Thursday, September 22, 2011

Giving up, giving in or just moving forward?

I had all these big ideas and big challenges for this year: rewrite my curriculum, learn how to use my SMART clickers, develop a STEM program at my school, work as an instructional coach, live without a classroom for half the day, and completely revise my grading system,

While rewriting my curriculum takes a lot of time, I love doing it.  Next to working with my students, planning my curriculum is the part of the job. It is just a really big job. I am figuring out the clicker system - it is just babysteps. I have time to work on the STEM program but it is going very slowly, building relationships with teachers first. Instructional coaching is also a slow-go but as long as it is going I am o.k. with it. I have places that I can "camp" during my off periods.  I just can't settle anywhere just yet.

Then there is the grading system.  I wanted to move towards a "standards-based" system that measures students' mastery instead of just giving out points.  So my students completed activities, worked on labs, did homework, recorded notes, and took quizes. They handed in their work, I graded it, then I sat in front of my computer trying to figure out how to enter the data.

And, I sat there.

Sat there, thinking, looking at the screen, paralyzed.

I realize now that I am not ready to assess my students this way.  I have been grading work and assessing student progress the same way for so long it feels nearly impossible to change.  Meanwhile, my students are waiting to get their work back with quality feedback.  I feel like it is time to just get the job done. I am going back to my old system.  Homework will count for 10%, classwork 30%, projects 15%, quizzes   15%, and tests 30%.  If I drop the lowest scores and give kids the chance to revisit the content, their grades will reflect what they have learned....I hope.