Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Ducks? In a row.

At the beginning of every school year, I vow to try something new in my classroom. This year, I've mapped out my entire semester (which on our block schedule is equal to an entire year). When I look at all the short weeks and interruptions that are already on the school calendar, I kind of start to hyper-ventilate. A term is only 43 school days long, including the first 2 days of school, on which we will be dismissing 2 hours early, and the last 2 days of the term/quarter, which are for final exams. That bumps me down to 39 good days. Well, then we've got homecoming, which won't be good for much, and a week at the end of Sept. where the kids are off on Thurs. and Friday due to parent-teacher conferences. I feel like I'm going to have to hit the ground running in order to make the most of the time I have. But enough about the time. What I want to do this year that I've not done in the past is incorporate more writing. I'm going to have them journal in college "blue books". I will only grade them on completion, and not necessarily on content and form. In addition, I plan to have them do 4 other writing assignments- one of them will be part of their final. In the past, I've not given many writing assignments because they are so laborious to grade. One of my friends and colleagues goes through and corrects ALL of their mistakes for them, returns their papers and requires that they recopy their papers, making the noted corrections, not just once, but twice! I would have to shoot myself if I did that. So, instead, I'm going to take the advice of my instructor at my AP teacher training institute, and go with "holistic" grading- looking at the forest, instead of each tree individually. I will basically use the AP guidelines as a rubric. That way, I've got something concrete to back me up when some jackass with a strong sense of entitlement wants to dicker over his (or her, to be fair) grade.
I've even mapped out what the writing assignments will be- crikey, I'm NEVER this organized!


Blogger Professor J said...

What a great idea! I am big on writing. I think all subjects should do more of it.

8/06/2009 4:52 PM  

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