Sunday, April 20, 2014

Rubrics- What is best?

I'm having an internal debate about rubrics.  On one hand I love them.  I find the process of assessing writing difficult.  I find that it can be easy to be subjective when grading and I want to make sure I'm being fair.  I have a few types of rubrics I use but for all of them I try to be very specific about what a student needs to do.

Recently however, I was attending some professional development meetings and one of my colleagues was stating that she feels rubrics cause students to play a numbers game to figure out what they can get away with to get a passing grade instead of always aiming for an A.  She also said that she thinks some students think that writing is just a formula when writing from a rubric.  I think both of these are quite plausible.

So where's the middle ground?  I'm thinking that I might try a more general rubric.  There will be a list of requirements that match the objectives for the course, and then I will make sure to leave very specific feedback that explains exactly why I am giving a certain grade.  Perhaps this is what I will do for the summer courses I'm teaching and see if I notice any major differences in the students' work and their satisfaction with the course.

Rubrics- where do you stand on the issue?  How do you set up your rubrics?

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Teaching Wins!

Ever feel like you're "winning" the teaching game?  It doesn't happen all the time.  In fact sometimes it feels like I'm "losing."  But today, I had a win.

Here's a little backstory.  I decided for the second half of the term to give my students my cell phone number with some strict parameters so they can contact me with easy to answer questions.  It has gone perfectly!  I was nervous but I'm glad I did it.

Today, I gave my students the poem, "I like to see it lap the miles" by Dickinson along with questions (one of my products) and explained that for homework they were to complete the sheet.  I also explained that this poem is a riddle with an unknown "it" being discussed.  I challenged them to figure out what "it" was explaining that there are really two possibilities.

Now, here's the WIN...

A few hours later my phone buzzes and I see a text from a student, it says, "The poem you gave us to do.  Just simply cancel out some sentences, connect others that actually make sense and you'll see she is referring to a loud truck or train or something.  Not as hard as I thought."

Not only did he get it right (or at least one of the two options) but he took the time to already do the assignment and to message me about it!  I also thought it was interesting how he explained how he went about it.  It really made me happy.

Lots of other things are going well right now teaching wise too... got some teaching assignments for the summer, attended some awesome professional development meetings (no sarcasm), and have received some really interesting literacy narratives and memoir essays from my one class.

How has your teaching been going?

Thanks for checking in,