Guest post by Eric Saibel As a father and educator, I observe the inexorable role of play in the daily life of children. Play is a child's default setting, interrupted only by some natural cycles (like sleep) and other quotidian obligations. At my school I see students running and playing every spare moment they can.The need for play - as both creative outlet and survival tool - is a tectonic force deep within us. So why does the idea of play seem so contrary to the idea of school? At some point, society began to see play as separate ...


Once the conferences have been completed, there are no surprises come report card time. Students know what is going on and so do parents. These conversations keep learning transparent and progress is always in the open. Making sure that students understand where their mastery level is and what needs improvement ensures continued growth and focus in the upcoming term; it also helps us differentiate better.


Although doing report card grades is my least favorite part of teaching, working with students to determine an appropriate level of learning has greatly improved the experience. I love to list to students talk about what they are most proud of and read their answers to their forms. It's as much an opportunity for them to reflect as it is for me.


Reading is the most effective way to develop vocabulary, voice and enrich brain development. As an English teacher, I can tell my readers in their writing as there is a delicate complexity that exists that is harder to teach. The earlier we can get students excited about words, the better their chance of being successful in life. Not necessarily only reading literature, students have so much to choose from now. Encourage them to read it all or whatever inspires them.


Comprehensive project based learning offers students the chance to practice skills in an authentic and productive way. Not doing elements in isolation but rather applying them all as appropriate to their learning. There is no better way to make them career and college ready than actually giving them assignments that mimic those that will happen in their lives.


Would you want to be judged by the mean of your experience or would you want people to know the depths and levels of your progress in specific places? Consider what "average" means before you sit down with your grade book to do report cards and ask yourself how meaningful it really is. Read on to understand why we MUST stop averaging student learning as a means of communication.


Start your new year with a new #oneword that will chart the course for the future. What will your #oneword be for 2016? Mine is metamorphosis.


What is your one big goal for this year? How will you accomplish it? Please share


What were your top moments of 2015? Please share; I'd love to celebrate with you


It's time to make change in education and we must start with assessment. Let's consider a change in the traditional grading system and empower students to focus on learning. Check out these 5 posts that suggest just how we can do that.


The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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