Sunday, December 30, 2007

Grade Conferencing

In reading "Seeing how good we can get it" by Kelly Chandler and Amy Muentener, there is talk about the idea of conferencing with students about grades.
They meet with students for a self-evaluation conference and go over four categories: reading, writing, use of time and participation (which they had discussed as a class a number of times). The teacher and the student came to the conference prepared with a grade and explanation for each of the categories. They apparently only disagreed significantly with a student three times. Cool.

I thought I might be able to do that one-on-one after an oral exam... but I have been grading them on a rubric for that... does it make a difference that I'm grading them?
Can that still work in the context of them giving themselves their grades?
Do normal, day-to-day grades (tests/quizzes/exams) fit into the scheme or does it necessitate that those are gone as well?

Or does it just matter that it can be a step in the "right direction"?

Friday, December 28, 2007

German 3/4/5

I think this class is going to be a good chance to really try some of my perfect classroom things out.

Here are some more things in my mind...
*Get speakers in from the community who are native German or speak German fluently. One per week would be fantastic (But would I have time for it? It would be authentic, but would it allow time for the curriculum?). Some of these could be exchange students. (I'll have three plus the Russian who speaks German.) This would be beneficial for myself as well as the students.

*Take the skills from each of the levels and put them into a shared thematic curriculum... differentiate by skills necessary.

*Formative assessment and authentic activities: Checklists, kid watching... dialogue journals and recorded dialogues and authentic texts.

*Have another go at the centers... just not as often and perhaps with more choice

*Critical friends? I like how Jamin and Jess use them. I need to be sure to model the appropriate behavior for them.

*Plenty of respectful community time so it doesn't fall apart. (This will be key as the semester progresses if this big class is going to make it.)

Yikes... I'm feeling like I should plan it all out right now while I'm feeling motivated... then again, perhaps I'm only feeling motivated because I should be cleaning my house and buying groceries for my upcoming full house.

Okay. Off to cleaning and shopping... life happens and at least I got some thoughts down.

I'm Ba-ack!

Whew. It's surprising what a difference it makes when you spend four days of break in a different state... I have a feeling that this entire break is not going to feel like much of a break. I think I'll have two days that actually feel like break... one was yesterday. During that time, I spent much of my time realizing that perhaps break time can be bad for me, because my brain begins to stress about all of the things that should be completed and/or worked on. I'm stressing about speech, Master's, research, my classes and next semester.

So I'm going to create a new entry to deal with my class for next semester...
And start pulling together my plans for the 3/4/5 class.

As far as speech stress goes, I think it's just because this year it's unknown. It's unknown how we'll do and it's unknown how things are actually going because things aren't the same as before...

Friday, December 7, 2007

It's been a while...

These past weeks have been somewhat stressful I think.

I had what I felt was a good observation.

I had a girl who I was afraid was moving toward suicide.

I had multiple IEP meetings that I felt went really well.

I had another moment with a German exchange student.

I've had three extra kids at my house every day after school.

That has been the clincher. I am surprised at how much of a difference that extra 30 minutes of picking up, dropping off, picking up caitlin, getting snacks, moderating arguments, cleaning up and everything else has drained me. Not having that normal time to myself (to do things like blogging) just really has caught up with me.

Today I am at home.

I rarely stay home. But today I am. I want to be sure it's peaceful and productive.

So I'm out!