Archive for February 2007

Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

February 28, 2007

So, I hate to admit it, but last night my husband and I watched the premiere of the new FOX game show Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

I can’t say I was impressed with the show… not because the UCLA history graduate wasn’t “smarter” than a fifth grader, but because the game show clearly illuminates one of the big deficiencies with the educational system.  This contestant has a college degree, and I am assuming makes a decent living for himself; however, he could not answer questions from 1st-5th grade textbooks.

I am not ashamed to admit that I couldn’t remember the answers to all of the questions either. I have a master’s degree and think of myself as pretty successful. The point is (in case you have gotten it already) that I have not needed a large portion of the information I learned in school.

A large portion of the questions asked are (in my opinion) little more than trivia, so why do we spend so much time teaching and testing on this information when students will forget the majority of it?

I would rather teach students skills they will actually need in life – problem solving, information management, how to work collaboratively, writing, reading, communication, etc.  It just makes more sense to me. Instead of attempting to stuff children’s heads full of meaningless facts (and essentially wasting a lot of time), we could teach students how to be in charge of their own learning.

I know the game show is supposed to be comical, but I found it sad.

There are similar conversations going on here and here.


Did You Know?

February 27, 2007

I am sure by now, most of you have already seen the Did You Know video created by Karl Fisch and edited by Scott McLeod, but just in case I thought I would share it here as well.

Lots of ideas to think about and discuss!

Who Knew Discussing School Is So Popular?

February 27, 2007

About a week ago I posted my comments on an interview with Alvin Toffler that was published in the February edition of Edutopia.

Apparently right about the same time as my post, my husband was finishing up a unit over Plato’s Republic and a project entitled Utopian High, so some of his students visited my site and commented on Toffler’s interview.

A couple of my teachers joined the discussion as well as Richard Florida of

This is a great example of the power of blogging – ideas from inside and outside the classroom brought together in a discussion of purpose.

Thanks to everyone who has commented and feel free to join the discussion now.  It is never too late!

Garmin ROCKS!!

February 26, 2007

I am so excited!!  I just received a box from Garmin with eight GPS units as a response to the letter I sent them. I am now going to change my Donors Choose proposal for fewer units so hopefully it will fund more quickly.


Donors Choose

February 23, 2007

I am trying really hard to get some GPS units for my school.  I have written some letters and sent them to Garmin and am awaiting their response.

I have also submitted a proposal on DonorsChoose, but so far no one has contributed to our cause.  This is the first time I have tried the Donors Choose site, and I really like the idea behind it.

I was wondering if any of you have had any experience with the site or if you have some other ideas about how I might go about getting some GPS units.  I would love to hear your ideas!


February 22, 2007

So, today one of my administrators e-mailed me this article from the Dallas Morning News.

“For ninth-graders at Killough Lewisville High School North, every third Friday is judgment day.Teachers at the freshman-only campus set up three tables during lunch – one for students with no grade below an A on their progress reports, one for those with no grade below a B and one for those with no grade below a C. The better the table, the better the rewards, which include sodas, candy bars, chips and school supplies.”

Hmmm… this takes me back several years… all the way back to kindergarten with the red table (red birds), the blue table (blue birds), etc.

Does anyone else see a problem with this concept?

I Am A Commenting Fool

February 22, 2007

Since I extended this challenge yesterday, I thought I should set an example myself.

I have commented on several blogs today, but I thought I would share a couple (for proof). 🙂

I have had a couple of teachers from my school tell me they have accepted the challenge, and I hope you have too. Perhaps I should have asked you to link back to me or link to your comments so I would know who is participating… oh well, hopefully you joining in!