This seems like a fancy way to do “one of these things is not like the other” but hey, if calling it a ed-psych term like Concept Attainment Strategy makes something cool palatable, then by all means! What a cool idea when I use images in lessons, this idea will really help when teaching theme. Good stuff: saving!
This post is dedicated to my crazy teacher friends who try everything they can to help our students, even at the expense of their colleagues’ goodwill. Based on a recent email thread, we’re all trying so hard, but we’re trying too hard alone.
That has to change.
Do you have departmental/content issues? Does the history department turn up their noses at the math teachers or is the elective crew treated like a tertiary annoyance? Supporting our colleagues is more than bringing in a few shoeboxes and glue sticks. It requires deep, drilled-down communication and understanding, and allows for every department to support and connect with one another. Of course, an administration is an integral part of an overall vision: communicating to staff may require multiple messages, reminders, little check-ins of how the vision is progressing once the vision has been shared. It doesn’t mean lockstep. It doesn’t mean one size fits all. It doesn’t mean one ring to rule them all, either. Throw that garbage in the fires of Mordor and carry on, Samwise.
It does mean that departments are talking to one another, and know an overall vision of the school Like other PBL projects before, the Zombie unit was the 8th grade ELA department’s attempt, and we learned a lot. We have some refinement to do, and it was clear based on all of us whose students had more time to dig in, whose students had someone helping with hands-on skills, and whose had lipstick “infection” marks on their faces and played tag (cough).
When everything is important, everything becomes jammed up: think of a school day more like well-run traffic and flow engineering, or flocking science: when kids can move with a flexible, responsive schedule, or when a big PBL project is being conducted, perhaps that is the day when there is a shift in time; better yet, they can go to each class and work and consider through that lens.
(Students are trying to avoid predators, after all–aka going to class.)
It’s going to require some brave teachers and administration to put aside egos and come to solutions that are best for students. We have the skill sets and the drive to do something like what Emily Pilloton does with her girls. We need to include all, however. I am wondering if we have the will.
Love this idea from Cult (and am jealous of her cute little hair flippy-do)! To my ELA local peeps–if you have ideas about books we can share with a middle level/YA book club, I think we should do some home-grown discussions. One of our issues is the…
So…how about we take some time, meet over appetizers and beverages, and figure out just what do we have, what digital resources we have, how to get audio books, etc. for our students? Our best brains work better together, and mapping out what our students need and want (even if they don’t know it yet) would be invaluable. Consider yourself tagged!
Gratitude for my PLN for helping me stay fresh, excited and wise: things have been tricky at my school recently, and while we’re on spring break I am determined to relax, dangit. Refresh, Renew. All that good stuff. People are worried about me (turns out middle school girls and boys think I’m crying when I am having a hot flash–thanks, menopause). I was beginning to get a little worried about myself: have I taught them enough? Is testing going to be okay? Will the boy who won’t allow me to help him be a better reader be okay? Will that girl who has given up on herself understand that we won’t give up on her?
Perhaps this may be the simple answer to those complex, emotional questions: as we strive to allow for our students to be independent, the most obvious path is the timeless practice of self-assessment. Their emotional responses to learned helplessness and inner-dialogue of shame may be cooled by simply allowing them the space that they are in more control than they believe.
Things on teachers’ minds must be washed and dried before break ends–otherwise, it’s not a break. So just in the nick of time here are some ideas about having students self-assess. Chiaravelli draws from the great minds of pedagogy:
Drawing on the research of Ruth Butler, Dylan Wiliam, John Hattie, Daniel Pink, Carol Dweck, Alfie Kohn, Linda McNeil, Linda Mabry, Maja Wilson and countless others, we are teachers who are convinced that teaching and learning can be better when we grade less.
Okay, cool. I have always allowed for redos, and never marked things down for being late, etc. Okay. Instincts without research don’t mean anything – so he provides the research.
What my grading practices are now:
Weekly Vocabulary worth 50 points
If they don’t turn it in, it goes in zero and missing in Skyward.
They have one to two weeks to turn it in and receive full points. I never mark down work simply for being late, and never have.
Positive: Once they see they are in control of their non-negotiables and have choice and flexibility, they get in a routine of learning and diving into new words.
