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Friday, January 16, 2009

LA Curriculum Standardizing in High Schools (and maybe start times, too)

A frequent commenter to our blog, Dorothy, pointed out that the district is making plans to move towards a more common (or standardized) curriculum for high school LA. I believe that much of this movement is so that the district can be better able to see what is working and have common teacher development. I only heard about this from the RHS principal in the briefest of terms so I cannot say exactly what will happen. (Oddly, I asked if it included, for RHS, discussion over having AP classes in LA - which RHS currently doesn't have by department choice - and he said no.)

I know that the RHS LA department is not happy about it as they have developed their own method of delivering LA. I could say many things about it but I'll just say it's not a delivery that I particularly like. However, I will say that there are fine LA teachers at RHS. However, the LA department was able to develop this without much interference from administrators at RHS but now that the district is bearing down, I don't think they'll be able to continue as they have in the past.

I would like to see teachers able to choose their own literature selections (maybe within a common theme if that's what the district wants).

The RHS PTSA will be having members of the RHS LA department talking about their department and the future direction. We have invited the district's LA person, Kathleen Vasquez, to come as well to outline the district's vision. I'm not sure at this point if she will be coming but will update this thread when I do find out.

Our meetings are open so if you would like to come the meeting is at 7 p.m. in the Library on Wednesday the 21st. FYI, we have some updates from the principal and student body president before we start talking on our general topic. After that we usually have some general business discussion. (Also, we will be having a speaker at 6p.m. before the meeting talking about communicating and connecting with your teen. You are welcome at that talk as well.)

28 comments:

Dorothy Neville said...

Thanks for starting a thread, Mel.

So far everything is rumors, of course. What my 10th grader at RHS said was his LA teacher announced this yesterday and said they had just found out themselves. There are to be "common projects, common rubrics, common texts" and I think a fourth common, but I don't remember. She told the class that the LA dept is certainly open to the projects and rubrics part, but are most unhappy if there's no choice --- for the teacher or student --- for the texts. At Roosevelt, as well as GHS, I hear, there are a number of semester long electives in LA for 11th and 12th graders. I understand there is also a year long AP Lit at GHS but at RHS there are only the semester electives.

There are many things worthy of discussing here. I have found in the year and half my son has been at RHS, that the LA has been incredibly weak. I will limit myself to one example (for now :)).

Last year especially, my son's LA class spent a large percent of class time reading from anthologies. Then they would answer questions about the readings on paper, individually or in small group. What a waste of a professional teacher! It would have been just as effective to hire a study hall monitor. Why not give the reading as homework and then use the teacher's time more effectively with discussions getting more out of the reading? There are two reasons I can see. One is teacher complacency. Kids won't do homework anyway, why should they bother? (I reserve the right to suspect teacher laziness as well.) However, probably more important is that they don't have enough anthologies to send home!

Along the same lines, this year my son was assigned a compare/contrast paper between two characters. Well, they couldn't give them both books at the same time, so the first book, they had to take extensive notes, return the book before being given the second book, and then write their paper based on having just their notes from the first book. How frustrating is that? How can they possibly expect deeper analysis? Again, I suspect it's because they are all sharing books and don't have enough for all the classes.

So: Revamping LA is a great idea, but where will they get the money to purchase the necessary materials? Maybe this fact alone will keep the district from tightening the reins too closely on the choices of materials.

ParentofThree said...

Start looking at a program called "Writers Workshop" from Columbia University it's been placed in the K-8 grades throughout the district.I would guess they are looking to continue it.

Personally, I have not been impressed, does not teach research based writing, or even how to create an outline (like we learned). Lot's of personal narratives. Students evaluating other students papers. No more red-lined, marked up papers, from teachers. They said, kids don't learn that way. (boy I sure learned from havng my mistakes pointed out.)

Very touchy feely...Reminds me of Reform Math, but for LA.

Moose said...

The elementary school that my children attend was one of the pilots of the Columbia writing curriculum, and I could not (respectfully) disagree more with SPSMom's assessment.

Yes, students start with personal narratives, but move on to essay writing, realistic fiction, etc. I have to confess that I have not yet seen a research paper unit -- but I would hope to see that next year (before middle school).

Columbia has students go through a writer's workshop process -- brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing and publication. This is a time-tested and honored process for many writers. Further, rather than being stunted by the uber red-pen of correctness, students are encouraged to not only take risks in their writing, but to also to edit themselves and their peers. The teacher does help the students correct the work, but it is done collaboratively.

