We should wrap up our grading conversations today. I gave a number of kids “to-be-continued passes” last week. Where and when we came to places that one or both of us did not feel completely comfortable or confident in the proposed grading mark, we agreed to a deal where he or she could take advantage of opportunities to demonstrate his or her learning through optional Performances. Learning does not end. Time just runs out. I had a bit more time to give (still do), so I gave kids more opportunities to secure evidence of learning.
For many, the extra opportunity produced the necessary, additional evidence to create the desired degree of confidence I sought. For some, it did not. For none, did it have a negative impact. That is, I told the kids that the scores could only help, not hurt. That said, I mean not to suggest that this is an exact science; one additional performance does not definitively determine everything (one way or the other), but I like to think that my giving kids paths of possibility means much as we seek to arrive at a place of shared agreement, a place of mutual respect. As such, it is likely that some conversations will remain unfinished, some grades will remain undetermined today. In reality there is still time, so I will grant it, especially if it perpetuates possibility. Too flexible? Maybe. But in an existence with too much inflexibility and “impossibility” (by a teachers’ choices), my kids could use some flexibility, some possibility. That’s my choice.
Overall, the conferences have gone very well. As I shared last week, there is a certain feeling of doing the right thing, a certain sense of nobility from meeting kids where they are, from honoring kids as the “best knowers” of their learning experiences, from making meaning together. In the coming days, I will share more specific details as I reflect on my first go at “select-and-support” grading. But for now, I will simply intimate that in my twenty-two years in the classroom, never have I felt so good about end-of-term grading. Never. And though it’s not perfect, for now, it’s really not a bad “better.” Not too bad at all. We are better together.
Along today’s trail we will…
…begin with Smiles and Frowns.
…finish conferences (hopefully).
…complete final preparations for tomorrow’s round of our Passion Paper Publishing Party.
…end with a Sappy Sy Rhyme.
Happy Monday, all.
Do. Reflect. Do Better.