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Showing posts from September, 2015

Week 3: Navigating The "Grade Book" When There Are No Grades

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Two weeks in...

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the third week of school here in NYC.  It has been a funky couple weeks with only three days of school each week because of holidays.  This upcoming week is the same, two more holidays on Wednesday and Thursday- it has made the establishing of norms, front-loading and developing routine challenging, but like any good school we trudge forward and do the best we can.

Two weeks ago I told AP that they would not be receiving any numeric or alpha numeric grades on the daily work or projects.  That twice a year- during what will look more like an intersession you would see in college (January and June) students will have to do a Defense of Learning that is in the process of being developed.  I am a huge proponent of portfolios and of students having to speak as to WHY they have earned the score they did for the semester or year.  Now that it is connected to Mastery Based Learning, my hope is that this will provide students with especially useful…

Diving Into The Deep End: Goodbye Grades, Hello Mastery Learning!

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Last year my school began the shift towards Mastery Learning.  I was keen on the idea of mastering skills or content rather that simply working from assignment to assignment- seeing how a kid did and moving forward with out revision or truly looking at the why of the learning.  I had some frank conversations with my AP Lang students last spring about what they thought class would be like for them if they didn't have the pressure of grades.  Their thinking was insightful and eye opening, confirming much of my own thinking about student learning.  When they are not working for a grade, but on a skill, they will invest in a different way, working to improve the skill.  Students don't work to improve grades on individual assignments in traditional classrooms.  They look at the grade on the paper, cheer or cry, and move onto the next assignment with the hope of improving the overall grade for the course by bringing the average up.

Mastery in motion: Theatre Arts

I also teach theatre…