Thursday, May 16, 2013

Phrases that Annoy Me

There are a couple phrases that students use that really annoy me in lessons.

"So, is it just...?"


"So, do you always...?"

The main reasons they annoy me is because I can tell students are just looking for an algorithm rather than learning the background reasoning.  They want a formula they can plug into.  They don't want to think about it.

I mean, I get it if they're looking for a generalization and if they truly understand what is happening and are putting the pieces together to make a formula, then I'm all for it. 

The worst thing about the phrases, though, is that they shut out learning.  I will try to turn the questions back around and ask them, "You tell me.  Is it always...?"  Then they get frustrated that I didn't answer their "simple question" and solidify their, "Well, I guess I'm just going to fail this quiz" mentality.  If I answer, even if I follow it up with, "Yes, but here's WHY it works (or doesn't)," they shut off their brains after I say, "Yes." 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Perks of SBG

This deserves a longer post, but this post made me think I should post now.

There are at least 2 times where Standards Based Grading saves my butt with no real work.

1. Talking to parents.  So much responsibility goes to the students for this type of grading.  They have no reason to fail.  Help is always available  There are opportunities out the Wazoo for them to succeed.  So parents who try to point a finger have to just turn back around and look at their own kid.

2. Final exams.  As a teacher I get so sick of students talking about how in their chem class they can turn in a blank exam and still get a B.  They take the last 2 weeks of school to just be bodies in seats and not work at anything.  With SBG, the kids have to prove their knowledge on this final assessment and their grade can jump up or die fast with their performance on it.  So, even my A+ students who might be able to get a decent grade with half the exam blank in a traditional system know that they have to still put in the effort to show me that they understand the material and deserve the grade they are shooting for.