Tuesday’s Slice of Life Are Slices of Life

Tuesday’s Slice of Life Are Slices of Life

There is much I could write about today for my slice of life post and the supportive writing community of two writing teachers blog.

There is the personal angle, really foremost in my mind that today is my 30th wedding anniversary! It really is a milestone of two lives entwined with a shared past, content present, and enduring future.

I could write about a revelation that came to me while showering this morning. Many of my writing or creative ideas come to me while showering.  I have been known to write papers, create math questions, and formulate presentations all while coming clean in the solitude of the shower. Today’s revelation was that I have been compelled to prove my intelligence for the last 20 years since making the decision to be a stay at home mom. I am truly so much more….and feel the need to constantly prove it. Why is that? A case in point is that I am pursuing a second master’s degree in Environmental Education and instead of just taking courses to fulfill the requirements, I have asked to be mentored on conducting, writing, and possibly publishing a research study. Though thorough self-examination, I am not sure why I feel I need to do this, other than to prove I can. For those who read my slice last week, I am still waiting on an answer from my professors with regard to my research proposal. I am beginning to think a course might truly be better.

Then there is the blog I posted over the weekend that deals with grading policies and final weights in high school courses. I thought I would share that here because it did not catch the attention of many readers and being a teacher based blog forum, I would be glad to have some feedback. Suggestions on what to do with the information I uncovered would be welcome as well.

I could write about giftedness. Gifted education is something I have been involved in for a very long time – close to the 20 years I have been a stay at home mom!  Recently, I read a blog post sharing an article (Crushing Tall Poppies FB page sharing a SENG blogpost) about whether giftedness is innate and what the emotional costs are, if it is not.  The person writing the article really did not seem to have a full understanding of how permeating giftedness is for the person that is gifted. He equated giftedenss with achievement and that, most certainly, is incorrect.  He failed to take into account asynchronous developement and/or what might cause a gifted individual fail to perform at an exceptional level.  Click the above link to read the article if you are interested.  I was to take a foundational course on gifted education this fall (believe it or not environmental education is a great place to offer a place for gifted students to be enriched, be leaders, and be involved in community service). The absence of it being offered when I had it scheduled in my program plan is what led to the current quandary I have with revisiting the research proposal with my professors.  Everything is entwined. The gifted student population is underserved and greatly misunderstood, something I understand from both a professional and personal vantage point.

Lastly, I could write today’s post based on the Slice of Life Tuesday prompt that the TwoWritingTeacher’s offered on their home page that asks, “What summer writing are you doing now that will inspire your future students?” Although my garden club has ended, I will still hopefully have my third grade writer’s circle in 2018.   My answer to the prompt is that I am honing my writing skills by blogging daily.  In writing consistently, I am also acquiring some ideas for student writing, such as when I did my Silent Sunday post this week on Favorite Places.  I thought that this topic might be a good prompt for third graders, especially if they had a photo of their favorite place. It might also make the foundation for a short narrative story – one of the types of writing I do yearly with the writer’s circle students. I have shared some of my writing with my students in the past, just occasionally. It shows I am a writer and I understand what problems they might encounter, as well as allowing me to be supportive of their efforts.  In essence, we create a small writing community each year in which ideas, styles, and efforts are varied but all valued.  I hope to do that again for a 7th year. Any writing makes us better writers.

 

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4 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Slice of Life Are Slices of Life

  1. I took a look at your grading post from last week. It looks and sounds as though your district, or at least the high school, has adopted a proficiency as opposed to a growth mindset for student assessment. This would explain the weighing of summative vs. formative assessments at 80-20. I wonder if the other stats you cite have more to do w/ the assignment postings in various classes as opposed to actual weights. W/out seeing screenshots of the grade book, it’s hard to say. I do know that the grade book we use breaks down the percentage for each posting w/in each weighted category. I see variations from class to class, depending on the number of entries.

    Grading philosophies vary almost as much as those about how to get good schools (Larry Cuban has a good book about this.). Even w/in my own classroom, my philosophy varies depending on the class I’m teaching. The dual credit classes, for example, require I take a proficiency stance, although as the course progresses, the summative work takes on more weight. This is particularly true for a dual credit Communication 1101 (Introduction to Speech) course. In contrast, my general speech classes benefit from a growth philosophy.

    Add to the mix various teachers’ philosophies and assessment becomes increasingly complicated. Having taught 36 years, I’ve certainly encountered more parents concerned w/ grades than w/ learning. There’s no denying grade inflation thrives in American schools. In my school utopia, we’d forget about grades and simply focus on learning. See, I have some idealism even after all the years of parental inquiries about student grades, even after years of students asking if I have graded their essays five minutes after I collect them.

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    1. Thank you so much for your response and insight. Just to clarify I am more concerned with learning than grades, although I am a parent. I am also concerned about the fact that this policy change was instituted as being made for standardization of the digitalized grade book at the high school. I see it as doing anything but that. There are wide fluctuations in weighting, just as much (or possibly more) than before when teachers graded depending on their own philosophy and percentages. I looked at summative weights only and our students’ finals were lumped into the summative assessment category, not labelled as a final in a separate category, although finals were given. Some finals were weighted at 1.0, others – were weighted at much more (1.5 to 2.37 and a few less than 1.0). I looked at the final assessement point weight out of total summative points. I did not take into account any of this for our AP classes, feeling like the teachers should be able to make that class more like a college experience (with heavier weighting) for their students (I had one student take 2 AP classes this year). My concern really stemmed from being told that the numbers chosen were done so aribitarily and done so for standardization. There were a few classes/teachers that left the multipliers at 1.0 throughout so every point was at face value. I am not sure the students understood that if their final was given a different mulitiplier, it would change the weight of the outcome. I only know of one class, one of my son’s took, where the teacher took the time to explain this to the students. Our current grade book does not break down the percentage for each posting within each weighted category such as one the you described using. I think that would be the most transparent way to do it and would support a move to a digital grade book like that. One of my sons is taking an online class (from Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth) this summer where everything – from homework to quizzes, the mid-term, and final are all broken down as to their values (and how much they contribute to the final grade in the course). It is wonderful, to say the least. I think to encourage students to be responsible for knowing where they stand in a class at any one time, the grade book (and all its manipulative components, like the multipliers) should be transparent. It will only be then, that a student can look at their grades and say, wow – I need to work harder because I didn’t do so well on that particular assignment, test, etc.. If where they stand is hidden, we cannot expect them to know what they need to do to be successful. I do thank you for your experienced insight. As noted in my post, another parent and educator themselves, came to me about this issue, as I have been a student advocate for many years. I did express my own reservations about the policy change last fall but obviously, it was before it was known how it would be used and what the outcomes would be. From a parent standpoint, however, I was most thankful for those courses that offered many many assessments and weighted them with transparency. Biology, Health, and Honors Social Studies were such courses. I share your utopian view, as I have been a non-formal educator for 15 years, offering enrichment learning experiences free of assessments/grading – and my observation is that the students still do learn! Thanks, again!

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  2. Happy anniversary! I love the line “It really is a milestone of two lives entwined with a shared past, content present, and enduring future.” What a beautiful image that these words represent!
    I have learned so much about gifted education from reading your posts and appreciate how you’ve encouraged me to think more deeply about this topic. Thank you for enriching my knowledge!

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    1. Thank you! I really look forward to reading your posts, each week, too! Today was a day that everything just flowed from me….kind of weird but eveything I did just fell into place easily. I am glad you like my words but I didn’t fret over getting them just right, they just came to me – and feel that it really describes what this anniversary means to us. We celebrated with cheesecake and rum swizzles tonight!

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