Scott James Dodd, M.Ed. Résumé

3945 Halifax Road – Wilmington, NC 28403 (910) 620-4016

• GOAL: Experienced professional educator with a diverse background
working with a wide variety of learners, curricula, and technology
seeking a senior administration role

Shared Mission/Vision Leadership Supervision of Curriculum/ Instructional
Budget Management/Supervision Teacher Evaluation/ Mediation
Stakeholder Communication Professional Development leading
DSS Child Custody Mediation Learner-Centered Instruction
School Safety Procedures Program Management
Differentiated Instruction Accountabilities (MTSS, IEP, AIG)
Differentiated Instruction Strategies (Acceleration, Tiered)
Data-based Decisions using data points including:
mClass, iReady, EVAAS, PowerSch, state testing, Teacher Working Conditions Survey

Instructional System Design Technology in the Classroom with respect for SAMR
Gifted Education/ ESOL Education Assessment (Formative & Summative)
Differentiated Instruction Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Accountability
Problem Based Learning Planning using Hess’s Rigor Matrix
Classroom Management Field Trip Planning/ Bus Driving
General Thinking Skills Athletic Coaching (Wrestling, Track & Field)

Current North Carolina Educator’s Professional License Areas
School Administration Class Code P
Curriculum Instructional Specialist Class Code M
Gifted Education Class Code A
Elementary Education (K-6) Class Code A

Additional Graduate Coursework: School Administration, AIG, and ESOL at UNCW 2013-2016
Master of Education, Curriculum/ Instructional Supervision 2007
University of North Carolina Wilmington- Overall GPA- 3.73/4.0
Thesis: “The Seventh Perspective: Coaching Fifth Graders toward Independence in Preparation for Mid. Sch.”
Bachelor of Science, Elementary Education, Taylor University, Upland, IN 1989
Certificate, TechLeader Digital Media Workshop, NC School of Science and Mathematics 2003
Certificate, Principals’ Executive Program for Charter Schools, UNC at Chapel Hill, Friday Center 2002

Gifted Education Specialist Carolina Beach Elementary, North Carolina 2015-Present
• Lead the assessment and evaluation of individual giftedness according to identification specifications
• Adapt the NC Standard Course of Study (SCOS) to address a range of advanced abilities
• Deliver professional development to instructional staff centered on differentiation and responsiveness
• Coach/collaborate with teachers on behalf of gifted students
• Advocate for a positive overall academic/intellectual culture school culture
• Deliver comprehensive AIG programs and services to meet academic, intellectual, social, and emotion
needs of gifted learners in all classrooms, grade levels, and settings

Academic Dean, Johns Hopkins University, Center for Talented Youth (CTY) 2005-2015
• Supervised and supported advanced academic program, ensuring student growth and professional development
• Coordinated the academic program of 250 students, nineteen classes, and forty faculty members
• Reviewed and facilitated pre and posttest instruments for all courses
• Oversaw faculty
• Served as a senior member of the site administration team
• Coached and encourage expert and new, content-strong instructors in a highly academic setting
• Edited and approved individual student narrative evaluations
• Wrote instructor evaluations, and provided constructive feedback
• Determined relevant topics, then created and presented professional development workshops
• Initiated contact and respond to parent questions and concerns
• Negotiate academic space requirements with host institution
• Coordinated field trip logistics including scheduling, food, and transportation
• Managed academic budget and collaborated with senior site administration regarding site budget
• Spoke publicly on behalf of the program

School Improvement Team Chair, Carolina Beach Elementary, NC 2008-2010
• Developed School Improvement Plan by collaboration and clarification, consolidated information
in one accessible location
• Facilitated dialog with faculty to solicit changes in instruction based on data

Vestry Member/ Junior Warden; St. John’s Episcopal Church, Wilmington, NC 2005-2008
• Negotiated the vestry’s administrative voice to express the mission of the church
• Advocated for the pre-school as an outreach asset to the church
• Organized community events and managed facility security analysis for procedural and structural improvements

