I’ve been reading through Jason Buell’s posts on how he actually implements sbg and Frank Noschese’s post (and helpful docs!) along with all the goodness on the sbg-gala. They are very helpful! Here is what I’ve been doing this week:
|task||thoughts on the task
|Match my state standards to my curriculum (modeling physics).||This helped me see the bigger picture (and made sure I could justify my approach to anyone who wondered what, exactly, I am doing)|
|Create learning targets for each unit. These sort of line up with the old “students will know” and “students will be able to”.||In my case, I asked a more experienced modeling/sbg-ing colleague for his learning targets. This is a big step for me. I tend to be a reinvent-the-wheel type; I need to break this habit to be a sustainable and effective teacher.|
|Organize the learning targets into the learning sequence (basics like vocabulary or simple calculations, then more complex calculations and inferences/applications, then pulling-it-all-together).||This step took me a while to understand. I was getting confused about where the scaling score gets applied–I was thinking students get a score of 1-4 (or whatever I choose) on each learning target, but then I realized that looking at which learning targets have been met are what allow me to give the student a score for the unit. I think. This is what I’m understanding from Noschese’s yes/no system.|
|Finalize my scaling score. I plan to use a 1-4 system.||I can already feel the urge to add more levels, but the more I add the more confusing I find it to apply to actual student work. It’s like assigning quarter points on the old grading scheme–there’s just no way that’s going to end well once I go down that road. I am still deciding on some of the details (0-based?).|
|Write my assessments.||In this case, this means tweaking the modeling assessments to make sure they align with my standards (and that I can communicate that alignment).|
I am just working on the first two units right now. I can see this is going to be a “just in time” year of teaching. I’m sure that’s always true for a first year teacher, which is part of why I am jumping into this right now. This year is going to be crazy and bumpy and filled with “learning opportunities” (mistakes) no matter what approach I choose, so I might as well pick something I agree with philosophically and which I can defend. I also find that when I think about sbg, I get really excited and motivated to work, whereas when I was trying to come up with a “grading point system” earlier this summer, I could feel my energy draining away from me. No sense swimming upstream by doing something that my inner compass hates. And there’s also no sense using a system I know I’m going to discard soon–why create bad habits I’ll only need to break later?