Came across this checklist in the Twitterverse and decided to do a quick self-assessment, looking through the lens of my 180 year.
- Treat students as individuals? Yes. Evidence: choice in nearly everything they did, one-on-one conferences every chance I got, focusing on individual growth.
- Recognize the strengths and needs of each student? Yes. Evidence: conference, conference, conference. This is the most important thing I do for learning.
- Provide students with VOICE and CHOICE in their learning? Yes. Evidence: Project after project, I would give kids freedom in the form of flexible guidelines and parameters, allowing them to take greater ownership of their learning.
- Encourage students to make mistakes as part of the learning process? Always. Evidence: spent a lot of time establishing, supporting, and sustaining growth mindsets. The word “yet” was in the air all year long.
- Give opportunities to reflect on mistakes in order to improve? Certainly. Evidence: Reflection was a part of our learning all year long, both formally and informally.
- Let students take chances? Absolutely. Pushed them to. Evidence: every project was a chance to push the limits and grow. With grades off the table, risks were less-risky.
- Provide opportunities for students to make, create, invent, and tinker? Yep. Evidence: most recently their cartoons.
- Take time to learn with your students? As often as I could. Evidence: wrote nearly every assignment along with them. Love writing with my kids.
- Model empathy for your students? To a fault. Evidence: Connor came to me, shaking, letting me know that he could not muster the courage to deliver his speech. I patted him on the back and said, “Okay.” He handed me his speech, and we called it square.
- Inspire your students to be better people? I tried. I really tried. Evidence: Most recently our Change the World projects. I shared my own, real, try-to-be-a-better person projects with them. Project Feed Forward. Project You Matter.
- Teach students to ask questions? All the time. Evidence: the What? So What? Now What? approach has been central to our work all year long. Learning begins with questions. We have to ask questions. I also try to reinforce the idea that “Why?” may be the most important question of all.
- Provide feedback to students? It’s all I had. Evidence: I no longer called it grading; I came to call it “feedbacking.” With grades gone, it’s all I had. Turns out, it was all I needed.
- Give students the chance to provide feedback to each other? Yes. Evidence: peer feedback on writing, but also process feedback opportunities in their collaborative experiences.
- Empower students to take control of their learning? They had no choice. Evidence: literally handed them a wooden A on the first day, telling them that they were in charge of their learning for the year. Grades were truly off the table.
- Provide authentic learning experiences? As best I could. Evidence: always tried to link what we were doing with the real world.
- Do everything you could? No. Sadly no. Evidence: too much to do for too many kids, and it turns out–despite my many Superman shirts–I am only human. Some days, I just simply did not have the strength. Do better next year.
In all, I am proud of how I did this year. But as evidenced by the last item, I have to do better. Always have to do better.
Happy last Monday, all.
- Want to Get Started with Transforming Your Grading Practices? Get Rid of Zeros.
- Try to Fail: Project 180, Day 176