Assistant Chair & Founding Board Member, St. John’s Episcopal Pre-School, North Carolina 2005
• Developed school’s initial by-laws collaboratively with other board member team
• Advocated preschool accreditation with the National Association of the Education of Young People (NAEYP)

Charter School Coordinator, Cape Fear Center for Inquiry, Wilmington, North Carolina 2001-2002
• Oversaw daily function of school operations and reported state-of-the-school to the board of directors
• Coordinated the work of the board, faculty, and parents on behalf of student learning
• Initiated and documented individual coaching cycles with teachers to improve instruction
• Coordinated faculty meetings and school’s procedural decision-making process
• Supported faculty with classroom management and student discipline learning
• Administered school-wide NC End-of-Grade (EOG) testing
• Created approved school procedural handbook policies for daily operations and emergencies

Search Committee Member, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Wilmington, North Carolina 1999-2000
• Collaborated with other committee members in an 18-month process to present three names to vestry
• Wrote, distributed, tallied, and presented the St. John’s Episcopal Church Survey (295 returned out of 650 -45%)
• Reviewed and recommended candidate resumes and profiles, and made observational visits to semi-finalists

Conference Co-Coordinator, Shrine Mont Conference, Orkney Springs, Virginia 1994-1995
• Administered week-long, 350 adult retreat from the mailing of applications to the analysis of final evaluations
using MS Access to organize payment, lodging, and workshop selection while ensuring special needs

Curriculum Support Instructor, Carolina Beach Elementary, North Carolina 2012
• Review student formative quantitative and qualitative data to recommend modification of instruction
• Document strategies to apply the rigor and relevance required of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
while coordinating dialogue with and between instructional staff members
• Peer evaluator and teacher mentor within school community

Elementary School Teacher, New Hanover County Schools, North Carolina 2003-2015
• Provided instruction based on the North Carolina Standard Course of Study (NC-SCOS)
• Created community of classroom learners centered on the Common Core and NC Essential Standards
• Articulated information, media, and technology skills as a subset of the full framework for 21st Century Learning
• Promoted specific meta-cognitive and general thinking skills in the context of life-long-learning
• Created inviting learning environment for diverse sets of learners
• Maintained documentation of Response to Intervention strategies and communication with parents
• Coordinated academic field trips and drive bus to reduce costs
• Conducted formal research- designed, gathered, analyzed data, reported, modified instruction
• Advocated successfully for $10,000 STEM grant for local research-grade weather/ energy analysis
• Proposed and received grant funding for interactive white boards

Special Education Teacher, Pender County Schools, North Carolina 2002-2003
• Maintained Individual Education Plan (I.E.P.) case load
• Created and delivered life skill instruction in Occupational Preparation (Occu Prep) student population
• Coached track athletes in field and hurdle events and drove bus for away meets

Instructor of Talented Youth, Johns Hopkins University, CTY, Maryland 2000-2001, 2004
• Developed/delivered intense, engaging instruction in geometry, logic, and data & chance for highly gifted students
• Wrote individual, detailed narrative evaluation letters regarding each student’s academic experience

Test Item Writer, CTP-4, Educational Testing Service (ETS) 2000
• Created test questions, answers and distracters for nationally-normed math reasoning and achievement test
• Collaborated with other item writers in the development of some test items

Middle School Teacher, Cape Fear Academy, Wilmington, North Carolina 1995-2001
• Designed and delivered instruction for math and science courses emphasizing practical, hands-on applications
• Created eleven by six foot ponds in the science classroom for two-week ecosystem studies
• Coached Math Olympiad and Science Olympiad competitions
• Applied for and received two-thousand dollar grant to establish ongoing entomology units
• Applied for and received grant funds to teach geometry utilizing a software (Geometer’s Sketchpad)
• Operated bus for frequent and relevant field trips
• Negotiated faculty conflict resolution by chairing the Faculty Assistance Team

Lay Eucharistic Minister, Cape Fear Region Episcopal Churches 1996-Present
• St. John’s, Wilmington, St Andrew’s on the Sound, Wilmington, and All Souls, Northwest

Middle School Teacher, Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Virginia 1993-1995
• Delivered math and science instruction using the VA SCOS in an inclusive classroom setting

