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Here are some interesting articles we received and discovered this past week…


5 Reasons You Should Seek Your Students Feedback

Quote from Article:

Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s easy to assume you already know what students think about your class, how well they’re handling the workload, what activities they like the most. Yes, it’s possible you know best.


If you’ve never asked students for serious, honest feedback, you’re missing something. If you ask the right questions and give students the time and encouragement to supply quality answers, student feedback can benefit you in so many ways.


1. Increasing Student Engagement

2. Preventive Discipline

4. Bully Prevention

5. Self-Preservation

Sample “Elementary” Questionnaire:

Sample “Secondary” Questionnaire:

District Deeds Synopsis:

We felt that this article was a good followup to a story we featured in our inaugural District Deeds TEACHER Reads post on August 27th about what to do in the 1st week of school.

What we liked about this article was that it clearly provided the direct benefits of being fearless when asking Students for feedback but also some samples for teachers to use when structuring their own questionnaires.

We wish ALL teachers had used these tools in our kids classes.

Confessions Of a White Teacher in an Urban School

Quote from Article:

My first year of teaching, I did almost everything wrong.

They tell you to be yourself. Here was my first mistake: I didn’t want to be myself. I wanted to be Michelle Pfeiffer. Or, more specifically, Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds.

In the 1995 movie, Pfeiffer plays urban high school teacher LouAnne Johnson, who breezes into class and finds what makes her urban students tick by teaching them karate.

In real life, Johnson was an ex-Marine. But I was a cupcake out of cosseted Cherry Hill, New Jersey, driving a powder-blue Jeep into 1990s-era Bushwick, Brooklyn. I hadn’t a clue.


Another mistake I made was not giving my students what they needed, but what I thought they needed. I spent hours outside of school making “file folder games.” These were learning games glued into file folders for all subjects. It was personalized learning! They were cute! And fun! First, my file folder games started disappearing. Ever the optimist, I took this as a good sign — maybe my students wanted to play them at home? This was not, in fact, the case. To show me how wrong I was, my students started destroying them in class.


In what is my biggest embarrassment, I would reprimand my young students by telling them to “look at me” when I was correcting them. They would always look down, and I couldn’t understand why. It took until May for a more seasoned teacher to take pity on me and explain that it was a sign of respect. I was horrified at my complete lack of cultural knowledge, and what felt like an untenable error on my part.

District Deeds Synopsis:

District Deeds has mentioned many times in our posts how difficult is to be an excellent Teacher.  Three of our family members were white teachers in “urban” schools and we had heard very similar stories from them.

On top of having a very difficult job, new teachers like the one in this article need strong school site mentoring and leadership along with district policies and supports that help them to fully deliver the best possible education to our kids.

Unfortunately in the San Diego Unified School District, the budget cuts caused by the gross financial mismanagement of incompetent Superintendent Cindy Marten have severely reduced much needed mentoring supports at the school site level.

Added to the reduction of supports is the nearly 100% Principal and Vice Principal turnover during the last 5 years of the Marten regime. For the unfortunate “rookie” Teachers  we essentially have the “blind” Superintendent leading the “blind’ Principal leading the “blind” rookie Teacher.

The result:

New Teachers in the SDUSD struggle and new Teachers…and Students…in the neediest SDUSD schools struggle even more. 

Is Tech Improving Education or Turning Our Kids Into Zombies

Quote from Article:

There is no doubt you have wondered whether the unlimited access to technology this generation has is influencing them for better or for worse. When it comes to education, we see more and more technology infiltrate the classroom. Some see the rise in technology use as turning our kids into zombies who stare blankly into their computer screens and do not think independently.

However, a Stanford report explains, “technology – when implemented properly -can produce significant gains in student achievement and boost engagement, particularly among students most at risk.” The key here is “when implemented properly.” Yes – there are cases when too much technology does have a zombie-like effect on kids. But, more importantly, when we use technology to the right extent for the right purpose, it simply changes education.

District Deeds Synopsis:

We have posted a number of articles from “The Tech Edvocate” because it seems that technology has been touted as an educational panacea instead of just another teaching tool to be used skillfully by technology savvy instructors.

SDUSD Stakeholders have heard ALL of the district leadership…from Elementary School Superintendent Marten to Trustee “Tricky Dick” Barrera…the HORRORS of standardized testing so they could avoid accountability for their horrible educational management performance.

We have yet to hear from Marten, Barrera or their cronies about the misuse of technology.

In fact, Marten, Barrera and others have PROMOTED the misuse of technology to improperly allow students to use technological “credit recovery” to make up months of failing grades with just a few weeks of online tests.

But maybe, in this case, the incompetence of Marten in one area may be negated by the incompetence of Marten in another

Integrated Technology Support Services cuts by Marten over the past year have allowed expensive computer technology assets to deteriorate and may actually remove computer functionality for thousands of Students, thereby reducing the risk for computer “Student Zombies”

This could only happen in the dystopian world of the Cindy Marten led SDUSD!!! 

Now for our Quote of the Week:

“a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” -Herbert A. Simon

Have a great week!!!



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