Thursday, December 18, 2014

Standards Based Grading

Just a WARNING, this is going to be a long post...

So I started doing Standards Based Grading (SBG) at the beginning of last school year.  At this point I have 1.5 years under my belt and I still keep making changes.  The one thing that hasn't changed is my policies or my grading rubric.

My policy/rubric are a combination of ideas from Jessica over at Algebrainic, Rick Wormeli, my good friend and former co-worker Terie at Crazy Teacher Lady, oh and my own insane ideas.  It took me over a year to get everything figured out before I actually started implementing it into my classroom.

How is SBG different from Traditional Grading?

  • Student's grades are only based on their assessments over the standards (this is different based on which policy you use)
  • Scores in the grade book change as students understanding changes. 
  • Grades are not final until the end of the semester/year.
  • Some students obtain a score of master sooner than others.
  • If students are struggling they get more individual/small group instruction.
  • Grade is a direct representation of student learning.

Grading Rubric:

You have completely mastered the skill on two skill assessments, meaning you received two 4’s, which makes your overall skill score a 5.  You have completed this skill. You “get” it!
You have demonstrated a thorough understanding of the concepts involved, have clearly showed all steps of your reasoning, have used notation correctly, wrote exemplary and clearly, and have made no mathematical errors. You can not only solve beginning problems and multi-concept problems, but you can solve Application, ACT and PARCC questions related to the concept.
You have a firm grasp of the skill, meaning you have demonstrated a full or almost understanding of the concepts involved, but you may have not shown steps of your reasoning, didn’t use notation totally consistently, and made a slight (but non-fatal) mathematical error.  You still need help with this skill. You can not only solve beginning problems, but you can take previously taught concepts and apply them to new problems.
You have demonstrated some understanding of the skill.  You may have some confused reasoning, did not completely answer the question, did not use consistent notation, made more than one (non-fatal) mathematical errors. You still need help with this skill. You can solve beginning problems on your own without any help.
You have demonstrated weak or no conceptual understanding.  You may have confused reasoning, or made one or more serious (fatal) mathematical errors.  You still need a lot of help with this skill.  You need assistance in order to solve beginning problems.
You left the problem blank; no attempt was made to solve the problem.  

How does it all work?
  1. Students at the beginning of each unit are pre-assessed, not only on what we will be learning but the prerequisite skills they need for that unit. 
  2. The assessments are scored and the students enter that score into their folders. (we will get to those later!)  I also enter those into the grade book, however they don't count towards the students grade it's just so I can see where they started at and where they ended at.
  3. Based on those scores I break my students up into group and the learning process begins.
  4. Notes on the content are given using our ISN's, and then activities are given based on their level of knowledge.
  5. Once students understand the content they are given a "Progress Check" to see where they are at.  If they score a 4, many will practice and try for a 5 right away.  Some wait awhile. I consider "Mastery" if they get to a level 3.
  6. Students that get a mastery score, level 3 or higher, move onto the next concept, students that don't participate in re-teaching, additional activities, etc.  Once they are ready they will take another Progress Check and the cycle beings until they reach mastery.
  7. The Progress Checks are scored and each score is entered into their folder, even if they have multiple scores.  The score on their most current Progress Check is the one entered into the grade book, even if it's lower than the previous one.
  8. This repeats for every unit!
Things I've Learned...
  • When you think you have everything figured out, you'll make changes!
  • Keep students constantly informed of how they are doing.  This is something I learned after my 1st year.
  • Make multiple versions of your progress checks.  TRUST ME YOU WILL NEED THEM!  I have about 4-5 different progress checks on Solving Equations.
  • Have students set a realistic goal for themselves in each unit.  It can help keep them motivated.

Liebster Nomination #2

I'm happy to say this is the second time I've been nominated for a Liebster Award but this time it's by Samantha from Special Little Learners

Now for the questions:
  1. Why and how long ago did you begin blogging?
    I've been blogging since August of 2012, and I started blogging as a way for me to share the fun new things I'm doing in my classroom with other teachers.  I am the only person in my district (one school district) that teaches the classes that I do so I have no one to collaborate with.  I naturally turned to online to find professionals who were willing to share ideas. 
  2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why? Creativity. I'm constantly trying to find new creative ways to engage my students and keep them on their toes about what we will do next.
  3. Is there something you learned late in your blog journey you wished you knew before? IT TAKES SO MUCH TIME!  As much as I love to blog and find it very reflective, it just takes more time than I have now a day.
  4. What is your favorite past time other than blogging? I love to spend time with my family and friends.  I like shopping, but come on...What girl doesn't?  I love to travel but don't do it nearly as much as I would like.
  5. How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog? Umm...Lately...NONE!  I haven't blogged in so long and I've been doing a lot of new things this year that I'm just dying to share with everyone.  I'm working on my time management skills now that I have a baby, so I'll be getting back into it more very soon. 
  6. What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most? I love blogs on cooking, and educational ones (of course!).  
  7. Where does your blog inspiration come from? It comes from my students and hilarious things they do and say every day.  The things I blog about were designed for them, so naturally they inspire me every day. 
  8. Which post that you've written are you most proud of? I'm pretty proud of just about everything I've written, because if you know me you know I'm a Math and Science person.  So writing and English "stuff" are the things I'm horrible at.
  9. Is there anything that you've been planning to do but have been postponing it for a while now? I've been planning to take a relaxing vacation for years now but that clearly hasn't happened :)
  10. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?I love the reflective part.  It has made me grow as a teacher and it has also helped me connect with teachers I would not have necessarily ever connected with.

