School officially starts back for my district on August 6 this year. Before that happens, teachers gather. Today and tomorrow some teachers from my math department are gathering even earlier. We will take two days to fine tune our plans, to collaborate, to build a bit more strength into our teams. Next week begins the official preplanning. The agenda is set. About 6 hours of the five days has been designated for curriculum teamwork. We’ll take it now, early. Next week will be quite busy enough.

I am ending my summer a little bit early. Why? Because I want my students to have their best year ever, and I’m going to plan for it!

Our curriculum team makes this possible through pre-planning grants that are available through Title I funding. To find out if there are funds available at your school, check with your county’s Title I coordinator!


Standards Based Grading. Hmmmm.


Standards Based Grading. Hmmmm.

I want to know how to use this particular beastie to my and my students’ advantage. What do I know about it?

(I sent out some tweets. #SBG and #MTBoS to find out more!)

It is based on the common core standards for my subject/grade level.
I’ve seen these as sets of “I can…” Statements- is there a list somewhere, or does each teacher create his/her own?

(I sent out more tweets: @TarheelMommy95 @algebrainiac1 @JustinAion @WHSRowe were a few of those who generously shared what resources, including two references I definitely want to read: Marzano’ Formative Assessment and Standards Based Grading and Designing and Teaching Learning Goals & Objectives.

A score is given for each “I Can…” that reflects the student’s level of achievement of the standard, usually 0 to 4 or 5, depending on the teacher.
There are some great rubrics in the CCSS materials that could help me here- maybe there are teachers who have also simplified the rubrics for their students and parents – to help them begin the process of steering their own learning. (I feel another tweet coming on! I also remember a blog…. Mrs. Aitoro’s that might help me here. I will ask her to share…

I will want to have some kind of tracking system. That means that I will need to connect each task to the appropriate standard/skill. I will need to be able to identify what mastery is for that skill (oh yeah, the “I can…” statements and the rubric statements will help me there!)

How does the student exhibit improvement? I’ve seen a blog that explains the grade book set up – one grade per standard, it gets changed if the student exhibits improvement, but doesn’t get lowered. I like the idea of two tests with 100% success allows the student to not have to test that standard again. Can I assume mastery after two times? Will the rubric for mastery be clear enough? Will I run the risk of the student forgetting? Does mastery indicate memory or true conceptual understanding?

Thankfully, because of Task #2 and #MTBoS (thanks Justin @j_lanier and the rest of the MTBoS team!) I know I am not the only one out here asking these questions and I don’t have to re-create the wheel for my particular hamster cage! I really want to do this. And now I know I can!