Parenting Class Facilitator, Systematic Training of Effective Parenting (S.T.E.P) 1994
• Lead parenting workshop including instruction of content and problem solving strategies
• Negotiated effective solutions to ongoing parenting issues within the groups

Advanced Elementary Teacher, St. John’s School (IB), Tumon, Guam 1990-1993
• Prepared advanced 4th, 5th, and 6th graders for International Baccalaureate high school math program
• Coordinated collective opinion as President of the Faculty/Staff Council

Houseparent/ Coach, Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School, Rabun Gap, Georgia 1985-1990
• Mentored twenty-four high school boarding students at the school where the Foxfire program began
• Established and coached wrestling program that has continued to flourish
• Assessed and scheduled campus grounds maintenance needs, and facilitated student-work program

• Visionary Leadership
• MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Front Page)
• Education Software (Powerschool, mClass, Kahoot, Lego¬¬® Mindstorms,Google Classroom, BYOD)
• Social Networking (EduBlog, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Facebook, Skype[scott-dodd])
• Presentation Software (MS PowerPoint, Animoto, Voice Thread, YouTube, Prezi, Poll Everywhere,
Survey Monkey, Lego® Mindstorms, WeVideo)

• National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) 2015-Present
• Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) 2000-Present
• Best Supporting Teacher, Carolina Beach Elementary, NHCS, North Carolina 2016
• School Leaders Licensure Assessment: SLLA (1010) 2009
• Praxis II Educational Leadership Administration & Supervision (0410) 2004
• Distinguished Service Award- Ten Years, Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth 2013
• Gates-Howard Award recipient for Outstanding Athlete of the Year, Taylor University 1981
• Gaebelein Award recipient for best influence within the school, The Stony Brook School 1977
• Guam Olympic Wrestling Coach, Guam Amateur Wrestling Federation 1992
• Full Spouse member of the Carolina Yacht Club, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina 1998-Present
• Class B North Carolina DMV Commercial Driver License with M-P-S endorsements 1996-Present
• Placed seventh in NAIA National Wrestling Championship, Edmond, OK 1981
• Raised as a faculty child on the boarding school campus of The Stony Brook School, L.I., New York
• Travel: Australia, Canada, Germany, Guam, Jamaica, Mexico, Saipan, Samoa, Okinawa, and 34 states of the USA

The Higher Thinking of Memorization

What is it to inwardly digest an idea?
What does it take?
Who is leading the thought?
As the gifted education specialist at my public elementary school, critical thinking is what I tote and promote. I nurture lucid dialogue. Lawful thought is the valued exchange currency. Within that exchange comes student choice; student direction: valued student input. The point is for students to step beyond rote, pre-processed, banter resulting in a regurgitation of words. The results enrich.

Research writing poses a particular challenge to the teaching of critical thought. The point of research is to highlight the ideas of others, so where is the critique? The specific, systematic skills required to find and present research often taps-out student stamina and interest in lock-step projects. Many students reach “their all” by their time to put it all together.

Teaching students to watch for surprising connections in the research they are reviewing, and to seek out the if…thens and the therefores draws on their critical thought. These thoughtful connections are often youthful, silly notions at first, but with guidance, insightful relevance becomes valued more than giggles.

With references displayed, students develop the habit of seeking, finding and expressing the surprising connections. That is the value they add. Over time and practice, they come to expect new thoughts, new connections of themselves, and their projects stay interesting.

So what, now, of memorization? Students need endpoints to connect. The research process lays those endpoints out, and they have learned to connect the referenced endpoints relevantly. Once students establish the habit of making new connections as a matter of course, they are ready to notice the information in their heads as relevant connection endpoints. It is time to put “text-to-self” to work. It is time to make an ongoing, informal research paper of their lives.

With a battery of learned prose memorized, student potential to make new, relevant connections expands exponentially. The students become more interesting, and more interesting to themselves as they recognize the value they add. I am all for students memorizing material, but not as an endpoint in itself. As an endpoint to connect surprisingly to the world around them. This is what it means to inwardly digest ideas, and this is what it takes, and the students learn to lead their thought with well-referenced, well-known endpoints.

