Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Blogging Stand Still

I am proverbially kicking myself in the rear! I was late posting on the Fischbowl, I haven't commented on my own blog, and I created a blog for English/World Lit in which I keep forgetting to tell my students about. Hmmm...maybe my crutches caged in my memory. Nice try, I know.

I am officially back on the the wagon. This is not to say I have not continued thinking about how to help students create meaning in my classes. One thing I came up with that I think worked well the first go, was to have students take a paper that I had filled with comments, both praise and criticism, and to transfer those notes to another page, but make them reminders for themselves written in a way that will help them remember. They put it in a writing portfolio, behind the paper that has the original notes on it. They said that at first, they did it grudgingly, (actually, they said at first it sucked), but that once they did a couple, they really looked at their mistakes and it started to make sense what they did wrong.

I will be interested to see their long-term progress and how it goes as we continually do this. For a first go, it was a small success

Monday, January 23, 2006

Myths about Grades

As I posted all my categories and began to grade, I got so scared that I had created a...a...total mess! However, what I am finding is that because I have divided up their homework into skills, I have to have a very focused purpose to 1)why they are assigned what they are 2)what they need to learn, and 3)how I will assess if they know if or not. I see that instead of a compliance grade where if they did the homework, it looks nice, and have the necessary components, students received an A. Instead, I can look at each assignment assessing their learning---where are they with the essential learning?

For example, I want my freshmen to not only get a sense of the poetic devices used with Shakespeare, attempt to apply it in their own writing, I want them to demonstrate the knowledge of a particular term. I can give them critical feedback on such a skill. They can earn points for Responsibility (getting it in on time, having it typed, titled, etc.), but then can keep learning, as our district grading guru informed us. Students are really excited to show me that they know how to fix their mistakes. I then, am having them keep a writing/reading portfolio to not only store drafts and final drafts, but to transcribe my notes and suggestions into notes to themselves regarding the essential skills.

Hopefully, my grades will remain manageable and will push student to truly..."learn more" in order to get an "A" or a "B." It's not about making the hoop impossibly high, but allowing students to have springboards to reach the high bar. I know they will rise to the occasion. I am hoping that this grading approach will give all kinds of learners a taste of success and what it feels to be a student.

Goals for CIT

* Continue my personal blog
* Adding blogs to English 9 and English World Lit.
* Work with Karl to add a new dimension of publishing to the position paper
* Look into collaborating with college students
* Find meaningful ways to add constructivism into my daily classrooms
* Explore portfolios with my English 9 class--are there online portfolios where they can scan and comment? Or do we need SmartBoards or other programs for such a thing?
* Explore communication with my Japanese foreign exchange student's high school in Hiroshima
* Learn more about bloglines and how to "get more and BETTER" information

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Spring Semester

(First, I am ignoring the cartoon!) and I am brooding over the categories and percentages for next semester. I struggled with limiting the categories because I want it to really show their growth in certain areas, as well as take into account for assignments I do. So, here is what I have placed in the IC plus questions for you grade gurus at the bottom:

Collaborative Work 5%
Creative Writing/Art 5%
DLS 5%
Essay/Objective Tests 12%
Journal Writing 9%
Listening 3%
Reading Comprehension 5%
Reading Strategies Practice 9%
Responsibility 10%
Speaking 4%
Writing Process/Format 15%
Writing Content/6 + 1 Traits 10%
Writing Final Drafts 8%
Xtr. Cr. 1%

Annotations 8%
Collaborative Work 6%
Creative Writing/Art 5%
Essay/Objective Tests 12%
Formal Speaking 8%
In-class/blog Discussions 7%
Literary Criticism Postulations 6%
Reading Comprehension 7%
Responsibility 7%
Writing Process/Format 8%
Writing Content/6 + 1 Traits 10%
Writing Final Drafts 15%
Xtr. Cr. 1%

Creative Writing
Creative Art 2%
Discussion 3%
Fiction Writing Process/Format 5%
Fiction Writing Content/6 + 1 Traits 10%
Fiction Final Drafts 10%
Non-fiction Writing Process/Format 5%
Non-fiction Writing Content/6 + 1 Traits 10%
Non-fiction Final Drafts 10%
Poetry Writing Process/Format 5%
Poetry Writing Content/6 + 1 Traits 10%
Poetry Final Drafts 10%
Portfolio 10%
Responsibility 5%
Sketchbook 5%

Something I'm wondering as well is how do you keep this record in your gradebook? Karl, any suggestions...or fellow math colleagues? Also, what do you use for actual points? Do you make everything 10 points, 100 points, or keep them varying?? This is very confusing. I want to explore this, but I am afraid that I will create grades that aren't right. Is that possible?