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Showing posts from July, 2018

Standards Based Grading: Step 5 - Stop Grading Everything

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I've talked about creating learning objectives from the standard. I've talked about starting with what evidence of learning you'll accept for each objective. I've talked about aligning your lessons. And I have talked about formative assessment and why it should not go in the grade book.

Today I am going to explain how I don't grade anything. Kind of. 

Grading for compliance hurts our most in need students and creates a game of points instead of a focus on learning. To be completely candid and honest: if you make this shift in isolation (as I have) you will still be fighting the culture of points with many students until the very end of the semester. But I cannot stress enough how much the benefits of a standards-based classroom outweigh the challenges.

When we assign points to every single worksheet, activity, bathroom pass, kleenex boxes, etc, we make the culture about how many points you can earn, not how much you have learned. I know it may seem impossible to motiv…

Where to Start with Standards-Based Grading: Step 4

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It's time to talk about formative assessment. I might write some things that you totally disagree with and that is okay, I am not 100% sold that grading practices are one size fits all. In fact, this next year my AP World History course and my course for English Learners are following two slightly different grading formats based on the pacing, content, skills, and needs of the students. Sometimes it makes sense for me to assess the two classes in slightly different ways. That being said, I am going to make one of my most controversial statements yet. So far, everything has been pretty straightforward, but now it's time to really question the way we've always done it. 



What no longer makes any sense to me is putting formative assessments in the grade book. When I give quizzes students find out their score immediately, they find out what they got right and what they got wrong and what the correct answer is but that score never goes in the grade book. I usually ask them to ta…

Where to Start With Standards Based Grading: Step 3

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Yesterday I wrote about how I start planning for a standards-based classroom. Most of it is just good teaching and while you may be doing a lot of the work already, the process asks you to be more intentional and more deliberate. Today, I am going to share with you the third step I take: planning instruction.
Here is the standard I am going to focus on: 10.2.1 Compare the major ideas of philosophers and their effects on the democratic revolutions in England, the United States, France, and Latin America Here is the student-friendly version: 10.2.1.A: I can compare the ideas of 3 philosophers from 1600-1800.10.2.1.B: I can describe the major democratic revolutions in France, Haiti, the United States, England, and Latin America.10.2.1.C: I can explain how the ideas of at least 3 major philosophers influenced the democratic revolutions in England, the US, France, and Latin America. Why break one standard down into three different objectives? The standard is really asking students to know an…

Where To Start with Standards Based Grading: Steps 1 and 2

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I've talked about what I do in my classroom here and here but as I prepare for the new school year I have decided to take some time to share with you all how I prepare my history and social studies content for a standards-based approach. It makes sense to share this now because even though I have done this for four semesters already, I still have changes I need to make and in doing so I plan to share some of my lessons learned and mistakes made with you all in the hopes of making this process easier for you.

Before You Get Started It is important to first explore the terminology and determine what you believe. You can look at this grading terminology cheat sheet I created and before doing anything else I highly suggest you complete this grading philosophy form that I adapted from the work of Rick Wormeli. Changing your grading practices is not something you should do because you want to follow the trends or because it looks interesting: the amount of work and thought that goes int…

Surviving My First Year of AP World

This. Course. Is. Insane.

That was what I thought a year ago sitting in APSI with Aaron Marsh as he explained, very eloquently, how he managed to teach a critical analysis of 10,000 years of human history, 3 massive writing rubrics, and still managed to give his kids minimal homework.

But then again, every AP class is borderline insane. In AP classes and on AP Exams we often ask very young people to do the extraordinary and this year I was excited/scared/terrified/thrilled/pumped to take on that challenge of helping students meet those goals. AP World History is often the first AP course students at my school take. To be honest, I am not the biggest fan of the AP model but I LOVE the content and skills that an AP course has to offer. When given the chance to teach this course, I jumped at it but, as I usually do I went in with some crazy ideas. I approached the class with three clear goals:

Goal #1: I wanted to give minimal homework and outside reading to ensure my athletes and perform…

The Summer of #EdTech Bingo

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This summer I was excited to have as my next door neighbor our district History and Edtech TOSA, Luis Carillo. I had worked with Luis on history curriculum council, putting together a history-social science framework training, and had attended a number of his training sessions on EdTech.

Our district has been going through a lot of upgrades and installing more infrastructure to give access to technology in all classrooms (not just those CTE or computer courses.) I have been extremely lucky to have had the chance to pilot devices before most which have led to fundamental shifts in the way I teach so I was extra excited to share those ideas with my neighbor. Maybe too excited...

Arrived to this posted on my door...When the #nuggets keep coming! @erhs@CNUSD is better because of awesome educators like @mrsbyarshistorypic.twitter.com/ERRb3qYwTu — Luis Carrillo (@lcccarrillo) June 13, 2018
So I left him a bingo card and everything on it I had done at some point during the traditional school…