In the words of Marquis de Vauvenargues, “Les grandes pensées viennent du coeur.” That is, “The greatest thoughts come from the heart,” and herein is a recipe.

Finding a great, current leadership and technology oriented blog is like Finding Carter [the TV series]

Finding a great, current leadership and technology oriented blog is like Finding Carter [the TV series]. The balance between where we are now and the way we were brought up creates episodes of drama. Blogmaster and educational technology expert Scott McLeod, with his blog titled Dangerously Irrelevant hits his readership with a constant barrage of repent-from-your-old-ways messages, which are difficult to palate, but are also the wake-up calls we all, collectively, need to hear. Change is hard. As McLeod points out in his About Me link, the point of his blog is to make a strong effort to resolve inherent incongruities educators experience when technological and social change makes traditional approaches to learning “dangerously irrelevant.” So then, how will we meet our children’s’ learning needs?


The way I see it, educators are not recognizing Jovans Paradox on a large enough scale. It is the paradox educators need to understand and believe in order to share the full-front embrace educational technology deserves, but slowly, with the help of educational leaders like McCleod, teachers and administrators are figuring it out. In economics, Jovans Paradox is when technological progress increases the efficiency of a resource which, in turn, reduces resource needs. Educators understand that part. Technology is making the information teachers have portioned out over the ages ready and available, but the paradox is that with the increase of knowledge availability and decreased need for teacher-lead knowledge rations, the demand for knowledge has increased, and therefore, the need for teachers as facilitators and guides has dramatically increased. That is what makes traditional approaches to teaching incongruent in today’s society and economy. The paradox is that students need teachers more than ever, but in a new way.
Tech lead Kent Beck, in his book, Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change, said, “The business changes. The technology changes. The team changes. The team members change. The problem isn’t change, per se, because change is going to happen; the problem, rather, is the inability to cope with change when it comes.”
Coping means more than finding and understanding the cause of our dramatic episodes with technology in education. Coping means applying strategies to change ourselves, and that is why Scott McLeod is pushing so hard. Change is the only relevant way to make a positive difference in education today.
Beck, K. (2005). Extreme programming explained: embrace change (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River,NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
McLeod, S. (n.d.). About me [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

NETS-A, Where’s the Data?

After seeking a few articles of substance about the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators (NETS-A), I found only a few. Most notably, Richardson, et. al. (2012) wrote about the lack of in-depth research there is around the topic of school technology leadership which includes a research void centered on the use of the NETS-A Standards. The Richardson article points out that most of the “research” found in Educational Research Information Center (ERIC) from 1997 to 2010 was only descriptive in nature. In the discussion section, the authors highlighted Standard 4: Systematic Improvement and Standard 5: Digital Citizenship as receiving less attention than the other three standards. The authors expect to see issues of inequity due to the limited research. I see the irony of expecting systematic improvement (Standard 4) without plenty of academic research.

Since “Visionary Leadership” is the lead-off standard for NETS-A, I looked closer at what has been written recently about moving visionary leadership from a promising construct to a proven leadership characteristic. What I found did not attend directly to NET-A, but, instead, to a shared concept of leadership. Taylor, et. al. (2014) compared visionary leadership to transformational leadership as their contribution to existing literature. They focused on the organizational effectiveness of leadership styles using Quinn and Rohrbaughs'(1983) Competing Values Scale (CVS). Taylor, et. al. demonstrated how visionary leaders draw out organizational effectiveness internally and externally from both their own expression of vision and the authentically expressed vision of their subordinates. Communication was a key factor which leads to positively perceived notions of organizational effectiveness, which led further to actual goal attainment. The transformational leadership style was less flexible due to the need for subordinates to buy-in to the vision of the transformational leader. The transformational leadership style is strong and effective in some settings such as one, mentioned volunteer choir in Germany, but with a topic as wide-open as educational technology, with all its directional variables, the need for a more dynamic vision that adjusts to constant progress through change is exposed. Leadership that allows for subordinate vision acceptance in a fluidly communicative environment is going to have the best potential to be effective, and visionary leadership has the flexibility to meet constantly changing needs. Taylor, et. at. have provided evidence to pursue visionary leadership in educational technology.

