A question often asked during an interview for a teaching position usually includes something along the lines of “what do you enjoy most about teaching?” For me the answer has been when I see my kids having a light bulb moment – when something I’m trying to help them learn and understand suddenly clicks and they get it. It’s those little snippets during the day that make it real, reinforce (for me, at least) that I did something right, and I do make a difference.
Today I was going to share some of the baby steps I’ve taken toward embracing technology and social media as a day-to-day part of my classroom – but I had a light bulb moment of my own! If you’re a teacher, and Standards Based Grading gives you the willies or just doesn’t make sense, keep reading and click on the links ahead. I promise you, it will be OK.
In order to expand my horizons and keep up with up-to-the-minute ideas in education, I seek out information online through blogs, list serves, and online publications. While searching for information about Interactive Student Notebooks earlier this month, I came across Sarah’s Blog – Everybody is a Genius. She won my heart with the bulletin board post showing the SBG process and today I became a disciple as she explained how mastery of a concept works with SBG.
I was struggling with how to help my students who have a hard time learning all of the “math” in the measuring unit we do prior to the food preparation labs in our Foods classes. While many kids “get” fractions and are able to demonstrate understanding of how to use them in recipes (for doubling/halving the yield or using equivalents) many of them look like a deer in headlights when they see fractions. In the past, I would allow them to re-test until they passed. But passing didn’t always indicate understanding or mastery and as they progressed through higher level foods courses, the understanding was there just for the test in Foods 1. This year I don’t want them to leave my class without KNOWING these basic concepts. With Standards Based Grading this is an expectation and in a “win-win” method; however long it takes, I want them all to be able to demonstrate that they know this and can use these skills when working with recipes. It is going to take some creative differentiation on my part, but I have some ideas that I think may work, I’ll keep you posted.
I did have some fun with my Foods 1 students last week…to help them understand the value a well-written recipe, teamwork, and efficiency in the kitchens, I gave them a rather poorly written recipe for Gobbly Gooks – basically the “no bake” chocolate, peanut butter (one group used Wow Butter – turned out great!), oatmeal confections. The problem was that the recipe does not use any standard measurements – just blobs, scoops, dit dots, dribbles, and the like. It was a fun experience for all of them and everybody’s end result was edible. Maybe not a state fair competition winner, but edible. Here is a short clip of one group trying to determine just how much is in a scoop of brown sugar and 4 dribbles of milk.
Have a great rest of the weekend – keep cool – we are pushing 100 here in St. Louis!