The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.

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Comments should be respectful and pertain to the topic posted. Comments about personnel matters should be made directly to the administrators responsible. Blog moderators reserve the right to remove any comment determined not in keeping with these guidelines.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

End of the School Week Funnies

Blogging will be light for the remainder of the week as everyone will be busy trying to find room for another piece of pumpkin pie.

For all of you hosting guests this week - smile and ask them to help you - especially the males who think watching Thanksgiving football is a constitutional right.

This story was given to me by a patron who read it in a newsletter.

A teacher was doing a lesson on whale anatomy and the discussion came up about whether or not Jonah was swallowed by a whale. The teacher made a comment that the type of whale they were studying would not be able to physically swallow an object the size of a person.

To which a little girl interjected, "When I get to heaven I am going to ask Jonah." To which the teacher without thinking quickly responded, "What if Jonah went to hell?"

The little girl looked up and said, "Then you ask him!"

Enjoy your holiday with friends and family.


Anonymous said...

I do not know where to put this, so I will attach it here and see what your response will be. I was told by a teacher at the high school yesterday that the principal was concerned that students who had missed a lot of school days were still getting good grades. Now, as a parent I am concerned.

The student handbook states that a student who was absent has the right to make up work if the absence is excused. If a student makes the work up and it is quality work, then how can Mrs. Stevens be concerned that students like these can maintain their grade? So, in essence what she is saying is that if my child were sick, then the school and his teachers should punish my son through his grades. What are they supposed to do? Deny him make-up work? Let him make the work up but not allow it to count? Is this an instance of violating No Child Left Behind? It sure seems like Mrs. Steven is willing to leave children behind here. Is she going to start requiring teachers to discount grades based on the number of days they are absent?

Honestly, I understand there are some students that have excessive absences. Punish them for that. But you cannot tell me with any sort of professionalism that your principal can seriously consider punishing students that are merely making up classwork that your own school corporation policy says has the right to make up.

Sounds to me like the mouth began speaking before the brain had the chance to fully think about what the mouth was going to say.

Whay say you Dr. Stock?

Dr. Mark J. Stock said...

I will post a short response here, but would appreciate the opportunity to discuss it more fully by phone or in person.(457-3188) Please give me a call. I would enjoy the chance to talk to you.

In fact, it is such an important question, I hope you don't mind if I make the general topic a separate post at another time.

You say that you heard "the principal was concerned that students who missed a lot of school days were still getting good grades."

I know that Mrs. Stevens has no desire to "punish" a student who legitimately misses school. I know she sincerely hopes that every child is able to learn most of what they actually missed.

However, learning everything you missed is not always the same thing as making up credit for work missed. The concern has more to do with how curriculum has changed. School is so much more involved than it used to be. When I was in school my brothers and sisters used to laugh about getting the exact same tests, quizes and assignments 7 years apart in some classes. Seldom true today. Teachers work so hard to provide a variety of activites such as guest speakers, video clips, organized class discussions. student reports and other activities. These are near impossible to "make-up." Yet parents and students expect to fully make-up or get credit for work missed when it is often impossible to reproduce. So teachers provide worksheets or homework activites for same or similar credit when they know it is not the same.

I believe that Mrs. Stevens' point is that if all class activities were very closely aligned with the homework and activites, it would conceivably be more difficult for a student to "make-up" what is actually missed. In other words, students who missed a lot of class might find it awkward to make up grade wise what is impossible to reproduce.

Exceptions might be in subjects like Mathematics where the scope and sequence is more clear cut and you don't see guest lectures, group projects and class debates so often.

I assure you that we are worried about students that are failing and are undergoing many new initiatives to intervene on their behalf. But I also assure you that we want grades to actually reflect what is learned and what is actually taught. Many teachers go to great lengths (some will tell you they go overboard) to help students "make-up credit" when they miss class. But making up credit is not always the same as making up for missed learning opportunities.

I know for a fact that teachers cringe when a student comes in the next day after being absent and says, "Did I miss anything?"

The teacher usually smiles politely and says, "Yes, but I hope you are feeling better."

What they might be thinking is, "I hope you feel better, but yes, you missed alot. There was a rousing debate on a controversial subject that you would have found fascintating and you missed two classmates who gave their speeches yesterday. But here is a worksheet for 1o points credit. Your grade might not suffer, but your learning has been hampered. I know it's not your fault you were sick, but I can't pretend that what you will do in place of it is actually equal."