Rachel Koser

Hudson, NC, United States

About Rachel

Comments & conversations

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Rachel Koser
Posted over 3 years ago
Natalie Warne: Being young and making an impact
Natalie, if you ever read this, thank you. I am a ninth grade English teacher. This year instead of struggling through yet another speech by a dead guy, I showed your inspiring speech to my students for my unit on persuasion. Not only are they learning about persuasive techniques from the lesson, they are learning that young people--people just a few years older than they are--have the ability to pursue a goal and live it! They loved you!
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Rachel Koser
Posted over 3 years ago
Where do you use math in your profession?
I am a fellow teacher working on my graduate degree in Curriculum and Instruction and I would love to relay a message to your students. Did you know that math can lead to less homework? It's true! Teachers use something called "data-driven instruction," which means that we analyze feedback from students to make decisions in the classroom. Right now, I am using the mean of a set of quiz scores to determine the standard deviation, and hence, the comparable effectiveness of extra practice done at home vs. extra practice done at school. What I've learned so far is that students who do well on homework are those who do well on quizzes--not the other way around. I'm changing my homework policy based on the analyzed data from multiple data sets, none of which would have been possible without math.
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Rachel Koser
Posted almost 4 years ago
Institutions of higher learning say that American high school graduates are not college-ready. How do we close the gap?
Tony brought up a good question. How do we teach language when language itself is the obstacle? If a student has trouble reading something and then writing about it, where does the problem exist? Is it in reading itself? Is the comprehension? Is the problem processing the questions? Is it written expression that poses the problem? There are too many possibilities, which is why I use alternative methods of assessment. One way I "bypass" language is with comparison of different media. When I teach "Romeo and Juliet," students reenact the death scene. We then watch two different movie versions of the death scene only. Students then create a Venn diagram to represent the different endings and collaborate to discuss how each ending influenced the dominant theme in each version. Another example is teaching "If I Forget Thee, Oh Earth" by comparing it to the pop song "I'm Comin Home" and asking students to identify a theme each has in common. Students also drew pictures predicting what the earth would look like if the environment were neglected as it was in Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" and discussed their predictions. The discussions and collaborative learning allow me to check for understanding without the student writing. That way, when students do respond in writing, if there is a weakness, I know it is in writing and not in understanding. Tony, I do agree with you that not teaching our students to read and write would be devastating. But there are additional ways to create an educated citizen. I'd be interested to hear from others about reading and writing in the classroom.
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Rachel Koser
Posted almost 4 years ago
Institutions of higher learning say that American high school graduates are not college-ready. How do we close the gap?
I teach English, and in spite of the stereotype that English majors are in love with literature, I agree with you, Scott. There are a good deal of skills that are difficult to learn because that pesky thing called language gets in the way. I still use literature to teach students, but I find ways around language. Having an ESL class was eye opening in that I discovered I could teach English without English. Teachers need to accept that reading is one of the least efficient ways of absorbing information.
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Rachel Koser
Posted almost 4 years ago
Institutions of higher learning say that American high school graduates are not college-ready. How do we close the gap?
What do you think is most effective way to retrain a generation of teachers that have been "doing it their way" for ten, twenty, even thirty years? Professional development is great if it is applied, but useless without teacher buy-in. How do you convince a teacher five years from retirement that what she's been doing for her entire career is "wrong"?