Slice of Life Tuesday: “With Fidelity”

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I’m upset about the word FIDELITY in education. This word has given me headaches for at least 2 years now, as I attend meeting after meeting, session after session, on how, if teachers would just use “the program” or “the strategy” or “the textbook” “with fidelity,” that students will be successful in school. Teachers are evaluated, schools are graded, and the one thing that is reported about education is if we could all just make this one change — fidelity — then we could all succeed in life. I looked up “fidelity in education.” Here’s what Google showed in the first pop-up screen (a Google definition of “fidelity in education”):

“Fidelity of implementation occurs when teachers use the instructional strategies and deliver the content of the curriculum(s) in the same way that they were designed to be used and delivered.” (Yep. It said, “curriculums.”) Does that ever happen? (A question for another time)

The second intriguing link (from the Center on Instruction’s RTI CTRL:http://www.rtictrl.org/files/Fidelity%20Checklist%20A.pdf showed a Fidelity Checklist — a checklist/worksheet that an observer can use to collect data on if a teacher is using curriculum “with fidelity.” The sheet includes Instruction/Presentation, such as “teacher and student materials ready,” “follows steps and wording in lessons,” “provides students many opportunities to respond,” and “completes all parts of teacher-directed lesson.” The checklist also has a category for General Observations of the Group, including “student engagement in lesson,” “student success at completing activities,” and “teacher familiarity with lesson formats and progression through activities.”

Well…

Oh, wait! There’s more! A third link at www.rtinetwork.org/getstarted/evaluate/treatment-integrity-protocols says this about Fidelity Checklists:

“These protocols have been developed by a variety of sources (publishers, graduate students, practitioners) and no claim is made for their sufficiency or thoroughness. They are posted as an aid to practitioners and researchers and should generally be considered as experimental products that require research as to their psychometric characteristics.”

What does this mean to me? Well…

  1.  This means that “fidelity” to anything in education, especially a curriculum (program, what have you), is following the program to the letter — even “following steps and wording…” — which makes me so angry that I spent thousands of dollars receiving my license to teach! What this says to me is that as long as I can read a script, and “provide students many opportunities to respond,” I can be a successful teacher. This is WRONG! According to the checklist above, teachers should also be “familiar with lesson formats and progression through activities.” Many teachers are not trained in this way. Teachers do not know WHY they are reading this script, doing this lesson, following this instruction. They just do it. They are observed as working “with fidelity.” This is MADDENING, as outcomes for “success” are shown as minutes using the program, NOT how well a child learns the material (or if the child even uses the material once the program is over).
  2. This also means that “fidelity” includes students themselves — “student engagement in lesson” and “student success at completing activities.” Have you ever seen a group of students use a program with fidelity? Really? I haven’t. A whole group of students mindlessly completing activities is NOT LEARNING, and I’m sorry (not sorry), but one or two members of any group at any one time are NOT fully engaged, nor are they successful at completing activities. Students (or teachers, or politicians, or whoever) completing activities does not equal success. Can you say a group of people — let’s say teachers, for instance, are teaching with fidelity when they watch their students (proctor – that’s the word) take a standardized test? NO! Those same students don’t pass the test, and then everyone is up in arms about the lack of “quality education.”

Let’s all take a hard look at “FIDELITY” in education. Please. Let’s go back to the question of “WHY.”  WHY do my students need to work with this program? WHY will they gain more if they complete this task, rather than that task? WHY does minutes with a program mean more than an intelligent conversation (I’m thinking here, a conversation around a book’s theme, for example.)?

WHEN will society change?

(Just my evening of rambling. Please take this post with a grain of salt, or respond intelligently, as you wish. Thank you for reading.)

 

Slice of Life Tuesday: Mixed Feelings

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Low point = Staff meeting called to tell us that our school is closing in June 2018

High point = NCTE Annual Conference and reunion with all my PLNs from afar

I’m exhausted tonight. Mentally and physically exhausted. I think the past 7 days have given me that full gamut of emotion that makes me want to just get under the covers and sleep.

Sleep to escape.

Sleep to dream new dreams.

Sleep to re-adjust, renew, and rekindle the fire.

Sleep.

 

Image: http://www.clipartmasters.com/clip-arts/sleeping-clip-art-65739.png

 

 

Slice of Life Tuesday: Just write it!

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I worked all day (every period full of life and middle school drama) and met up with a former colleague after school (always nice to catch up). When I got home I did some laundry, put the dishes away, talked to my husband for a while, and started watching the Cubs. But there’s one thing I didn’t do today…

I didn’t write.

