Thoughts on Independent Summer Enrichment

It's that time of year--the school year has ended and children everywhere have been given summer assignments and summer readings. I used to give summer reading projects, but then September came along and those were the last things I wanted to see. Another thought came to mind though--should I be grading them for something I … Continue reading Thoughts on Independent Summer Enrichment

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Cataloging Your Classroom Library and What You Can Learn from It

Today, I celebrate the fact that out of this whole school year, only four of my classroom library's books have not been returned. I'm happy about this number because I have around 800 books in my library, and to have a loss of only four books (0.5%) is something to celebrate. Before I go further, … Continue reading Cataloging Your Classroom Library and What You Can Learn from It

Monitoring Independent Reading

In the beginning of each year when I tell parents at back to school that we don't have any class novels, I'm met with shocked looks--mouths agape, eyes doing impossible math. The first question out of their mouths is, "But how do you check if they're reading?" The other implicit concern is probably, "Oh no, … Continue reading Monitoring Independent Reading

Using One-to-One Devices in the Classroom

A few years ago, my district implemented a one-to-one iPad program for middle school students. Since then, the program has evolved, although somewhat slowly and without direction. In this post, I will explore pitfalls and successes of one-to-one device implementation as I've experienced in my classroom. First, let me say that I use the iPads … Continue reading Using One-to-One Devices in the Classroom

“Please, Sir, May I Have a 90?” Pt. II

You may have read through other blogs and commentary idea regarding grades below 50. Contemporary thinking is that grades below 50 should not be entered because it will be too difficult for the student to bring her grade back up. Consequently, that student will cease to try because she now has this massive obstacle in … Continue reading “Please, Sir, May I Have a 90?” Pt. II

“Please, sir, may I have a 90?”

For four years I taught in a charter school in Jersey City, NJ. It was a frustrating job; there was little accountability to be found anywhere--among my colleagues and among my students. I loved the kids there though. They were the best--just not at handing in their work. When my tenure there was up and … Continue reading “Please, sir, may I have a 90?”

Grading Categories

Grade categories are a system in which specific assignments count for specific weights. In this blog post, I am going to discuss my philosophies on grade categories and grading policies. In traditional classrooms, the following categories are typically given: ParticipationClassworkHomeworkQuizzesTests/ProjectsFinal Exams Participation is the category that mentor teachers have told me somewhat implicitly is the … Continue reading Grading Categories