Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wednesday Wanderings

1. We have four weeks and three days until summer.

2. It was cooler today. There is something just not right about temps. in the 90s in April.

3. I am almost finished with the blanket bunny I am crocheting for the newest baby in the family, Hunter Cade.

4. I found "fun fur" crochet yarn on clearance at Wal-mart for a dollar a ball--I paid nearly $5. last time I bought some to dress up flipflops for the granddaughters.

5. Someone has asked me for advice, and I don't quite feel that I know what to, me speechless? Nah, can't be true. I'll have to think of *something*.

6. Next week is the 3rd week of the 6 weeks, so I need to get my e-gradebook set up for the last reporting period.

7. Wick is making chicken nuggets for supper.

8. I've been discovering new blogs, by clicking on blogs listed by people whose blogs I already read. What a variety of styles and subjects and personalities!

9. One of the tunes played at Aidan's violin guild Sunday is still stuck in my head. What do people say now that we no longer play records, and the expression "like a broken record" doesn't really mean anything to a generation who only knows CDs and music downloads?

10. As Katie has been playing with her "English" accent, and using bits of vocabulary from Pride & Prejudice, I am hearing expressions my grandmother used to say. For example, she would say, "I'm fixing to go to the store directly, if you want to go." The "fixin to" part is very southern, of course, but "directly" meaning immediately or very soon is so English. Wonder how many other expressions we think of as southern or American idioms are really a vestige of our English heritage?

No real point to all this, just meandering and thinking--I started to say thinking out loud, but actually it's on blog ;)

TAKS testing

For those of you who do not live in Texas, TAKS stands for Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. Before the kids take TAKS, we are supposed to teach TEKS--Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. The operating assumption on the part of those who designed the tests is that all students will be proficient in all academic areas. Whoa.
Suppose we had a school for animals, and wanted them all to be equally proficient? The duck would get A+ in swimming and diving, but fail tree climbing. The squirrel would get A+ in tree climbing but refuse to take swimming class, which would result in a disciplinary action. The horse would ace running, but fail honey gathering; the bear would pass honey gathering, but only get a C in running.
My point....and I do have one... is that we do not all have the same gifts, nor do we all have the same intelligences or learning styles. Whereas I excell in vocabulary, grammar and writing skills, I am woefully inadequate in math--I'm not sure I could even get a diploma, let alone a college degree, if I were in high school these days.
So why are we as a society holding all students to the same standard? Why are we assuming, as an educational institution, that all students are going to college, and therefore should all be taking the college prep courses? We may be slowing running out of ditch digging jobs, but we will always, I think, need plumbers, electricians, mechanics, people who work with their hands as much as with their minds, who don't excel at distinguishing good poetry from rubbish, but who can keep the sewers operating, the lights burning, and our cars running.
Okay, there's my rant for today.
But relative to the subject is this conversation I had with a new teacher, about 10 days before TAKS testing was scheduled:
New Teacher: What does TAKS stand for?
Me: Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills.
NT: Oh. So what does TEKS stand for?
Me: Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.
NT: Hmm. I gues that I should teach the TEKS before the kids take the TAKS then?
Me: (suppressing laughter) Yes, that would probably be a good idea.