The Tale of Mr. Morton from Schoolhouse Rock.
Pop Chart Lab has diagrammed the first lines of famous novels, such as Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis.
Diagramming sentences is a lost art, reports NPR.
It’s a “picture of language,” says Kitty Burns Florey, the author of Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences.
The first sentence she recalls diagramming is: “The dog barked.”
“By drawing a line and writing ‘dog’ on the left side of the line and ‘barked’ on the right side of the line and separating them with a little vertical line, we could see that ‘dog’ was the subject of the sentence and ‘barked’ was the predicate or the verb,” she explains. “When you diagram a sentence, those things are always in that relation to each other. It always makes the same kind of picture. And supposedly, it makes it easier for kids who are learning to write, learning to use correct English
In a 1877 book, Higher Lessons in English, Alonzo Reed and Brainerd Kellogg argued that students would learn how to structure sentences by drawing them as graphic structures. Diagramming became popular — till the 1960s. (I learned in seventh grade in 1964-5.)
“Diagramming sentences … teaches nothing beyond the ability to diagram,” declared the 1960 Encyclopedia of Educational Research.
In 1985, the National Council of Teachers of English declared that “repetitive grammar drills and exercises” — like diagramming sentences — are “a deterrent to the improvement of students’ speaking and writing.”
Diagramming isn’t mentioned in the Common Core standards, so it’s probably doomed.
If too many students default on their loans, colleges risk losing access to federal student aid. That’s motivated community colleges to develop default management plans. But denying federal loans to high-risk students isn’t an option.
The book starts in the 1820′s with the advent of universal public education. To teach at a “common school” required little education. “Normal” schools didn’t require teachers to be high school graduates.
Low standards have persisted in teacher training, writes Goldstein.
Teaching became the province of “angelic public servants motivated by Christian faith” — that is, women — who would make the schoolhouse “America’s new, more gentle church,” writes Goldstein.
The notion that teaching is “low-paid (or even volunteer) missionary work for women,” Ms. Goldstein persuasively argues, continues to haunt the classroom.
So does the question of how to close the racial achievement gap, another topic of current debate whose historical roots Ms. Goldstein capably excavates.
Almost every education reform has been tried before, and failed to make much difference, writes Claudia Wallis in a second New York Times review of the book. (Two reviews!)
Long before Wendy Kopp dreamed up Teach for America to place Ivy Leaguers in public schools, we had the Teacher Corps. Before that, Catharine Beecher — “America’s first media darling school reformer” — was recruiting proper East Coast spinsters to go west to teach the unlettered children of pioneers. . . . 35 years before the Gates Foundation became the 2,000-pound gorilla in American education, the Ford Foundation was throwing its weight around the classroom chasing a similar goal of closing the achievement gap between rich and poor.
Goldstein includes anecdotes about famous Americans who started as teachers, including Susan B. Anthony, Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville and Lyndon B. Johnson.
But she agrees with John Dewey that, “Education is, and forever will be, in the hands of ordinary men and women.”
Stressing accountability, with no ideas for improving teaching, is “like the hope that buying a scale will result in losing weight,” she concludes.
Close reading is being turned into a do-it-or-else teaching fad, writes Coach Brown, who’s being professionally developed yet again.
Close reading is basically hyper-analysis of a small text or a small piece of a larger text. Kids identify first impressions, vocabulary, main idea, points-of-view, contextualization, and so on. The goal is to get students to not only have a greater understanding of the literary passage but to also be able to apply it to something else. It’s actually a very effective method of analyzing text.
But not for all subjects and not all the time, writes Brown. Among other things, “advanced students hate it,” “it’s boring,” and “the skill becomes the important part of the exercise.”
He cites John Spencer’s explanation of why teachers hate close reading.
Often, due to policies that demand “evidence of close reading” during walkthroughs, teachers are using this strategy for everything. Poems should be closely read. Difficulty, but relevant, primary sources need close reading. However, novels don’t need this. Grade level articles don’t, either. And when close reading replaces things like silent reading, kids lose their passion and interest in reading.
The Common Core is very big on close reading.
An ABC special on Sept. 7, The ABC’s of Schoolhouse Rock, will rank the series’ all-time best songs, writes Kristen Baldwin on Entertainment Weekly.
The Chandra Wilson-hosted special will feature interviews with the creators and writers of the Emmy-winning series, which ran from 1973 to 1985.
I’m Just a Bill, Conjunction Junction, and maybe even Interplanet Janet are favorites, writes Baldwin, who’s voting for Sufferin’ till Suffrage.
I like No More Kings. What’s your favorite?
As early as next year, some California community colleges will start offering four-year degrees in technical and vocational fields, if the governor signs a bill that cleared the state Legislature Thursday.
Some employers now demand four-year degrees even in fields such as dental hygiene and auto mechanics, said the state’s community college chancellor.