“If I don’t grade it, students won’t do it.”
"If I don't get these grades in, I'll be even further behind."
"I don't understand how they get A's on their homework and STILL don't understand!"
If you have thought or said these things, you are certainly not alone. Many teachers have fallen into the homework trap... and some are never seen or heard from ... again. Dundundun DUUUN. Seriously though, if this has happened to you, maybe the chart over here can help bring relief.--->
Maybe it's because I am an English teacher, but I learned early in my career that it was impossible for me to grade all the writing that kids needed to do. If I limited their work to only what I was able to grade, there was no way they would ever write enough to see improvement. Lord knows I tried though! And in my first year teaching I fell into a cycle of assigning silly work just so I would have time to grade things...only to discover that I now had MORE work to grade. ARGH! So the cycle began and I watched my weekends and free time disintegrated to nothing.
My trials and errors taught me the amazing fact the students would, in fact, do homework I didn't grade, as long as I presented it the right way and it served a valid purpose. If you are feeling trapped, I challenge you to try it! If you want to know what sort of presentation worked for me or might work for you, send me a message, stop by my room or give me a call. What's the worst that happens? Really.
Those of you who know me at all know how I feel about data tracking, B U T, here is another amazing thing I'm learning - data helps you SEE your success! I have met with a few of you about goals that we both thought may be unattainable - get 90% of my kids to do their work? Forget it! - but it is happening. Maybe things are not as you see them. (Note to self to write about perceptions vs. reality!) Let me help you see what is really going on in your room, the good and the fixable. I can track data; I can visit; I can help you record yourself so no one else has to see it; I can track behavior on a student who's giving you trouble. Let's figure it out! (After all, the more I do that, the less I will have to give ISTEP...Oops, did I say that out loud?)
Before this year, I had only my own experiences to judge from, but now I get to see all of you at work too and learn from your strategies. I am learning wonderful things and want to spread the word!
Below is a link to the source of this chart and a short article by the author. Check it out if you get time.
I am a high school teacher in Wheatfield, Indiana, trying to reach out to my kids in a way that works for them.