education.  Beth also posted a blog entry as well. Another blog post worth reading is from David Warlick, writtern in Jan. 2009. As always, we had a good conversation in the stream and the chat room. Of course we strayed a bit from the original topic and shared Mission statements from our schools and wondered where the mission statements came from, if staff were fully aware of what was said and how well did the school live up to their mission.

Chat Log

11:33:00 Lisa Parisi : Stream is up
11:33:05 MariaK : we're streaming on ETT a only - no ustream
11:33:31 PeggyG : hi-was just looking for the stream-can hear you now
11:33:49 MariaK : lisa has an echo in my headset
11:34:20 MariaK : who will join us this morning-
11:34:21 PeggyG : my browser crashed just when I started to join you so I'm using a different browser. :-)
11:34:29 Lorna : GM
11:34:32 MariaK : we'd like more folks in the conversation today
11:34:35 Lorna : Lisa
11:34:38 MariaK :  I'm still feeling not so good
11:34:51 Cathy E : I hear Lisa
11:35:02 PeggyG : so sorry to hear that Maria!! you've been sick for awhile now!!!
11:35:19 Maureen : @peggyg- Mine did too... FF
11:35:37 PeggyG : me too Maureen :-) but I'm sure it's because of all of the tabs I had open!!
11:35:37 Lorna : I can hear you very well
11:35:52 PeggyG : can only hear Lisa talking
11:36:01 Lorna : correct only Lisa
11:36:09 Lisa Parisi :
11:36:17 Cathy E : My weather was 80 and sunny yesterday - today 60 and blowing hard from the NE
11:36:24 Maureen : I can hear Lisa...with a big echo
11:36:47 PeggyG : beautiful weather in Phoenix AZ right now--it was 84 degrees yesterday :-)
11:37:05 MariaK : restarting the call
11:37:17 MariaK : could you hear me ever during any of this?
11:37:20 Cathy E : only Lisa
11:37:25 PeggyG : yes only Lisa
11:37:26 Lorna : only Lisa
11:37:27 MariaK : grrrr
11:37:32 Maureen : no - just LIsa
11:38:33 MariaK : stream should be up and can you hear me?
11:38:37 Maureen : no
11:38:41 Lisa Parisi : Can we both be heard now?
11:38:52 PeggyG : now I hear both of you
11:38:57 Maureen : I can hear Maria
11:39:01 Maureen : now both
11:39:12 Lorna : can hear both
11:39:27 Cathy E : got both of you now
11:39:33 PeggyG : don't forget about the delay
11:39:48 PeggyG : audio is good for both of you now :-)
11:40:04 Maureen : Hi Colleen
11:40:05 colleenk : Hi all!
11:40:12 Lisa Parisi : Hi Colleen!
11:40:20 PeggyG : Hi Colleen! We're finally in the same chat together :-)
11:40:31 MariaK : hey there - it's been a wjile
11:40:35 MariaK : while
11:40:39 colleenk : @PeggyG Hehe - it's been a while.
11:41:32 Lisa Parisi : Who is going to join our skype call?
11:41:59 Maureen : I used to think that was the goal... until my son quit 4 colleges.
11:42:11 Lisa Parisi : Now what Maureen?
11:42:17 PeggyG : this is such a big subject!!
11:42:27 Lorna : purpose was to get a job but now that is not working
11:42:40 colleenk : To get to grad school
11:42:45 Maureen : He hurt his back logging in CA, went back to school, got his piece of paper, now working for US Forest service
11:43:09 PeggyG : I love that John Dewey quote!! Makes sense to me!
11:44:14 Maureen : Both of my kids are learning more now than they did when they were in school. Now they are learning because they want to.  But you need to have a job to "get by"
11:44:19 Lorna : I so agree with getting by comment
11:44:26 PeggyG : most of the vision/mission statements written by schools refer to life long learning
11:45:23 Lorna : school is a process that you have to get through. Too little credit is given to - forgive the term - real life learning
11:45:42 MariaK : can we have some of your voices in the skype call?
11:45:53 Maureen : I loved school, until I was a senior, in HS, in college and then in grad school. I was done with following the rules and knew or thought I knew what I wanted. Now I learn every day because I want to...
11:46:21 Lorna : I am stirring the sauces and getting lunch ready - :)
11:46:37 Lorna : waiting for familiy conversations LOL
11:46:39 colleenk : @Lisa @Maria Do youthink your students see learning differently as a result of being in your classes?
