About Me

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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Monday, August 01, 2011

I begin the new school year.

Oklahoma Centennial High School
This year I begin my 18th year as a public school teacher. Going back to my days as a graduate assistant teacher at the University of Oklahoma, I have taught for 33 years. School began today, the earliest it has ever begun in the Oklahoma City Public School District, as the beginning of our "Continuous Learning Calendar". The theory is that with a shortened summer break, our students will retain more of what they learned the past year. We will see how that plays out.

Another wrinkle that has been added to my school is the fact that we are now under the "Transformational model" for a "Needs Improvement" school. This means that we are under a special mandate to improve our instruction and our students' learning. As a part of that, we attended a one week seminar the week before school, for which we were compensated. We learned about the "Marzano Model" of instruction developed by Robert J. Marzano in his book The Art and Science of Teaching among other works on instruction.

As I said, today was the first day,and I am attempting to teach my students the "Rituals and Routines" of the classroom, those practices that will lead to a classroom where learning can take place. I can tell that I will need to work more with the students. They will need much practice, but we have made a start.

My plan is this: I will do my very best to follow the methods of instruction that I am being taught. And I will report the results of those methods in this blog. The focus will be me, my successes and failures. I will not make any negative judgements about those methods, nor will there be anything criticism of my administration, my school, or my students. I simply want to report how I am doing as a teacher, and let others make their own judgements about me and me alone.

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