Posts Tagged 'Marquette Educator'

Does Spelling Matter?

spelling-998350_960_720By Stephanie Nicoletti

Does spelling matter? Do children learn proper grammar? Do children learn cursive anymore? It seems lately there is this concern about how children are learning writing and spelling skills, which is valid, but the answers to these questions are YES, OF COURSE! It just probably looks different than it used to and these important questions deserve an answer.

Learning to spell is a very difficult task because children are trying to use many different skills at once. When children are so focused on spelling every word exactly correct, the writing process gets slowed down. Many teachers, especially in the early grades, and including myself, encourage inventive spelling: the child makes his or her best guess on the spelling of the word. When a student asks, “Miss Nicoletti, how do you spell ‘because’?” I simply respond, “stretch through each sound of the word.” This practice is research-driven and when children use this method, their writing becomes more fluent with richer vocabulary.

Of course, in the older grades spelling does count, but most teachers have their students engage in a writing process. Correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar come in the final stages of the writing process. Spelling in the older grades comes last in the writing process for the same reason as the primary grades: focusing on spelling too much early on will limit the student’s flow of ideas and quality of writing.

So, do schools still even teach spelling then? Something that our district has implemented that I am particularly proud of is the use of the Words Their Way spelling program. To sum up: students are placed in “spelling groups” based on actual spelling patterns students need help with. When they are “tested” each week, we only look at the spelling pattern that they are focusing on, not the spelling of the whole word. This is a new type of thinking for parents and even teachers, this individualized program supports the research stated above while fostering reading and writing skills.

Tuesday Trivia – May 7, 2013

Here it is, Finals Week and the end of another great semester. We know your brains are overworked this week, so how ’bout an easy question?

What year did Dean Henk get his Ed.D. degree?

Claim your chance to win by leaving the correct answer in the comments section below anytime today between 7am – 6pm. And don’t be afraid to play, even if someone has already posted the right answer! One winner will be randomly selected from ALL correct answers after the close of business and announced the following day.  The winner will be posted on our Facebook page and notified by email.  Please note that you must have a valid email address listed in your comment or WordPress profile to win.

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How much do YOU know about Marquette University and the College of Education? Test your knowledge every Tuesday during Tuesday Trivia!

Tuesday Trivia – February 5, 2012

Happy Mission Week! Have you been to any of the great events sponsored by the COED? You can check them out at: http://www.marquette.edu/missionweek-2013/

This year, the College of Education is proud to host Rev. Trevor Miranda! We hope you all have a chance to meet him while he’s on campus!

What year did Reverend Miranda win the Opus Prize?

Claim your chance to win by leaving the correct answer in the comments section below anytime today between 7am – 6pm. And don’t be afraid to play, even if someone has already posted the right answer! One winner will be randomly selected from ALL correct answers after the close of business and announced the following day.  The winner will be posted on our Facebook page and notified by email.  Please note that you must have a valid email address listed in your comment or WordPress profile to win.

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How much do YOU know about Marquette University and the College of Education? Test your knowledge every Tuesday during Tuesday Trivia!

Good Dog, Bad Dog: Merit Pay for Teachers

Dog biscuits are not the answer.

By Claudia Felske — So there I was listening to my superintendent explain district initiatives and priorities: we need individualized student learning; we need meaningful technology integration; we need continual improvement for staff and students.

I get it.
I agree.
He’s singing to the choir.

Until I hear that ominous word: “bonus”

Now I’m sweating.
My pulse is quickening.
My toes are tapping.

But, why?  This is not a new topic in education. It’s happening in other districts; it’s all over education journals. I’ve read about it; I’ve talked about it, and I’ve never had particularly strong feelings about it until this meeting, until it entered into my realm of “the possible.”

Until now, I figured merit pay would be a tricky business, but probably worth exploring at this increasingly complex time in education. It makes sense. Pay teachers according to how well they do. It’s what the business world does, right? Besides, maybe I’d actually be paid for all the extra hours I put in. I should be ecstatic. I should be lobbying the state capital for merit pay.

THAT would be my rational reaction.

But my visceral response at that meeting—my pulse, my sweat glands, my moral compass—told me that the notion of teacher bonuses is at odds with my core values, with who I am as a professional, an educator, a human being.

Why?   

