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28 May 2013 @ 09:42 am
PARRCing Problems  
Saw a link to a site for games to help teach kids about things they will be tested on with PARRC: http://parccgames.com/. I decided to play some of the games to see how they might be useful in a classroom. They are NOT. One game asked me to hit a robot with a mallet if it was holding a verb. Unfortunately, without the context of a sentence, I doubt that kids would select words such as "slipping" or "tasting." And I would have elected to boink "warm" had I not reviewed all possible answers and seen "prayed." In the adjective game, I encountered the same dilemma. "Flapping" could be an adjective given a sentence such as, "I was mesmerized by flapping, colorful wings of the butterfly." I explored all the games for 3rd grade reading. Quite frankly, I can see little benefit to using these games.

Here are my concerns:

1. Grammar is being taught in isolation. Is no one at PARRC aware of the RESEARCH (because they insist on everything being research based) by Hillocks demonstrating that grammar taught in isolation does not transfer to the real world of writing and usage?

2. Why have a game where there is more than one correct answer? Or no context from which to select the "correct" answer? Or some way to indicate that there is more than one answer and why (which to my way of thinking shows HOTS, something else CCSS and PARRC are touting as their own discoveries)?

3. How is this site not simply animated worksheets? (Answer: that is exactly what this is). Way back in the earliest stages of using computers in the classroom, we were instructed to look at CAI (computer assisted instruction) and ask ourselves just this question.

As you open the site, here is the message that greets you:

At PARCC Games, our top priority is your student’s success. As teachers ourselves, we understand that your time is limited. That’s why we do the searching and testing for you! All games and sites linked from our site have been found to support Common Core standards for Math and Language Arts. On our Teachers Page, you will find the standard linked to each game.

Yes, let's allow PARRC and CCSS to do the work for us. Yes, the preceding was in sarcastic font! The sad thing is, if it is labeled as PARRC, there will be teachers instructed to use the materials. Poor kids. Poor teachers. Poor future of our country.
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