So, there I was, scrolling through Facebook and Twitter, all the while thinking, “I should write my Slice today. I need to get that done.” I watched more TV, and checked my email. Then I opened Twitter again. After all day, here’s what I found:

 

 

 

 

So here I am, typing my Slice. Sometimes you need a good kick in the butt. Thank you, Jess Keating and Kelly Gallagher, for motivating me to write tonight. Now I intend to watch more of the Cubs, but I’m more likely to fall asleep within the hour.

Slice of Life Tuesday: Book Birthday Bash!

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I’ve been waiting for this day for a while now. It’s a “Book Birthday” bash today — lots of new releases for October 3rd! (I wish my wallet could keep up.) Here’s what I’ll be reading in the next few weeks:

After the Fall (Picture Book) by Dan Santat — Oh, how I love Humpty! I hope he’s okay and gets back up again!  

Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever (Probably) by Julie Falatko — THE BFF story of the year  

The Perfect Score by Rob Buyea — If you know me, you know I cannot stand standardized testing. Let’s see…

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay — for beauty!

Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar — highly recommended, and a lovely, colorful cover. I can’t wait!  

La La La by Kate DiCamillo — because it’s KATE!  

The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase series continues) by Rick Riordan — it’s a series, people!

Before the Devil Breaks You (YA/adult) by Libba Bray — I’m not sure about this one, but I’ll try.

Talking As Fast As I Can (From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls and Everything in Between) (adult) by Lauren Graham — because I’ll need my relaxing, TV fix

Manhattan Beach (adult) by Jennifer Egan — I may never get to this one!

There are so many book releases today. These are the titles I want to tackle. October is the month of great reading this year; I can see that clearly.

What will you read next?

 

 

Slice of Life Tuesday: What a Day! What a Week!

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What a day! (What a week!)

  • Banned Books Week – September 24 – 30. Emails sent; display table of banned and challenged books in the library; talks with classes about the right to read and choosing to read. Oh, yeah! READING challenged and banned books. 
  • Librarian meeting for Battle of the Books — Gear up! 20 books ready to go for students who want to read and compete. This is going to be so much fun!
  • The Way to Be a by Kat Yeh and Wishtree by Katherine Applegate — this day of reading a new book and revisiting a book for its book birthday = happy reading girl!

Slice of Life Tuesdays: Computers Don’t Teach

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I’ve been thinking

about thinking and learning, you see

and what I have found (between you and me) is

Computers Don’t Teach.

(But no one is asking me.)

 

Reading books is worthwhile, you see

and what I have found (between you and me) is

it’s something to see —  faces light up when you say,

“I have a new book for you all today!”

 

“I don’t have time to read it, though.

We only have 10 more minutes to go.”  Get back to the screens —

Focus! Don’t play! We must make you learn! You must pass…(you did?) Hooray!

What I have found (between you and me) is

Computers Don’t Teach.

(A research-based statement? Yes/Maybe, someday!)

 

Thank you to the TWO WRITING TEACHERS blog for allowing me to read, write, and share my thinking. Maybe someday my research will show how students think, learn, and succeed in school…and in life. 

 

 

 

Slice of Life Tuesday: New Year, New Position

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I’m finally living the dream. Last week I started my new position as School Librarian in my corporation. I love it! There is stress; I’ve completely reorganized the large library space and I’m done with the fiction section of the room (alphabetical order isn’t as easy as it seems). As I work with the nonfiction shelves, I remember my learning of the Dewey Decimal system, wondering if this is the best way for patrons to find what they are looking for when they come to the library. I gathered stacks of books that I want to restock in different parts of the room, and made a list of books and materials I want to order (growing by the minute! — my director is going to say, “You don’t have that kind of budget!”).

My number one goal this year as a new librarian is to spread the love of reading and books to all who visit the library. I typed some author quotes and made little displays all over the area, and placed small “Did You Know…?” trivia around the room. When students are perusing, they can use these to be inspired and make choices that pertain to them. I am passionate about reading (and learning), and I want my patrons to share their learning, too.

I returned home today exhausted. I almost didn’t write this post, but I’ve skipped enough Slice of Life days this summer, and it’s time to start my own “homework” again. I ran across this saying about writing today, and it made me laugh — the perfect way to end the day.

(pictures are mine, from Facebook post memes: Katrina Monroe author quote, and Values.com)

 

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