What DO we know about grading?

I finally finished reading What We Know About Grading, a 2019 ASCD book summarizing a century of research on grading.  Probably doesn’t sound compelling to most people — it’s not going to top the New York Times bestseller list — but I wanted to know what the research says, since we spend so much of…

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Building relationships? Just be yourself

“How do you build relationships with students?” A colleague asked me that yesterday, and I was stumped for a minute. I always struggle with that question and feel a little ashamed — because I don’t do many of the things experts say we are supposed to do. I do stand at the door when kids…

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Is flipping ‘out’?

Does “flipping” your classroom really work? I’ve written about this a few times since I first flipped my AP Macro class two years ago. In my (anecdotal) experience, it’s been extremely effective. But a new study from West Point (reported in this EdWeek blog) says not so fast. Is it time for me to reconsider?…

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Great teaching? Only if they’re learning

He’s a great teacher, but when he was explaining calculus, I really couldn’t understand it. He ran a good workshop, but when one of the teachers didn’t get something, he just explained it the same way again. Is anyone else confused? I heard both of these comments this summer — just part of casual backyard…

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When model students become the teachers…

Were you the kind of high school student who always did your homework? Who always studied for tests? Who came to class prepared? Or were you kind who procrastinated? Who scraped by on what you could pick up in class? Who was too busy or distracted to pick up a book or notebook at home?…

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High-engagement activities make for a strong end to the school year

What do you do with your class after an AP test? Amuse the students with movies and games Engage the students in a high-interest project or lesson Count down the days till school is over Nothing at all Some AP teachers are done teaching on test day, thanks to their schools’ mid-May graduations. But for…

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Could design thinking help us design better school policies?

I’m reading Tim Brown’s book Change by Design, part of my prep work for my job as Chief Educator-in-Residence at Quarter Zero, and I keep wondering: What if we used design thinking to tackle everyday problems in schools? For example, tardies. Tardies drive high school teachers and administrators crazy for so many reasons, but here…

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Schoolwork deadlines: Are they valuable, or just arbitrary rules?

Few issues spark more disagreement among teachers than late work. On one side: The real world has real deadlines. High school students need to learn this lesson now. On the other: Grades should reflect what students know — not their ability to meet arbitrary deadlines. Both sides have good points. The real world does have…

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Help students learn to manage stress during ‘testing season’

The ACTs and state testing are just behind us, and AP tests, final projects and final exams are right around the corner. Remember what it felt like to be a high school student under that kind of stress? Even teenagers who don’t have a mental illness, like anxiety or depression, can feel overwhelmed and stressed…

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Memorization isn’t understanding, but that doesn’t mean it’s all bad

Now that we can google every fact, formula, date, direction, definition and synonym, many of us deride memorization as a pointless exercise. Instead, we focus on building understanding, developing critical thinking and scaling Bloom’s Taxonomy. To a large extent, I agree with this shift. I think our students are far better served by learning to…

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