Change…Sometimes it Stinks!

b4c36ba4aea2c28283885c9db858f75cAfter two years of co-teaching, the time to move on has come. She is moving to a new district, a new grade, a new opportunity.  I know she will be so much happier.  I know she will be amazing.  But, I need to be real…this STINKS!

In two years, we have had huge challenges.  We have had huge successes.  We have become best friends.  How can I teach without her by my side…”Don’t cry because it is over.  Smile because it happened.”  Dr. Seuss was a brilliant writer, but I just don’t think I can follow this advise.  In fact, I know I can’t.  As I sit here trying to write, the tears won’t stay away.

I began this post with the intention of writing about my beautiful BFF and all of the amazing experiences we have had.  However, it became this…self-pity and tears.  I guess this is one of the reasons I have stuck with writing.  It is cathartic.  I write things that I am thinking and feeling, but didn’t realize until I started.  For anyone reading that has yet to find the benefits of writing, I promise you it is the cheapest therapy available.

Well, Dr. Seuss, I think I will need to save the smiling for another day.

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On Your Mark (Post 1)

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After reading On Your Mark, there is so much information and so many thoughts running through my head.  I have decided to share some of my notes on the first two chapters.  Then, I will share one way I have adjusted my grading/reporting practice based on my reading.

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We are giving our students more chances to fail than succeed. The first time I saw this visual, a giant light bulb appeared! I had never looked at percentage grades like this before and I was sold on standards based grading.
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This makes so much sense!

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Application:Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 8.05.07 PM

In a week long fables unit, our third grade readers were learning three things:  identify characteristics of fables, sequence events in a story, and infer the moral of a fable.

We created a summative assessment.  In the past, each question would have a correct answer, a percentage would be found, and then that percentage would be recorded in the grade book.  The end.

However, we graded each of the three sections separately.  Parents were then given a letter informing them if their child was able to do each independently, with prompting, or not yet.

Because we still need to report letter grades, we had to convert each section into a percentage to enter into the grade book.  However, each was a separate score and can/will be updated as reteaching and continued learning occurs.

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This makes so much more sense to me.  A student can master sequencing events independently, while only being able to infer a moral with teacher support.  Why would we ever lump all of this together, assign a percentage correct, plug it into the grade book, and move on?  Because that is the way it has always been done?  Well, it doesn’t work for me anymore.  I want more for my students.