Teachers Throwing Out Grades

Have you heard about Teachers Throwing Out Grades?  It is a grass roots movement by wonderful folks, Mark Barnes and Starr Sackstein.  These are definitely two folks you want to follow.  They are forward thinkers and ask the question, “Why do we give grades to our students and what does it mean to get an 89?”  It is really changing a mindset of assessment, not standardize testing, but how we give grades on a report card. Really, for me to do it justice, you have to visit Mark’s page.   There is a VERY active facebook page that you can access here.  When we start to discuss and redesign report cards, which we will in the near future (don’t ask when, I don’t have the answer) check out some of the thoughts within this group.  A twitter chat also happens on Mondays at 7:00p.m. using the hashtag #TTOG.  You can always lurk!!  Here is Mark at TEDx explaining his formula for Assessment 3.0.  Food for thought!  Enjoy the week!


Other News

  • Bus Duty for March 9-March 20 Team 3:  Erin Gates, Beth Siebels, Gina Taylor, Pat Williams  Upcoming Bus Duty: March 23- April 10:  Team 4:  Steph Plaisted, Brooke Crump, Kim Johnson
  • Please check out the email I sent regarding dismissal.  Thanks!
  • All activities for the March 13th half day are on MLP.  Please sign up prior to midnight March 13th!
  • Our next staff meeting is March 26th.  Right before spring break!
  • Fire Inspection on March 27th:  Some of the violations the fire inspector will be looking for would be blocked emerg. windows, extension cords being used instead of power strips or extension cords plugged into power strips, coffee pots, hot plates or toasters in classrooms, items piled on top of cupboards too close to ceiling, missing electrical cover & switch plates, covered classroom door windows, missing fire retardant tags on furniture, door wedges,  paper on the walls close to entry & exit doors.  Please survey your room and fix any violations you can or contact Marty if you have any problems.
  • We will do another Boogie Friday on March 27th for your planning purposes.
  • Below are the dates for state exams.  I will get a revised schedule out for at least ELA and Math soon.  Thanks all!
  • My friend Lisa Meade and I posted a blog we wrote together called “A Seat at the Table”    Please check it out!
  • My good friend Tony Sinanis wrote “41 Things I Know About Education”  A GREAT read!
  • I will be starting up walk through evaluations again to get folks in the 3-5 grade levels completed prior to April NYS testing, and then hit lower levels and then DONE, and get ready for domain 4 and end of year meetings.
  • Speaking of NYS Testing.  April is the BIG month.  Here are dates for NYS tests:
    • ELA April 14, 15, 16
    • Math April 22, 3, 24
    • 4th Grade Science Performance May 21 Written: June 1
  • What are the five things you are grateful for?  Make a list daily.  It does wonders!
  • Be the change agent for kids!  Be a champion for kids.  Every kid deserves a champion!   Just do right!

Other Items of Interest (Read at your leisure!)

(From March 4, 2015 ASCD SmartBrief)

Study reveals benefits of active learning

Students working together in computing class

Active learning may be the key to positive student outcomes, according to a recent study. Researchers examined active learning in flipped and nonflipped biology classes and found that the students in both classes posted equivalent achievement at the end of the semester. T.H.E. Journal (3/3)

Can learning through play benefit all students?
Educators in early grades — and more recently middle grades — are incorporating play in learning, writes Hilary Conklin, an associate professor at DePaul University and fellow with the OpEd Project. She notes that recent research supports learning through play for all students, even high-schoolers. (3/3)

Insect study offers lessons in math, other core subjects
Some students in a Florida school district learned math, science and other core subjects by studying various insects. The project required students to work in groups during research and design presentations to share with peers and family. Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) (3/2)

Enrollment in teacher-training programs declines in some states
Several states are reporting drops in enrollment in teacher-training programs, including California, where enrollment has fallen by more than half over five years. Officials say the cause is unclear, but some point to issues such as the Common Core State Standards, high-stakes testing and limited budgets. National Public Radio/nprEd blog (3/3)

What are the components of a successful one-to-one program?
The implementation of a one-to-one program doesn’t mean all students need to have the same device, writes Bob Nelson, superintendent of schools for Chawanakee Unified School District in California. In this blog post, he highlights factors for a successful one-on-one program. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (3/3)

States’ opt-out policies for tests are in state of evolution, report finds
Policies and consequences for opting out of standardized tests are inconsistent across states, according to a recent study by the Education Commission of the States. “This is such a new issue, you could easily see how all of these policies are constantly evolving,” ECS researcher and study co-author Julie Rowland said. Education Week (tiered subscription model)/State EdWatch blog (3/3)

NCLB rewrite could allow local tests to replace state assessments
National Journal (3/2)

Research IDs barriers to physical activity in youths
Feeling self-conscious is the leading factor preventing children and teens from exercising, followed by a lack of enjoyment, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association meeting. However, researchers found that having friends who were physically active was associated with increased levels of physical activity.HealthDay News (3/3)