Needless to say, writing a dissertation while teaching a full time load does not leave much time for more personally fulfilling endeavors such as blogging and tweeting. While the past 8 weeks have been the craziest, all the work has paid off and (with luck) I will be able to take it a bit easier until the end of May and only have to focus on the teaching aspect of my life. Thank goodness.
Due to the nature of my dissertation, I’m certain the focus of this blog will shift and become more focused. I will be analyzing the effects of standards-based grading on student achievement in Algebra 2. All you SBG’rs out there, take notice. I’ve probably been stalking you for the past two months and will most likely continue to do so for. You have all given me great ideas and helpful suggestions for which I am eternally grateful.
Essentially I have created for myself (and a friend, who has agreed to be a guinea pig and venture into this world with me) an additional prep. We will each teach two sections of Algebra 2 using two different assessment methods, one traditional and one SBG. On the surface that seemed simple enough…teach ’em all the same, assess ’em differently, see who does better. WHOA!! This whole SBG thing is proving to be more radical than that. I foresee the classes turning into two completely different creatures very quickly. Already the plans for the first day of the term are requiring some different strategies, just to orient the kids with the grading system.
I’m sure you’ll be privy to my many frustrations, but (I hope) also to the final results. I’m open and receptive to any and all ideas, suggestions, and helpful criticisms. I think I might be in for a wild ride for a while.
Since the main reason for this blog is my own reflection, I feel it necessary to list my “biggest fears” as this journey begins:
1. What if the parents make my life miserable? I’ll have the honors level kids and those parents can be rather difficult to deal with.
2. What if the whole thins bombs out horrible? I only have an entire DISSERTATION riding on it.
3. How can I make sure to treat the two classes differently (with respect to assessment) while maintaining quality teaching to both groups?
4. What if the kids talk to each other and find out one class is getting one method while the other one isn’t.
5. What if this takes all my time and I don’t get to blog or tweet?