As a public educator, I aim to share my story with those interested about what really happens inside today's classroom. I hope my stories inspire, educate, and entertain you, as the calling of teaching is never neat or predictable. Please note that my blog content does not necessarily reflect the viewpoints or beliefs of my school district or colleagues.
Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
Photo courtesy of DiscoveryEducation.com
Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown
My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.
"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather
Monday, May 23, 2011
We heart writing rubrics!
The following is an excerpt from a recent colleague's response to the aforementioned article on the importance of ongoing feedback for students. As an English teacher, I am a firm believer in rubrics to provide clarity of instruction, clear expectations for students, and an objective, fair way to assess student writing. Read on!
After reading "Feed Up, Back, Forward" (Fisher, Frey 2009), I am reminded of the importance of rubrics for English instruction. Rubrics are often used to evaluate student writing for content and mechanics, but rubrics can be great evaluative tools for much of my instruction. When I present students with a rubric for an assignment--a writing assignment or an oral presentation, etc.-- they receive the "feed up;" a clear purpose for the assignment given. They receive clear "feedback" when I note student strengths and weaknesses on the rubric. Finally, rubrics are excellent markers for me to learn to modify instruction. Reading Fisher and Frey's piece reminded me of the importance of using rubrics regularly in English language assignments. In Reynold's article, "Why Every Student Needs Critical Friends" (2009), I am a bit more cautious before folding Reynold's ideas into my evaluative process. While a peer critique can be an effective tool and in a mature class room in which mutual respect and participatory buy-in exists for students, such a tool should be used with caution and care in a seventh grade class. The diverse maturity levels of students in seventh grade classroom requires that a teacher firmly and kindly leads the group and provides expert feedback through rubrics from which students can learn. At the seventh grade level peer critiques should be guided with teacher demonstration and modeling so that students at this age group can begin to learn the importance of peer critiques. In middle school peer critiques should be used as “practice” evaluative tools between students; this “practice” peer critique should prepare students for when they can maturely, objectively and critically evaluate each other when they are a bit older--in high school, for example.