Thursday, October 7, 2010

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale....

It's been a while since I posted and each day I think "ya know, I should really post about how things are going", but then I get busy grading or planning or I'm just not feeling it for whatever reason and it gets pushed off my radar for another day...

But today it feels right... Two years ago today, my step-daddy passed away and this was one of the places I turned to share his story. That was probably the start of my realization that I actually had a few readers out in the blog-o-sphere and someone really cared to read my random posts. While I still miss him greatly and always look for him when I go to my momma's house, that's not the tale I came here to share today...

Today's tale is about my school year so far. I am having probably the best professional year of my career and that simply feels amazing. But then, I walk outside of my classroom and the weight of the demands from the outside world crushes me. So instead, I stay within my little comfort zone that is my room and Partner Teacher's room and figure I'll stay as under the radar as much as I can :)

After school today, Partner Teacher makes a comment that we need to start making a list of the good and the bad of this year, so here goes...

  • At first, I was concerned with the time it seemed to take to grade the SBG quizzes, but now that I have my system down, I *heart* that I grade about once a week and have more free time for planning cool lessons.
  • I adore how easy SBG makes parent contact. When a parent emails to ask what Junior needs to work on, it's so simple to put the responsibility back on Junior's shoulders, where it needs to be.
  • My students and parents like that they know detailed information about where they are.
  • It only takes a kid one reassessment to really see the benefit of coming in. Last week, we had a quiz on transformations and 2-variable inequalties. One young man really struggled and did rather poorly on it, he asked to stay after on Tuesday, we worked for about 20 minutes, I sent him home with some practice problems and today he asked to reassess. Each of those objectives he raised from 0.5 to a 3 or a 4 - HOORAY!!!
  • A system that seemed very strange to the kids just two months ago, now seems totally normal and they wish other teachers used this method.
  • While I can easily see how SBG works in a process oriented class like Alg2, I struggle with how to implement it in an application class like Stat. I still have no idea where to even start to set up SBG in there.
  • I do worry about concept retention, but I think that was an issue in the traditional system as well. With the new 9 weeks, we are going to have a "Previous Knowledge" standard that is from a previous assessment - haven't worked out all the details yet, but we'll get there :)
  • I'm constantly amazed at how much my kids are willing do, even when there's not a grade attached to it. Today we did the graphing inequalities worksheet from Dan Greene and they loved it!
  • Even with all of the great things happening, it's been an insanely busy year. New textbooks, 3 preps, wrapping my head around SBG, night class, all combines to make me feel absolutely exhausted on a daily basis.
  • I also worry about their ability to work with more than a couple of concepts and/or their ability to work when the problems are all mixed together and not labeled with their Learning Target ID. I'm still working on that one....

Overall, I do have to declare our foray into SBG a tentative success. I really appreciate the support that I've gotten both on this blog and via twitter as we've gone through this journey. I <3 my PLN :)

1 comment:

samjshah.com said...

"I also worry about their ability to [...] work when the problems are all mixed together and not labeled with their Learning Target ID."

I don't put the skill ID/number on the test. I label problems A, B, C, ... And then at the end I have a "grade sheet" that I attach, which tells the student what skill ID/number the problems were testing. I worried, as you do, that the ID and not the question will indicate "this is what I should do." Which is why I do it this way.

Sam