Thursday, June 25, 2015

Learn Like a Pirate~Chapter 4

It's week 4 of the Learn Like a Pirate book study with The Primary Gal!

Chapter 4 is about improvement focus v. grade focus.

This is something I've been thinking a lot about recently, as I believe students need to make individual growth and improvement to be successful, not meet a blanket proficiency statement, so this chapter really resonated with me!

Too often, I see my students striving for that "A" on the test, but not remembering what they learned a week or a few months later, or not even caring about what they get.

We need to shift the focus of our students from the grades they receive to how they can improve themselves.
Some students will get paid for getting good grades (which I don't agree with), and others will be grounded for their grades (which I also don't agree with).

If there is a 'grade' problem, we should be working towards how we can improve upon that for the student!

Paul shows us that we can do this by giving feedback.

Feedback shouldn't be limited to teachers-some of the most meaningful feedback will come from peers!
Of course, we want the students to be able to see their growth, and how feedback has impacted their work.

Instead of having piles of papers on your desks-create a set of portfolios!

I've had writing portfolios for a few years, and I love seeing the changes in their writing from beginning to end.

Paul suggests having an ePortfolio-having it all online!

He does it through a blog (KidBlog, Blogger, etc. ) which has the ability for students to comment on each others work, but I think you could also do it through Evernote, (although that might be more teacher focused for data-see how I use it here!) or Seesaw would be another great option-and what I'll be attempting to use with my class this year (and I've already set up my class list for next year-I'm that excited)! I wrote more about it here.

Paper portfolios would work as well if you don't have the tech needed for ePortfolios. Our 5th grade has the students store all their work in a binder-that way, they can see the changes from the beginning of the trimester to the end.

I will definitely be focusing more on how students can improve-after all, the only person they're trying to beat is themselves. By constantly striving to do better, they won't be as dependent on the money of privileges they could earn for doing 'well'.

They'll be learning that you can always be better at something, and constantly reflecting on how to make that happen-which will (hopefully!) make them great members of society who work hard because they know it feels good.

Smiles and Sunshine,

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