Ylimaki (October 2006) takes a different look at visionary leadership, yet one of her key conclusions supports the distinction Taylor made about the same leadership style. The connection is that Ylimaki found that the visionary archetype maintains authenticity by necessarily pointing out the truth without blame or judgment which frees the field for creativity. Further, the visionary archetype honors four ways of seeing: intuition, perception, insight, and holistic seeing (vision). The combination of Taylor,’s regression analysis and Ylimaki’s narrative report, triangulate data that points toward visionary leadership as an effective form of leadership to facilitate 21st Century learning through technology in our schools.

More research is needed to look closely at NETS standards for students, coaches and administrators if we are going to remain mindful and intentional about making technology all it can be so students can become all they can be.

Quinn, R. E., & Rohrbaugh, J. (1983). A spatial model of effectiveness criteria: Towards a competing values approach to organizational analysis. Management Science, 29, 363–377
Richardson, J.W., Bathon, J., Flora, K. L., & Lewis, W. D. (Winter 2012). NETS.A scholarship: A review of published literature. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 45, 131-151.
Taylor, C. M., Cornelius, C. J., & Colvin, K. (2014). Visionary Leadership and its relationship to organizational effectiveness: Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 35, 566-583.
Ylimaki, R. M., (October 2006). Toward a new conceptualization of vision in the work of educational leaders: Cases of the visionary archetype. Educational Administration Quarterly: 42, 620-651

Gift Wrapping Creativity in the Classroom

For an article review, let us look at theIMG_0762 article, “Novel, effective, whole: Toward a NEW framework for evaluations of creative products,” by Danah Henriksen, Punya Mishra, and Rohit Mehta. As it turns out, this article is not available online through UNCW where I am taking classes. UNCW has hard copies of the journal, and the library was closed at this writing. Instead of waiting for the library to open, I looked further. I put the title in a scholarly Google search and got two hits. The top hit was a link to where I could purchase the article. Below that link there was a link to a pdf of the complete article. I was willing to read this article, but I was not so willing to site the link until I realized that the link came from one of the two authors of the article, Punya Minshra, at Michigan State University. As there were no restrictions stated on his site, I sited the article via that link, and I did not need to visit the library.

This twenty-four-page article is about the assessment of creativity. The article makes four points. The authors recognize a lack of assessment instruments available to measure creativity in the classroom. They devised a clear definition of creativity using the acronym NEW for novel, effective, and whole. They used that definition as the basis for a Likert scale rubric, and finally, the authors provided examples of creativity demonstrate the rubric.

The authors described novel as fresh, unique, startling, pioneering, and trendsetting, among other things.

They described effective as valuable, significant, necessary, logical, appropriate, and useful.

They described whole as organic, organized, complex, meaningful, intricate, graceful, and clear.

Together, these elements are presented as guidelines. They create a leveled framework in which to identify creativity when creativity needs to be identified. The rubric is meant to set clear standards of quality in terms of creativity. I have touched on this in my own class over the past few years when I encourage my students to score double points when they make comments in class by staying relevant to score “teacher points” and being funny to score “classmate points.” The authors pointed out that context is key to the value and quality of creativity expressed. Scoring creativity must involve an awareness of the context which includes relevance to the topic at hand and sensitive to the players involved.

My comment about this challenge to find a way to assess creativity, even though the notion of boxing up creativity to assess it is ironic, is that it still makes sense, and I believe it can be applied almost too easily to the classroom. I believe we need to be careful about how we apply the assessment. When first applying the creativity rubric, it ought to be a student choice or just a teacher’s suggestion, because the drive to be creative could easily distract students from the context of the assignment or activity. From informal observation it seems that funny and creative are tightly linked in the young learner’s mind. In order to actually promote creativity, teachers may need to encourage creativity and be ready to respond to student creativity with a relevant assessment such as this assessment when the creativity is a culmination of clear and measured thought. Students work up to creativity. To be used correctly, this assessment needs to be a vehicle that provides feedback about how a student’s work is creative and not about how it is not. A creativity assessment, too soon, will creates a negative stigma too easily for those who are struggling to master the material. That is where creative teachers come in. When students present assignments creatively, it is as if they are presenting a gift of value. When teachers are able to clearly describe why the work is creative using this assessment, it is as if the teacher is carefully gift wrapping the work, and returning the value back to the student with respect.

