Thursday, July 21, 2016

Economics is cool but not taught a lot in school

Tyler Cowen, economist at George Mason University and noted blogger, was asked a question regarding why Economics isn’t taught more in schools.  In the United States only 20 states mandate Economics education, which goes a long way in explaining why people continue to make questionable choices. 

What does Cowen say?

  1. K-12 teachers do not themselves understand economics.

This is true.  During my second year of high school I went with a colleague to the Buck Institute’s Economics Problem Based-Learning course.  A good 2/3 of the teachers in that room had limited knowledge of what it actually meant to teach Economics.  There was a lot of politics in the room, some personal finance, and a whole lot of insistence that free markets were terrible and shouldn’t be taught, even though there seemed to be limited understanding of how the market actually functioned.  Social Studies teachers are usually History teachers and Economics is not a History course.  My degree at California State University at Chico was in History/Social Science, meaning I had to take Government and Economics courses to get my degree. 

2. It is much easier to teach and test historical facts and Spanish grammar than economic concepts.  Note that many high school economics classes seem to devote a lot of attention to business taxonomy rather than actually thinking like an economist.

Meh, this might be true but more related to #1.  Economic concepts are actually super engaging and fun to teach but many teachers are either unfamiliar with Economics or so against the ideas of free markets that they simply won’t teach it.  I think APUSH is tougher to teach than Economics, and I’ve found that many students that struggle in Social Studies classes do much better in Economics because it is relevant and personal.  When you structure it from scarcity regarding individuals and build up to communities, governments, business, and the world, Economics becomes an enjoyable class.

3. K-12 administrators may be hostile to economic reasoning, since said reasoning may paint some of them in a less than flattering light.

The same could be said about Government but the impact is usually not that dangerous to the administration.  Showing school district financials and cost/benefit of things like Homecoming Week doesn’t really get the students attention.  Know what takes on that less-than-flattering light?  Teachers.  When you talk about the market for employment and the concept of voluntary exchange it becomes rather difficult justify the concept of tenure, especially when there is a teacher that students know is lazy or checked-out.  It also makes students question other teachers when they go on political rants about things like universal health care, “free college tuition”, and policies revolving around GMOs.  The answers that students receive are usually political not economic, or the student is often vilified for being against human rights or against the poor or just flat out ignorant.  This creates skeptical students.  This is a good thing in a class like Government or Economics but can be a bad thing if you have a teacher in a non-Social Studies class using students as a sounding board.   


I think that Economics is still one of those subjects that is shroud in mystery and skepticism from teachers that are unfamiliar with Economic theories or unconvinced that the those theories are valid.  Many think that teaching about free markets implies an immediate bias towards conservative politics and thus it pushes the buttons of political progressives that often teach with agendas.  But people fail to grasp the idea that Economics teaches people to think in a different way.  It doesn’t work in absolutes but requires students to slow down and look at positive and negative consequences of decisions.  It should be a requirement at all schools in all fifty states but until the myth and controversies around Economics are shattered, expect it to lay low in the background. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Let’s talk body shaming.

“Hey, school administrators and teachers, we have to talk about something.

You uphold antiquated, strident, unbalanced and frankly sexist standards when it comes to female students and how they dress at school. That's a problem.

It's time to stop body shaming your female students (and hey, even some of your male students) over their fashion choices.”

Mashable posted an article calling out schools and their approach to dress code enforcement, aka body shaming to those that want to raise their fist in the air and fight the power because rebellion.  Now this article could very well be addressing dress codes that are actually over-the-top and gender discriminatory but I figure I’d address the article from the point-of-view of a young (42) male teacher that enforces reasonable dress codes in a professional manner.  I also only teach Seniors so my dress code issues are usually not a really big deal.  This year they were an area of contention because a sub-group insisted that dress codes were automatically a veil of misogyny.  So, let’s take a look at what Mashable recommends and put a real perspective on an article that plays around with an issue that can be trouble for male teachers. 

1. Accept that these students have bodies — large, small, pear-shaped, hour glass, etc. And they can't change that.

This is the weight-loss/weight-gain argument and how teachers should not comment on either in regards to a student.  Simple out-of-the-blue comments on student body composition are unnecessary and I can’t imagine why a teacher would comment except to seem self-important.  However, if a teacher knows a student is on a weight loss journey then encouragement is good.  The idea that you wouldn’t support one students healthy choices because it MIGHT offend another student is moronic.  And as an Economics teacher we look at things like obesity statistics and healthy eating in terms of health care and Standard-of-Living.  If those things become offensive to a person then that might be more of a wake-up call, not a moment to censor. 


