Chapter 9 and 10

Good Afternoon Brittany,

I hope you had a great break and you are ready to get back into the swing of things!

I really enjoyed the resource Rhonda showed us on Power School. This is the first time I have seen anything like it. I think it is a great way in allowing parents to monitor their children. What did you think of Power School? Have you ever seen it before?

I also enjoyed our discussion around chapters 9 and 10. I liked how Rhonda used envelopes filled with different questions to answer in regards to the chapters we read. It was nice to be able to pick what question we wanted to answer. I thought this would be a great classroom strategy, and one I would use within my own classroom. One topic we discussed about at our table was Parent Teacher Interviews that are lead by students and teachers. This is something I have never experienced but think its a great idea in getting guardians and students involved. Obstacles that may be faced includes guardians or students not showing up to the meeting. Some students may show up, but their parents don’t. This can be very discouraging for students who see other guardians involved and theirs aren’t.

Another interesting topic we talked about was traditional grades and how they likely lead to three results which include less impressive learning, less interest and less desire for challenging learning. Kohn (1999) recommends that if you have to give grades, give as few as possible. He believes that grades limit students learning. I know that from previous experience and my own we can get caught up in grades. We believe that a grade illustrates how “smart” we are. In high school I was very much so grade orientated. I believe anything under 80 wasn’t good enough, and I took it very personal. Being used to receiving high marks in high school, the transition to University was very difficult. The first mark I received was a 60 and it was very discouraging, and I was second guessing my choices of going to University and whether I was going to make it through or not. However, I have learnt that grades are just grades and it comes down to my learning progress and how I have improved in my professional development. What is your experience with grading? Are you grade orientated?

Another thing from the previous discussion lead us to talk about whether High school is preparing us for University. I believe that it all depends on the school and the individual. One may argue that students are being taught to prepare for University, but what about for life skills? Not everyone goes to University, and it is important that we are preparing students for both University and life. When it comes to final exams, I believe that this can be beneficial. Being able to take a test in high school may benefit those who have test anxiety, and may have to write many tests in University. However, one thing I found was many of my tests in high school was either multiple choice, or our teachers provided us with the questions that were going to be on the test and we were able to memorize the answer rather then really know the content. I think this effected the way I learned in University and I felt behind in my learning process. I have learnt through experience now how to study and how to effectively apply the knowledge I am learning to different situations. What is your experience with final exams, and how do you feel about them?

As a future educator I really question they way students are being prepared for life beyond high school. As teachers are we fully preparing our students?

Here is an interesting article “The Case Against Grades”, this is by Alfie Kohn. He talks deeper in to the effects of grading and why grading is problematic. It is an interesting read, and I hope you enjoy it!

Here is the link: http://www.alfiekohn.org/article/case-grades/

Michelle

 

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3 thoughts on “Chapter 9 and 10

  1. britthaidt

    Hi Michelle,
    I hope you also had a great break and are looking forward to next week to begin our pre internship 3 week block. I know I am very excited to be in a classroom applying what we have learned and being able to interact and teach students. Your comment about power school was very similar to my opinion about it. I found it to be a great tool and I was happy that Rhonda showed us what her school is using. I enjoyed seeing how it all works and to get an idea about what teachers are doing to ensure student success, tracking that success, and informing parents about the student. I felt that the power school application really linked well with our two chapters that we read this week, which talked about involving parents by communicating with them about the students learning and also about how we report and evaluate.
    Reading through the chapters I found it quite interesting the many approaches that their can be in regards to student-parent-teacher conferences. I in my past schooling experiences only experienced parent teacher conferences, where just the parents would go and talk to your teacher about how you were doing, your behaviors, etc. As I was in high school this was still the approach but my siblings being younger than I am were starting to have student-parent-teacher led conferences that from what they discussed seemed to be a great approach for them. I know that some of their friends parents were not always able to attend and I have always wondered what types of experiences those students had versus where most likely one if not both of my parents were able to always attend. I think it is great if parents are available and able to come to the school, interact with their child as a student, and with the teachers, seeing a child be able to discuss their learning and “show it off” is an opportunity for them to feel some pride in what they do and that someone cares about what they are doing if they do not always get that support from home.

    Your comment about my experience with grading I would say opposite to your story. In high school I was a bit grade oriented, wanting to do well in everything, do my best, make my parents proud and teachers but I was definitely very focused on sports. I feel that my drive to do my best was more geared to being successful at sports then my school work. I was very lucky to usually do well in high school with trying a fair bit. Once i was completed many of my sports and moved on the University I feel I have become more grade oriented because instead of having a bigger focus on sport success I focus more on doing the best I can in academics, trying to reach different goals by having high grades, and wanting to be successful. I do think I am goal orientated because I feel good when I receive a good grade. I have set expectations that I always want to fulfill for every class/semester and what I get for grades is a very strong route of it. I think i have grown up with an attitude of always doing your best at something that you are doing no matter what, because your spending your time doing it anyways. I am not sure if this is where my goal orientated drive has come from or not.

    Touching on your comment about my experience with final exams. In middle school 7,8,9 I remember going to our gymnasium sitting in a desk and writing a “final exam” with the high school students. Remembering that my school at the time had maybe 80-90 students k-12 so it was a different scenario then what a urban school would be. In my grade 10-11 years I was in a different school because my previous school closed and we wrote our exams in the classrooms. Grade 12 we had departmental final examinations. I remember being stressed, and worried about doing well on those exams but I am a good tester. I always have been. Whether it be multiple choice, true and false, or fill in the blank, short answer, I usually do relatively well on exams. University exams at first were a bit challenging just getting used to the length and the amount of content but still I feel I am comfortable with them. I do realize that testing is not for everyone and as a future educator appreciate that idea and know that I am going to make for a variety of different ways for students to demonstrate their understanding and learning because tests are not the end all be all. The stress that it can cause some people is not worth nor giving an accurate representation of what they know.