1. It’s insulting. When the word was uttered, I felt violated. After a bit of reflection I figured out why. Embedded within the idea of bonuses is the presumption that I don’t do my best, and that I’d do better for $50 or $200 or $1000. This couldn’t be further from my M.O.      I work for purpose, not dollars. I work for students, not checklists.

2. It’s hypocritical. We want students to be life-long learners. We want to foster intrinsically-motivated individuals who want to learn in order to satisfy their natural curiosity, to live richer and more connected lives. We cringe when students ask “Will this be on the test?” before determining if it’s worth their time and effort.

In this vein, many of us (most clearly articulated by Alfie Kohn) feel that our current system is flawed: it conditions students to vie for points instead of learning widely and deeply. We see two extremes in our classrooms: the point-mongers and the disconnected. We yearn to reform this system.

Enter teacher bonuses and merit pay, placing teachers into the same two roles: the point-mongers who grasp at the “to do” list to earn bonuses and the disengaged, (formerly known as highly-effective teachers) demotivated by a system that reduces the art of teaching to a checklist and dollar signs.

3. It won’t work.  Oldest advice in the book: know your audience. The master minds behind merit pay do not know teachers. I don’t know of a single person who went into education for the money. This is self-evident. Contributing. Inspiring. Learning. Making a difference. That’s why people become teachers. Not to make an extra $150 for completing a task or raising a test score.

Students on a conveyor belt. (Pink Floyd’s The Wall, 1982)

4. We are not producing widgets. Whenever the business model is applied to education (which is often the case) we must remind ourselves that we are not producing widgets. We are nurturing human beings in all of their complexity and diversity. When we think back to the most valuable moments in our own education, few of us turn to a fact we memorized, an equation we solved, an essay we wrote. It was a personal conversation we had with a teacher, a mishap turned into a lesson, an inspirational “aha” moment orchestrated by a creative educator.

These moments do not show up on checklists and will not increase by offering bonuses. Their likelihood will decrease as we turn students into data points, as we align widgets on the assembly line, as we strive to meet the criteria on the “bonus’ rubric rather than use our wisdom, experience, and creativity to connect with kids and inspire them to grow, question, and learn. 

Maybe we can take a lesson from King Midas: If we wish for a world where everything we touch turns to gold, if we look at teaching as a means to a bonus, if we see our students as dollar signs, we will destroy their humanity and ours.

Tuesday Trivia – May 29, 2012

This is it!  One last week of trivia fun before we take a break for the summer!  Thanks for playing and look for us to come back with more questions and more prizes in the fall!

How many undergraduate programs does Marquette have?

 

Claim your chance to win by leaving the correct answer in the comments section below anytime today between 7am – 6pm. And don’t be afraid to play, even if someone has already posted the right answer! One winner will be randomly selected from ALL correct answers after the close of business and announced the following day.  The winner will be posted on our Facebook page and notified by email.  Please note that you must have a valid email address listed in your comment or WordPress profile to win.

________________________________

How much do YOU know about Marquette University and the College of Education? Test your knowledge every Tuesday during Tuesday Trivia!

Tuesday Trivia – May 22, 2012

Just two more weeks of Trivia before we take a break for the summer!  Can you tell us where and what this photo is?  It’s a tough one– so stay tuned for hints on our Facebook and Twitter pages!


Claim your chance to win by leaving the correct answer in the comments section below anytime today between 7am – 6pm. And don’t be afraid to play, even if someone has already posted the right answer! One winner will be randomly selected from ALL correct answers after the close of business and announced the following day.  The winner will be posted on our Facebook page and notified by email.  Please note that you must have a valid email address listed in your comment or WordPress profile to win.

________________________________

How much do YOU know about Marquette University and the College of Education? Test your knowledge every Tuesday during Tuesday Trivia!

Tuesday Trivia – May 15, 2012

School’s out for summer!  But, what do you know about your professors?

How many faculty are employed at MU?

Claim your chance to win by leaving the correct answer in the comments section below anytime today between 7am – 6pm. And don’t be afraid to play, even if someone has already posted the right answer! One winner will be randomly selected from ALL correct answers after the close of business and announced the following day.  The winner will be posted on our Facebook page and notified by email.  Please note that you must have a valid email address listed in your comment or WordPress profile to win.

________________________________

How much do YOU know about Marquette University and the College of Education? Test your knowledge every Tuesday during Tuesday Trivia!


What is a Marquette Educator?

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