Saturday, May 02, 2015

The Week that Was: the SBAC That Thing Up edition

Two hour block schedule this week as Juniors took the mandated tests.  Thank God they have all that incentive to do well or……….

Dammit.

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Oh, and those SBAC scores;  going to be ugly.  This isn’t because I’m an overall pessimist, this is because they are ugly all over the nation and teachers are going to need time to adjust everything.  We are talking massive adjustments that will change the overall dynamics of classrooms and environments.  I think that change will be for the better in the long run but in the short term it will look supremely ugly in the test score column.

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Prom is today.  It’s about 15 minutes south of town in Hopland and the school has decided to do something I find interesting.  Students are not allowed to drive to prom.  Nope.  Students will be driving to the school where they will be breathalyzed before they get on a bus and are driven to prom.  They will then be breathalyzed again when they leave prom and are bussed back to the high school.  While I cringe a tad about the whole school bus to prom thing, I’m totally in favor of a major intervention regarding alcohol in this town.  Not only is there an overwhelming problem of teenage drinking, there is a permissive culture of adults who think that it’s almost adorable that teens pre-game to Prom or get blasted for Sober Grad Night.  My old boss once said that a school should be an island of safety for all students.  This is a good step.

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Here’s another great step.  We have a teacher on campus who teaches health occupations and is also a paramedic.  He has a genuine concern for kids and that passion transfers to other members of the staff.  He used the two hour blocks to educate the Frosh/Soph about drinking and driving by having them attend a presentation by the CHP in the gym.  Then the week was capped off by a Every 15 Minutes style drunk driving accident as the students came out to lunch.  The idea was to nail the students as they were leaving at lunch (most do) and have them witness the accident and get the education.  And also do it the Friday before Prom.  From what I saw it was a large success and it didn’t have the mammoth distraction that Every 15 Minutes has for a week.  It was a great lesson.   

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How do you survive a two hour block?   Mix things up like crazy.

AP Comp Gov:  News – Questions – Practice FRQ – Video clip – Discussion – Lecture – Video clip – Break – Lecture – Video clip – Discussion – Writing – Done.

Economics:  News – Questions – Video Prompt – Writing – Discussion – Lecture – Break – Discussion – Video Clip – Writing – Done.

Add in an occasional funny story and the time goes by ok.  I do give my kids a seven minute break for bathroom and vending machines during block schedule.  If we get them in college, we can have them here. 

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First rattlesnake warning!

Living in the Coastal Mountains of Northern California means that summer equals rattlesnakes.  Since the school nudges up to the west hills of the Ukiah Valley, a rattlesnake sighting here and there is not uncommon at all.  Yesterday was the first sighting of a baby in the fields just northwest of campus.  Summer is here!

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