2. Seriously, get with the times.

Seriously, get with the environment.  Trends that promote transparent clothing don’t automatically mean that people’s rules are antiquated and that you are above said rules.  Wear that around town, to the beach, to the county fair, whatever.  Idiotic trends that are there to “empower” people within a classroom isn’t generational.  People have been trying to attract attention to themselves for a long time.  Time and place. 


3. Remember your comments over dress code can easily trigger such mental health issues as disordered eating, depression and anxiety.

Bullshit.  A teacher doesn’t have to be an asshole with enforcement of rules or with talking about controversial subject matter but turning one’s classroom into a sterile environment devoid of any potentially sensitive commentary is the peak of the promotion of victimization and ignorance.  A student that has eating disorders, depression, and anxiety needs much greater supports that go beyond  a teacher saying “Hi.  Please cover up your bikini before coming into my classroom.”  And in my 15 years the vast majority of students that deal in dress code issues are not dealing with any of these issues.  They are being teenagers.


4. Treat male and female students equally.

Absolutely.  This year I nailed a male student for wearing transparent clothing and “wife-beater” style tank tops will have my attention and the insistence of covering up.  But here’s the dirty little secret that nobody likes to mention; female students push the dress code more than male students.  No one likes to say that because one comes off as being gender bias by those with agendas.  But take a look at the clothing that is worn, actually not, and you’ll find that female students dress more for the attention.  It’s not classless or despicable, just inappropriate for the classroom.


5. Remember that it is your responsibility not to label these young girls as sexual objects.

That’s an interesting statement.  It assumes that teachers do the labelling and not the teenage students.  In the Mashable post the author says that the number one reason that girls are told to cover up is that “it’s a distraction to male students (and teachers) in the classroom” and therefore promotes males to continue a “rape culture.”  Two things here.  First, I used to be on the rape culture bandwagon until I started to look at statistics and the culture that exists that is so anti-rape that simply being male becomes evidence that you are potential rapist.  So dress codes don’t promote a culture that is questionable at best.  Second, there is a dress code that is appropriate for the classroom.  That’s it.  Consent and sexual assault should be discussed in your classrooms but to put it within the guise of dress codes is a great way to flip the conversation to fighting-the-power and teenage rebellion, not solving the issues that revolve around sexual assault.

7. Do not, I repeat, do not publicly humiliate or shame the student.

I have no idea where #6 is because Mashable didn’t have a #6.  But yeah it’s not really a good idea to publicly humiliate or shame students on dress codes.  The problem is often the student becomes the attention-getter and makes the issue bigger.  I usually meet the students at the door and quietly mention that the clothing is not acceptable.  Most of the time there isn’t a problem.  Sometimes the student will march into the class and cause a minor huff because the teacher is a fascist.  On rare occasion the student will go off-kilter and begin to rally the troops for an Occupy Dress Code movement in F-6.  It’s up to the student to see how far this goes. 

  8. Have the rules explained in a clear-cut fashion and enforce it consistently.

Rules can be clear but we aren’t going to hit everything and the idea that you ignore something that is inappropriate because you didn’t write it down is amusing.  There is an expectation of behavior that doesn’t always get hit in the rules and the teacher makes those calls.  This is why the “anything the teacher deems inappropriate” is perfectly fine in the class policy.  And it’s not like we jump from day one into full blown sweater mode.  You approach the student and say “That’s not going to work here” early on and give the student the opportunity to change it.  And yes, your rules must be consistent.

9. Be understanding and fair.

Pretty much stated above.  I would say that 9/10 dress code infractions aren’t demonstrative, they’re just inappropriate for the classroom.  They don’t warrant a suspension unless the student out right refuses to comply.  The rare occasion is usually something I already see coming, like Halloween.  The student is going to push and then want to challenge an outfit that hyper-sexualizes Smurfette if she were working nights at the Gold Club.

10. Catch up on some reading.  I challenge you to educate yourself on the harmfulness of rape culture, gender politics and feminist authors in general. We recommend all of them but some contemporary writers like Roxanne Gay and Lindy West are a good start.