Henriksen, D., Mishra, P., & Mehta, R. (2015). Journal of Technology and Teacher Education23.3, 455. Retrieved from

Five Lessons I Intend my Students to Learn

Decisions Ahead

As my students begin to see the summer light at the end of the hallway, I think about the set useful experiences they will carry from my classroom as they matriculate away in June. Beyond knowing the content of the fourth grade NC Standard Course of Study, I intend my students to have embedded habits that will give them the learning-independence they need to meet with confidence the coming challenges of school and beyond, or at least the seeds of those habits.
First, I expect my students will assume responsibility for their own education.
Second, I expect my students will maintain comfort in the midst of uncertainty.
Third, I expect my students will thrive on metaphorical expression.
Fourth, I expect my students will differentiate academic language from basic interpersonal communication,
and fifth, I expect my students will have a sense of when and how to negotiate, that is, yes, how to argue.

Self-regulated learners distinguish themselves with a unique set of assumptions. I work to get my students to embrace these assumptions. When my students do well, they think they had something to do with the results, which encourages them to repeat such actions. When things go awry, they believe the associated problems are correctable, and they are encouraged to fix what missed the mark. In class, praise for things done well are easily expressed. I believe that limited praise and false praise deter upward progress. I make it clear to my students that they have not been successful by accident. This may seem trivial, but I believe it is important for them to know that success is linked to their action. Self-regulated learners take responsibility for their education. The work of Barry J. Zimmerman and Dale H. Schunk goes into greater detail about self-regulated learning.

When kids get confused, they initially tend to think that being a little bit lost means being greatly lost, but instead, that disequilibrium is the very point in time when they learn. Thoughts of self at that point distract, so I encourage my students to stay focused on the topic and not on themselves. It is a difficult skill for classmates to avoid saying, “You are wrong,” instead of, “I think the solution is more like this.” Fear of focus on being wrong deters upward progress. Feeling safe to be wrong leads to comfort with uncertainty.

When I shared the first sentence of this blog entry with my fourth graders, they understood that summer light means summer fun. We all need to use abstract metaphors to think and to express our thoughts effectively, so providing plenty of opportunities to cipher them is an important and welcome challenge. It is a pleasure to watch while one student explains to another what just happened in the class discussion.

Too often students learn vocabulary in isolation by simply knowing a definition that does not strike a melodious chord in context. I try to use comprehensible input, as Stephen Krashen has explained for second language acquisition. (See this clip for Krashen’s explanation of comprehensible input) Helping students use academic language instead of interpersonal strategies parallels the way they learn second languages. Mathematics has its own language students need to acquire. Instead of vague descriptions and smiles, I encourage my students to use the correct words for the concepts they mean to express.

Students need the skills and experience of presenting themselves and their own ideas beyond doing what they are told to do. They need the means to come to terms with things that are important. Once students take responsibility for their own learning, they take a serious interest in what they are learning. They develop depth of interest that gives them the will to weather uncertainty. Curious metaphorical connections interest them, and they care to explain their thoughts well using the right words. Any student ready to do all that will certainly need to negotiate meaning, and to negotiate direction. Once my students have begun to separate and wield academic language effectively, they are ready to use interpersonal communication to express their point of view. They know to present themselves calmly, and that “I don’t want to…” holds very little argumentative weight.

It is great to know stuff, especially standard course of study stuff, but when students make the knowledge their own, they begin to see all things in a new light, and then go there.
I look forward to your input and comments.

Free Range Students Make Better Choices

Bulletin Board fourth grade students created to promote exploration, but not exploration that goes too far.

Bulletin Board fourth grade students created to promote exploration, but not exploration that goes too far.