Negative: Students still don’t understand that the zero, which is horrible but the only way they and their parents pay attention or get a notification, can be easily remedied by doing the work. I will ask other students in the class who have turned things in late and subsequently turn them in, and their grade changes, to share that with the class. In addition, I still need to track students down.
Grading every two weeks as required.
Grading assessments (especially the Common Formative Assessments created by our ELA PLC 8th grade as ‘no count.’
How are they evolving:
I created a unit/module in Canvas called “Top Ten Things” for ELA. Its intended purpose allows for student flexibility: if they are done with something, they can explore ten lessons in a ‘flipped’ way.
Positive: Students who seek them out enjoy doing them as “extra credit.”
Allows for self-exploration and questions– great opportunity for metacognition and independent work.
Negative: Students have been confused — understandable. These absolutely require my guidance, and that’s fine. Another issue is students requiring more guidance than time allows. After the break this is something I will address.
Provided a ‘create your own rubric lesson’ in the fall: this is a concept I plan on bringing back this spring after the break.
Allowing students to assess student work—now that there is student work to share based on current projects!
Paraphrasing and crafting metrics and rubrics based on CCSS, standardized assessments (from the OSPI/SBA)
Crafting choice projects/burning questions metrics based on CCSS
Crafting and self-assessing on both low stakes and high stakes assignments they create and produce.
Continuing to provide curriculum maps to students — visible checklists to help guide them.
Grading is done weekly to bi-weekly, with a one to a two-week window of communication and notice. I am putting students in charge of their assignment self-assessments: complete or not complete.
Restate grading policies to parents.
Be clear to students what is expected of them and their role in assignments:
The second finding comes from John Hattie (2012) whose synthesis of 800 meta-studies showed that student self-assessment/self-grading topped the list of educational interventions with the highest effect size. By teaching students how to accurately self-assess based on clear criteria, teachers empower them to become “self-regulated learners” able to monitor, regulate, and guide their own learning. The reason students never develop these traits is that our monopoly on assessment, feedback, and grading has trained students to adopt an attitude of total passivity in the learning process.
Let us all “grade less” so students can learn more. Just like in any creative pursuit, the linear qualities of rubrics do not have to constrain, but to guide.
Chasing the purple dragon of ‘the perfect app’ is like lassoing a bubble. There’s always something new, shiny, and fleeting. In this post, I shall attempt to currate some old and new favorites. Some of these items are the equivalent to Russian nesting dolls– stacked inside one another.
Stopping the Noise:
Freedom– if you need time to turn off those ‘quick check-ins’ to Facebook, etc. install Freedom. It was recommended to be by a ‘real writer’ – someone who’s published multiple titles.
WriteAbout, Google Cardboard, Versal, Noisli, Formative, and Periscope.
I have used John’s WriteAbout, and have made attempts to get other teachers/district to use it too, but there have been obstacles. We are on overload right now, methinks. Maybe I’ll try again, because last year was crowded with others agendas.
As far as Versal goes, we are piloting Canvas, and have used e-learning. Personally I prefer UX designs like Versal or Edmodo better, but it any online platform seems fine.
Screenshot–app for iphones and ipads — annotate, etc. screen shots
Word Swag- -makes pretty little posters from your photos
Snapseed–easy photo editing tools
Voila–easy screen recordings for lessons/flipped classroom
Dark Sky–well designed interface for the weather
Sky Guide–feel like you’re floating through the universe. I get vertigo when I point it at the ground and realize there’s only the earth between me and the universe.
Who am I kidding? I’m not qualified to curate diddly-squat at the moment. During this time, not only do I have Grammarly spying on me, but the laundry is on repeat wrinkle-guard, I’ve read 5 articles on the supreme court issue and new appointee, hit the like button on a few Facebook posts, changed to jammie pants (it’s mid-winter break), watched Principal Gerry videos, sent one email, and thought about “all the stuff I have to/want to do” over break.
Sigh. Maybe it’s time I take the Infomagical challenge, too. I did go to a good, solid old-fashtion art supply store the other day near the UW campus when we met our older son for lunch. It was like going through a time machine for me. I did end up with a box of goodies to take back to the classroom, but even creative-crafty stuff requires focus: