Tuesday, July 19, 2011

SBG - first opinions from admin

I had a meeting with my administrator sometime mid-spring semester and asked her if she would support me through implementing standards-based grading in my classroom. She gave the approval for me to go forward with planning based on what she knew of it. The plan that I posted here was the first write up of what I informally presented to her two days ago. I added a few details but the bulk of what I wrote stayed the same. She did not require that I keep her updated, but I have found over my years that it makes life much easier if you keep your administrator in the loop.

Anyway, so I unveiled the plan and I got three questions in return:
1. How do you plan to communicate the plan and its benefits to parents and students?
2. What do you expect will happen to the distribution of grades? More As, Fs? Stay the same?
3. How can you make re-assessment more mandatory and less invitational?

I had a response for the first two, but the third one threw me for a loop. I don't have anything in place to make sure the students reassess. At this point, it is up to the student to reassess if they want to. They don't have to. Aside from staying after school (which isn't an option because I am coaching fall and springs sports) or coming in early (which very few students are willing to do)...I don't know what to do.

So that is where I am at with the process right now. I am thinking about how to make the process less-invitational. I hope to come up with a plan (or "acquire" a plan hehe) that doesn't require me to spend countless more hours at the school building. Maybe an in-class arrangement? I dunno...

Visual - Objectives

Here is a picture of the sentence starters I use in my classroom. See my last post for the full explanation of how I use them. I made these with my Cricut because I got tired of re-writing this part every single day. I put magnets on the back so they stick to the whiteboard. Now I don't have to write as much each day. I just use bullet points for the rest of the information each day. This makes the task a little less time consuming each morning.

Friday, July 8, 2011


At my school (and I assume many many other schools around the nation), we have to post our standards every day for each class. For several years I posted the exact standard--number and all. I got the box checked off on my observations but that is about it. It wasn't useful. This past year I used the following format and I found it to actually be useful. I was able to refer to it often. The students got used to coming in and reading it. It gave them a good idea of what to expect for the day. It was a tool that was actually used instead of just "checked off". Anyway...here it is:

Today I will learn...
To do this I will...
My teacher will know I learned it because...

Simple but effective. After the first sentence starter I would put the objective in student-friendly terms. For example, "Today I will learn...how to solve equations with variables on both sides." The second sentence starter would be the actual agenda. It would list any learning activities that would be taking place during that lesson. For example, "To do this I will...take notes and then get with a partner to solve problems." The last sentence starter would be the day's assessment. This could range from "she will check my homework" to "she will grade my quiz and provide feedback" or even "she will ask for thumbs up/thumbs down responses" possibly "she will check our whiteboards"....you get the idea. It was the way students would know what the assessment of the day's work would be.

Now that I am working on SBG, I think I like this even more. I will continue to use the three sentence starters with "kid friendly" language. However, I will add somewhere in there the learning goal number because they will have a numbered sheet of learning goals handed to them at the beginning of the year. That will make it easier for them to keep track of what they are working on.