March 2009
Vol 6 No 3

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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.6 No.3 March 2009

Cover Story by Graysen Walles
Teachers are Brave
Somewhere in this country a drive-by was avoided, a robbery was reconsidered, or a suicide attempt was abandoned because a teacher was willing to show up and make a difference in the classroom, administrative office, after school activity, or at the home of a child.

Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching
Assessing for Student Learning

»The 21st Century Teaching-Learning Environment - (Think Outside the Classroom Box)Hal Portner
»Why Do You Teach?Sue Gruber
»Educating Homeless ChildrenLeah Davies
»Old School Progress ReportsTodd R. Nelson
»Habit vs. Awareness for the 3 Practices and for the Hierarchy of Social DevelopmentMarvin Marshall
»The Busy Educator's Monthly FiveMarjan Glavac
»Dear Barbara - Advice for SubsBarbara Pressman
»Global Travel GuruJosette Bonafino
»Tool & ToysRick Morris

»Economic Relief for TeachersTeachers.Net
»Fifty Years of TeachingBill Page
»Strange SignsTim Newlin
»A Dozen Surefire Tips To Maximize Flexible Grouping and Small Group LearningSusan Fitzell
»Time to Reward YourselfAlan Haskvitz
»March 2009 Writing PromptsJames Wayne
»Using Photographs To Inspire Writing VHank Kellner
»What’s Wrong With Teacher Education In This Country?Howard Seeman
»“Slumdog Millionaire” Teaches About Education, TooDorothy Rich
»Teachers’ Role in Improving Students’ Thinking Skills: Moving beyond the ‘sage on the stage’Ambreen Ahmed

»Apple Seeds: Inspiring QuotesBarb Stutesman
»Today Is... Daily CommemorationRon Victoria
»The Lighter Side of Teaching
»Teacher Blogs Showcase
»Liz Phillips' Printable Discipline Rubric
»Photo tour: 4th Grade Classroom
»Lessons, Resources and Theme Activities: March 2009
»Featured Lesson: Recognizing Bullying
»Modeling Guided Reading FAQ, Periodic Table of Videos – Fascinating Chemistry!, Carl Sagan - 4th Dimension Explanation, Parabolas in the Real World, Al Jolson sings - Brother Can You Spare a Dime?, Lovers’ Waltz - Casey Willis on violin, Meet Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
»Live on Teachers.Net: March 2009
»T-Netters Share Favorite Recipes
»Managing Hyperactive Students
»Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers
»This Board’s For Me!


The Teachers.Net Gazette is a collaborative project
published by the Teachers.Net community
Editor in Chief: Kathleen Alape Carpenter
Layout Editor: Mary Miehl

Cover Story by Graysen Walles

Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong

Contributors this month: Graysen Walles, Hal Portner, Sue Gruber, Leah Davies, Todd R. Nelson, Marvin Marshall, Marjan Glavac, Barbara Pressman, Josette Bonafino, Rick Morris, Bill Page, Tim Newlin, Susan Fitzell, Alan Haskvitz, James Wayne, Hank Kellner, Howard Seeman, Dorothy Rich, Ambreen Ahmed, Barb Stutesman, Ron Victoria, Liz Phillips, and YENDOR.

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Todd Nelson

The Principal Learning Curve
Archive | Biography | Resources | Discussion

Old School Progress Reports

Some things never change. A progress report form is still an expression of a school community’s values and relationships, as well as individual achievement.
by Todd R. Nelson
Regular contributor to the Gazette
March 1, 2008

If you were a fourth grader at the Eggertsville Elementary School in Eggertsville, New York, in the early 1940s, citizenship occupied fully half of the small blue report card that you took home to your parents at the end of each marking period—six times a year.

Citizenship was complicated! It was divided into two parts: Social Adjustment and Attitude Toward Work, both categories detailed in subcategories: cooperation, dependability, healthfulness, self control; carefulness, initiative, interest, and perseverance, respectively. Even the sub-categories had sub-categories. The standards were clear and concise; the routine rigid; the document short and graphic. And there were silver stars to be earned, as well as letter codes: U, I, S, H!

Over on the “Scholarship” side of the blue card, the headings listed the academic subjects without sub-categories. Everyone seemed to know what was included in math, science, language arts. There were the traditional letter grades for each subject, and an average grade for the year. Stapled inside, was a very small blank piece of paper with room for the teacher’s “remarks,” if they chose. “Bob did some fine work on the original Columbus Day play,” wrote Mrs. Shurgot. The year before: “Bob did some good acting in the class Thanksgiving play,” and in the Christmas assembly, “he showed more of his good work on the stage by the fine reading of his topic and poem.” I suppose we would call these “narrative comments” today. What was the name of that poem? What made his work on the play “fine”? It feels like incomplete reporting. There’s no directive information in them for the next marking period.

The Eggertsville card also contains one brief, statement of mission: “When the school and home unite in their efforts the best interest of the child can be served. The closest cooperation of these two forces is essential for the pupil’s development.” So, it’s a progress report! But what a starchy declaration of interdependence.

At any rate, young Bob took that card home six times and returned it to school with his mother’s signature. He was promoted to fifth grade, with many silver stars attached for good attendance, honor roll, band, music, newspaper. Evidently Bob’s mom valued her son’s record of achievement and saved all his report cards. They were preserved for posterity. Bob’s mom was June Nelson, my grandmother, and I hadn’t seen these historic artifacts until Thanksgiving, when we had a good laugh over dad’s academic record around the family table.

Article continued on next page

» More Gazette articles...

About Todd Nelson...

Todd R. Nelson has been a public and private school English teacher and administrator for 29 years, in schools in Cambridge, San Francisco, Chicago and Maine. He is principal at the Adams School in Castine, Maine, a 54 student K-8 school on the town common in a little town on the coast, where he gets to play four-square at recess, play his bagpipes, and write musicals for the all-school play.

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