Friday, February 27, 2015

FYI #10: March Madness- Check for Understanding- A GREAT writing assignment

This week in the Academic FYI:

A thought provoking tweet on assessment, a great March Madness in the Classroom activity, 53 Ways to Check for Understanding Chart, and a must-do writing assignment I just learned in a PD workshop called Make-It-Worse/Make-It-Better

As always your feedback on these educational pieces is appreciated. Enjoy! 

Here is an interesting take on averaging grades. Provided you weigh all those Units tests equally it is interesting to see how consistent performers can potentially be averaged the same as students who are really up and down... Maybe it should say "This is why it's wrong to ONLY average grades"?

This is why it's wrong to average grades: via

Friday, February 6, 2015

Academic FYI #9- Lesson Planning, HW, & Assessment

Getting back to some pedagogy discussions this week... 3 very good blogs-- Quick reads...

Shared the article below with new teachers and mentors last week. The author hits upon the most critical times each class period: the beginnings and the endings. Are you engaging students right away and are you checking that your goals were attained in the end?

The first 4 minutes and the last 4 minutes are critical. See the article for some great ideas on those 8 minute activities.

8 Minutes that Matter Most

This blog has brought up the importance or non-importance of homework in the past. This short article and chart just shows the average amount of homework students in various countries get per week. Both China and Finland score in the highest percentage year after year on the internationally recognized PISA test. However, China is #1 on time spent on homework while Finland is dead last. We are somewhere in the middle. Interesting information.

Where Teenagers Have the Most Homework

The grading system norms from this one high school mentioned in the article below I stumbled upon via Twitter.

The opening line really grabbed me:

  • We believe that each student learns at a different pace and we believe that ‘when’ a kid learns isn't nearly as important as ‘if’ a kid learns. 

Another interesting take:

  • retakes will be encouraged and will be allowed after the relearn process for full credit in all content areas up until the last week of the quarter. Click on the relearn process link for the actual sheet they use. 
Some very debatable ideas: 
  • non-academic indicators, such as simple classroom participation, behavior, work completion, attendance & other non-academic indicators, will not be included in a student’s academic grade. 
  • extra-credit is NOT accepted 

Lots of interesting assessment norms and ideas in this short article.
The Grading System our Students Deserve

Hope you enjoy these articles.

Have a Great Weekend!

Super Bowl Lesson Plans

From Monday, January 26th 

Some Excellent Super Bowl lessons for this week! Weather permitting! 

Here are a couple of timely Super Bowl lessons you may find enjoyable to share with your students (if we ever get back to school this week!)

7 Super Bowl lessons and activities for the classroom:

A Pathfinder Tech student does his own experiments on DeflateGate. Check out the video below

Enjoy your weekend and the game. Go Patritos!