Joy Kirr is a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. Her 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of their learning experiences... Want to have her speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is Joy's PORTFOLIO.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Midterms - #TTOG Update

Our midterms are going out this week already!

On our team, we ask the students to fill out this sheet, so that they (and their parents) are aware of what their current grades are. We collect them in homeroom.

Yesterday, after we passed them out to students, I questioned the reason behind this sheet, as students and parents both have access to their grades online, any time. I also feel like we bug the unorganized children about it daily until they turn it in, and some teachers go so far as threatening a detention if it does not come in by a certain date. After I expressed my dislike, I found out most of my team thinks they are still a good idea. We are the only team at the school that does this, but I will go along with the team if most are in agreement.

I didn't think much more of it yesterday, until my last class. I chuckled when one student asked, "What percentage should we put on our midterm for this class?" This was one question I had not anticipated, and it made me smile.

"I have no clue. Put on there what you think you should be getting."

Suddenly, bells rang in my head, as I remembered that I HAD thought of this during the summer! I already had a Google form for students to fill out so they could better determine their midterm grade! (I am sometimes what my mom used to call me often - "dippy.")

Today, students filled out this Google form (please do not fill it out...!).  I heard two quotes that I took the time to write down...
     "This is so hard."
     "I used to have more, but I still have SOME run-ons. I'm working on it."

Those little snippets and their responses on their surveys make the gears in my head go bonkers. They could mean so many different things.

As for grades, two students did not take the survey yet, so I have 17 responses.
       A+ = 3       A = 8       A- = 5       B+ = 1

Check out their responses to individual questions here. Go ahead - you know you want to!
We used a cart of iPads and were kind of rushed, so we lack some editing...

I need to begin using better language to describe what we're doing in class. It seems as if, when calculating their grades, many include effort. Teachers don't (normally) use effort in a grade. Should we? DO we, without admitting to it at times? Their comments really have me thinking once again - about so many dynamics of grading. They can be so arbitrary!!

I'm ready to tackle this next phase of our learning - I was prepared for this hard work, and am so glad to see some answers and potential obstacles!

Thank you, as always, for any comments or challenging questions. I learn better when others are involved!

My resources so far: "FaR" tabs of our classroom Weebly
                                    Feedback Instead of Grades LiveBinder for parents to inspect
                                    My own reflections on this journey

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. Nice exercise for students to think about their efforts in your class; and to see the connection (we hope) between these efforts and their grades.

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