Posts Tagged With: #sbg

Standards Based Learning – Beginning the year

After much preparation, we began the year with SBL.  I created a detailed newsletter using Piktochart, then recorded a video as I discussed how SBL will work in my classroom so parents could hear instead of just read it.  We set up our gradebook with standards, flipped our classroom, designed projects to assist learning, gave choices in the learning process & created awesome data tracking (Alice Keeler to the rescue) for ourselves and for the students.  Then we gave our first assessment.  OUCH! Students freaked out, parents freaked out, teachers stressed out… “How can I raise my grade?”  “What can I do to get an A?”

SBL pic 1

We are trying to make parents and students understand that the scores aren’t permanent. We are teaching on mastery ALL SEMESTER LONG.  They will have many opportunities to work on skills they are struggling with. We have time to work 1:1 with students within the class day.  We are trying to convince them this is a good thing.  Our next assessment is this week.  I hope students and parents will see the scores replaced with higher marks as their students begin to master the content.

It’s been a rocky start, but I’m still very excited SBL.  I think the student and parent focus will change to learning and not just “doing” as they begin to see the value of this process. Until then, I have more emails to return…

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Teach them to Learn

My focus for this school year will not be on testing, or homework, or even data teams, it will be on LEARNING.

Teach a student to

I’ve been reading Ditch that Textbook and Teach Like a Pirate this summer, as well as learning from my PLN on Twitter, Voxer and EdCamps.  All of these have reinforced the decision I made at the end of school last year to DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY! I will continue with Standards Based Grading but I like the phrase Standards Based Learning better. I will also be providing videos like a flipped classroom would so I can focus on projects and individualized learning in the classroom.  I won’t be assigning homework every night, but I will provide outside practice for those who need it. I want students to learn in the way that best suits them.  I don’t know how this will work but I’m excited to give it a try.  The most important change will be directing the focus on learning and not on a grade.  I want to eliminate the question, “What can I do to raise my grade?”  I want them to ask, “What can I do to learn?”  I can’t wait to have a classroom with students in control of their learning and a desire to be there.  I hope my inner Pirate comes out!

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Another Year Over

Reflection-

ride-the-roller-coaster-they-said

This school year has been a roller coaster.  I feel better about this year than others, but I don’t feel like it was my best year as an educator.

I welcomed two new people to my Algebra I team.  It’s difficult to keep teachers in Algebra I with soooo much pressure placed on us to do well with testing and pass students.  About 1/3 of our students take Algebra 1 as an 8th grader.  Their MAP scores are very high.  Our 9th graders taking Algebra I do not include those students, so our scores are never as good.  I wish I could make “the powers that be” understand that. My two new people were a GREAT addition and I loved

i started the year with interactive notebooking.  I loved the idea, encouraged by blogs like Math=Love and Rockstar Math Teacher.  Things didn’t go smoothly!  Students complained, parents complained, other staff complained (well, it is a lot of copies)… By Christmas I was frustrated.  I still liked the idea of notebooking, so I started changing everything to note sheets.  I took a page from the sketchnote movement and made all of my pages VERY graphic.  Students (and parents) seemed to like this better.  Who knew that gluing in math class was considered a waste of time to parents?

We have a higher number of students who do not seem to find success in Algebra.  Many of them have not been successful for many years. Our school re-introduced Core Support this year, a 40 minute time built into the day for extensive help in core content areas.  This was very successful, although small scale.

Failing students was a huge discussion for us this year.  Many factors played into this, some out of our control [attendance].  By 4th quarter, we had discussed many ideas to increase the motivation and learning for these students, flipped classrooms, standards based grading, no homework grades, you name it and we had discussed it as an option.

We decided to pilot standards based grading 4th quarter while reviewing for the EOC.  We wanted our standards to spiral and evidence of mastery to occur at the end of the quarter.   I LOVED IT!  For the first time in a long time I felt I had a good handle on what students knew.  Students were also more excited about their learning when they knew they would have to opportunity to fix mistakes by the next assessment.  They also liked charting their progress with the standards. I had fewer A’s than normal for the quarter, but I also had fewer F’s; letter grades aside, I KNOW I had a larger increase in knowledge.  I also feel like their grades more closely reflected their knowledge.

Planning for next year –

I will, according to a phone call last night, be welcoming another new member to my team (we just can’t keep Algebra I teachers!) We plan to use a modified flipped classroom design so we can spend more time in the classroom on engaging activities and remediation.  We DEFINITELY plan to use standards based grading for the entire year.  My summer reading includes Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess and Ditch That Textbook by Matt Miller. I’m hoping for tons of inspiration so that when next year ends I can say, “this has been my best year so far.”

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