11:47:19 Lorna : WOW 1986
11:47:40 Maureen : I hated most of the conferences I went to- most EC conferences were done by women in pink jackets and I felt like they wanted us to hold hands and sing kumbayah.  First one I got motivated by was Lillian Katz.
11:48:13 Lisa Parisi : Yes, Colleen, I do.
11:48:18 Lisa Parisi : At least I hope so.
11:48:30 PeggyG : so many people talk about how education really hasn't changed over the past 200 years!! There has been an interesting discussion on the Middle-L listserve about this.
11:48:40 Lisa Parisi : My kids go home and research topics we discuss.  They create and connect and bring back ideas.
11:48:47 Lisa Parisi : I never did anything like that.
11:50:01 kathbc : ustream says off air and can't get sound, but am enjoying reading the comments.
11:50:12 Lisa Parisi : no ustream today.  go to etta
11:51:23 PeggyG : Marion Brady wrote a column for the Washington Post about the "false assumptions" we have about education and they were really interesting! I found myself agreeing with almost all of them. He shared excerpts on the Middle-L list.
11:51:58 Maureen : @peggy I don't think I am on that list- can you share the url?
11:52:26 PeggyG : sure-it's a listserve for Middle School teachers
11:52:30 Cathy E : I took some test in Junior High that told my parents that I would be able to go to college and make C's - so my first two years of college I had a perfect 2.0 - a C in everything
11:53:05 PeggyG : [email protected]
11:53:10 Maureen : My dad was the reader, mom only read cookbooks
11:53:21 Maureen : Thx Peggy
11:53:30 MariaK : lisa - can you hear
11:53:47 colleenk : That's ok. I still love ya, Lisa.
11:54:02 Maureen : no Lisa
11:54:16 Maureen : she's back
11:54:38 PeggyG : "False Assumption 10: The familiar, traditional "core corriculum" in near-universal use in America's classrooms since 1893 is the best-possible tool for preparing the young for an unknown, unpredictable, increasingly complex and dangerous future."
11:55:52 Maureen : @peggy g- is there a core curriculum? I think that there is, but I also realize that I have a very sheltered western view of core curr.
11:55:52 Cathy E : My daugheter is in YellowStone on her we speak
11:55:54 PeggyG : This is the URL to sign up for the Middle-L listserv 
11:56:13 Lisa Parisi : Thank you Peggy.
11:56:16 PeggyG : yes there is a core curriculum--it's the state/national standards
11:56:44 PeggyG : at least that's what schools are required to follow in developing their curriculum and assessments
11:56:51 Maureen : But is that not a western view of what is important to know... how does it differ from other countries?
11:56:54 Lorna : this same topic is going on in the People for education  parent ning 
11:57:58 PeggyG : @Maureen-don't you think other countries also have a core curriculum?
11:58:15 Maureen : @peggy g yes, but wonder about differences.
12:00:29 Maureen : Lisa, although I kind of agree with you- in math/science there is a progression of skills, courses. If you don't get on the right track in MS, then you can't take the stuff you need later. How do we get around the skills based curriculum?
12:00:46 Lorna :
12:01:26 PeggyG : This is the link for the archives for November where this discussion is taking place. The post from Marion Brady started it all and called it "Autonomy and Job Stress" and then it became accountability :-)
12:02:28 PeggyG : E.D. Hirsch thinks so :-) there is a body of information everybody needs to know by grade level!!! I don't agree.
12:02:56 Maureen : What makes you an educated person in the 21st century?
12:02:56 PeggyG :
12:03:12 PeggyG : that's a link to Core Knowledge by E.D. Hirsch
12:03:37 Maureen : Nah- we need to know why- the stories of the people.... :-)
12:03:41 PeggyG : but that is NOT what's on the tests, Lisa :-)
12:05:16 PeggyG : he says "core knowledge" is based on premise that this grade by grade core of common learning is necessary to esnure a sound and fair elementary education!!!
12:05:58 Lorna : does core knowledge equal the 3R's
12:06:19 PeggyG : educated person in the 21st century--knows how to learn and find out, problemsolver, critical thinker, unlearning-relearning
12:06:45 PeggyG : no Lorna it's more than the 3 R's--lots of "facts"
12:06:50 Maureen : parochial
12:07:55 Maureen : One of our english teachers brings bible stories and many other references into discussions of lit.  I worried too that my kids would not have the background.
