Thinking Teaching Creating

Thoughts, Tips, Ideas, and Projects from a Creative Teacher Mama

I Want To Learn More About…

on July 28, 2013

Standards Based Grading

Genius Hour

Interactive Student Notebooks

Standards Based Grading intrigues me, especially because I do a lot of differentiation.  It would make more sense to have a standard in the gradebook, and mark the level of proficiency each student has achieved thus far, rather than having 3-5 different assignments side by side and only mark scores for the students assigned each task.  I’m curious about whether most teachers who use this system average out how a student performs on a standard throughout the marking period to create an overall score for that standard, or whether the most recent score, or perhaps the best score is the only one utilized.

Genius Hour sounds a lot like self-directed learning projects.  While I’ve done some self-directed projects with students in the past, it was always only with those who finished early or were already proficient in what the rest of the class was doing.  I have a few questions though.  For instance, what if a student is not completing their assigned classwork?  Do they get to participate in Genius Hour, or is it a privilege reserved for students who are completing their classwork as expected?  How long should a project take?  Does everyone need to finish and present at around the same time, or just let kids present as they are ready?  For elements that would be present in any project align with your standards, do you include those aspects of Genius Hour projects in students’ grades?  (I’m thinking things like research skills, writing/spelling/grammar, etc.)

Interactive Student Notebooks appear to have two main parts.  First there is the teacher side of each set of pages.  From what I’ve gleaned, students copy, draw, or glue teacher created notes into their notebook.  Often the notes are made to look interesting in some way, and may require the student to use lower level thinking skills to complete a brief assignment on the new information.  The student side seems to be a bit more elusive.  This is the place where students are supposed to interact with their new knowledge to revisit the new ideas and put everything together with their prior knowledge.  I’ve seen lists of types of assignments, but still feel a little fuzzy on things like whether tasks are typically assigned, or whether there is usually student choice on how they synthesize information.  Obviously, at least at the beginning of using ISNs, students would need to be taught to use a variety of assignments so you don’t just tell them to show their learning and get met with blank stares.

If you use any of these strategies and have advice or information, I’d love to hear from you!


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