    During our discussion in class and linking it back to our readings this week and throughout the whole book, Students can demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways. Do we need to prepare students for testing in post secondary, I think teachers should play a bit of a role in that because I believe teachers always want the best for students and if post secondary is a route that many students are choosing then helping student be successful at managing their stress around tests, preparing for a test, and experiencing them would be something that I think teachers should do. It all comes down though to knowing your students, one group of kids may all be set for university and the next may all be going into a future pathway where testing may not be a big part of their life.

    I really enjoyed your article by Alfie Kohn. I think it linked well with the points made throughout the two chapter readings and made me think about what I have experienced and think in regards to marks, and grading. One quote from your article that I really thought about is
    “To understand why research finds what it does about grades, we need to shift our focus from educational measurement techniques to broader psychological and pedagogical questions. The latter serve to illuminate a series of misconceived assumptions that underlie the use of grading. ”
    This links well with everything that we have been talking about and discussing, it validates the importance of a variety of measurement tools that we as educators can use to help see how students are learning, what they are learning, and what needs to be re connected with.

    I felt that these two chapters gave a lot of tips and tricks for elementary and middle year classrooms so because we are both in the secondary program I found this article about tips and tricks for parent-teacher-student communication in high school settings. It talks about a couple different ways to communicate with parents as a teacher and what some barriers teachers are experiencing with this. I hope you enjoy the quick read, I sure did.
    Just copy and paste the link below into your URL and it will pop up.

    http://www.adi.org/journal/ss05/Graham-Clay.pdf

    Thanks for the read,
    Brittany

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    1. chelle10 Post author

      Hey, I really enjoyed reading your response to this blog. I am really looking forward to next week, and also applying what we have learned. I am excited to be involved with students and to get to know more about what will work for me as a teacher and what doesn’t.
      I think when students are able to show their school work to their parents it gives them a sense of value and meaning towards their accomplishments. I still today share my marks and accomplishments with my parents.
      As a sports person, I was also very focused on sports. I know that was a difficult thing for me when coming to University and playing at an elite level. It was hard to balance volleyball and school work. I will admit that volleyball is what kept me here in University for the first year. I was driven by sports and new in order to play I had to keep my average above a certain level. I used this as a motivator in my academics.
      I agree that it does make us feel good when we receive good grades, and it definitely motivates on to continue working hard. I like your comment about being goal orientated. I think this is a great skill to have and to be able to make a goal and find a way to accomplish it is important in the development of a teacher. Setting high expectations is important but having a balance and not getting to hard on yourself is important as well. I know sometimes I give myself high expectations and if I don’t meet them I getting very upset with myself. There is a balance, and its important to make realistic goals and expectations.
      Thank you for sharing this article about tips and tricks for parent-teacher-student communication in high school settings. I think it is very important as teachers to have positive communication with the parents. Having effective communication is very essential to creating strong school-home partner ships and to increase parent involvement. I find that this can be a difficult aspect of teaching and getting students involved with their students learning process. With technology, I believe that communication has become easier and it allows teachers and parents to communicate regularly if need be. I agree with the article when it says “teachers should strive to use a variety of effect strategies to make communication with parers as informative and interactive as possible, incorporating new communication methods and et retaining the human touch.” It is also important that every communication exchange should reflect a thoughtful, planned approach and should be viewed as an opportunity for teachers to promote parent partnerships and support students learning. I believe that communicating with parents needs to be down in a professional manner. Thanks for the read Brittany, I really enjoyed the article!
      Take Care,
      Micehlle

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      Reply
    2. chelle10 Post author

      Hey, I really enjoyed reading your response to this blog. I am really looking forward to next week, and also applying what we have learned. I am excited to be involved with students and to get to know more about what will work for me as a teacher and what doesn’t.
      I think when students are able to show their school work to their parents it gives them a sense of value and meaning towards their accomplishments. I still today share my marks and accomplishments with my parents.
      As a sports person, I was also very focused on sports. I know that was a difficult thing for me when coming to University and playing at an elite level. It was hard to balance volleyball and school work. I will admit that volleyball is what kept me here in University for the first year. I was driven by sports and new in order to play I had to keep my average above a certain level. I used this as a motivator in my academics.
      I agree that it does make us feel good when we receive good grades, and it definitely motivates on to continue working hard. I like your comment about being goal orientated. I think this is a great skill to have and to be able to make a goal and find a way to accomplish it is important in the development of a teacher. Setting high expectations is important but having a balance and not getting to hard on yourself is important as well. I know sometimes I give myself high expectations and if I don’t meet them I getting very upset with myself. There is a balance, and its important to make realistic goals and expectations.
      Thank you for sharing this article about tips and tricks for parent-teacher-student communication in high school settings. I think it is very important as teachers to have positive communication with the parents. Having effective communication is very essential to creating strong school-home partner ships and to increase parent involvement. I find that this can be a difficult aspect of teaching and getting students involved with their students learning process. With technology, I believe that communication has become easier and it allows teachers and parents to communicate regularly if need be. I agree with the article when it says “teachers should strive to use a variety of effect strategies to make communication with parers as informative and interactive as possible, incorporating new communication methods and et retaining the human touch.” It is also important that every communication exchange should reflect a thoughtful, planned approach and should be viewed as an opportunity for teachers to promote parent partnerships and support students learning. I believe that communicating with parents needs to be down in a professional manner. Thanks for the read Brittany, I really enjoyed the article!
      Take Care,
      Michelle

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      Reply

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