Wednesday, November 10, 2010

That's More Like It

So I plunged into Standards Based Grading this year, along with my Modeling. I have to tell you, it's been a pretty rough year. I am exhausted, but my kids are finally starting to get over their shell-shock.

A couple weeks ago, some of my kids started panicking about their grade.* And then it dawned on them that they could come in and retake some quizzes to help raise said grade.** For the last four weeks, I have had no less than 9 kids in my room before school, after school and during seminar. And then some at lunch and plan period.

Today, one of my girls finished a quiz and let out a nice long sigh. She really struggles with this whole thinking thing and has worked her tail off to even be passing. Then she turns to me and says, "you know, I really wish I could come in and make sure I understand some of this stuff before I take a test over it."

"Um, why do you think you can't come in and study for a test?"

An interesting conversation went on with the kids in the room. We as a staff seem to have given the impression that tests are used to not measure what the kids know, but what they DON'T know.

The universal feeling amongst the kids is that we as teachers WANT them to do poorly. Apparently, we LOVE it when kids fail our classes.

"Well, except you, Mrs. Schroeder. You let us come in and retake some things."

I really didn't know what to say to that. I can honestly say that I don't know a single teacher in our building that enjoys failing kids. Yet, somehow, these kids truly seem to believe that we spend all our spare time devising ways to keep them from passing.

So we dropped everything and had a study session. Not a catch up session. Not a retake session. We sat down and discussed everything that was going to be on the quiz tomorrow. The kids asked questions and did practice problems. I helped them and they helped each other.

It was a great time and I think we all came away from it feeling better about tomorrow. Several kids expressed interest in making this a regular session. I assured them that I would like nothing more than to help them learn the skills BEFORE they tested on them and it would be a much less stressful trimester if they didn't have to spend it trying to catch up.

Now if I could just figure out how to get this done during class time with all 25 of them.

*I know, it should be about the learning, not about the grade. We'll work on that next year. I can apparently only work two miracles at a time.

**The fact that I have repeated this option every day since the beginning of school had no bearing on this, of course, they figured it out on their own.


Knaus said...


I teach a course called AVID. In AVID, 2 days a week we have tutorials. As homework, students review their notes, assignments and tests from core classes. They write questions based on confusion (we spent a lot of time learning how to write questions).

In class, we divide into 4 small groups. One student presents a question on a whiteboard, tells everything they know, answers questions from the group, and the group helps the presenter work through the question and come up with right answer.

It works.

I left out one part, I have four paid tutors that help on those days. They are awesome. However, even without my tutors, I would still do tutorials. It would be slightly different but it would still work.

If you'd like more info I could write a blog about it or perhaps post a video of a tutorial so you can see what it looks like. Feel free to ask questions too.

Tracie Schroeder said...

Knaus, I would LOVE to see how you do this!

Mrs. Tenkely said...

Little by little. Let them spread the word for you :)

Julie Cunningham said...

Like this- keep sharing what you're learning and trying.

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