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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.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

A Day of Good News and Bad News


Today Cat and I got good news and bad news.

The good news is that the Performance Task training we finished today was some of the best professional development training either of us have ever experienced.  A good deal of the credit goes to our excellent trainer Suzy Page, a very down to earth type of person who has real world teaching experience, in urban schools in Memphis, Tennessee  no less!

Suzy helps a participant develop a performance assessment


We ended our training today by developing performance tasks. In a performance task, a student is given a problem related to the Common Core State Standards for which they will produce a writing or a product that shows that they have mastered the standard's objective.  

For example, one writing standard calls for the student to produce a narrative that demonstrates they understand how characters react to a given situation. One of the reading standards requires them to do character analysis.  My performance task incorporates these objectives.

Native American Coyote figure

My performance task calls for the students to read and analyze the character known as the "trickster" who appears in the myths and tales of all cultures. The trickster is an animal or a person who survives by his wits as opposed to his strength. Think Bugs Bunny or Huck Finn.  In my performance task, the character they will analyze  is Coyote, a common trickster figure in many Native American cultures.  My students' performance task is to create their own trickster character and have their trickster solve a problem using the skills that the figure possesses.  I hope to use their writings in an anthology of student work we will create during the year.

Now for the bad news.

Cat and I had hoped to visit my folks in Washington state this summer. On Tuesday I took our PT Cruiser into Hibdon's Tire for an oil change and a diagnostic once over.  The car is still at Hibdon's and the bill currently stands at over $2000! It seems that the car needed new struts, had oil in the brake line, and needed a new master cylinder.  So, we will be staying home this summer with maybe a few short trips here and there.  

I bought tickets to see the Kansas City Royals play at home, so one of our trips to will be to Kansas City where everything is up-to-date, I've been told.  Play Ball!

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