Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Faculty Meeting 3/26/2013

Student Growth Objectives:

After our staff meeting today, I spent some time reflecting on how to present the information in a way that would be a little easier to digest. I understand that these SGOs are only going to be 15% of our Summative Evaluation, but at least it is a 15% that we, as teachers, can control. I honestly feel the objectives are very similar to setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. I believe as a group we can create SGOs that are:

Goals should be straightforward and emphasize what you want to happen. Specifics help us to focus our efforts and clearly define what we are going to do.
Choose a goal with measurable progress, so you can see the change occur.
Goals you set which are too far out of your reach, you probably won’t commit to doing. 
This is not a synonym for “easy.” Realistic, in this case, means “do-able.”
Putting an end point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards.

Using the above guidelines, we can begin to have a discussion on how we want to set up the assessments.
Also, I found some very helpful resources at the following websites:


Lastly, this almost 9 minute video is a great way to introduce the idea of creating S.M.A.R.T. goals step-by-step:


My intention in organizing the information in this format was:
1. to try and simplify a very over whelming process
2. to give you several resources in one area
3. to encourage discussion on this topic electronically, when we have some time away from our hectic teaching days.

Please let me know if I can be of any assistance. Also, please feel free to leave any comments/suggestions.

I used the following sites to help organize this blog:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Homework discussion at #sbgchat

I have spent a lot of time thinking about the Twitter chat last night at #sbgchat. The topic of homework is something I reflect on throughout the year. It is not surprising that these thoughts enter my mind as I am grading 5 classes of math assignments almost daily. Even after some reflection, I have a confession...
Yes, I still give homework. My middle school math students get homework daily. There are times when they do not, but that is very rare. I do, however, put a lot of thought and effort into my homework procedure for my classes. I intentionally do not give a lot of problems. My idea of homework is to practice what we went over in class...in a reasonable amount of time. I had the teacher that gave 50 long division problems, and I do not believe in that practice at all.
Also, I differentiate the homework. This could be anything from assigning tougher problems to those students that are ready, or more basic ones for the not-quite-there students. Regardless of the assignment, I try and keep the amount of the homework the same. The number of problems may not be the same, but the time spent on it is. I firmly believe that students should be challenged according to their readiness with the topic.
I do understand where a lot of my colleagues who participated in the chat are coming from: packets of worksheets that take hours to complete is bad education. I do agree that giving worksheets as homework so that students "have something to do" is not much better. But, isn't a limited, focused assignment reviewing what was covered in class acceptable?
I believe homework does have a place in school. As I see it, the assignment must serve the purpose of review from earlier class discussion/work. Also, the feedback/grading of the assignment must be relevant and immediate. Then, the students should be given an opportunity to make corrections or "do-over" assignments to show they have learned the topics. I know the re-dos and do-overs are next weeks topics, but I started using them in my classes about six or seven years ago. I honestly do not know how I taught before implementing this simple practice...