Grading Practices and Procedures
As I enter into my thirteenth year of being an educator, I realize that almost nothing in education is constant. For years I thought my need to change my grading criteria and classroom procedures stemmed from the changing course assignments on my teaching schedule. Now I know - especially in this rapidly changing technological world of the 21st Century - that "change" IS education. Amid all the change, some things DO remain constant: fairness and compassion. In every decision I make, I attempt to consider how the consequences of my decision will meet the tenets of fairness and compassion. Once I embraced the philosophy of change, not only did I stop viewing myself as the Boss of Room 100 and begin viewing myself as Learner in Chief, I started to enjoy my job more than ever before.
Each assessment, whether summative or formative, provides students with opportunities to practice, explore, and/or demonstrate their learning. The results are used for students to understand how and why improvement can be made. I use rubrics for nearly every written or oral presentation. In the case that a formal rubric is not developed for an individual assignment, I clearly explain to my students how I intend to evaluate them: process, mechanics, collaboration, insight, or quality and effort. In most cases, students receive the rubrics many weeks in advance and they practice scoring themselves and each other with the rubrics. Most written and oral work is scored with the same rubric (with only slight variations) so that students are familiar with expectations and terminology. Examples of student work can be viewed on my Room 100 Blog and my Technology Resources page.
Routines, Procedures, and Expectations
Providing clear expectations for student behavior and establishing consistent classroom procedures allows for students to spend more time learning and teachers to spend more time teaching. A formal syllabus is provided to each of my students with an assigned task to have a parent/guardian read, sign, and return the syllabus to class. Classroom rules are clearly posted and often referenced in class. The BYOD Contract and Digital Literacy policy allow students to understand consequences of poor decision making and make accountability clear. Lesson plans are a primary resource for communication with both students and parents.
Rapport With Parents
Most of the documents listed above in Domain 4.3 serve as communication tools for parents. My Weebly page is probably the first point of parent communication. Through my Weebly, parents can access lesson plans and testing information, syllabi, as well as view student work on the Room 100 Blog and my Technology Resources page. I attempt to involve parents as much as possible in their students' work. The comments I make on report cards are thorough and extensive. This year I added a video to my Weebly site to help parents navigate my site.
The image to the left is a graph of the number of visits and hits to my Weebly site. As I stated previously, my Weebly page provides a layer of transparency to my work that allow me to communicate with both parents and students in an immediate way. I must admit that I was a bit taken aback by the 34.5K page views I have received on my site since last June. Since I have had built this Weebly site, the number of direct parent (and Special Education teacher) inquires I have had regarding course content and assignments has dramatically decreased.
I received this kind note from a couple of students towards the end of the school year. A bouquet of flowers accompanied the card.