This week’s Take5 is all about standards based grading. I believe in it (I think) but my school hasn't adopted these practices. Instead, our school's policy is based on the curriculum teams' preferences. Changing our team's particular grading policy would require a reckoning and revamp that we haven’t tackled...yet. I admire my math colleagues who adopted standards based grading at my school years ago not because they were told to but because they thought it was the right thing to do for kids. To add another layer to my thinking, when as a parent I hear friends of school-aged children talk about standards based grading, I get impression that they don’t like it or they don’t fully understand it or they don’t fully understand it AND don’t like it.
So why today's post? I think standards based grading is the future as educators continue to focus on bringing equity to our classrooms. To that end, I to want to learn more and hope that through my own learning I can move closer to these grading practices and maybe become brave enough to advocate for it in my collaborative team. Bonus: the more I learn, the more I will be able to explain it to my friends when it comes up in my mom world. So Take5 and dive into standards based grading with me. Together, we might just broaden our understanding.
In today's Take10, we are excited to feature the one and only, Sam Wightman. We first met Sam at a local edCamp -- he is part of the team that coordinates edCamp NOVA, educator-driven professional development that offers choice and relevance, while building relationships across school districts throughout Northern Virginia. As a Senior Instructional Technology Coordinator, Sam is an innovator in our field, helping to meaningfully infuse technology into classrooms and into the lives of students. So Take10 and meet the insightful, funny, techie, Sam Wightman.
This week we wrapped up our first semester of the school year at our middle school. And the stress level was palpable. Teachers were feeling the crunch of what seems to be a never ending to-do list. I swear every time I opened my email there was another thing to do. And I wasn't the only one; my students were feeling it too. I asked what in the world was going on when I saw one of my kiddos looking exasperated -- her reply, "there is just so much to do." Meanwhile, other students were acting so off task it was as if they had never been in a classroom before: a sure sign that their formative minds are completely overwhelmed. I honestly left my building Thursday afternoon, frustrated (like, where did I go wrong; how did I let myself get so stressed and why did I let myself stress my students out?). Time to dig deep and try to come up with solutions. I called my stepmom (a huge support in my life for decades and a veteran teacher with more than 30 years of experience) for ideas and also of course hit up some favorite blogs and websites. In case you had a week like mine (AAAHHHH - make it stop!), here's what I found.
Our Essay Outline Generator has been an invaluable tool for us as we support student essay writing. It allows students to complete an electronic graphic organizer and then, with one click, the organizer becomes an outline for their essay. However, up until now, it has only been available for essay building in MS Word. But thanks our school's former tech coach (she is now with a different school district), our Essay Outline Generator is available for Google Docs -- and completely customizable so that you best meet the needs of your students!
This week's Take5 focuses on what's happening in the classroom -- creating time, a Google tool to support English learners, mastering conversations. We also look at a game that would be fun to play in the library and a great site with lots of ways to explore science in the classroom.
If you are a teacher who engages in Twitter (#edutwitter) than you know that the beginning of January is the season for declaring your one word. Teachers reflect and determine what one word will define their work in the coming year and then put it out there on Twitter using the hashtag #OneWord2019. I find great value in finding your one word, or as I sometimes call it a teaching intention. But this week I saw a teacher on Twitter post something that I had never before encountered in my 15 years of teaching - a PERSONAL mission statement. Brilliant! I had to have one! And also had the feeling of of course, why didn't I think of that? What a great way to remind yourself what you are all about, to share with your students and their parents, and your colleagues.
Sending warm wishes for a wonderful holiday season to all of our BubbleUp Classroom readers. We look forward to seeing you back here in the new year -- we'll be blogging again on January 8.
-Corey & Gretchen
At a meeting this week of our school's Instructional Leadership Team, there was a brief discussion of equity. I walked away with a desire to explore a variety of questions. What is equity (it means different things to different people in different places)? What does it mean -- and what should it mean -- to me as a teacher? How can we achieve it through teaching practices in schools? I took this deep dive into the topic to broaden my thinking. So take 5, and learn a little more about equity with me. Equity isn't a destination; it's something you have to wake up and work toward for your students each and every day. That means continuing to learn and grow about this topic that it is at the bedrock of all we do.
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