March 27, 2008

Selection Policy Debrief

Posted in Assignments tagged , , at 8:34 am by maf

I finished grading all of your Selection policies.

They turned out well, several extremely so. This time, two sets of eyes evaluated each policy. I read every word myself, as one of those pairs of eyes. Admittedly, in some places I worked fast. Overall I was able to focus on important spots and gave them due attention. Thanks to Beth and Stephanie for reviewing half each and helping me to get a running start on each one.

A trouble spot for several teams was this requirement: “Proactive steps are taken to prevent censorship and self-censorship.” In the Order, this requirement shows up again. So, I thought I would provide a few pointers:

  • The big idea is to be proactive as well as reactive. The Reconsideration procedure helps you with the reactive portion.
  • In a Media Committee meeting, discuss the difficulty of self-censorship and ask them to help detect signs of bias.
  • Use selection tools to select for materials in topic areas that seem edgy, difficult, or prone to challenge.
  • List as one of your selection principles that you and the committee will formally reflect upon the possibility of self-censorship on an annual basis.

These are just several ideas. Any one would satisfy the requirement.

Now, for your reading pleasure, here is an incomplete list of Target topics from your projects. It’s incomplete because I didn’t always remember to jot these down as I went along. If shared, you might be able to use the work of others (with permission!) as you formulate orders in the future.

  • hilo leisure reading for upper elementary EIP students
  • science-related biographies aligned with GPS
  • chapter book fiction
  • graphic novels (high school)
  • audiobooks
  • science curriculum support
  • social studies curriculum support
  • books of interest to boys
  • diversity materials to reflect demographic changes: books and magazines
  • contest-related books: HRRB, Reader’s Rally, Battle of the Books
  • professional journal subscriptions focusing on GPS changes
  • Spanish titles, Spanish/English dual language titles
  • literature circle program titles, 3rd grade

Here’s a random item: principle vs. principal. It’s a good idea to learn which is which.

Scores will be posted in WebCT by Saturday. See you at GUC!

March 6, 2008

News for March 8 class

Posted in Assignments, Updates tagged at 7:15 am by maf

It’s funny how a four-day trip can set you back in terms of workload!

My trip to Sapelo was great. Read about it here.

I’m guessing that I may receive some emails and phone calls as you finish up your Selection Policies. Here’s one Q&A that might explain a little more about the tags:

Q: I’m confused about the Reflection tag. There seem to be two: one in the list of elements at the top of the list, and then another under Connections at the bottom. Help!

A: I can see why this is confusing, now that I step back and look at the Tag List. If I have time, I’ll clarify it, but here’s the explanation:

“Connections” has nothing to do with the Reflection. The context for Connections is on the rubric, line 4.3. I’ll admit, it makes no sense unless you look at the rubric – I did that by design. There is only one Reflection. It’s listed up top of the Tag List as a component. The last tags are to be included in the reflection. So, you can just highlight your Reflection heading and that’s sufficient for that tag. Then, include the last three tags in the reflection itself.

I hope this helps. This is an excellent reminder that, despite great care in constructing these things, there’s always room for ambiguity and confusion – and only through your questions do these come to light.

I am home most of today and happy to take any questions. Tomorrow I travel to Athens and you’re welcome to reach me via cell.

On Saturday, Beth and Stephanie are in charge of the day while I do advising. I’ll be happy to talk to any person (my advisee or not) that wants a one-on-one consultation. Reminder: the Advising Notes page is your best friend at registration time (begins March 28).

February 15, 2008

Selection policy drafts – overall comments

Posted in Assignments tagged at 6:32 am by maf

Here’s a summary of my thoughts as I wrap up reading your Selection Policy Drafts.

Overall, they are very well done. All teams accomplished a proper foundation for the complete SP. For each, I communicated any critical problems that needed to be addressed before proceeding. In most cases, there is handwritten feedback on the drafts which can wait until you see them on Feb 23.

As I read your Intellectual Freedom statements, I purposely refrained from commenting. It is not my place to agree or disagree with your positions. While I wanted to cheer many times, I tried not to do that either. Again, the importance of this exercise was to bring you to reflect about intellectual freedom and to be able to articulate a personal position. All of you accomplished this.

I’ve kept a copy of all the feedback, and so you won’t need to resubmit this draft with the final SP.

Here are a few clarifications, words of advice, things prompted as I read through them:

  • Take it as a basic rule that it is best to use the required language, whatever that is. We have invented the terms “Target” and “Principles” for this class. Because we agree internally on what they mean, it’s important to use those terms. Likewise (and much more important), as you go forward in your career, there will be many times when you must submit requests, policies, progress reports, on and on. In each of these, make sure to use the exact native language required. For example, when writing a grant proposal, it’s absolutely critical that you use the terms required by the instructions. This basic rule – so often overlooked – is an important survival skill.
  • Most of you quoted your School Mission, because I required that you link your Targets to it. However, the assignment did not specifically call for this. I will change the assignment for next time to require a statement of School Mission. Another important skill for you to have is to instinctively link each project or plan or policy to this Mission, over and over and over.
  • All of you did a great job of finessing that squiggly line between Selection Principles and Criteria. I think this is a first in my years of grading SPs.
  • Targets must always explain what kinds of things are to be purchased.

As always, if you see a way to improve an assignment or clarify instructions, I am happy to entertain your feedback.

February 8, 2008

Intellectual Freedom Personal Statements

Posted in Assignments tagged , , , at 8:50 am by maf

Here’s a compilation of answers I’ve sent out this week to individual questions about the Intellectual Freedom (IF) personal statement portion of the Selection Policy Draft:

If you ALONE were going to write the SP, what would your position on intellectual freedom be? Without the need to compromise or negotiate?

If I see deep reflection, I will be mostly happy. There is no wrong or right position.

The one paragraph given in the SP Draft assignment description accurately and fully describes the task. There are no hidden quality criteria. This is an open-ended, free-form task.

Certainly, you can include as examples specifics from your Reflection About Controversial Issues, as you see fit and are willing to share.

The big idea here is for you to have a chance to think through your own position on IF before you must launch into the fray of constructing a compromised position within your team.

You will not be asked to stand up and read your positions aloud :-). Although I won’t guarantee secrecy on these reflections, they will be read only by me and Beth with the possible help of Stephanie. We won’t be sharing them with anyone beyond the necessary circle.