This year’s class gave me a lot to think about and many new ideas to try. A lot of issues discussed in both books help reinforce what I already do in my classroom.
My biggest take-aways
A Repair Kit for Grading:
1. I already don’t penalize for late work. I also allow students to resubmit projects for a higher grade. I believe students should get credit for their work, no matter when it is done. On the other side of the coin, I don’t permit them to choose a zero for a grade. If they are far behind, they need to come in outside of school to work. I also have no problem calling coaches, advisors, and parents to communicate with them that the student is missing work.
2. I have been modifying my grading policies to not include grades for formative assessments and practice. It becomes very difficult to elicit participation from students when things are not graded. This generation has next to no intrinsic motivation. I have stopped telling them if the assignment is going to be graded until after it is handed in. Sometimes I give check marks so they can track their progress. Often I will hand things back with comments and no grade. This drives students nuts!
3. The idea of not factoring effort into my grades has been a difficult concept. A huge part of completing an art project is effort. I have stopped calling it effort and now tell my students to focus on “craftsmanship”. To me, this is the same thing.
I have gotten so many ideas from this book.
I have really strived to give my students feedback that is specific and timely. I already spoke to my students a lot during class to find out how they are progressing. What has changed after reading this book? I plan more of the questions that I am going to ask and record the results. I also utilize weekly reflections to communicate with my independent study students. They answer about 5 questions and I respond to what they write. The feedback has been very positive for using Edmodo. I am going to incorporate it into my advanced class next fall.
I track more evidence based on my formative assessments and use that in planning for my classes. This has created a little more work for me, but at least I know how my students are progressing. I adjust my lessons for reteaching and/or expanding on things that the students are really interested in.
I have also tried to vary the formative assessment activities that I do in my class. I have been trying to use the internet to find different activities. Some of them go over really well, and some are not so popular. I just tell them that we are all learning. Most of the students have really enjoyed the new activities.