20 September 2007

So Now What?

I'm trying to think ahead...pondering the next move in the evolution of grading in my classroom. It's all well and good to provide feedback to students about how well they're meeting the targets and how to improve, but we are talking about 15-year olds here. Planning is not always their strong suit. So, if I'm depending upon them to figure out how to alter the course of their learning...well, I don't know if that will always be the best approach for every kid. This brings up the question: "So, Now What?"

Do I create some sort of goals template that the students and I fill out together? I'm not envisioning this as a whole class activity. After all, each kid is going to have slightly different needs, depending on which standards they haven't reached. Because science is a mix of both content and skills, this poses a bit of a problem. Skills might be practiced throughout the year---plenty of opportunities for kids to meet standards. Content? We tend to move through different units throughout the year. I know that there will be different opportunities to review throughout the year, but mastery? Do I find ways to work with small groups of kids on particular content strands?

I know that this is not an uncommon problem. The easiest answer to the "So, Now What?" question is to say "I taught it and too bad for those who didn't get it." This answer certainly applies to kids who choose not to engage in the classroom. But what about the ones who just weren't ready---for developmental or other reasons? The kid who would have gotten it the fifth time around, only I presented the material just three times? How do I give them their fair shot at things?

I am liking the informal individual conferences I am having with each student at least once during the week. Maybe I just need to find a way to better track this information and then look at it with the student. I'd like to think that by putting our heads together, we'd figure out how to meaningfully answer the question of "So? Now what?"


Anonymous said...

I've gone and read everything you're wrote since the beginning of September. I didn't know you were going to be teaching this year. Sounds like it's going ok so far.

You're so well disciplined with your blog... I have a hard time keeping up with my non-teacher blog, let alone my teaching one.

I have yet to sit down and post about my student teaching thus far. I really want to, I just can't find the time or brain power to expel.

Your past entries have already sparked some nice ideas for classroom dynamics and such. One of these days (famous last words) I should take some notes from your blog and keep them for my first year of teaching.

Keep up the nice work!

The Science Goddess said...

Thank you for the kind words!

Blogging (nearly) everyday does take some discipline---but by now, nearly three years on---it is more habit than anything. I really believe that it has helped me be far more reflective about my teaching philosophy and how I put that into practice.

Come back and visit. :)