If grades HAVE to be given, why not empower kids to grade themselves

IMG_6989.PNGGiving up grades wasn’t the hard part.

At least not after I had made the decision to do it. All of my reading and data supports that grading hurts learning and I’m in the business of promoting learning.

Unfortunately, I function within a system that still adheres to the old guard (as I know many of you are too), which means despite my best efforts (and tantrums), grades must be inputted into our PADS system for midterm and marking period communication.

Let me be very clear, I am not happy about having to put a summative value on student learning especially after all of the hard work of shifting the mindset in my classes away from them. (more…)

Beep, Beep: That’s the sound of the feedback

IMG_6970.PNGTime consuming, but worthwhile… that’s how I’d describe giving feedback to my students about their writing and their work.

Because of this fact, I’m always looking for ways to provide meaningful feedback but in a more efficient manner.

Enter @Voxer, my new favorite app for feedback.

While I sit in my car in the morning waiting to come into work, I’m able to read student essays and give detailed feedback in short sound bites for each section.

For example, listen to one bit of feedback, I’ve provided students here . (more…)

Book Recommendation: All Hand’s on Deck

IMG_6910.JPGHow many times have you heard “It takes a village?”

Although cliche, we can certainly agree to the truth in the statement.

What I appreciated most about Brad Currie’s All Hands on Deck was that it took a practical approach to how everyone in the village can actually get involved to develop a better school community.

Currie documents ways for teacher, administrators and parents to provide the most robust learning experience for students. Offering easy to implement advice about branding and availability for people in schools to make sure our stories get in the hands of the right people. (more…)

While it’s fresh

My interview on #satchat live this morning was all about educational game changers.

My interview on #satchat live this morning was all about educational game changers.

After driving home from #Edscape in NJ today, my mind is alive with ideas from the connections that I made.

Once again my PLN has been expanded by making online colleagues, face to face friends. And I’ve left the experience with a sense of belonging and fulfillment from the learning opportunity.

Josh Stumpenhorst kicked off the day’s activities using his experiences as a runner to teach us about the importance of taking risks and empowering students, which was a message that really came through clearly throughout the day. (more…)

If You Want Empowered Students, Empower Teachers #Book Recommendation

IMG_6853.JPGCorwin Press has done it again with Pernille Ripp‘s Empowered Schools, Empowered Students.

As connected educators, we find ourselves in a web of interconnectivity that leads to us to soul searching and empowerment. It’s through my connected learning that I came to be a part of the Corwin Connected Educator Series.

Consistently, I’ve read these books and have felt understood and on behalf of my students have felt a need to share them with people.

Ripp’s exploration of how schools can empower staffs, thereby empowering students is eye-opening and approachable.

Although many of the ideas may be new, Ripp creates easy action plans for schools or teachers to implement, all the while not being preachy. (more…)

What students think about blogging

My reading list of student blogs for this year's classes

My reading list of student blogs for this year’s classes

After trying blogging out with advisory last year, I asked kids about their experiences and this is what they had to say:

“I love the freedom of it. I have freedom to write whatever. I have the freedom of allowing anyone to read it. I can be myself on my blog, with no limitations or insecurities. And since anyone can read it, there’s bound to be someone out there who can connect with what I’m saying. Sometimes, however, having everyone be able to read what I blog about can be a bad thing. Because where there are supporters, there are opposers. And the oppositions generally are a lot stronger in verbalizing their opinions, which generally are negative. ” – Nisaa Haniff, Sophomore at Queens College, NY (started blogging as a high school student)