I mentioned the questionable aspect of rape culture and victimization early on but I’ll point out again that the author doesn’t want the reader to be educated, the author wants the reader to indoctrinated.  There is not to be a discussion about rape culture, gender politics, or feminism.  There is THAT way because it’s so damn clear with all that emotional reasoning. 


This is not to say that some schools don’t have insanely restrictive or maybe even bias dress codes.  Watching some of the idiocy from afar one can pretty easily see that some administrators are still freaking out over hemlines and jeans.  But Ukiah High’s dress code is pretty relaxed to begin with and even that is hardly ever enforced.  Some of that comes from male teachers that think dress codes become weaponized plutonium that can be used at an attempt to nuke a teacher’s career.  The current climate (with some female teachers and students) often views male teachers as out-of-bounds when discussing dress codes so the safest course of action is to ignore it.  That’s ludicrous and it’s getting worse.  Mashables posts like this are basically geared towards warning male teachers and administrators that rules are now social experiments to be manipulated and that their lack of complicity makes them potential sympathizers to misogyny and gender politicking.  Administrators and school boards need to support teachers and reaffirm that the academic environment is there for the benefit of everyone’s learning, even if groups want to use them as their own soapbox.  

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Most students don’t hate group work. They hate bad teaching.

Joanne Jacobs had a very interesting post about a topic that’s all the rage these days; group work.

“Teen Hates:  Group Projects”

Hate is a very strong word and as the title points out, teens are probably nearly unanimous with there dislike of doing group projects with their peers.  Let’s see some pictorial examples of said dislike.


Looks like group hatred to me. 


Obviously disgusted with group dynamics here.


The hate is swelling in you now.


It’s fairly evident that when a group of people come together for a common purpose, this includes teenagers, that they will often put out an amazing amount of time and energy to produce a quality product.  People ignore things like the arts and athletics because it’s convenient to do so when discussing the culture of a “classroom.”  Put students together on a mission and the group work not only becomes relevant, it becomes necessary, it becomes fluid, it becomes fun.  Put 35 students together that have little in common except that they happen to be under the same roof together at a given time of the day and you can get negative chaos unless a teacher is really, really prepared.  So let’s look at the link within Ms. Jacobs article (The Atlanta Journal Constitution) and really find out what the problem is with teen angst regarding group work.

“When I ask adolescents what they dislike about school, they seldom mention testing or homework. A common and surprising answer: They resent classes where learning is disrupted and time is wasted.”

When I ask my Seniors why their attendance in classes is bad the answer is pretty similar and usually revolves around the idea that their human capital is being wasted.  The Senioritis will forever exist but becomes manageable when what takes place in class has some value.   When group work is assigned to people that don’t share the same desire for things like Government or Economics (in my case) the result is, predictably, some people do all the work and others ride the coattails of the workers to a simple grade.  This creates resentment, laziness, and a general desire to take group projects out to the woodshed and beat them to death.  This is why group work functions fantastic in the arts and athletics, functions well in Advanced Placement, and is usually fractured within general education courses.

Part of the problem is the concept of the “student-centered classroom”, which sounds really, really neat on the surface and is promoted as the optimal method of teaching teenagers.  Delve past the idealism and you’ll find a million ways to turn your class into disaster area that has no focus and that has goals and lessons that are being created and manipulated by 16 year olds.  And teacher credential programs do a crappy job at preparing teachers for student-centered models.  The professors will assign the group work to prospective teachers (all of which want to be there) as modelling and then give roles to everyone like “facilitator” or “scribe” or whatever and hey look, you have a successful group project.  In reality the group work requires much more preparation and the ability for teachers and students to back check the work of the group, and the work of the members of the group.  The teacher needs to have consistent checks on group progress and needs to come down hard on those that don’t participate.  So in reality a group work classroom isn’t as student centered as it is made out to be if it is done correctly.  Teachers need to prep and prep and prep some more to make sure the project is done correctly. 


I do the occasional group project in my classes and usually they:

-Must be calibrated to where there is no down time for anyone.  Usually the projects are due quick.

-Require multiple entries for engagement.  For political propaganda I want a preliminary plan and who is working on what.

-Have teacher checks upon checks.  For longer assignments I want updates and who is doing what.

