Saturday, February 12, 2011

Grading vs. Assessing

I love finding out how my students are learning.  I love talking with them, listening to them problem solve, and helping them shed misconceptions.  But, I hate grading.  You may think that this doesn't make sense. Grading doesn't feel like it really makes much of a difference. Maybe it is the way that I do it? Maybe it is because I feel like many students don't care about the comments or the feedback because the papers end up in the recycling bin before they are ever examined.

Standards-Based grading seems like a possible solution to this problem.  Can I develop a method of grading that truly assesses what my students know? Can this system help students retain their learning for a longer period of time? Can assessment motivate my students to learn rather than motivating them for a grade?

This is my quest!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Robins at -16 F

An arctic cold front has moved southward, encompassing the plains states and making everyone question the concept of global warming.  Three days ago, it was 62 degrees outside and people were hiking in shorts! Today I woke to -20 and wondered how all the critters that spent the night out could ever survive.

Then I saw him, a big beautiful Robin, sitting on my deck railing and eating the bits of bird food that had spilled when I filled the feeders.  Where did he come from and how could he survive these frigid temperatures?  What a paradox to stand outside, a weak sun shining without heat, listening to a robin sing.