Gary Rubinstein discovered that Success Academy charter chain had posted about 500 short videos to show what they do in the classroom. Success Academy is celebrated for its phenomenal test scores, far higher than other “no excuses” charter schools. Gary watched several of the videos.

In this post, he discusses a reading lesson for very young children called “Circle Time.” The video is linked. Gary discusses the video and invites readers to comment. The comments by early childhood teachers are interesting.

Gary writes:

“She reminds them how to sit to make this “the most enjoyable story yet” which includes having a really straight back and hands clasped together while tracking the speaker.

There is a lot of “behavior narration” going on, where the teacher constantly points out to the class students who are following directions well. (“Yolanni’s tracking up here.” “Davin brought it right back”) I find it very annoying and I feel like if I were a child it would detract from the story.

The teacher is in complete control. She allows the kids to make some gestures from time to time, but then quickly gets them to return their hands to their laps. I’m kind of scared of this teacher, whoever she is.”

After Gary posted this, almost all the videos were taken down. Then they were restored. Then they were removed again. Curious.