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Showing posts from April, 2014

Recycled Homework

Admittedly, I am not terribly good at evaluating homework.  In spite of my efforts and best intentions, I find it difficult to give homework assessment the attention it deserves on a regular and consistent basis.  There, I said it.

Recently, however, I came up with a fortunate outcome to my unfortunate practice.  While reading a book with my 8th graders, I assigned a character study about the two main characters.  That evening, I came across a similar assignment that I have given last year - for the same chapter.  Needless to say, I had not made any comments on these old papers, either.

The next day in class, I asked this year's students to "Grade the Graduates."  Current students evaluated the work of former students.  This practice not only helped the students develop that elusive skill evaluation, it helped them gain a deeper understanding of the content.  Our class discussion was rich and students were able to improve the quality of their own work afterwards.  Wouldn…

Successful Mondays

Be honest.  You didn't want to go to school today.  I didn't want to go, either, and even toyed with the idea of calling in sick.  After consulting both the weather forecast and my To-Do list, I decided that I had better show up.

The day had some rocky moments - the art teacher was absent, 5 of my 8th graders hadn't done their English homework, my To-Do list actually grew and I am pretty sure that my shoes didn't match. In spite of these disappointments, I considered the day a successful one.  Several times over, I was reminded of the reasons teachers show up nearly every day.  As these reasons presented themselves, I tried to take note.  Certainly, I missed a few, but here are some the highlights.

Students have things they want to tell us.  Today, alone, I learned that someone's dog had surgery, another student can't stand to know information before the rest of the class and that half my reading class would never ask their parents for dating advice.  Granted, w…