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

by Todd R. Nelson
Continued from page 1
March 1, 2008

What a role reversal. I was glad to see Dad’s progress from third grade music, when he got an I for “improving” in the “sings with pleasing quality” sub-category in music. The next year he took up trumpet, and avoided the whole singing issue. Back in kindergarten he had gotten a U (unsatisfactory) for “plays and works well with others,” and a U for “listens while others are talking, does not interrupt.” But by Third grade, he cleaned up his act and was getting all Hs, particularly noteworthy in the area of “volunteers and does his part in making school profitable and interesting.” All that emphasis on citizenship and civility was paying off.

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. Judging by the space allotted to it, citizenship had value equal to scholarship in Eggertsville. The community knew what it wanted, and had a system for accountability.

Some things ought to change. My grandparents couldn’t tell what my dad was reading and writing in grade school, or how math concepts were taught. And I’d like to hear more of the voice of his teachers telling the story of those years—especially since he had his beloved Mrs. Shurgot for three years in a row. There should be a balance between data and eyewitness news; hindsight and foresight.

In 1942, Bob won second-best in the Buffalo Evening News Spelling Bee. He was on the road to becoming Robert C. Nelson, a journalist. But I’m more amused to know him as the kindergartner who got a U in playing well with others.

Family archives can be terrifying. Someone managed to save my tenth grade French teacher’s comment: “Very little effort expended in or out of class. C-.” Incomplete reporting! My own eyewitness news account would mention expending a lot of effort that year. Two years later I got a 750 on my French achievement test. Good data. And recently I’ve made a lot of new friends in France. “Ms. Hornbeak, would you revise my grade? I wasn’t done!” So it goes. Progress reports have transitory meaning, for some purposes, and remain priceless, if frozen in time, for others. I just hope mine don’t show up at the next Thanksgiving table.

» 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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