Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The first marking period is winding down, and overall, students are doing well. I feel, more than ever before, my grades truly reflect learning, at least in math.

With homework/classwork only 10% of the final grade, the quizzes/tests really do make a huge impact on that final grade. I have more kids asking for redo's, more really asking questions, working through the assignments, and I truly think, LEARNING.

I am trying to give more frequent quizzes. My goal was once a week, and at the middle of week 4, we took quiz 3 in prealgebra today, and will take quiz 3 in math later this week, so we are a bit off schedule but that simply can't always be helped.

It seems my regular math class is always behind for some reason. Today it was the science field trip that put us yet another day behind. Such is life in teaching.

I wish I could find a way to model my social studies class grades more on assessments and less on daily work, but I seldom give "tests" in that class. We do so much together, more discussions, more writing about what we've done, which I guess could be summative assessments, but somehow they seem so ambigious in nature I am reluctant to call them that.

Math is black and white, either you get it or you don't. Social studies is so much more gray to me. It is about people and places and ideas. I can test on map skills or locations, facts and figures, but so much of what we do just doesn't lend itself to that format. I must focus and work on doing that more often.

Our new social studies texts were ordered today, finally. Maybe once I am using a book more, I will find it easier to test from the written materials? I don't like teaching social studies from a text but I find meeting the GLCE's for 7th grade difficult. Partly, I think I don't have the background in the material, but also I find the expectations overwhelming and impossible to cover adequately. I am hoping the text will guide me somewhat.

Overall, it's been a great start to school, and I do not feel that sense of loss I do some years when I long for "last year's kids". I am enjoying these for the moment!

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