Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fables, Folktales, and Myths Reflection

Our kids had such a great time with our fables, folktales, and myths, unit that we had to share their final reflection day!

Over the past two weeks our kids have been working on this tic-tac-toe menu as an engaging way to read more and more of these books. Feel free to print a copy of this menu yourself :) 

On the day their work was due, we decided to host a museum walk as a way to share all of their projects.  We started by brainstorming all of the skills they learned throughout this unit.

Then we had kids reflect on their work and which piece they are most proud of.  Students wrote this message on a large piece of construction paper.
Then we gave directions. 
1. Students stayed with their teams.
2. They added a comment to each student's construction paper sharing something they liked supported a reason.  The reason had to be focused on achievement of a skill.
3. Groups rotated when the music stopped (about every five minutes) so they could see everyone's work.

You would be amazed at how engaged (and quiet) the students were in seeing everyone's work.  This was so much more effective than a standard 'show and tell' presentation and each student left with comments from everyone in class as well as comments from the teacher.  They knew they were prepared for the test (and as an added bonus, we didn't spend all weekend grading this practice work!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Standards-based Grading

I have been doing a TON of work with standards-based grading and finding ways to manage assessments to give students a fair grade.  There are so many great resources out there but I think my favorite book is Ken O'Connor's Grading for Learning. It gives real tips for making grading simple and fair. 

As part of the district SBG team, I have created glogs to help teachers understand the philosphies behind this new system of grading.  It's no longer about collecting points, it's finally about the learning!

Here are a few checklists you can use to help you collect data on your students.  I like to use these for formative assessments but you could easily use these to collect trend evidence to determine a student's final grade too.

Below are some resources to help teachers explore the philosophies behind this new type of grading.  Let me know what you think!
Want to learn more about including other traits into a grade like effort or late work?

Want to learn more about allowing students to retake a test?

Want to learn more about using trend evidence to determine a grade instead of averaging?

Want to learn more about including homework in a grade?

Want to learn more about multiple assessment opportunities?

Want to learn more about the use of a zero is standards-based grading?

Do you use standards-based grading in your district?  What are your thoughts?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Valentine's Day

I love teaching on the holidays! The kids are always so excited and it makes for such a fun day. The challenge we've always faced on Valentine's Day is that it is right before our state test! Yikes! This year, I have put together a Valentine's Day fun pack that will help kids review important material in a fun, "lovely" way. Feel free to use this fun logic problem with your students this Valentine's Day!

The best part of this plan, is our economics simulation. Kids will actually buy and sell items to decorate their Valentine's Day boxes! They love this so much that they hardly realize that they're learning about high demand and low demand items (isn't that the best? When you can squeeze a little learning into their day without even realizing it!)

What are your favorite Valentine's Day activities?