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 :)