Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Look Another Gradebook

Did anyone think about starting a lesson study group? As I have traveled around my schools and asked people if I could observe them either for a full period and just a couple of minutes I have tried to make sure everyone has understood that my observations are for my own personal studies and not used for any part of their formal observations. Yet some people have still intimated that in their experience there has never been any sort of observation happening that didn’t involve evaluation of the teacher’s skill set.
The philosophy I am developing though is that the best way to truly excel as a teacher is to observe and be observed. The difference is that observations change focus from what the teacher is doing to what are the students doing.
If anyone wants to start a group I am more than happy to be the guinea pig.  I don’t get the opportunity to teach much these days and I love to do so when I get the chance. If two or three people want to get together and design a lesson with me I’ll be happy to teach it during one of my free periods. We can then go over the video later. We can even do this all online. 
Anyway, today’s resource is Think Thank Thunk. Some great examples of Standards Based Grading and inquiry based learning in the classroom.
I like this blog, first because the writing is light and funny, but more importantly because he’s an actual teacher showing us what he does in the classroom. Shawn teaches high school Math and Science using his own system of grading based on just a few core standards that he feels are the most vital aspects of the subjects he teachers.
This doesn’t mean he skips the rest of the content, but rather he allows that content to develop naturally from the focus on the core principals. This is certainly more difficult to pull off in a school with pacing guides and common assessments, but it is still possible.
The second reason I like this blog is the grading system. It seems to be similar to Robert Marzano’s grade trending. Simply put the most recent work done by the student is more important than the older work.  If you would like to play around with his grading system he has developed his own gradebook. I know you all want to do some extra work, especially in the form of yet another online gradebook, but if you do please comment on the blog or the wiki and let us know what you think.
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