Sunday, September 22, 2013

Trying to be positive

As mentioned in my rattled post, I've received some negative feedback on TpT.  I didn't take it well.  I received another piece of feedback on the same product but this one was less malicious and did cause me to be self-reflective.  Perhaps I need to look outside of my school district for professional development in terms of the Common Core.  I know Nevada is frequently at the bottom of educational rankings, but that's due to a plethora of factors, many of which we as teachers can't control.  Maybe I should look into other school districts (since there's really only one in my state) and how they're "ramping up the rigor" for the Common Core.

But at the same time, I don't think I'm unqualified.  If I was, I wouldn't be sharing my materials.  I've written assessments for my school and district for a few years and was on the unwrapping task force for both math and social studies when CCSD adopted the Common Core.  I've been CASL trained and I know what makes rigorous, valid assessments.  All of my materials have been field tested in my own classroom and tweaked as necessary.  I am a DENstar with Discovery and one of our district's DENambassadors (Discovery Education).  I attended DENSI last summer in Vermont and was the sole representative of my state.  Yes, state.  The summer before that, I attended both the Mickelson Exxon-Mobil Teacher's Academy and the Mount Vernon Teacher's  Institute, again being the sole representative of my state.  My list of qualifications goes on and on, so I think I'm a knowledgable teacher.  Of course, I'm never done learning and developing as a teacher, as evident with my current task of working toward masters +32 (so close!) then working on National Board Certification.  Yup, I'm a type-A teacher and I embrace it.  I know I work hard and my students learn.

I don't think rigor comes from worksheets.  I think rigor comes from discussions and analysis of the text.  Rigor comes from close reading, re-reading, deep discussions and interaction with the text.  I can offer those deeper level questions, which I do, in my discussion guides but it is up to the teacher to drive the discussion and challenge students to think deeper.  As with any teacher guide, you have to make it your own and implement it in the classroom.  

I stand by my products and I am trying not to let two bad reviews ruin my outlook on selling products online.  Last time I checked, 79 people had purchased a product with several hundred more downloading my free ones.  If out of that, two had an issue, I'd say that's pretty acceptable.  I do feel bad that my product didn't meet their expectations but it did meet mine.  For those of you that know me personally, you know my standards are meticulously high.  I don't like wasting time and I wouldn't feel comfortable wasting other people's time.

However, I'll let you judge for yourself.  I have three products for free on TpT: a novel quote preview for Tuck Everlasting, a chronological order sort for Harry Potter and a 5 themes of geography ppt.  Download them here.  If you like them, please rate me accordingly.  If you don't, I'd love feedback either here or on the site about how I can improve them.  Please don't tell me it was a waste of money (since it's free!) or a waste of time.  Offer concrete examples of how you'd like it improved.  I'm always open to constructive feedback, especially if it improves my instruction and benefits my students :)

Thank you,
Ms. Vice

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