-Have peer evaluations at the end.  Those that work get paid.  Those that don’t get nothing.


Why don’t I do more group work?  Well when I was coaching I was doing group work every day and it was successful because the goal and motivation were clear.  I find group work in general education classes to be overall less productive, longer to prepare, and longer to grade.  Group work usually requires a presentation and that takes class time that is valuable.  Sure, some of the best are excellent and worth the watch.  But many can be donkey turd and that ends up being a waste. 

And remember that in the end the problem isn’t the work, it’s the waste of human capital. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Mr. Silva-Brown’s Report Card, Part Four: Analyzing the data; 2016 edition

In the late Spring I recieved a small note on my desk.  It stated that a student was tired of my misogynistic attitudes and that I was to prepare to be judged, or something to that effect.  The letter had no name and nothing ever came out of it but I showed it to my wife and some of my colleagues anyway.  They laughed it off for the most part but brought up a trend that seems to be more evident in classrooms; it’s more difficult being a strong male teacher.  Much of the movement around male secondary teachers is very touchy-feely, closing off or condemning masculinity, and attempting to program young men into a type of social construct that is conducive to being a passive (and often guilt-ridden) group. 

Now I could go into the other additional comments and letters I recieved from students and bring out a whole lot of “you were my favorite teacher” and “I love how you keep it enthusiastic and real” comments but I won’t because this small, unsigned note is something I’m noticing on the social media landscape of teaching from colleges to high schools; the attempted supression of ideas considered offensive.  A lot of this came from John Kasich’s comments in April where when asked about dealing with the college rape problem he added in “..also don’t go to parties with a lot of alcohol.”  This caused an uproar with many, including others in my class that found it victim blaming.  Other students argued that the point was legitimate and I was immediately looked at to shut down their point, something that is apparently done with regularity in school now.  Not only did I not shut down the point I stated the evidence shows a correlation supported by evidence and voluminous research between excessive drinking and sexual assault.  This, mixed with the fact that I actually enforce a dress code policy, apparently made a small group label me as some kind of woman-hating heathen.  That in itself is not that big of a deal since I’m not a woman-hating heathen (my wife would sort of not tolerate that) and every few years a small group goes grivance hunting to show they are entitled to their way because they are kids and kids sometimes do that.  The problem is that they are not being told that they are wrong because they are protraying themselves (whether true or not) as marginalized victims.  This puts administrators in a pickle because the potential PR problems in this era of hyperbolic feelings of social injustice make forays into the realm of equal discussion a dangerous course of action.  I teach Government and Economics.  Discussion is required.  Thinking is required.  An exchange of all ideas is required.  That can’t and won’t change. 

By the way, I make it very clear that if someone does not feel safe that they should report it to my boss immediately.  It doesn’t happen and (again) the years of comments I’ve recieved show that while the class can get students riled up, it’s a great place for the flow of ideas.

The return of work was once again an issue but less than previous years.  I tried to cut back but not elminate quiz redos and all it did was pack my classroom less often and give me piles and piles of make-ups anyway, which put grades further and further behind.  I need to totally eliminate all make-up opportunties because they are only enabling behaviors that promote laziness and grade inflation.  Computer based work is also much more tedious to grade and that needs to be cut back as well.

I’m apparently one of the few teachers where eating in class is non-negotiable, and during first and fifth periods (after lunch) this became a festival of complaints that I was being overly mean with my policies.  That’s really not going to change, espescially now that we are apparently in some hyper vigilant mode regarding the roach problem on campus (more on that in a future post.)

“Let students be late!”  In my opinion there is an attendance problem at our school.  Students miss a massive amount of class has still recieve high marks and rarely, if ever, incur the attention of the administration.  I asked students about this and the response was simple; nothing will happen.  They show up to my class because they know that I do a lot in my class and if they don’t show up they’ll probably fail.  That’s not the case everywhere and students are plenty savy to know that reprocussions are limited.  I’m not changing my policy and I’m still shocked at teachers that say that attendance is not a battle worth fighting. 

It’s also possible that I’ve simply been a rather unhappy teacher for the last few years.  The last four years of basketball (final two JV, and last two varsity) took an enormous tool on my mind and body.  I ate worse, drank too much, didn’t get enough sleep, and perseverated on something that didn’t amount to the energy put into it.  I’ve dumped that stress and I immediately became reinvigorated by attending CUE16, an Economics conference with Dirk Mateer, my AP grading, and another Comp Gov conference in a few weeks.  It feels good to go all out in my teaching. 