12:08:33 PeggyG : common language certainly contributes to learning--knowing the language (not English) but terminology--there's a common language in Twitter :-)
12:10:17 Maureen : But Maria, this assumes that everyone has access- not a reality yet
12:10:33 MariaK : right- maureen
12:10:45 PeggyG : when you want to know you go to someone or someplace (often on the internet) to find the answers--like in your mythology example
12:11:14 PeggyG : creative thinking is definitely not rewarded on the standardized tests!
12:11:50 Lorna : When I want to know something I ask Peggy :) :D 
12:12:03 Maureen : I've tried to make multiple choice quizzes for my MS kids. I stink at making them... always find out that there is more than one answer.
12:12:24 PeggyG : that's funny Lisa! that's what I told my pre-service teachers who were preparing for the teacher exam--don't think too hard!
12:12:45 PeggyG : and when Lorna asks me I turn to the internet and my PLN :-)
12:12:50 Maureen : Isn't that an odd thing to tell kids not to think!
12:13:08 PeggyG : pathetic Maureen!!! it's not a good thing!
12:13:12 Cathy E : Maria - I want to know what you will do with your kindergarten class for Thanksgiving that uses technology?
12:14:14 PeggyG : multiple choice assumes there is ONE right answer--the best answer
12:14:45 PeggyG : authentic assessment via projects is much more meaningul
12:14:56 PeggyG : meaningful -- oops
12:15:43 PeggyG : do you all have mission/vision statements for your school? do you know what it is and does it "drive" your curriculum/teaching?
12:16:00 MariaK :
12:17:27 PeggyG : that's a great blog post by David Warlick!! Thanks for sharing it!
12:17:37 Maureen : This is our school's(independent) mission " Berkshire Country Day School exists to inspire the individual promise of every student, that each may become an exemplary citizen of the world."
12:18:11 Lorna : The conversations need to expand into other sectors than education
12:18:18 Lorna : to make change
12:18:19 PeggyG : great mission statement! how does it get "translated" in day to day teaching/learning?
12:19:21 Maureen : @peggyg... sometimes very well, sometimes not so well. We have always been a "classical education" school. So traditions die hard, but we have some pretty wonderful teachers.
12:19:29 PeggyG : I think that is what drives us all--making the world a better place...making a difference
12:19:54 MariaK : our mission is to inspireeach student to think, to learn, to achieve, to create and to care.
12:20:10 PeggyG : @Maureen--that is so true!! it seems to hard to change the educational institution!
12:21:00 PeggyG : I love that mission statement Maria!
12:21:30 Maureen : It seems like most mission statements are wonderful, vague pieces. It's really how you do it.
12:21:48 PeggyG : Maria just said what I was thinking!! When do teachers get the time to create curriculum that matches the mission statement?
12:22:05 Lisa Parisi : The Herricks School District, a Community of Learners, through its educational programs, promotes intellectual curiosity and creative expression, values diversity, and measures success by one's personal development and contribution to society. 
12:22:55 PeggyG : how many teachers really know their school mission statement?
12:23:40 PeggyG : they aren't measureable statements but they provide the underlying philosophy and assumptions about purpose
12:23:53 Lisa Parisi : I don't agree Peggy.
12:24:04 Lisa Parisi : I think it's a nice idea but it isn't reality.
12:24:20 Maureen : How much time do teachers get to reflect? None at my school
12:24:34 PeggyG : every employee for the Ritz Carlton carries a card with the mission statement and steps required to meet it and they ALL know it :-)
12:25:03 Lorna : thanks for the grt8 conversation
12:25:06 PeggyG : @Lisa-do you think your mission statement is measureable? I think you have to break it down into action plans
12:25:30 Lisa Parisi : It could be Peggy, but not by state tests.
12:25:39 Maureen : We just went thru a year of strategic planning, etc.. and generated a bunch of paper. But the reality is that it takes a long time to change anything and altho the words are nice- we are not there...
12:25:50 PeggyG : that's the key Lisa--it's where you want to go but not how you're going to get there--that's the action plan
12:26:13 Maureen : @peggyg- I have to turn in a 3 year action plan for tech.
12:26:23 PeggyG : I've done a lot of researching about school mission statements and they are all very similar :-)
12:26:43 Maureen : Unfortunately the action plans require a paradigm shift and money
12:27:05 PeggyG : when the standardized tests start measuring the kinds of things that appear in mission statements we will be making progress
12:27:17 PeggyG : definitely @Maureen!
