The purpose of a report cards is to explain progress to students and their parents. However, they do little to communicate learning. As a teacher I've found them limiting in what it is I'd like to share. As a parent, I find them confusing. The report card is efficient. I can fill them out for … Continue reading A Better Progress Report: Using Google Forms to communicate learning
The start of a new school year arouses many feelings. Anxiety, excitement, curiosity, nostalgia, to name a few. The start of a new school year also signifies a milestone in the life of the child: a new grade level, new students, and new curriculum. There are so many new experiences to anticipate, which can be … Continue reading A Note to Start the Year
This article is crossposted on Teachers Going Gradeless and ASCD Student Growth Center. In our dream we have limitless resources, and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hand. The present educational conventions fade from our minds; and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural … Continue reading From Hostility to Community
My greatest shame as a teacher stems from my past grading practices. At the time, I was certain it was my role to protect perfection. I believed it would drive students to go beyond their current ability and seek ways to express themselves more effectively. I had it in my mind that rigor meant setting … Continue reading Changing the Guard
As school begins to wind down, my wife and I, like many parents, scramble to figure out how to keep our boys engaged in learning rather than allow them to zone out in front of screens all day. Granted, our boys will more than likely spend an exorbitant amount of time gazing into the mesmerizing, … Continue reading Passion Projects: Engage Your Child This Summer
When I was eight years old, Pink Floyd released The Wall. My dad purchased the album and I was mesmerized by the composition, beauty, and sophistication of their sound. On top of that, the irreverent lyrics were, ultimately, what spoke to me. "We don't need no education, We don't need no thought control" (Pink Floyd, … Continue reading An Education in Rebellion
A teacher catches a student plagiarizing a major essay. An initial reaction is often, "How could he do this to me?" The teacher may feel violated and even want retribution. In an attempt to seek justice, she gives her student a zero and a referral. All too often, this is the default response to cheating. … Continue reading What About Cheating?
I had a conversation with a math teacher at my school. I asked her if she allowed her learners to use notes or tools on her tests. She said, “Absolutely not.” I asked why. She said if they learned the material they shouldn’t need notes. I asked if memorization or application demonstrated learning. She said […]
I've heard teachers debate whether learners should be allowed to redo, retake, or revise summative assessments. The camp is highly divided. No Retakes There are those who say that learners need to be held accountable. If they do not take the time to study for the assessment then it is apparent that the student does … Continue reading What about retakes?
As a parent of two boys on the Autism Spectrum and a high school teacher, I have the pleasure of sitting on both sides of the table in numerous Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings. Some have been productive while others were frustrating and unbearable. Despite my perspective of the outcome, it is the child who … Continue reading A parent/teacher’s guide to an IEP