Friday, February 17, 2006

Grading Categories

I finally have grades and, thus, I needed to finalize my categories. It was fun to create something new that actually does, I think, what I used to think I was doing. We'll see how well the new is understood by students and parents. I might have made a mistake by including all expected assignments. It helped me get a handle on what it would look like at the end of the semester, but I fully expect the emails regarding "how come my kid doesn't have a grade for..." Goal #3 has been partially completed.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

21 Century Goals - at least for Spring 2006

Although I have done a great deal of thinking (usually on a run or ride, in the pool, or on the chairlift - my "downtimes") about my goals with constructivist teaching/learning and technology, little of that thinking gets recorded...especially in the form of a blog. And while the goals haven't been written, they seem to be part of what I' doing. So let's backtrack some.

Goal #1 - I want to incorporate my new found technologies to better allow for and stimulate the discussions that mnay of my A.P. Government and Honors U.S. students want to have. With a department focus (in US) and an A.P. need (in Government) on common pacing, I struggle with balancing their desire to ask tangental questions. I love the conversations these questions create and I foster their creation. However, I am almost always behind when it comes to my pacing goals, the US pacing goals, and the AP pacing needs. In an effort to better balance the needs/desires on both fronts, I will utilize blogging on a voluntary basis starting with A.P. Government during the 1st 6 weeks, and then adding it to US during the 2nd 6 weeks. I will experiment with various prompts (mine and theirs) to help incorporate more students into the process. I am not comfortable with making it a requirement (yet) as that seems counter to the purpose. We'll see how I feel at the end of the semester.

Goal #2 - I will incorporate at least one new constructivist, in-class activity to one of my classes every 6 weeks. Although I think my style of classroom is fairly constructivist, a discussion with Kyle Matson helped me realize some things. After the FishBowl presentation, he commented that my room operated like that anyway without the formality. However, it only operates that way for the stuents who engage themselves or who are pulled into the discussions by me. Therefore, I want to offer a more formal version of the FishBowl in each of my 3 preps at least once this semester. I am searching for the topics that will benefit the most from that approach.

Goal #3. - I will change my grading categories to better reflect my intentions and, hopefully, enhance their understanding of the grade and thei learning. Tony's presentation has helped me narrow my focus. As I have NO grades as of today (for various non-lazy reasons), I haven't formalized my thoughts into the program. My categories will be finalized by February 8, and evaluated throughout the semester.

There, if it is written, it must be so...