Friday, July 08, 2016

Mr. Silva-Brown’s Report Card, Part Three: What were things that Mr. Silva-Brown did well? 2016 edition

Next, all the things, word for word, that the students thought that I did well.

-I dont know



-the presentations

-The simulations were fun.

-Lots of notes

-All mthe transaction games and the jeopardy.  (Jeopardy is the method we use to review for tests.  It’s pretty much a classic favorite.)

-jeporady and the notes

-I liked supply and demand

-I really like the games during blocked schedule

-all of the interactive activities.

-The separation of the class into democrats and republicans was interesting when we voted on the bill the students wrote. I enjoyed it.

-Ur lectures

-group work

-him not being here

-Group work and class discussion

-Quizzes and projects helped a lot.

-the assignment when the sub was here waws good

-Power points. Showing examples on board and giving examples to let students try on their own before discussion.

-Online lecture

-Group work

-The interactive activities

-Browns just really great with teenagers

-The jeopardy, market curves, projects, politics

-The news every day, resource mark and the market activity. where we physically found the equilibrium price and how households sell resources to firms and firms sell back goods and services to the house holds.  (The fact that someone can be this detailed about this simulation makes me oh s0 proud!)


-GROUP tests/quizes

-His attitude

-The jeopardy review for tests

-Notes with slides and talked us through everything

-His power points and lectures are always well put together, as well as his comprehensive explanations

-Jeopardy, study guides

-Jeopardy, Practice, Notes

-He always has music playing in the background right before class.


-News, Review, and notes. The enthusiasm by Silva-Brown

-Note taking

-When we had free range to ask questions and collaborate as a full class, it helped me a lot.


-None, I didn't understand anything that was talked about in this class

-They all worked well for me

-Jeopardy and review days.

-The games, group quizes, and practice quizes

-Low budget jeopardy, and the stipulations we did most of the time.

-I liked all of the activities because they all made sense and showed how things worked.

-The activities where we had to sell or buy good and see our profit and any activity really worked to help me better understand this.


-Taking quizzes with a partner.


-Those little projects and also jeopardy were really fun.

-Jeopardy and just the way you taught

-Those little projects and also jeopardy were really fun.

-The majority there is not one thing that I could remember.

-"Mind your P's and Q's"

-Class discussions and Jeopardy

-We had group presentations that helped and activities around the ideas of consumers and producers which also helped.

-The majority there is not one thing that I could remember.

-The video assignment you gave us

-The news and mock congress

-Jeopardy was fun and I learned a lot from playing.

-I really enjoyed playing jeopardy and watching clips

-The hands on games and the parts where we came up to the board

-I like playing Jeopardy because it gave everyone an incentive to answer some of the questions and test their knowledge.

-Group quizzes, lectures

-Prep for tests(Jeopardy) How engaged he was in class, there was never a dull lesson, but we still stayed focused and on track.

-When you lecture you engage the students well because of your personality.

-Mock Congress was cool to do.


-I enjoyed the news because it got great communication and discussion flowing since day one of school and it really made a family like bond inside the classroom with the bickering and debates. I enjoyed jeopardy a lot because I love a good competition and it really did help me review for a test because even if it wasn't my row I would try and answer the question to see if I knew it. The questions I couldn't answer I knew I needed to study for.

-Jeopard, quizzes and resding book sections on our own so that way we would have to study


-Games played were all useful and worked well to get the point across



-Jeopardy was a good way to study for tests.

-jeopardy before the test.

-Jeopardy, other games

-The studies of the different societies of different countries.

-I really liked all of the activities we did in class, especially during economics

-I liked the per se courts because It made people really think on the fly.

-I like Jeopardy as a review before every test because I tend to forget some subjects, which will be a good reminder for me.

-I like the stuff we did in economics, as well as Jeopardy before a test, good review material.

-I liked Jeopardy.

-Podcasts, Killer Vocab, Jeopardy, Per se Court

-Everything during economics helped me understand it better. For example, the Barbie going on a date thing. Also the "which celebrity is hottest?" thing helped me understand election systems much more than simply an explanation would've.

