The Plan is Not to Plan

The school year is off and running, and I couldn’t be happier with my new batch of scientists. They are an eager bunch with a lot of great skills, and I cannot wait to see where they go. One of the things I find most fun about being a teacher is having to adapt to … Continue reading The Plan is Not to Plan

Creating a Culture

I often catch myself looking around my room and thinking, “This is awesome. This is exactly what it should be.” Granted, I don’t feel this way every day. There are definitely some rough patches and some whirlwind hours. The wonderful adolescents that I work with are bound to have a few not-so-wonderful days (both individually … Continue reading Creating a Culture

The Struggle is Real

My students are starting a project this week that I am incredibly excited about. It’s a physics project where they identify a real-world problem and design a solution to it. I’ve done if for the past for years, it is so unbelievably cool, and I cannot wait for them to get started.   Knowing this … Continue reading The Struggle is Real

Feedback FOR Learning

My students are starting to wrap up their first project of the school year, which is to create a model of a food web.  They are doing some amazing work ... and I couldn't be happier with all they have accomplished so far.  At this point in the process, we start peer reviewing to get … Continue reading Feedback FOR Learning

Be Together. Not the Same.

Ever looked at student work and thought it all looked the same? At some point last year, I remember flipping through something the students had worked on and thinking, "Man, that's interesting. These are all the same thing". I immediately went back and looked at the rubric. Of course it all looked the same, the rubric … Continue reading Be Together. Not the Same.

Why Don’t Report Cards Look Like Social Media?

Imagine it for a second.  What if report cards looked like Twitter?  Or Facebook?  Or Instagram? I've heard a few people toss this idea around recently.  At first, I couldn't wrap my mind around it.  But the more I pondered the idea, the more it started to make sense. Think about it.  It could be really … Continue reading Why Don’t Report Cards Look Like Social Media?

Students Owning the Assessment Process Through Rubric Creation

Ah, rubrics.  The favored tool for assessment by teachers.  Loved for their wonderful detail and their range of performance levels, rubrics are a great way to communicate expectations to students. Just like other teachers, I love a good rubric.  There's just one problem ... I'm really horrible at making them. I'm so horrible, in fact, that I've … Continue reading Students Owning the Assessment Process Through Rubric Creation

Student Perspective on the Shift to Standards-Based Grading

Last week, I had a very enlightening conversation with my students.  My district is transitioning to a standard-based report card next year, which includes the removal of letter grades from our system.  I have been using standards-based learning and grading in all of my sixth grade science classes throughout this current year, so my students are … Continue reading Student Perspective on the Shift to Standards-Based Grading

What It Felt Like to Have a Blank Grade Book

It was ten days until the end of the quarter, and my grade book still did not have a single grade in it.   The grades were coming, so I was starting to breathe a little easier, but still ... eight weeks in and not a single published grade.   At the start of the … Continue reading What It Felt Like to Have a Blank Grade Book