Large Class Sizes:
As teachers are preparing to enter the classroom, a common philosophy taught is that the individual needs of all students must be met during an educational day/year. That sounds wonderful, but it is not realistic. When class sizes loom over 20 students, it becomes impossible for one human to deal with the many learning concerns in the classroom. One year I had a range of students who read from Pre-K to 9th grade in my 5th grade classroom. Along with this, I had students who just didn’t care (even after I had met several times with the parents). The best learning environment that I experienced was class sizes smaller than twenty students. Kids begin to fall through the cracks with anything larger.
Common Core: 3 areas of major concern-
- 10th Amendment: states’ rights. Local control will be moved to the federal level. A few people will be setting standards for all children and states in the union.
- 4th Amendment: The federal government will be tracking your students and your family for about 20 years by collecting hundreds (400+) of data points of very personal information. Update: inBloom, the software student data collection center, will be shutting down due to parental/educator’s concerns about privacy rights. April 2014
- The curriculum will be designed to support the federal standards, which may be lower than previous state standards and support the Common Core agenda.
My Experience with Common “Snore”:
Over the past 3 months, I have been tutoring a student on a large Social Studies research project. The project’s theme is Rights and Responsibilities. My 7th grade student has been extensively researching Lewis W. Hine’s photography and child labor. This learner has compiled 15 primary and secondary sources using actual photographs as primary sources, and biographical books, videos, and internet sites as secondary sources. An elaborate multiple page annotated bibliography has been completed. A final report will be presented using drama and props. My student will role play Lewis Hine, a narrator, a child laborer, and a factory owner. This has been a wonderful project for my creative student. However, I do have some criticisms about the project. There has been an incredible amount of preliminary paper work to fill out. In fact, I asked the student, “Who is going to read all of these papers?” It reminded me of the days when I was teaching in the public school. We, as teachers, were required to fill out numerous papers documenting student progress. In my opinion, it was bureaucratic nonsense and a waste of time. My student’s Common Core project has a lot of bureaucratic nonsense with the excessive papers she was required to fill out. There was a lot of monotony and repetition within this project. My second criticism is the length of time it has taken to complete this assignment. Instead of a semester, this project could have been completed within a month’s time. I did enjoy teaching this project, but my final concern is the possible Socialistic leanings regarding the subject “rights and responsibilities”. My conclusion is that Common Core involves more busy work which subtracts from meaningful learning.
Recently, I edited a science assignment that was related to Common Core. It was a waste of the student’s time (I actually felt sorry for her.), where she was required to write pages of evaluations about past assignments.
I have written about school lunches in my blog. They are full of artificial ingredients and chemicals.