Google+ Badge

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Computation Camp

There's a lot of variability with computation in the fifth grade. As we consider the computation ladder that begins with combinations that make 5 and 10 all the way up to algebra and more, we have students on almost all rungs of the ladder.

To address the needs and to try to bring students to a good fifth grade level, we'll essentially have "computation camp" in the next few weeks.

We'll begin "camp" by giving students the chance to correct their last math test and even take it over if they'd like. There's a few that really rushed the test, and I suspect they'll take me up on the offer to re-take the test.

Then there will be a host of computation camp exercises and activities. Some will include partner work, some will consist of teacher led groups, and others will be individualized efforts.

I'll start each student out at the point that they're at on that computation ladder, and then give them lots of chances to learn, practice, and test up to the next level. I think this will be a good way to bring everyone ahead with the computation expectations by the end of 2016.

What is a Fair Teacher's Contract?

As I continue my work on the local union's salary and working conditions committee, I am struck by the question, What is a fair teacher's contract?

I believe a fair teacher's contract is one that represents educators' need for fair salaries and working conditions. Essentially it's a contract that demonstrates ways to use resources well to support teachers so they can serve students and families well.

Of course negotiating a fair contract brings many perspectives to the table, but essentially what's important is keeping the main questions forefront, questions such as:
  • What does an educator need in order to do a good job by students and families?
  • How can resources be maximized in order to serve educators well so they can serve students and families well?
  • Beginning with the greatest obstacles to good work and working down the chain, the fair contract tries to create as many just and fair conditions as possible to create an optimal teaching/learning organization.
In the best of circumstances, there's little need for secrets with regard to a fair contract. In fact, I believe greater transparency serves a fair contract well. I also believe that the thoughts from all stakeholders matter in this regard.

Of course one of the biggest questions with regard to fair contracts is how much do you want to spend when it comes to schools and teachers? 

Typically teachers go where the money and good working conditions are. As with most things, you get what you pay for. I heard a citizen commenting lately that the school committee should look elsewhere for educators who would love to get lower salaries and teach in our town. He even recommended an international search. The problem here lies in the fact that when the educators arrive in our town they still have to eat, find housing, and take care of their loved ones which costs a lot so they would need a suitable salary. 

A fair contract relies on all involved bringing forth their best ideas for a top notch educational community where all educators, students, families, and staff are respected, treated fairly, and taken seriously with regard to their ideas, thoughts, and efforts. 

It's an interesting journey working towards a fair contract, one in which I'm happy to participate in and learn from. 

Educator Time on Task Algorithm

There's often discussions about time on task in schools. How much time is required of every educator? What algorithm would you use to determine this?

I thought about this today and I imagine an algorithm like this.

Figure out the per day total by adding up the following weekly tasks and dividing by 5:
  • Lesson prep, planning, and response. I estimated one hour per one hour course for 5 or more students, and 30 minutes for one hour of teaching with less than 5. 
  • Time on Task with Students including teaching and supervision.
  • Expected committee and professional work that falls outside of the top two areas per week.
Then add on other expected yearly tasks such as parent conferences, report cards, field trip time that is not traditional instructional time, conferences, and other expected, professional tasks. Divide that number by 183 (days in the school year) and add to the figure above. 

What would be a reasonable result. I would say 8 hours. My guess is that the range of result would equal anywhere from 8 to 20 dependent on the educator.

How would you change my algorithm? 

Do you use an algorithm to help create fair working conditions for all people in an organization? If so, how did you create and use those algorithms?

I think that this could be a new way to look at salary and working conditions in a collective way.