I remember when I was in college. I dreamed of being a teacher. I was going to inspire students like Mr Keating of Dead Poets Society, make a difference in at-risk kids like Gabe Kotter in Welcome Back Kotter, and hold kids accountable to learning like Mr Hand in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. They were … Continue reading A grade is still a grade
Alfie Kohn tells about a group of Russian teachers who, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, wanted to meet with American teachers to discuss education. More specifically, they wanted to know how American teachers promoted democracy in the classrooms. However, the American teachers at the conference could not answer this question (Kohn, 1993). America … Continue reading How my class went from dictatorship to democratic
Research shows that people remember only 5% of what they are told, 50% of what they discuss, and 90% of what they teach. When my principal shared this in a recent staff meeting I heard a few teachers scoff and say things like, "Well sure! How are students going to teach if I don't teach … Continue reading How to facilitate student-led class discussions
A colleague friend of mine says, "If a student can Google it faster than I can teach it, then why am I teaching it?" This is a fantastic question that cuts deep into my teacher soul. And because I cannot argue with this logic, I am forced to consider what it is that I tell … Continue reading What do students NEED to know?
I used to work really hard revising, refining, and developing a comprehensive final exam to give my students at the end of each semester. I was quite proud of each iteration of the exam as they became more challenging every year. However, I came to realize something that made me reconsider the value of a … Continue reading Do students really need to take a final exam?
According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 68 children are identified on the Autism Spectrum and boys are 4.5 more times likely than girls at a rate of 1 in 42. As educators, this means we will have students with autism in our class and it is our obligation to ensure every child … Continue reading All of Our Students
After reading Starr Sackstein's Hacking Assessments and The Schools Our Children Deserve by Alfie Kohn, I decided to take a huge risk. I made the transition to a No Grades class that focused on differentiation and growth. This was something new and scary for me, as it meant I had to relinquish control over grading … Continue reading Quitting Grades and Making It About Learning
Recently, I read "Know Your Terms: Holistic, Analytic, and Single-Point Rubrics" by Jennifer Gonzalez, of Cult of Pedagogy. It introduced me to the Single-Point Rubric and this tool has transformed my teaching. I made some hacks to this rubric to better meet my needs and, ultimately, allow me to provide more thorough and meaningful feedback … Continue reading The Single Point Rubric