These Writing Stacks

I’m sitting here with two stacks of papers. Again. Mid quarter reports need to go home this week, and I just can’t bring myself to get through these two stacks (couldn’t do it Friday, Saturday, Sunday…). Math- done. Science- whoops, I need to do those, too! But they are fill-in-the-blank so they shouldn’t take too long. But the writing papers just keeps staring right back at me.

Part of it is because I didn’t teach like I know I should have and how I want to. Communication hasn’t been the greatest, and half the people on my team don’t know what we’re supposed to be covering. Somehow, we never make it to writing during planning, and word never spreads to everyone on the team. I’ve been working on cursive, fluency, and community with my class. So, I realized I needed a writing grade down for reports, because we HAVE to have a certain amount of grades for each subject. Nevermind the fact we’ve been in school about four weeks and have been working on routines, procedures, getting to know each other, working on actually teaching the content before testing the kids…

Another part of me knows I’m nowhere where I want to be in terms of giving feedback. I still feel like a fraud with that. My writing needs so much work, so who am I to critique others?

I’m working through these things. Some of us are shifting our grading to a more standards-based system and I’m going to meet with another teacher to really flush out what standards we want to hit next quarter. Just gotta make it through the second half of this quarter!

And these stacks of papers that still need to be graded. Eh.

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5 responses

  1. As we all move towards more standards based grading and teaching, it is hard to hold onto teaching our students in ways that will inspire them to be all they can be. Your post describes the struggle we all feel as we attempt to quantify learning. It’s hard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. If you have a say in the standards, embrace that. You will find it so much more meaningful than some overall number or letter for a whole subject. Think about grading more along the run of the writing rather than taking home those stacks and assessing only the product. Process is just as (more?) important. Good luck.

  3. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just teach children and someone way up there would finally realize that all the other stuff that is piled on us is just stuff and does nothing to help children learn.Craziness!

  4. I know just how you’re feeling. Our interim grades are due tomorrow too! I’m switching to more summative, mastery-based grades this year, and we definitely haven’t gotten to the point that my students are ready to demonstrate mastery of the concepts we’ve been practicing. After pre-assessments, routines/procedures, and building the classroom community, I feel like we’ve just had a couple of weeks to really dive into the “real” learning, and we’re still in the learning & practicing stage! (I have lots of progress / formative assessment “grades” posted on our online gradebook, but they’re all weighted zero.) I talked to my principal about what I’m doing regarding grades, and I want grades to reflect what students have learned after they’ve had a chance to learn it… and he was very supportive! He’s letting me give the students S/U (satisfactory / unsatisfactory) marks for interims as long as I communicate well with them and their parents. Hooray for principals who are open to new ideas — you never know until you ask! 🙂

    1. Jennifer- that’s interesting. Right now I’m doing a kind of mastery, partial, not mastery type thing and each of those is assigned a number for the grade book, since I still have to enter in points. Luckily, this year I am on a team with another who wants to do this as well, as we’ve been discussing it. It is definitely a transition though, and we’re having to work through some kinks. Which we’re ok with, and most parents are, but those few just…eh. But I’m VERY grateful to work with someone on the same wavelength this year!

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