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Bad News, Good News
by Stephanie Blackburn

Stephanie Blackburn is working toward National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist.

January 26, 2004

I began Entry 3 with much frustration. For that entry, I need to show the integration of math and science instruction. I had looked at the hours of video I had taped a number of times, and finally decided on the 15 minutes I thought would best show the math and science integration I was looking for. When I sat down to analyze that video, however, I realized that I wasn't at all secure about it.

What intelligent conversations were students having? NONE! All they were doing was recording the information from the experiment -- and doing it inaccurately at that!

How did you further students' knowledge or skills and engage them? I didn't. The students were off task and I was continually pulling them back on task.

I hit rewind on the VCR in sheer disbelief. Was it possible that I had to start from scratch? But no, as I went through my videotapes again, there it was... 15 minutes of intelligent conversation from the students and of probing, engaging questions from me. Yes, the students obviously had a number of misconceptions about what they were observing, and some less-than-perfect behaviors were going on, but I could manage that. Changing the video wouldn't affect my planning and instruction either; the new 15-minute section was the lesson just prior to the one about which I had begun writing. After looking at the new segment four or five more times -- just to be sure -- I decided to change the video. As I finish my first draft, I feel more confident and more able to address the task at hand. Best of all, I didn't need to start all over again!

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Meet Stephanie Blackburn

Stephanie Blackburn, one of Education World's 2002-2003 teacher diarists, received her bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Rhode Island in May 1994. For the first two years of her teaching career, Stephanie worked as an enrichment specialist in the talent development program for the Westerly, Rhode Island, school district. For the past seven years, she has taught fourth grade at Bradford Elementary School in Westerly. Stephanie was awarded a 2002 National Educator Award by the Milken Family Foundation, in a program that provides recognizes elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, and other education professionals who are furthering excellence in education.

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