It took me some thought to realize that I really hate seeing 100%. I think it started when I heard about the No Child Left Behind Act’s goal of all students in grades K-12 reading proficiently by 2015. And this included all students, including students with disabilities, students who are economically disadvantaged, and students with limited English proficiency. For students with limited English proficiency, in order for this to succeed, they would be learning English for the first time in elementary school because they are immersed into the language and they have to read at the same reading level as their peers who grew up learning English and not, let’s say, Spanish. Students who are economically disadvantaged do not always have the resources to learn how to read because they need to survive. And students with disabilities do not always have the mental capacity to read proficiently.
No Child Left Behind Act section 1111(b)(2)(C)(v), section 1111(b)(2)(F) [p. 22-23]
To me, 100% should be impossible. I honestly think school tests are the only tests that anyone can get 100% on. 100% means perfection. Is there anyone that’s perfect? Not that I know of. If someone gets 100% on a test or assignment, that test or assignment was too easy.
There’s a reason that the students who graduate high school with a 4.0 GPA (on a 4 point scale) sometimes struggle with college. These are usually the students who have never struggled. High school was easy, how hard can college be? I will admit, I was one of those students who had a 4.0 in high school. I would look at a B warily and wonder what was going on. I had always gotten straight As up until college. That’s when I had to accept a couple B grades. But it wasn’t until I took a calculus class in college that I realized I have not struggled before. I felt like this class was dragging me down. But I could not get myself to put the effort to put in the extra time to get the extra assignments done, so it did drag me down. Talk about a wake-up call.
So I no longer enjoy seeing a grade of 100%. It seems to indicate “I’m done. There is nothing else I need to do. I know everything”. There is always room for improvement. No one knows everything. If there is even one person with a grade of 100% on anything, that means that the assignment is not difficult enough. If there are only a few people with a grade of 100%, that means you need to differentiate.
Note: This does not consider extra credit, which could bring grades up to 100% and higher. This is a different situation. What I am talking about is 100% on regular credit assignments that generally everyone completes. If most people get 100% or close to it on most of the regular assignments, this is when difficulty should increase.
Everyone should learn how to struggle. Everyone needs to know that struggling does not equal weakness. Giving up when you start struggling is weakness. That struggle can also be called grit. The more grit you have, the more you have succeeded because you have struggled. 100% does not necessarily equal grit or struggle. There are students like me who get straight As and never struggle. Now that I’m in college, I do not want my students to not learn how to struggle. Grit gets you much further than straight As ever could.
For this assignment, I looked at a couple different Twitter pages from teachers at Fairfield Union High School to see how each teacher uses their Twitter.
Ms. Wilson (11th grade English): Her Twitter page looks fairly new, but it looks like she uses it for some reminders and some English jokes.
Ms. Cupp (12th grade English): This ones isn't maintained, but she used it more for class reminders.
FUHS Guidance Office: They tweet mainly due date reminders and other useful information regarding college applications, ACT, etc.
I have not seen the students using Twitter in either of the English classes.
Sources: Twitter pages (linked)
This week, there has been a speaker come into my school to discuss gifted students in the classroom. I was fascinated with what I have heard that gifted students can do. I have heard a story that there was a 5th grader that criticized a college student’s term paper. I have heard of high school students who invented a cast to help people recover from broken bones faster (it had something to do with adding electrodes, I think).
And yet, there are students who are considered gifted that do not get services. Seriously. We provide students who are falling behind the opportunity to catch up with his or her peers, but for those who have already mastered the content well before it was presented in class, we just make them sit there bored to death. It would be like telling a college student that he needed to sit in a 7th grade classroom because there is nothing else for him to do. Except that college student is in 7th grade and there isn’t anything else for him to do. That has got to be frustrating.
Here in Ohio, school districts are required to identify students who are gifted. That’s it. They don’t have to do anything about the giftedness, they just have to show that they have gifted students. I feel like that’s not enough. Yes, it’s great that we identify our best and brightest. However, just identifying them doesn’t do enough for these students.
These gifted students can do great things at a very young age and set them on the road to success if we give them the opportunity to.
Here are a couple things that I can think of if you have a gifted student in your class. These will all depend on the personality of the student you have.
Can you think of other ways to get gifted students involved in your classroom? I would love to know!
This was one of the topics that was discussed in my tech class. Gamification is basically transforming the classroom culture into a video game. Instead of gaining points from quizzes, students gain experience points. After students gain a certain amount of experience points, they can "level up" and maybe gain a prize for doing so (like a homework pass or certain privileges). Gamification makes the classroom more engaging, just like video games engage kids.
When kids play video games, they are having fun learning what they need to know in order to finish the game, whether for fun or for social status among their peers. If they come across a challenging part, kids will keep trying in order to finish the game. And when they finish the game, they feel good about themselves. This concept of a video game is translated into the classroom when that classroom is gamified.
If students love to play games and you are having trouble engaging your kids, gamification may be the thing to try. Even if you can't completely gamify your classroom because it's the middle of the school year, set up some kind of point system for when kids turn in their homework or participating in class (whatever you are having trouble with). After a certain number of points are earned (stickers on a chart would work, too), offer a prize. Not only does this incentivize whatever you are working on with your students, this can also help students learn to delay gratification and work towards a goal.
This is my second post for the day. What questions do you have about gamification? Do you prefer topics of the week or journal articles? I would love to know!
Here’s what I have learned this week:
Monday (Tech in the Classroom): Gamification in the classroom is something that I am thinking about implementing in my classroom. The issue I am thinking about is whether or not I will have a classroom or if I will do more travelling so gamification may not work for me. I do see why I feel more teachers should gamify their classrooms, but is it practical for me? I would love to figure this out for my classroom. I might put some games together this summer. I won’t guarantee it, but it’s an idea I will keep noted.
Tuesday (Learners with Exceptionalities): So this was the night we spent about an hour and a half looking at an Evaluation Team Report (ETR), an 89-page document (yes, I counted) to prove that a student needs additional help. And by 89 pages, I mean 89 sheets of paper printed front and back. I can say that it is quite comprehensive. I’m still not sure that 89 pages should be required to give the student the help that he or she needs. It should take awareness of different conditions that the students can have and ways to help the student work around or work with the conditions. If it gets to be significant, then let there be documentation and get the kid the help that he or she needs. But it should not take 89 pages to prove that the child needs help. It might need half that. I will even say three-quarters. But when documentations starts turning into a novel-length book, that might be too much.
Wednesday (Learning & Human Development): Today was a review of chapters 8 (Behaviorist Views of Learning), 9 (Social Cognitive Views of Learninsg) and 10 (Motivation) for the next exam. Not sure what else to add, other than we were given scenarios and had to figure out how to deal with the scenarios using information from chapters 8-10.
Thursday (Phonics): Today was going over different types of sorts, such as sound sort, spelling sort, concept sort, picture sort, letter sort, word sort, open & closed sorts, blind sort, visual sort, speed sort, and write to the sort. Sorts are used as a way to physically sort words or pictures into categories. I have done a few sorts in this class, and I enjoy figuring out which concepts I need to study more than others. I find it more engaging than a study guide.
This is my first post for today. I am trying something different and would like your opinion: do you prefer these journal articles or a more specific topic of the week? Also: what do you think of some of these concepts?