Take a look at our Class Rules and Procedures. Students from all of my classes were given input into what some should be, but I had veto power. (Umm... kids who answer questions right get cheeseburgers? No.) I took into account how obsessed with food tweens are, as so many said they should be allowed to eat. I figured why not, but with parameters. Since we are in a computer lab, and have a limited time together each day, they can eat a (healthy!) snack at the back of the room at the beginning of class. I think they appreciated the opportunity to engage in a democratic activity of this sort, and I enjoyed reading their suggestions (we can only wear black on Mondays). Actually, I might rethink that one...
The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.
--Mark Van Doren
I am super excited to tell you what I’ve been working on for my 7th and 8th grade students this year.
My teaching philosophy is that work should be student-centered: given a set of state content standards, students should be learning these new skills, creating, and reflecting. They do not want, nor need, me to talk to them for days on end. They also do not need for me to give them a grade on an assignment. Learning, not grades, are why students are in school. My classroom this year will be learning-focused, not grade-focused.
Here is the new process:
Students will accumulate solid pieces of work that showcase skills used and learned during our time together. I will determine what an appropriate amount of time to work on an activity is (two days? two weeks? it depends on the activity) and then we will move on to a new activity that will touch on a different set of standards. Students are free to make revisions on their own time to their work throughout the marking period, but will reflect when the due date has come.
I welcome you to email or set up an appointment with me to discuss your child's progress. But, you can also find current and past work in our Google Classroom and in their Google Drive. You can always ask your child to SHARE with your email address any work they do in our class. The Big Standards Sheet is also in their Google Drive. While I explained in class how it will work, the concept is completely new, so they might not yet understand exactly. Give them time to get used to it, or let me know, and I can explain it to you.
This process will account for 60% of their final grade, and the other 40% will still be Participation. The participation scale we use is on the front wall of our classroom.
Thank you for your patience as your children and I take this adventure together. Please know that I am not just trying to "get out of grading." This will actually be more work for both your child and me, but I am confident it will make me a better teacher and your son or daughter a better learner.
If you would like to read more about what a no-grades classroom might look like, please visit these links:
The Case Against Grades
No Grades. No Problem
No Grades No Timetable...
Please be in touch if you have any questions,
Mrs. Steinen enjoys tacos, running, and reading. This is her 14th year teaching, but the first ten were all in Social Studies. She has three daughters and a spotty dog named Stella. Stella types 55 wpm. :)