12:27:32 colleenk : Who writes the mission statements?
12:27:32 Cathy E : Here is my elem school's Mission:  The Nags Head Elementary School learning community members will take creative steps in setting and achieving educational goals, will fully participate in best-practice instruction, will integrate technology, and will honor our unique needs and backgrounds, while forming relevant partnerships with the larger community and the world.
12:27:57 PeggyG : but isn't it commonly accepted that we should have goals and specific plans to reach those goals?
12:28:07 Maureen : We don't have standardized tests like the MCAS, but the kids take ERBS and they are used as placement and for diagnostics. One of the real goals is to get the kids into good secondary schools.
12:28:23 MariaK : I love the "honor our unique needs and backgrounds.... "
12:28:26 PeggyG : very interesting statement @CathyE!! it's rare to see technology in mission statements!
12:28:46 MariaK : I wonder who helped the tech get into that mission?
12:29:11 Cathy E : ;) 
12:29:37 Maureen : I think my head of school thinks that getting IWBS into every classroom would be a wonderful thing. He isn't looking at real change- just the trappings.
12:30:11 PeggyG : everyone at our school contributed to the mission statement including Site Council, parents, teachers, support staff, even students
12:30:21 Cathy E : Ours was a process - whole staff- we are revisiting it now
12:31:07 colleenk : @Maria Did writing it together help you reach its goals?
12:31:25 Maureen : Funny how the mission statements don't say make AYP or talk about NCLB.
12:31:27 PeggyG : we spent a lot of time translating the school mission statement into an annual action plan but I'm not sure it was more than a paper exercise
12:32:40 Maureen : We did a wordle with all the words generated from all the stakeholders
12:32:57 PeggyG : it's what gets measured that counts--that's why the mission statements are difficult to implement
12:33:17 Lisa Parisi :
12:33:18 Cathy E : We had a wonderful experience with out visiting team last spring
12:33:20 PeggyG : what a great idea Maureen!! I'll bet that was an interesting Wordle!!
12:33:51 Lisa Parisi : Thank you all for coming.
12:34:06 colleenk : Thank you! Have a good week everyone.
12:34:14 PeggyG : Maria-can you answer Cathy's question about Kdg. Thanksgiving activities?
12:34:45 PeggyG : great conversation! have a great week!
12:34:49 MariaK : missed the question
12:35:10 PeggyG : ok--it wasn't on the topic for today but would have been fun to hear :-)
12:35:28 Cathy E : YOu know me- I'm always off topic
12:35:48 PeggyG : :-) not al all CathyE!!! I was interested too!!
12:36:03 MariaK : write is again
12:36:14 Cathy E : Want to know what you are doing in your class with Thanksgiving and technolgoy.
12:36:33 Cathy E : I'm looking for something to steal
12:36:40 MariaK : Just so you know... I don't do much with Thanksgiving....
12:37:10 MariaK : have a hard time with pilgrim/indian myths ....
12:37:14 Cathy E : Holidays are a big part of our K-curriculum
12:37:29 Cathy E : I'm a myth buster
12:37:37 PeggyG : @CathyE-you can probably take any activity you have done and find a way to do it with technology :-)
12:38:01 PeggyG : could they make a scrapblog about how they celebrate Thanksgiving?
12:38:04 MariaK : I try to avoid personal... for halloween - I usually study about bones, skeletons, bats, spiders or something as it comes up from the kids
12:38:26 MariaK : I usually do a Thankful...voicethread or slide show
12:38:38 PeggyG : that's a great idea Maria!
12:38:39 MariaK : based on a book first
12:38:49 Cathy E : Perfect - that is what I needed
12:38:58 MariaK : or a thank you for the.... something or other
12:39:23 PeggyG : I always love reading the kids' stories/recipes about how they think something is made--like how to cook a turkey :-)
12:39:29 MariaK : There is a Raffi song, I think, Thank you for the Sun
12:39:47 PeggyG : Yes that is a great Raffi song!
12:39:58 MariaK : and then there is another song we sing, by rick Charette - thanks alot....very soft and thoughtful
12:40:16 Cathy E : Ok I'm sure one of the teachers has that.
12:40:21 MariaK : okay - now you are set...
12:40:30 Cathy E : love ya
12:40:39 PeggyG : awesome!!