-THE CONTENDER...I think that quizzes are really helpful because they give us an incentive to actually study and read the material. Killer Vocab is great too.

-Jeopardy is fun.

-The quizes i felt help alot to prepare you for the test.

-Contender game was really fun.

-Jeopardy before tests and test corrections because they helped me understand why and where I went wrong which helped me on future tests because I knew what type of questions confused me.

-The card game that we played towards the end of the year was really fun and informative.

-I liked per se courts, and the lectures were easy to follow. I also like the propaganda posters and reading/watching persepolis.

-I liked the Per Se Courts

-Jeopardy was very helpful. The videos you showed us helped a lot also, they stuck in my mind.

-The interactive activities worked well for me.

-All the activities we did in the economics unit where we experimented with trading and having personal property and all that stuff. It was all really interesting and gave me an understanding and personal connection to the concepts we learned.

-The activities we did in the beginning of the year, having to do with cost and benefit were helpful as were the per se courts.

-Per-se courts, lectures, and classroom discussions

-The activities he made us do to study for tests and get a better understanding of a concept.

-jeopardy and short lectures that are well-suited for a teenager's average attention span

-Per se courts, news, jeopardy

-The Socrates dialogueso and the activities we did in economics were very fun and I learned a lot from them.

-Use of videos and hands on activities.

-The way you taught economics with fun activities was an attention-grabber, and helped us learn. I wish there would've been more of those during the government unit.
The videos you show about countries are always worthwhile. Insight makes a difference to our understanding and our perceptions.

-Per se courts. I will never forget them.

-Personally, I enjoyed everything. I think combining mediums like lecture and media is a very engaging method and adds to the class and the material. I really appreciate that as a student. Even though they were not my favorite, I believe the debates were a good experience. I like the variations, if you will, of your lessons and your teaching.

-Per se courts and jeopardy are very helpful and fun

-Honestly everything. I liked the videos we watched.

-The constant motion through the class by having activities and keeping a good learning environment worked very well, PowerPoints and lectures were kept to a perfect timing to where it was always enjoyable

-News every day without fail, constant classroom updates, and Mr. Silva Brown always sticking to the schedule, quizzes to keep us in check, jeopardy, weekly FRQs, and test corrections

-The jeopardy was really helpful, as well as the daily power point lessons.

-Jeopardy, other games to reinforce information.

-The balance between didactic and dialectic learning/teaching styles was perfect for avoiding boredom (as much as possible), and discussing modern events and politics, while not part of the curriculum, was very important and useful for real life application of CompGov/Pol

-I liked how we could make up quizzes and I like how everything was at our access online so we could study. I love the debates.

And there you have it.

Mr. Silva-Brown’s Report Card, Part Two: “What recommendations would you give Mr. Silva-Brown”, 2016 edition

Here are all my recommendations, live and uncut, from my students. I'm leaving none out, however some students did not fill out every category, which is why the numbers will not be the same. My comments are in italics.

-maybe not focus so much on roasting everyone


-Stop yelling or hitting stick on de desk

-Stop being an ass

-Be nicer

-LET PEOPLE BE LATE SOMETIMES!!!!!!  (Want to become really great friends with students, let them be late.  One thing I’m noticing more and more is teachers sacrificing their attendence policies to maintain relationships with students.  It teaches exactly the wrong thing and I’m not letting up on attendence.)

-nothing really

-No idea

-Try to slow down

-Be a little quieter. Keep your word on sending people out if they're loud (you only did the last month)


-to calm down and take a second to take a breath

-relax a little dont yell as much

-Don't vote

-I have no idea..

-be a little more lenient or helpful to students or sign senior trip papers  (Once again we have the issue of students being told that they can do everything and that there are no consequences for trying to do everything.  Our institution, following societies model) does a horrid job in time management.)

-Don't be so judge mental. People are different and just because you think one way doesn't mean that they think the same way. It upsets people. (Don't be such a dick)  (Ask around and you’ll find that I don’t give political opinions in class.  But this year I had a sub-group of students that basically demanded that certain speech either be condemed or not permitted.  I refused to do that and therefore I came off as insensitive or dickish.  More on this in the analysis section Part Four.)


-Everything was pretty good.