And done right, this curriculum has brought forth amazing, incredible, creative writing. I have been at the publication parties and have heard 4th graders deftly employing metaphors, sensory-rich language and alliteration in their writing. I have had one child go through elementary school before the Columbia curriculum came through, and the difference couldn't be more marked. Gone is the formulaic, leaden writing (i.e. "what I did over summer vacation") that was the hallmark of the previous writing curriculum.

uxolo said...

Some Garfield teachers use the Jane Schaffer method and it is fabulous. Fabulous teachers help make it that way.

As for Writer's Workshop, when a class has kids with a great range of expressive and receptive language skills, the more structured the instruction, the better. Writing instruction is dependent upon the teacher giving immediate meaningful feedback. Students who master one genre can move on to the next when it is a workshop format if the rubric is used faithfully. Workshops require good independent skills and good partnering skills and extra eyes to help with editing.

anonymous said...

I had the same exact reaction to writers workshop as SPS mom had. It is supposed to allow kids to write freely, and depply, and hopefully help them embrace a love or writing. It does not address conventions of writing, grammar, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, etc. And it doesn't teach a child HOW to write cohesively or fluently.

Teachers love it, my guess is because it's much less work for them. I repeatedly questioneded my sons teacher about him receiving a A+ grades for writing projects that he turned in that were well below his ability level, had many spelling errors, many gramatical errors, even missing the basics like capitol letters at the beginning of sentences and periods at the end of sentences. I was told the purpose of the program is to get kids used to writing and to love writing. The grammar and punctuation come in the upper grades. This was in 6th grade!!

It was one of the reasons on our list for leaving SPS for MS. It really is like the fuzzy math of LA

ParentofThree said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said...

" but to also to edit themselves and their peers."

How can they edit themselves and their peers if they have not been taught the conventions of writing, and are not required to use proper grammar, punctuation, etc?

ParentofThree said...

Moose, I was talking about how Writers Workshop is used in middle school. Sorry I didn't make that clear. And yes, Writer's Workshop is great for creative writing, not so great on research papers,(including how to research topics) outlines, siting references, grammar, etc.

seattle citizen said...

"Teachers love it, my guess is because it's much less work for them."
C'mon, Ad Hoc! That's just disrespectful of teachers, whatever the merits (or lack thereof) of Writer's Workshop.

Me, I think a good mix is in order: idea development that's FUN and creative, and some nuts-n-bolts mechanics etc.

If a student was tanking on the nuts-n-bolts, way behind, I hope that a teacher wouldn't gasp, then start shovelling grammar and punctucation down the poor schmoo's throat to the exclusion of the main tasks of thinking about and articulating ideas in some sensible order...

anonymous said...

Different people have different expectations. Some are happy with fuzzy, alternative, non traditional curriculums like Writers Workshop. Personally, I was very open to trying Writers Workshop, but it failed to win me over. I saw first hand the results of Writers Workshop on my child. I expect that when my children turn in a writing assignment they are not only encouraged to be creative, but they are held accountable to use propar grammar, spelling and punctuation. I want their teachers to teach them how to write fluently in addition to creatively. Unfortunately, that was not happening at his school. He was getting all of the creative, fun aspects, but none of the basic conventions. I think both creativity and the ability to write gramatically correct and fluently are equally important and I don't feel that writers workshop was a good balance, it was all about creative writing and did not address conventions in any way, shape or form. Perhaps this was just our school or teachers interpretation of the curriculum. Perhaps our experience was unique and it is much more successful in other schools. I open to hearing from other parents. And I guess I wouldn't have been so opposed to writers workshop being used the way it was at our school if it was supplemented by some type of traditionalused writing curriculum. My sons writing, though creative, was incoherent and a gramatical mess. I guess I'm a stickler, and much more traditional than I sometimes like to admit.

ParentofThree said...

My feeling is that the district goes "ga-ga" for a curriculum and forgets to read the fine print. Example, CMP2 the middle school math, in every MS, was never intended to be a standalone curriculum, rather a supplement. Yet SPS uses it as a standalone. In addition, they don't even implement the curriculum the way the publisher recommended. There is actually a set sequence for the books. SPS creates their own sequence, which is why for so many parents, CMP2 seems so "disconnected."

Now we have "Writers Workshop" from Columbia, They always make sure they tell you it's from Columbia, they tell you all those great stories about teachers visiting NYC and how the schools there are getting top scores, yet show you no data. I have looked for these results being touted.

WW has some strengths - but also has some glaring weaknesses. What I would like to hear, just once, "While Writers Workshop is a great program, it is not a comprehensive program, so teachers will teach basic English conventions as well as more formal writing in tandem with WW."

And I would be a very happy camper.

Dorothy Neville said...

Maybe folks would like another thread to discuss Writing in elementary and middle school? The issue here is LA in high school. In high school most of the essays are expository. At this point students need mastery of essay writing skills that are used in other classes for research papers. They review and reinforce grammar. They study vocabulary (SAT words).

The students also read a variety of fiction, drama, essays and other genres for analysis and discussion.

At RHS, my son has read a variety of books in LA, including "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" and "To Kill a Mockingbird." Next semester the schedule includes "The Crucible." Not a bad selection.

My complaints are that the level of discussion on the books is weak and the writing instruction and writing feedback are weak. So far, the only feedback on the quality of his writing has come from classmates, (the ubiquitous peer review) many of which do not take it seriously. The rubrics are typically checklists, does the paper have all the required elements, were the directions followed with respect to the type of folder, the design on the title page... Not the quality of the writing.

We do not know yet what the district wants. It could be fairly scripted: in April of 9th grade every LA class reads "Romeo and Juliet" and every teacher leads discussions on precisely the same themes found within the book. Or it could be fairly broad: Fall Semester 10th grade, students read a variety of memoirs and write one. The teacher can choose texts from a long list of approved texts.

We do not know and as far as I know, the teachers do not yet know. We all know that Dr GJ has wanted more alignment, we parents have asked for some more uniformity at the comprehensive HS level. With assignment plan underway this will be more important. Some level of alignment and uniformity is wise and helpful.

The question is: who helps to create the alignment, choose the themes, the rubrics, the texts? District staff? Teachers? Parents, Students, recent alums? Doesn't this sort of feel like it came out of left field? Perhaps a team of teachers and a few parents have been working with the district to plan something, but has anyone heard of that happening?

anonymous said...

Wow, Dorothy, your description of HS English in SPS, sounds exactly like what my son is doing in MS in Shoreline. I guess they are doing a good job of getting him prepared for what's to come....

Thanks for sharing.

anonymous said...

I should add the only difference, is that his writing is not reviewed by peers, but rather, graded by the teacher, red pen and all!

Momma Snark said...

As a high school English teacher who models my writing instruction on Writer’s Workshop and has led teacher workshops in this method, I feel compelled to address a few of the issues being raised here.

Writer’s Workshop can – and in my opinion, should – address all aspects of writing, from ideas to conventions. The idea is to look at actual published works of literature as models of both what to write and how to write it, which includes using grammar (either “correctly” or “stylistically”). If teachers are avoiding including grammar/conventions instruction in their regular “mini lessons” (another component of WW), then it is because they are choosing to do so on their own.

Research has shown, time and time again, that teaching grammar out of “context” (meaning, separately from what students are actually writing/publishing) is largely futile. Students can plow through reams of worksheets on comma usage, for example, and still fail to recognize a comma splice in their own writing. This is where peer editing can actually improve a student’s ability to understand and apply conventions; if she can recognize an “error” in a peer’s work, she is more likely to find such an error in her own writing. If the teacher marks (or, worse, corrects) every grammatical error on a student’s paper, he is only demonstrating what a great editor he is. The student, on the other hand, is not likely to internalize all the corrections and grammatical rules behind them.

Finally, the idea that the WW model is “easier” for teachers is laughable. This type of teaching requires that the teacher be incredibly tuned in to the different needs, strengths, and interests of each student. It requires a high level of organization on the teacher’s part in order to track where students are and where they need to be. It demands thoughtful scaffolding and careful modeling to help students peer edit effectively. Overall, the teacher has to do an absurd amount of work to make WW truly effective. But in my opinion, it is the ONLY way to teach writing. It mirrors the “real world” writing and publishing process, and allows for true differentiation in the classroom (which of course is crucial in the large, diverse classrooms of many public schools). I can only hope that my son is exposed to this type of instruction when he begins public schools next year.

anonymous said...

Mama snark, can you break down for me how the correction process works? How the teaching of grammar, punctuation, conventions actually works in conjunction with WW?

When a child turns in a paper that is a gramatical mess, is hard to read and follow, has multiple spelling errors, etc, what happens? Often the peer reviewer doesn't even recognize the errors. What is the teachers responisibility at this point? How does the teacher address the errors, and well, teach the student?

Apparantly nobody was catching my sons errors? Not the peer reviewer, not the teacher. He received many A+ based his willingness to participate and his creativity, not on the quality of his writing. Meanwhile his writing got worse and worse, grammar got sloppy, he didn't care about spelling errors....and worst of all when we'd ask him to correct his spelling errors, etc, he'd say "why should I fix it, the teacher doesn't grade for that. She doesn't even care about it" Kids are smart, and they know that if nobody is holding them accountable that they don't have to be accountable.

As I said perhaps it was just our school, or this particular teacher I am curious to hear how mama snark used WW effectively?

anonymous said...

