Archive for January, 2016

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Dear Oklahoma Legislatures,

I’m writing to you today as you prepare to start the 2016 Legislative Session on February 1. I’m an educator who is concerned about the children of Oklahoma. Right now we are teaching standards that are out of date. Our newly State Board of Education approved math standards are what our state needs. These children need state standards for educators to teach which will make the children competitive with the rest of the United States after they graduate from high school, and I feel these standards will do that.
Not only would I like to see these standards approved by you, but they need to be approved quickly. You see, teachers need time to create highly effective lessons to begin the 2016/2017 school year in August. The later you wait to approve these standards, the less time we as teachers have to plan.
Please do you part and help your schools, educators and students in Oklahoma be successful!!
Anthony Purcell

Dear Oklahoma Parents,

I’m writing to you today to let you know about the approval of the new math and reading standards for our state. I have not had much of a chance to look at the reading standards, but I have seen the math standards.
If you remember, the state repealed the use of Common Core State Standards in June of 2014. Since then, a committee has been working on writing new standards as we have been using the old PASS standards. I know many people who worked diligently to create standards that meet the needs of our students and to help students become more problem solvers and not just problem doers. I truly believe that these new standards are great and I stand behind them.
On Thursday, January  28, the State Board of Education approved the standards. However, that is not the end. Now, the standards move on to legislation where they will then vote for the approval to use the new standards. (Hopefully starting in the 2016/2017 school year)
I write to you today as an educator in the belief that we need to be contacting our state representatives and let them know that we believe in these standards and support the great efforts that the team did to create them. If you have a moment to write in support of these standards, I would appreciate it. You can find out how on the state website. http://sde.ok.gov/sde/newstandards
If you would like to take a look at the standards, you may see the final draft here.
If you would like to visit with me about the new standards and my belief in them, please feel free to contact me.
I am not wanting to use this as a way to be political, I just want you to be aware of the changing standards as this effects your child’s education. If we continue to be in limbo with standards, it only makes things more difficult for your child when they are graduating from high school to be competitive to others across the nation. I want to be an advocate for your child as they are learning and growing.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Anthony Purcell

Dear Oklahoma Educators,

I am writing to you today in hopes to encourage you to share your voice. In June 2014, our legislatures took a backwards step with our standards when they removed Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and told us to return to the old Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) standards.
However, since then there have been committees working together to create new state standards which will give our students in Oklahoma an equal opportunity to grow and learn. These standards will help our students become problem solvers and not just problem doers. The standards to approved by the Oklahoma State Board of Education on January 28, 2016.
On February 1, our state legislatures begin the 2016 session where they will have State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister introduce the new state standards to them. It is now our time to be contacting our state legislators to approve these standards quickly so that we have time to begin planning for the 2016-2017 school year.
We do not have time to sit and watch. We need to do what is best for our students to be a competitive force in the United States. In order for us to have plenty of time to prepare and plan for next school year, we need these standards passed quickly.
Please take the time to let your voice be heard. It is time for Oklahoma educators to work together to continue to better our state!
Anthony Purcell
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Parents Want to Know

Posted: January 30, 2016 in Uncategorized

I teach math. I get math. I want students to enjoy math. Parents, I need your help to support me.

That’s always been my thought. Then in December I had a good slap in the face.

I had a parent email me at the end of the semester about their struggling child. She shared how he wants to do well and she does what she can to help him, but the topics of math are so broad, that she wasn’t 100% sure what I was teaching in the classroom. So when she was helping, he would understand, but when it came time for assessments, he didn’t do so well.

WAKE UP CALL!

I’m so glad that parent wrote that email to me and let me know about her struggles as a parent. I never thought about that side of things.

So this semester I started sending emails to parents about what we are learning in the classroom. At the beginning of a unit, I write out what will be learned in the unit with links sharing how to help the students at home with practice. I also let them know about what date the assessment will be on so they can start preparing.

Each week, I may send another email about what is happening that week. I have sent a few saying, “There is homework tonight. This needs to be completed so we can discuss it tomorrow” just as a way for parents to help remind the kid to do the work.

I’ve gotten some great feedback from parents about keeping them in the know. They also feel they can ask me questions for clarification. It makes a difference to share with parents, because then they can help their child understand more.