-To not be so strict with his late policy

-Don't stop being brown


-Correct quiz re-dos every quarter instead of every semester

-Stop the disruptions and insults before it gets too distracting

-Be more 101 not during lunch but during class


-None at this time

-Stop being a Giants fan

-Be nicer

-Be more organized and don't discourage students for asking you about grades or work. I know that some kids lie about their work ethnic just for the grade, but you should know that you have students who care very much about their grade and would do anything for their grade to reflect the effort they put in that class. Talk with them and be reasonable. Students make mistakes (including myself), but teachers aren't perfect either.

-Keep up the enthusiasm for teaching.

-He is a funny teacher

-Be more understanding of people's work schedules and retakes goddammit!!!

-Chill man

-To have more days to study for tests

-Be slightly more sensitive to people's feelings at time, and to be less stubbon(in n out for example)  (Ugh, total mea culpa on this one.  I was pretty insistant that In N’ Out would never come to Ukiah.  A city with 16,000 and an average income just over 40K and a moderate highway in the summertime just didn’t make sense.  So of course they’re coming to Ukiah.” 

-Country rules.

-Be more approachable and less scary

-Throw away the stick.


-More time to review for tests and quizzes


-don't be a bitch

-Just give others more time but over all, the class was perfect.

-To teach the graphs a bit slower and with time

-Just give others more time but over all, the class was perfect.

-Nothing really his class is enjoyable

-Nothing really his class is enjoyable

-Stop making red-headed girls cry

-Nah he's good

-Stop making people cry.

-Nothing really his class is enjoyable

-More qiuz make ups

-Don't wait until the end of the semester to enter make-ups

-Work with students better. Understand that not everybody is a test taker and people that show up to your class everyday and do the work should pass the class. If u fail somebody like that you are just being a dick.  (If you come to class every day and work your ass off and still fail every test there are one of two things at play; you have serious testing issues which I will have identified and made adjustments, or you actually don’t come to class every day and work your ass off.  The latter is the likelihood.)

-Be nicer to students

-i can't think of any

-Maybe spend a little more time going over one subject

-Keep doing what you're doing Mr. Silva Brown! All I recommend is that the slideshows be a bit more organized-I got confused a few times when there was one title on one slide and the topic would continue onto another slide, but have a different title.

-Have a sweeter soul.

-Be nice and try to understand that some people take your comments the wrong way.

-Stop making girls cry.

-Just keep doing what you do, you're a very informative teacher.

-My recommendations would be to be just a little bit nicer (slack) when announcing important dates and quiz/test days. We are still teenagers and human, we forget things. Just a little shout out to check out the bored would of helped a lot and would have been awesome (especially about the make-up quiz days!! I read his whole syllabus twice and still seemed to skip over that section!!) Also to maybe stay on top of grading make-up quizzes and tests so that he can have less students yelling at him to update Edline on stuff that he hasn't even graded yet. Also try to get through lessons faster in the beginning of the year because by the end I felt extremely rushed and stressed out. We had quizzes every other day on stuff we only learned the class period before.

-Clearer information on make ups

-Class is good how it is in my opinion.

-Get our tests/classwork/homework back faster

-Be nicer


-Don't tweet so much

-Be less of a shitty person :)

-Don't talk Shit about UP

-Don't leave the year early. Still proud of you for being a table leader tho

-maybe less power points and more activities?

-I think the hardest part for most students are the quizzes that took place every few days. Back in Economics, the reading was not that bad, but during Comp GOv, the book was very boring, especially when we had to read like 20 pages once.

-I think a quiz per chapter is too much in my opinion, maybe occasional quizzes, but not too much.

-It would be really helpful if, when a student asks a simple and easy to answer question, you could just answer it instead of giving some snarky condescending response.

-Let your student eat in class. I want to eat my breakfast, Brown!

-Quit roasting my hair it's kinda awk when you do that. Bring your cat to school. NVM SOME PEOPLE ARE ALLERGIC.

-Maybe practicing FRQs more. We do some however I think it would be nice if maybe once a week instead of a quiz there is an FRQ that is actually for points, because when we do the practice ones I try to do them but I know they don't really count for much in the grade so I don't try as hard as I could.

-Get a book that is updated and less boring

-Maybe let us eat because i was hungry at times

-Be safe in Salt Lake City.

-Be less condescending when students ask clarifying questions. Sometimes it makes students feel unintelligent. Trying to finish Mexico before AP testing week.