I shared a notion with my fourth grade class last semester. It occurred to me that free range chickens are very good at what they do because free range chickens cooperate well, and live a good life, short as it is, as they scratch and explore about. I pointed out to my class that free range chickens are not contained by a fence, and yet, generally speaking, they do not run off. It is a curious thing. I added the fact that not all chickens get to be free range. Some farmers maintain their chickens very tightly. Some farmers bound their chickens within small areas,and control their experience.

I told my class that I like to be able to act more like the free range chicken farmers. I like to give my students the liberty to explore, but that requires them to be ready to stay on relevant topics, and to make reasonable choices, and to not get lured away by things frivolous, silly, or social, and to make safe choices even when I am there to supervise. The trick, I told my class, is to get this group of fourth graders to use exploration as a problem solving skill. Of course, sometimes frivolous and silly ideas help the problem solving process, but the successful free range skill is to not get carried away by those ideas.

So, driven to thought by this whole comparison thing, my fourth grade students decided, and asked, to make a bulletin board (posted above) to express their need to go out and explore,along with their need to not get carried away. They came up with the slogan/ mantra/ bulletin board title: Be Free Range, but Not TOO Free Range. Each student created him or herself as a free range chicken, and each likeness was set in the scene with two barns and a path. Not all the chickens were placed on the path, but they were all nearby.

I had to point out to the class that the beauty of this comparison of students to chickens works well because students and chickens are so different in so many significant ways. That is what makes the overlap clear. My students are learning that, given lateral opportunity to figure things out, there is an inherent reward that comes with staying purposeful when traditional restraints, and the expectation of traditional restraints are loosened.

Validity and Reliability of Testing

If all students started doing really well on the standardized tests, the tests would probably be considered less valid and therefore, less reliable. Test creators would be forced to change the test so that a bell curve would reemerge. I recognize that standardized testing success does not demonstrate a complete expression of learning, and that the act of answering multiple choice questions well is not an enduring life skill, but since the tests reflect the content, the tests do provide enough feedback to create an academic passage. Although students are required to go through the standardized testing process, they move on from the tests whether they do well on them or not.

Students must display a degree of creative application to demonstrate learning in all topics that are more than training, and it is difficult to assign statistical results to creative application. So the portions of the content that standardized tests evaluate so well with high validity and reliability are an incomplete assessment of the student’s learning. Teachers can use strategies to make their formative classroom assessments reasonably valid and reliable, but the narrative of learning looses value in a straight-jacket. Well crafted rubrics serve as the best attempt to make each student’s unique application to the content valid and reliable. While valuable to a point, standardized tests need to be viewed in concert with data that captures more authentic manipulation of the content that is not as easily numerated.

Pictures of a Mice do not Mean Pictures of a Mice

My professor asked my to check out this NPR link, <>

And then added, “Again and again we hear that mathematics is universal and language-free, but is this really true?”

Here is my response:

I teach the language of math. Within my lessons I also teach number sense. Last week I taught 3rd-5th graders the basics of the Trivium through poetry, which means that our logic, our words for the logic, and the way we put those word together are all separate events. The classic reference words for the three are logic, grammar, and rhetoric and they are distinct. That is an important notion because students need to realize that a number is as different from a digit as a mouse is from a picture of a mouse, and as different, again, as the mouse scampering across the floor (but not my floor). While E.A. Poe and A. Einstein may have processed their thoughts differently, being able to separate symbols from the objects they represent is profoundly important.

Matthew Peterson explains to us in a Ted video how he has been able to teach mathematics while circumventing words. I think that is great. Working with adult ESOL students, I recognize how I do not need to teach the students how to think. They have the notions organized in their heads. We are focusing on connecting English language.  The language we teach must be about the concepts and relationships between concepts beyond their definition. Of course students must be able to demonstrate their understanding via language, but we do not want them to be talking about a picture of a mouse when they display a picture of a mouse. We want them to be referencing the actual scampering mouse.

I believe there is a trans-cultural language of math that we cannot do without, but meaningful language must be based on a logic that is real with or without the words, and I see no reason  mathematical reasoning cannot come without words.

Here is the Ted link: <>