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Represent: Five Minute Friday

It’s finally Friday and time to sit down and breathe for a few minutes as I join my Five Minute Friday writing group on this week’s prompt: Represent.

One of my greatest joys as an educator is watching my students grow. Already this school year I’ve witnessed students gain knowledge and new ideas. The student who came in on day one and refused to do anything is now actively participating in class. Laughter and learning fill my classroom as ninth graders enjoy the environment we’ve created over the last month.

A major shift that I have made this year is reframing what a grade represents in my class. Gone are the days where teachers could get away with giving grades based on behaviors. Turning work in on-time is a life skill, but if the work is late (and correctly done) what should the grade measure?

I’ve wrestled and fought to get myself out of the mentality that grades represent the overall efforts in the classroom. I set absolute deadlines at the end of every unit, but there are no penalties until that point on a student’s grade. There are other punitive measures, of course. But the biggest shift in my mind has been that grades should represent learning not behaviors. Turning work in late is a behavior and falls under those consequences in my classroom.

What are the results?

A month into this school year where my focus has been standards-based grading, I have made more positive connections with students than in any year prior. The pressure to perform a certain way is lifted from their chest, and the freedom to learn in an authentic way has replaced that. Students have multiple opportunities to show mastery of content and growth, and the are less failures in my class than ever before. In fact, I don’t believe anyone is failing–because their grades represent learning not behaviors.

The Ameri Brit Mom

7 thoughts on “Represent: Five Minute Friday

  1. When I was young, and quite the fool,
    I thought that in my life I’d thrive
    by going to the hardest school,
    and it’s a wonder I’m alive.
    Ballistics’ rules are sharp and clear,
    and terror does grip by the throat,
    but one must do what one doth fear,
    and the enemy always gets a vote.
    But sometimes shoddiness prevails
    for if it has just that which it needs,
    and there are so many tales
    of superb men down in the weeds,
    men who passed the master class,
    and then life bit them in the a**.

    Like

  2. My daughter is finishing up her masters in Education and helping out in a kindergarten classroom this year. It is definitely a matter of adjusting expectations to get through the day. 🙂
    Yay for educators and those pouring into the next generation.
    Hopping over to visit from #FMF

    Like

  3. I guess something can be said both ways… that the life skill of turning work on time CAN be graded, but perhaps those life skills need to be graded separately (and with less weight) then grading on the learning that has happened. As a homeschooler I never truly fretted about timelines, what mattered to me was the learning that happened. I spoke into lifeskills that needed to be developed and worked with my youth on those particular life skills. FMF20

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