"This is, like, your favorite game." One of my students said after I announced that we were going to play a game that I like to call "Are you smarter than Google Translate?" Pretty much every world language teacher dislikes our students using Google Translate, and each of us has our own way of discouraging … Continue reading Discouraging the use of Google Translate
One of the great things at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville is that, each year, teachers can meet as a book club to discuss a book about education, learning, and teaching. This year, I was happy to be a part of the book study of Ulrich Boser's Learn Better about the process of learning and what … Continue reading Ulrich Boser’s Learn Better
NPR: How TV Can Make Kids Better Readers New York Times on how to use marketing to convince children to eat vegetables Wired: How to apply game theory to parenting Mike Caulfield: "We have personalization [of learning] backwards" Catlin Tucker: "Invest in innovation [in teaching]" Catlin Tucker: Reasons to deliver content in the classroom as … Continue reading From the Inbox
This semester, I'm teaching more international students than I have in the past. Since some of them do not always have the best English, it raises a question: how do I grade their writing? How much do I focus on their ideas and how much do I focus on their ability to communicate their ideas and … Continue reading Grading English Language Learners’ Writing
A paper by any other name would be as formal, right? Apparently not. This semester, I assigned several brief writing assignments in my mythology and Roman archaeology classes. I called them "Exercises" so that they would not seems as stressful and help communicate that they should be brief. Instead, I think the word "Exercise" communicated that … Continue reading What is in a name?
So far this semester, I have graded students' brief writing assignments in two different classes. Both papers were grounded in describing an object. One paper asked students to describe a building and then identify what type of building it was (i.e. Roman temple), and the other paper explicitly asked students to compare a vase painting to events described … Continue reading Students’ papers as arguments
I keep coming back to this theme, partly because of my desire to help students' emotional health, partly because students' feelings about classes affect what they learn from those classes or how they apply their knowledge to their life, partly because students' emotions affect the classroom environment, and partly because students' emotions affect enrollment and … Continue reading How do we make students happier?
In continuation of my series of posts about helping students develop better emotional health and providing students with useful feedback (see standards-based grading, SE2R feedback, and commenting on students' writing), I wanted to explore rubrics. Even though they may not seem like the most exciting topic, they are not completely straightforward either. I list here … Continue reading Rubrics
The best kind of commentary enhances the writer's feeling of dignity. The worst kind can be experienced as dehumanizing and insulting--often to the bewilderment of the teacher, whose intentions were kindly but whose techniques ignored the personal dimension of writing. (Engaging Ideas, p. 317) With this comment, John Bean explains the importance of providing strong, … Continue reading Providing feedback on students’ writing
Feedback is crucial to learning. Students are reassured by acknowledgment of their progress and they need to know what to improve upon. Regular feedback is one of the most effective ways of improving a student's grade. Feedback can also be tricky. We need to motivate students to improve rather than burden them with a depressing, … Continue reading SE2R Narrative feedback method