Tag Archives: speaking and listening

No Excuses!

How do you manage missing or incomplete homework?

I have a simple system for my Resource Room that puts the accountability on the students.

When students come in and don’t have their work, they immediately fill out a “No Excuses” slip. HW No Excuses

I put these simple papers in a small box next to the homework tray. I then hang onto these slips until they turn their homework in.

For documentation, I write a comment in Progress Book. I quote their exact words. “I couldn’t do it because I had to clean my room.” “I had a concert.” “I forgot.” This communicates the issue to the parents and serves as a record I can pull up any time to show a student.

Very rarely do I need to say, “Go fill out a slip.” They just know.

I also don’t usually have to go looking for the homework the next day. The accountability is there.

Just a brief side note on how I grade homework.  There is always a lot of debate about how to grade homework.  Our building has yet to come to a consensus on the issue.

Each nine weeks, I keep track of all the homework assignments; a simple check mark or missing circle system on a printed roster works for me.

At the end of the 9 weeks, I figure out how many assignments were assigned and completed I give a grade out of 10 points based on their percentage. (For example, 11 out of 12 assignments completed would be a 9.2)

I label this grade as a “Speaking and Listening” grade.  Look at some of these “I Can” statements for SL.7.1 of the CC:

I can effectively participate in one-on-one, group, and teacher-led discussions. [SL.7.1]

I can discuss my own ideas clearly in a discussion. [SL.7.1]

I can build on the ideas of others in a discussion. [SL.7.1]

I can refer to evidence discussion. [SL.7.1]

I can prepare for discussions by reading and researching class materials beforehand.[SL.7.1]

I can follow established guidelines for class discussions. [SL.7.1]

I can participate in conversations by posing and responding to questions and making relevant comments that keep the discussion on topic. [SL.7.1]

I can acknowledge new ideas introduced in a discussion or collaborative activity. [SL.7.1]

I can modify my views if presented with a new perspective. [SL.7.1]

I feel like this 10 point grade at the end of the nine weeks is justified in terms of grading completed homework. Students must be prepared for class discussion, and that means homework should be completed.

 

What procedures do your students follow for turning in homework (late or not?)

What is your philosophy about grading homework?

Does my grading philosophy make sense? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Preparation is Key

Last week we spent a lot of time talking about the discussion we will have with the author of our book when he comes to visit us. Haven’t heard about that YET??? Click here for more details.

For Wednesday’s Bell Ringer the directions on the SMART board said:

Rick Niece will be here in exactly one week.  Write down three appropriate questions you might ask him while he is here.

Of course, many students asked if they could write more than three.

Of course, I said yes.

With this visit, I have three particular learning targets:

  1. I can prepare for and plan for a class discussion.  I can follow agreed-upon rules for class discussions.  I can ask questions to respond to others.
  2. I can use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  3. I can adapt my speech to a variety of tasks and contexts. I can demonstrate a command of formal English when appropriate.

After they had time to write their questions, I collected them all, mixed them up, and randomly read them.  I had the students evaluate each question and determine if it would be a good question or not, and explain why.

Here is a sampling of the questions from my 7th graders:

Have you ever written any other books before?
Do you go see Bernie Jones a lot?
Do you have any kids?
Was Side-Yard SuperHero your first book?
How many states have you traveled to?
Is there a movie for this book…or do you think there will be someday?
Did you enjoy going to Ohio State University?
How long did it take you to write this book?
Did you read this book to Bernie Jones?
What year did you meet Bernie?

My 8th graders had similar questions:

Are you married? 
Do you miss Duke and Fern?
Why did they make the parking lot bigger for the box factory?
Do you ever miss your hometown?
Have you ever written any other books?
How did you feel when you said all your goodbyes on the paper route?
Have you ever been back to DeGraff?
How did you feel when Joyce broke up with you?
Do you have any kids? If so, have you ever told them about Bernie?
Do you inspire others to help people and be friends with them?
Did you want to take Bernie with you?
Do you wish you still lived in DeGraff?
Is Bernie still alive? If he is, do you still talk to him?
Can I get an autograph?
Did you become a teacher like Mr. Bethel told you to?
How did you remember all of these details?
Are you still in contact with people?
Have you visited with anyone from the book?

Many of the questions we could already answer based on our reading, which students were quick to point out.

Other students answered the questions themselves.  For example, when I read, “Did you become a teacher like Mr. Bethel told you to?”  One 7th grader said, “I already know he did. I googled him!” :::::::Insert heart swell:::::::

I am so glad we did this prior to the visit.  I feel like the preparation will be well worth it and we can easily fill the time with no awkward silence.

If not, we do have a back-up question.

One of my boys wrote, “What is your favorite color?”

The whole class sort of groaned, but one excited girl piped up,”Wait! Put it in the emergency pile….in case we run out of things to ask him!”

 

%d bloggers like this: