NCMSA Keynote: Rick Wormeli

MY NOTES IN ALL CAPS

JUST GOT CALLED OUT TO START THE SESSION ABOUT BLOGGING THE CONFERENCE…WOW…

-Rick is recounting a story of his first class on his first day teaching, talking about reading the role an attempting to pronounce his students names…one of whom was Phuc Duch…The kids said his first name was pronounced “Foo”…His realization was that he didn’t have to be good, but the kids would keep him from being terrible.

-There are times when teaching is really scary. You find bravery in some corner of yourself and address the day.

-Equillibrium is a system at rest…doesn’t consume anything and doesn’t produce anything…School should be a compelling dis-equillibrium

-“Rock the boat, it won’t sink”

-We should always be out for FAIR, not equal…what is fair for everyone, is what is out for kids success…

-Too many teachers are out for “gotcha”…I caught you making mistakes and now I’ve corrected them in red pen

-“Imagine students only learn what you know…” WHAT A LIMITATION 🙂 Don’t let  your limited imagination, limit your students

-Discussing Ethos, Pathos, Logos…students began by tossing one tennis ball, then two, then juggling three…then juggling each others tennis balls got the rest of the class’ attention. This allowed them to explain that all three ideas are needed for a good argument

-Stop editing students

  • Whoever is editing is doing the learning
  • Put a dot instead, for where they should look and FIND their own mistakes

-Teach the ways students best learn, not the way teacher learns best

  • Social networking
  • Podcasting
  • Text Messaging

-End the Five Paragraph Essay

  • How many paragraphs SHOULD it be? How many does it need?

-Get students to ask more questions that we do

  • Teachers ask 80 questions for every 2 by students
  • The questioner is doing the learning according to cognitive science

-Teach in a way that you persuade kids it was worth their time.

-Ask students to grade you

-Model academic struggle as as greatness…not failure

-Failure is the way to teach…let them fail and let them learn from it

Nils Bohr: An expert in any field is the one who made the most mistakes in that field

-Zeroes and F’s have to be infintely recoverable

-A kid without hope, is a huge problem with your teaching

THIS SHOULD HELP SOME OF THE FOLKS WHO CAN’T UNDERSTAND NO ZEROES

-We have adult level experience…middle schooler, a human in the morphing, doesn’t ahve the emotional where-with-all to be in charge of their own learning…we are commissioned to teach so that students learn…save them from themselves

-Giving them a zero says to a student it’s okay to not do something because it’s too far above them

-It’s not coddling…it’s increasing their likelihood to become competent adults…maybe they learn they need to form oral study groups in college because they found out that was the best way for them to learn

-NCTE: 68% of midde and high school students do notecards after the assignment is complete to satisfy the teacher…English teachers, get over it

-Pacing guides fly in the face of everything we know is good for learning

-Admit mistakes and make restitution when you’re wrong

-We have to negotiate what level of hypocrisy we’ll accept from ourselves daily

-We have to replace the metaphors we’ve operated under for so long

  • Benchmarks
  • Standards
  • FACTORY MODELS
  • LD – learning disabled, every single person in this room is LD in the right situation…LD should mean Learns Differently
  • Grades are communication, not compensation…Earning an A, Earning an F…Grades aren’t validation, or compensation, they are meant to be an ACCURATE undiluted report of learning

Is your classroom set up for teachers or students?

Does our use of technology advance our students understanding beyond what they could do without it?

RICK IS DISCUSSING MORE OF THE BIG QUESTIONS WE NEED TO ASK OURSELVES IN THE CLASSROOM.

Two Dozen brave things

  1. reading as a separate course
  2. adjust master schedule to support good instructional practice
  3. make it easier to let toxic teachers/principals go
  4. Principals who demand lesson plans should give a Principal Plan for what they are doing to those same teachers
  5. Change teacher evals. so that teachers who’ve taught the course are doing the evaluation
  6. teach teh students who nobody else wants
  7. Revamp your county grading system
  8. Stop demonizing failure
  9. Open teacher practices to public scrutiny
  10. Mandate students get outdoor teaching experience at least once a year
  11. Change licensure so that middle school is it’s own area
  12. be sensitive to racism
  13. openly, compassionately, but candidly have conversations about controversial topics with colleagues
  14. end perception that timed writing tests assess writing skill
  15. get parents to the classroom everyday, even if they’ve not scheduled
  16. question shows that say “you’re not worthy”
  17. dedicate to working in affluent and schools of poverty
  18. don’t take them out of PE and Music to put them in reading or remediation
  19. don’t start middle school before 9:15 or 9:30 AM
  20. remove some standards we have to teach
  21. specific steps to end poverty

MISSED THREE IN THERE SOMEWHERE…APOLOGIES

Closed with Sound of Music Differentiation Discussion

THANKS RICK! HOPE EVERYONE CAN BE MORE BRAVE ALONG WITH YOU!

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2 Responses

  1. I am interested in the “end 5 paragraph essay.” I do agree that students need to understand clear beginning, middle and end, staying on topic and using specific details. How often do we always write in 5 paragraph form? We say what we want to say and then we are finished. THE END

  2. […] I originally considered this to be an analysis of many of the things Rick Wormeli mentioned in his Keynote address back at the North Carolina Middle School Conference in March.  Thanks to a comment on my original […]

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