The Rules:
Now that you've been nominated, here are the official rules for accepting:
  1. In your post, link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out".
  2. Answer the 10 questions given to you (the ones I answered above).
  3. Nominate 5-11 blogs that have less than 200 followers each. Provide them with 10 questions or have them answer the questions above.
  4. Let your nominees know that they've been nominated and provide them with a link back to your post so they can accept.
  5. Send your nominator a link to your post so s/he can learn more about you as well. (You can just put your post link in the comments below).
  1. Jessica at Algebrainiac
  2. Miss Rudolph at The Secondary Classroom
  3. Stacy at What's New in Room 202
  4. Stephanie at Eat.Write.Teach
  5. Sarah at Everybody is a Genius

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Composition Notebook Jackets

Hello my name is Anya and I'm obsessed with school supplies!

If there was some sort of School Supplies Anonymous group out there I would be their most frequent member.  I'm that weird teacher who gets super excited when the stores start putting out school supplies right after the 4th of July.  You would think it's Christmas or something.  I have to check out all the usual stores to see what cool things they have come out with this year and plan where I'm going to get all my new "stuff" at.  Typically there is at least one day over the summer where I take all my shopping bags to the school and get myself set up.   

Anyways...The reason for this post is I came across the most magical thing in Interactive Notebook history!  COMPOSITION NOTEBOOK JACKETS!!! (Can you tell I'm super excited about these?)

I found these lovelies at Walmart just above the composition notebooks, in the school supply section. They were only $0.97 each. 

These jackets keep the cover from getting damaged, but also on one side has a zipper pouch to keep your pencils in.  

Usually to make sure the cover doesn't get to nasty I cover them in clear shipping post on how I set up my notebooks...but this would make it so much easier.  It might also help cut down on them forgetting a writing utensil. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Whiteboard Folders

The unit my students struggle with the most in Algebra is Writing Linear Equations.  Even though the concept of only needing the Slope and Y-intercept to write the equation is a pretty straight forward concept my students struggle because of all the different types of problems they come across.  They are never to sure which method they need to use.

Since all of my students are at different levels, some understand the more basic problems but struggle with the harder ones, and some are completely lost.  This is defiantly a unit I have to differentiate for my students.  So I came up with these whiteboard folders for all of the different Writing Linear Equation problems they will come across.

Supplies you'll need:
Colored Paper, Laminator, Manilla Folder, Scissors, Hot Glue Gun, Marker

How to make the folders…

1st: I hot laminated colored paper.
2nd: Cut almost all of the front cover of the folders off, leaving about 3 inches (this give the kids enough room on the laminated paper to do the work).
3rd: Hot glued the laminated colored paper to the inside of the folder.

4th: On the cut front cover I numbered and wrote out the problems, one type of problem per folder.
5th: Cut the front cover so each problem is it's own flap.

6th: On the inside of the flap write the answer to each problem.

7th: The folder tab has what type of problems they are on it.

I made folders for problems when you have the Slope and Y-Intercept, Slope and One Point, From a Graph, Two Points, Parallel Lines and Perpendicular Lines.  The students wrote on the laminated paper using a dry erase marker and wipe them clean.  These folders allowed students to practice and get immediate feedback by checking their own answers.  I've also used them where students pair up, one is the teacher the other is the student.  While one student works the problem out on a regular whiteboard the "teacher" can check the "students" answers using the folder.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

School Supply Craziness

For any of you who already use the interactive notebooks in your classrooms you already know this, but for those who are just starting, a good amount of school supplies are needed on a regular basis to complete each of the pages.

These supplies are the ones my students use on a regular basis:

     ~ Markers (thin and thick)
     ~ Colored Pencils & Sharpener
     ~ Crayons
     ~ Highlighters (6 different colors)
     ~ Glue Stick
     ~ Tape
     ~ Ruler, Compass, Protractor
     ~ Scissors

First Year Supply Organization:

In my classroom I have these AMAZING cabinets that have all of these bins.  Each bin has it's own specific item that goes in it and each bin is labeled. 

Whenever we were working on putting a page together I would take out ALL of the bins that we needed and set them on my supply table.

So why didn't this method work?

#1: This way took up a lot of my time throughout the day, each of my 3 math classes on any given day could be using different supplies so I would have to change them out constantly. So instead of greeting students as they came into the room I was spending my time getting the supplies ready.

#2: Students would always forget to grab all of the supplies that they needed, so they would get up to get what they forgot during the lesson and would lose out on instruction.

Second Year Supply Organization:

After my first year I did a lot of reflecting on the interactive notebook, my pages, the process, distribution, etc.  The supply organization/distribution was enough to quit doing the notebooks but I knew they were working for my students.  So I found a different way to get organized.

I wanted to get some sort of bin that all of the supplies we use could go into but stay neat and organized.  I went out looking for a shower caddie because I knew they had sections.  I found these ones at Walmart for $0.95 each over the summer when they had the college stuff out.

This is what each of the bins look like after the supplies were added.  Each table (groups of 4-5 tables) had one and the students shared supplies. 

These worked out so much better then the larger bins.  The most difficult part was making sure the students kept them organized.  After me nagging them about keeping them clean they learned it was better to just do what I wanted then having to listen to me.

What I liked about this the most was that students NEVER had to get up out of their seat to get supplies, no more forgetting and no more loss of instruction. 

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