Do No Harm: Flexible and Small Grading Practices

Post from edutopia  I love the request to retake liked in the post.


Interesting Article about Rubrics

If you are like me, you struggle with writing rubrics that are clear and not too wordy.  Then, I struggle applying the rubric to assignments because the rubric isn’t always assessing what I thought I wanted to asses.  Here is an interesting article and idea on rubrics.

Professional Learning: Grading

“Grading takes away the fun of failing.”

This is a quote from a TED talk that I listened to this morning.  Most of the talk wasn’t about grading or even K-12 education, but this comment really stuck with me.  I find this quote to be both very accurate and very sad.  I wonder what my students could accomplish if they weren’t caught up in the desire to get THE grade.  Would they be more willing to take risks that would lead to great learning if they didn’t worry about THE grade?



The First Day of School

Two weeks and the students will be walking through the doors of the school, down the hall, and into my classroom.  I have some work to get done before I am ready, but I have started working on my welcome letter and syllabi.

Since I believe that relationships are a key part of a successful classroom, I start the year by giving my students a letter about me and ask them to write me a letter about themselves.  This accomplishes a couple of things.  First, students want to know a little bit about their teachers, and my letter provides them with information about me while also allowing me to emphasize a couple of key ideas.  Second, by asking the students to write me a letter, I am able to get an informal baseline writing piece.  I can see their strengths and weaknesses as writers and can use this information to guide instruction.  Finally,  the letter allows us to make some connections.  Maybe they are a fan of Georgia football or Vera Bradley.  By sharing these interests early in the year, we are able to start building a strong relationships which enhance the classroom environment from the beginning. Here is the draft of my Back to School Letter–Draft

Last year, I started batting around the idea of changing how I set up my grade book because I found myself forcing assignments to fit into categories to keep things balanced when I had four categories.   This year, I hope to have three categories for assignments.

Here is what I am thinking.

Level 1–practice assignments–completion grades/homework. 10%

Level 2–formative assessments–quizzes/graded assignments/minor writing assignments. 40%

Level 3–summative assessments–test/projects/major writing assignments. 50%

Professional Learning: Optional Homework

We go back to school in less than two weeks and will have to make decisions about grading as we write our syllabi. If you ask 5 people their thoughts about homework, you’ll likely get 5 different ideas. In my reading this morning, I came across this blog post, and although I need to spend some time thinking about it, I am intrigued.

What do you think?

Blog Post on Optional Homework