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A Culture of Excellence

This summer I heard Harry and Martha Wong speak.  The flashbacks to my senior year of college, methods, and The First Day of School all came rushing back.  They were both entertaining and enjoyable, but I realized that day that I had left some of the basics of classroom management behind and honestly gotten a little lazy.  I only had one classroom rule:  Respect.  This made perfect sense in my adult mind, but I failed to remember that I am working with 15 year old boys who don’t define respect in the same way that I do.  So, I reworked my first day of powerpoints and reorganized my class.  So far, this has been an easier year, thanks to Dr. Wong’s procedures.

What I learned from that experience is that I tend to get lazy in some areas as a teacher.  I assume my students know things they don’t.  I am now in my 4th year of SBG and loving it, but I realized this week that I have gotten lazy with my implementation of it.  I know that retesting is not SBG, but only one small part of it.  I know that my students need to constantly be improving their learning.  I know I need to incorporate formative and summative assessments.  What I failed to do was communicate to my students the importance of excellence in all assessments, the first time.  Too many of my students have  adopted the attitude of not really preparing for assessments because retesting is always an option.  I am not sure of how to fix this problem.

One idea that I am toying with is requiring the completion of an assignment for a retesting opportunity.  Many of my colleagues do this and call it a ticket to retest.  I have limited the number of times they can retest during the day.  They used to have 3 chances a day including before school, after school, and during lunch.  I no longer allow retesting before school.  (I’m not a morning person.)  My biggest problem seems to be my honor’s classes.  I want to instill a good work ethic in these students and I think doing your best the first time is part of that.  Any ideas or suggestions are welcomed…

 

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Categories: SBG
  1. Betsy Gilbert
    November 9, 2011 at 1:24 am

    Amber,

    I make my students do an assignment before they can retest. Last year, it worked really well. The students seemed motivated and for the most part were willing to do the problems. I have not had as much success with that this semester. A lot of the student’s will just say, “I am not doing extra problems, I will just keep the grade”. This shocks me, especially because these are honor’s students! But, I don’t know how to fix the problem. We are raising a society of children who want something for nothing and immediate gratification. It scares me! If you can come up with the solution, please let me know. Also, you are way to hard on yourself. I don’t believe there is a lazy bone in your body. You seem to always be trying new things and trying to improve as a teacher. If your students worked half as hard as you do, then they wouldn’t need to reassess! Have a great week.

    Betsy

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