Four Lessons From This Week February 24th

Intercorrelations Raise Some Interesting Questions
In Understanding Educational Testing we looked at intercorrelations of different subject areas of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. The fact that there's a strong correlation between seemingly unrelated subjects - spelling and math computation for example - raises the question of what tests actually test. Is the correlation resulting from out of classroom factors? Or does it point to overall school/classroom/teacher quality?

There's a Need to Expand Our Definition of Parent Engagement
We had some very interesting readings in Professor Mapp's class this week. Overall they pushed me to think of different ways to define parent engagement. Are parents who cannot attend parent-teacher conferences or help with homework, but instill a hard work ethic in their kids participating in schooling? Somewhat related, another reading prompted me to ask how can schools tap into families' "funds of knowledge" to develop a more meaningful and engaging curriculum for their students.

It's Really Hard to Re-imagine School
In Building a Democratic School we worked on our mission statements and student schedules, and I found myself constrained at times by my actual experiences. I'm imagining a school with more freedom, more choice and more project-based learning than my students experienced, but I'm having trouble thinking about how this will look in practice.

Representing Content Isn't as Simple as I Thought
This week in Universal Design for Learning we looked at the first of UDL's three guiding principles: Provide multiple means of representation. The online "document' raised some really interesting ideas about the limitations of prints and the need to provide students with customizable representations of content. In some ways, this is not a new concept (providing visuals, manipulatives, etc), but technology offers a lot of new and exciting methods to do this. Now the challenge is expanding access to these resources.


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