Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Introductory Post

A Blog Just For You, FHS Staff!
On our January 16 Institute Day, I hinted at the idea of creating a blog to help us wrap our minds around a standards-based classroom. As we strive to become more descriptive with our students' progress on the Critical Learning Standards, it is vital that we explore what current research and practice tells us about this topic. And once I made the whole blogging idea public, I was forced into action. So here we are!

There are a few things I hope to accomplish with this blog:

  • Provide some effective resources about effective teaching, in general, and evidence-based classrooms, in particular.
  • Keep you, the FHS classroom educator, in the loop about our vision and progress toward that vision.
  • Create a conduit for discussion about evidence-based teaching and its application to our classrooms.
  • In short, I want to widen the hoop!

It is not mandatory for you to read every (or any) entry in this blog, but it is my hope that you will find utility and benefit from this structure.

How to Use This Blog
The web address for this blog will be listed in FANN Mail, but you have the ability to enter your email address in the "Follow by Email" field on the right-hand side of the page. By doing so, you will receive every new post as soon as it is released. And I'm even going to waive the fee for the premium subscription--what a deal! (Sorry, only paying customers will receive their Sports Illustrated Sneakerphone.)

If you have a question/comment about anything you read, feel free to fill out the fields for "Send me your questions." These comments will be sent to my d211.org email address and will not be visible to the public.

Have a comment that you want others to see? Great! Use the "Comments" link at the bottom of the page. When making comments, please remember that even though FHS teachers are my target audience, this blog is visible to (1) anyone with the link or (2) anyone who received a Sports Illustrated Sneakerphone.

Introductory SBG Materials
On our Institute Day, I gave you a brief overview of Standards-Based Grading. I listed 3 Major Elements that are present in a standards-based classroom:

  • The Critical Learning Standards (Learning Goals) are paramount
    • Students know where to find the CLS's
    • Students are aware of how activities are connected to the CLS's
    • Students understand what mastery looks like
    • Classroom activities have a deliberate focus on the CLS's
  • Assessments are clearly connected to the CLS's
    • Intentional/purposeful connection to the CLS's
    • Grades represent a demonstration of skill, understanding of concepts
    • Grades are not a collection of points
  • Students receive clear, descriptive feedback
    • Feed up - Students understand the outcomes expected of them
    • Feedback - Students know where they stand relative to the standards
    • Feed forward - Students know what they have to work on
    • All of this information is timely, specific, understandable, and actionable

These three elements were taken from this YouTube video about Standards-Based Grading. The smaller bullet points reflect my own ideas about how SBG connects to our district's work.

Why Standards-Based Grading?
On Institute Day, we also discussed the rationale for implementing a standards-based approach. Here is a snapshot of one of my slides that provides a basic overview:

These 7 reasons were taken from this ASCD article.

I also tried to show you a video about how Standards-Based Grading connects to current research about motivation. The Daniel Pink video didn't work during my presentation, but it's worth watching when you have five minutes to spare.

Now What?
Feel free to send me a question or comment, if you already have one. Otherwise, you only need to:

  • wait for my next post
  • check the mail for your Sports Illustrated Sneakerphone to arrive (*with paid subscription)
  • continue to examine how your classroom can further incorporate our CLS's.

(Disclaimer: Future blog posts will not exceed the length of the Introductory Post.)

1 comment:

  1. From Jason English:
    The Physics team has been working a lot with SBG for a few years now and has found it very beneficial to track learning and, more importantly, help students with their learning. At the beginning of each unit we hand out the objective sheet found at the link below. Students track their progress on individual objectives after they take formative assessments and then complete reinforcement activities to help shore up their knowledge on learning objectives that they are struggling with. We still have a ways to go to fully embrace SBG but so far like what we see. Hope this helps anyone thinking about SBG...I'd be glad to discuss if something isn't clear about the process.