-It would be helpful to have quizzes after the reading AND the lecture, that way the information is more imprinted for the tests.


-Not really anything.

-To force quiet people like me to talk more because I learn better when I participate, but usually I have no motivation to participate.

-Please update your grades more often.

-More physical work outside the class, like more written assignments to prove we did the reading, not just quizzes.


-just keep being you :)

-Give me all the possible terms for the same thing. I screwed up on "political party system" and you had "distribution of power" on the country reviews for the exam.

-Keep being your cool self man. Haters gonna Hate. Your probably one of my best teachers I have ever had.

-Use less sarcasm. Don´t refuse to sign things just because you want to. Just because you won´t give your perspective on political issues doesn´t mean you need to compensate by giving your opinion on absolutely everything else. (i.e. music and media, liking T. Swift does not make you a ¨terrible person¨ and antagonizing people in this way is unnecessary and slows things down.)

-Your fun, joking personality is enjoyable. Though I would recommend that for following years, getting a new batch of students, take a while to really figure out which students are seriously uncomfortable with being picked on. Some people are shy and can take it, but some people have anxiety and seriously become uncomfortable. Heads up because I know a junior who's worried about that.

-Bring your wife flowers every once in a great while

-Maybe really highlighting the differences from the old textbook to the current aspects of the country. I got confused a few times by what the book was saying and what had actually changed. It'd be beneficial to make super obvious what has changed since the publication of the textbook.

-Keep doing what you do


-More FRQ practice

-No recommendations. Maybe on the first day next year play the part of an ultraconservative person, just to set the dynamic for the year.

-There are multiple answers for most questions; when a student puts an answer that a) you were not expecting or b) is not up to par with your expectations, keep in mind that there's a good chance your question had ambiguity.
Also, the Mexico segment does not belong in AP testing week.. half of your students simply cannot be there to learn in class. This can be easily avoided.

-Keep edline updated, along with quiz makeups and test corrections

And there you have it.

Mr. Silva-Brown’s Report Card, Part One: “Ratings Game”, 2016 edition

I present to you, part one of a four part series that looks at the "graded" Mr. Silva-Brown. At the end of each year I give out a report card with questions about my performance during the year.

The questions are:

-One a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being excellent), rate Mr. Silva-Brown's teaching this semester.

-Was I well organized?

-Did you understand what was going on?

-Do you think I have improved since September?

-Did you feel safe?

-Were students treated equally with respect?

-What grade do you think you earned this semester?

-On a scale of 1 (didn’t care) to 10 (total focus), how would you rate your effort put towards this class this semester?  Explain.

-What did I do well?

-What recommendations can you give Mr. Silva-Brown?

-Any additional comments for Mr. Silva-Brown?

Today, I'll give you the numbers rating. The rating is first, followed by how many students rated me at that level.  .

Here are the results from question #1:

Ten- 30

Nine- 27

Eight- 42

Seven- 9

Six- 5

Five- 5

My average is an 8.5, a B.  This is lower than last year and lowest since 2012.  Here are the contrasts from past years.

2005-06: 8.3

2006-07: 8.9

2007-08: 8.3

2008-09: 8.7

2009-10: 8.2

2010-2011: 8.5

2011-2012: 8.5

2012-2013: 8.8

2013-2014:  9.0

2014-2015:  8.8

Thursday, July 07, 2016

A word of warning for AP teachers out there…

I return from the land of the Wasatch Range and seriously dry to give a message out to all those teachers that teach Advanced Placement classes. 

Oh wait.  Yes I understand the motto of the AP Reader. 

Rule Number One of the AP Reading is never talk about the AP Reading.  If you break Rule Number One, just remember where the soap came from.

I’m sure the College Board’s Head of Advanced Placement gets in a rage any time even a mention of the Reading gets on social media. 


Or maybe he doesn’t.

I think this piece of advice is same and usefull and probably spans many different subject areas.

Work on the handwriting.

The handwriting was so bad this year that it needs to be said that students are at risk of making things difficult if they can’t get the penmenship down.  Believe it or not the process for grading is quite collaborative and if nearly a dozen college educate teachers and professors can’t read the sanscrit that is on the parchment then you are the problem.  I understand that we are in the era of the touchscreen and the keyboard but total lack of coherence in some of the handwriting was a concern this year; one that needs to be rectified by the teachers.