Friday, May 6, 2016

Happy Friday!

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It's been a long week this week and I am eternally grateful that it's Friday! From spring fever to finding out Trump is the potential presidential nominee for the GOP, and being worn out, it's been a heck of a week!  We are heading into mid-May and the students are started to get riled up for summer vacation - I'm not sure who is more excited, the students or me!  

Last night, I met with my district-wide English Articulation Committee for our last meeting of the year.  We discussed all the possibilities we would like to see happen next year including professional development opportunities, creating a district wide PLC for 9th and 10th grade English, and a few other things.  One thing that we focused on was the idea of creating "course outcomes"  for next year.

Course outcomes allows us to check for mastery of a skill, something we as teachers so desperately need to do, but often find it hard to do.  With course outcomes, we break down each standard for English and create a rubric that allows us to check for mastery with four levels - exceeds mastery, mastered, approaching mastery  and not mastered. We can then determine how we want it graded.  It looks like a super cool idea to begin to implement and I have already spoken with a colleague who is in the same PLC as I am and we are going to work to create course outcomes for each standard. It is going to take some work, but I am thinking and hoping the time we invest will pay off!  

It is funny that we were speaking about course outcomes because in my grad school class, we are discussing grading practices and how the current grading practice is not effective and does not truly indicate whether students have mastered skills, it just gives an overview of the student's ability within the class. This could include behavior, participation, etc which are all not effective in determining whether the student has actually mastered theme or inferences.  My grad school class talks frequently about standard-based grading and giving a purpose behind each grade.  It makes so much more sense to grade according to mastery, but how can we do this when the education system is still stuck in an era that is long gone and continues to use the same grading scale that has been used for years?  What are your thoughts on it?

Cheers until next time!

Ms. Bergin

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