Repair Kit chapter 1 part 3

Finally finishing up with chapter 1 today, sorry it took three posts but I hate to have really long overloaded posts, it’s better to just break them up.

This is the last page of chapter 1 and yet it led to almost two pages of notes, hmm maybe I just talk to my books too much…Nope not possible. 🙂

So this last page of the chapter has a small section on student involvement “over the last few years it has become increasingly clear that student involvement in teaching/learning and in assessment and communication can make significant contributions to improved achievement  and positive attitudes about learning/school.”

I know that many classrooms have gone to the student created constitution/rules, consequences and rewards and I know that when students take more ownership in their classroom they behave differently.

My second year of teaching I had frequent struggles with a student on her behavior, namely talking out.  One day she complained that she couldn’t read my handwriting on the board which meant she couldn’t write down her assignments for that night.  Ok now here’s where I’m honest with myself and everyone else, my handwriting is not the best, my printing especially when I’m in a hurry can get really bad.  I think I just barely passed the writing on the board test I took in college, yes I really had a writing on the board exam in college.  Out of frustration I told her fine she could come in every morning and write the assignments on the board. This was an accidental stroke of genius.  After that day she was much better behaved, she came in first thing, put her things away and picked up my plan book.  She would write up all of the assignments for every class I had, taking her time and being very meticulous.  That small stake of ownership in the classroom significantly changed her outlook and behavior.  After that looking for ways to give students ownership in the classroom became a frequently used tool in my teacher toolbox, even if they didn’t realized that’s what I was doing.  Yet, even with that practice I have never considered making students part of the grading process.

Well ok students are a part of the grading process in the fact that we grade in class.  I discovered early on in my career that grammar much like math builds on itself and if I try to grade all 100 or so student paper I quickly fall behind.  The students then end up making the same mistakes over and over again until I can get their papers back to them so they can see what they are doing wrong.  When we grade in class however I can immediately explain, reteach, or change my plans entirely to do a new activity on a misunderstood concept on the whole this saves time, not just my personal time that would have been spent grading, but instructional time because I’m not having to work backwards so much.

I’m not sure how else I could include students in the grading process so I’ll be interested to see the suggestions in the book.

Well here it is the end of chapter 1.  I don’t know about you but I’m ready to get to the Fixes.  Coming soon Fix 1: Student behaviors and grades.

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