Shakespeare is often hard for students to engage with, particularly if they aren't reading at grade level. One way to ensure a solid conversation about a complex text is to allow students time to share ideas on Twitter doing a class chat. Read here to see how it turned out for my 10th grade NYC students.
Going "gradeless" hasn't really meant that I have no grades but that I am rethinking what it means to learn in school. Our kids are ready for change and need that change. The more we have them a part of the learning, the better. Read how Jonathan So has shifted his classroom.
Jonathan So shares his experiences of going "gradeless" and offers some insights into his process. Read on to see how he reflected and adjusted his learning to better help students reflect and grow as learners.
As this year winds down, if you have a bad day or you find your patience growing short, give yourself permission to take a time out and if you don't make it there, don't beat yourself up about. Tomorrow is a new day and it's amazing what a little distance can and perspective can heal.
Read guest blogger Sam Williams' experiences with Math Night at Curtis High School in Staten Island, NY. All 21st century learners have choices, but we need to engage them by doing. This group of students build a bridge.
Assessing students is a nuanced business and recognizing what a child brings to the table is essential to truly understanding what they know and can do. Penalizing them or crediting them extra for work that doesn't show real learning or thinking, but any number of other compliance measures that make us as educators feel powerful in the name of preparing kids "for life".
Starting from scratch seemed the only thing to do when I was seeing success with only 2% of my students who were auditory or straight up visual learners. My lessons weren't dynamic enough - They didn't consider the students' needs and/or deficiencies or their interests, so with some encouragement from my coach and mentor, I had to stop and get a do over.
In the grand scheme of things, reading Shakespeare is still worthwhile, but we must find a way to help all students access it. When working with students who are reading below grade level and may not have a high interest in reading, we must try different kinds of projects that can get them excited about texts they wouldn't select on their own. What they will hopefully find is that Shakespeare is actually a bad ass. Macbeth is exciting and gory and it gets to the very nature of how power can corrupt people. The universal themes show throughout the play ...
Classroom teaching and being a part of a school community requires so much of every individual. If you're the kind of teacher who wants to take advantage of all it, there is no way you won't grow from the experience. Whether through the day to day in the classroom or the professional learning opportunities both in and out school, when teachers choose to learn, they do and we are qualified for a great many jobs.
When life gets tough, wear a tutu or whatever your tutu, box or dance is and don't care who's watching when you wear it, jump out it, or dance it. Life's too short to take it all seriously, I hope this makes you smile.