Mama snark, can you break down for me how the correction process works? How the teaching of grammar, punctuation, conventions actually works in conjunction with WW?

When a child turns in a paper that is a gramatical mess, is hard to read and follow, has multiple spelling errors, etc, what happens? Often the peer reviewer doesn't even recognize the errors. What is the teachers responisibility at this point? How does the teacher address the errors, and well, teach the student?

Apparantly nobody was catching my sons errors? Not the peer reviewer, not the teacher. He received many A+ based his willingness to participate and his creativity, not on the quality of his writing. Meanwhile his writing got worse and worse, grammar got sloppy, he didn't care about spelling errors....and worst of all when we'd ask him to correct his spelling errors, etc, he'd say "why should I fix it, the teacher doesn't grade for that. She doesn't even care about it" Kids are smart, and they know that if nobody is holding them accountable that they don't have to be accountable.

As I said perhaps it was just our school, or this particular teacher I am curious to hear how mama snark used WW effectively?

hschinske said...

Could we have a new thread on Writers' Workshop and so forth? I would like to comment on that topic, but feel the real subject of this thread is being derailed, and both subjects merit proper attention. Thanks.

Helen Schinske

Maureen said...

But Helen, I just found a way of tying the topics together :)!

I have held off on posting on this subject because I'm quite happy about how my 5th grader is being taught writing, but I wasn't sure if it had anything to do with Writer's Workshop. Given Momma Snarks post, it seems to me that her teachers have done a good job of implementing WW (partner edits and all) and supplementing with 'applied' writing in science and social studies (citing sources etc). Their school has worked at aligning the writing curriculum (K-8) for years, but it seems to me that WW has added a level of coherence (and excitement--posting writing in the halls for example) that we didn't have before. We're also fortunate to have "Writer's in the Schools" come in and work with the kids (paid for by fundraising). That gives them another way (poetry in 5th grade now)to learn conventions and exercise creativity.

As far as RHS LA. I feel like my son has been lucky--his 9th grade teacher seems able to differentiate fairly well and while the rubrics are checklists that put quite a bit of emphasis on mechanics, I'm glad that they are laid out so clearly. More importantly he is an engaging teacher who motivates my kid to do a good job on his work. No matter how SPS designs the curriculum, this is something they will not be able to standardize.

I guess I'm saying that SPS can standardize curricula as much as they want--Some teachers will find a way to make it engaging and supplement it where it is weak, others won't. I am afraid that it could create an upper limit on how much a teacher can do--as with Everyday Math--there are only so many hours in a week and if teachers are expected to cover a certain number of pages in that time, they will not be able to supplement or differentiate well.

It is odd that the HS math curriculum has had so much 'press' and this LA thing is just sliding in quietly. How is that possible?

Also, what's this about standarizing start times? Later, not earlier, I hope?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, later start times are likely to be something like 8:15 am. It is my understanding that the district wants this for both middle and high school. Changing bell times was referenced a couple of times during closure discussions without specifics but I was told by my principal that the district is looking at this to try to streamline transportation.

Unknown said...

At this point the 'alignment' is not actually an alignment but a patchwork of 'nationally recognized' programs that has no uniformity across the district. Any school with an excuse or the money to enforce an excuse such as teaching IB or AP or winning national recognition will be exempt from the standarization. At this point the only schools that lack these compelling (though not justifiable) excuses for this 'alignment' are the South End schools. They are already embroiled in the disaster that is SpringBoard which was initially billed as a comprehensive program and is now labeled a supplementary program for the same reasons as others are unhappy with WW. What SPS is not providing the space for is for English teachers to vet a curriculum as the Math teachers are currently doing. What is needed now is transparency, parental involvement, and a clear focus on students rather than the cachet of spending near-extinct school dollars on pathetic workbooks and gimmicks. Of course, this is still in the planning stages and items and status can change but without knowing what the Student Assignment Plan will actually look like or changes in leadership after all these closures/layoffs this isn't set in stone. What boggles me the most is this obsession with 'nationally recognized' curricula. What is good for say...Charlotte isn't the same solution for Seattle. We need to quanitfy what our students need, what our parents want, and what is most prudent for the district to do while eschewing the vanity, pride, and 'solution at any cost' mentality that is so pervasive right now.

Momma Snark said...

Theo says: "They are already embroiled in the disaster that is SpringBoard which was initially billed as a comprehensive program and is now labeled a supplementary program for the same reasons as others are unhappy with WW."

I am not familiar with SpringBoard. What is this program, and why exactly are some unhappy with it?

"What is needed now is transparency, parental involvement, and a clear focus on students rather than the cachet of spending near-extinct school dollars on pathetic workbooks and gimmicks."

Absolutely. I'm not trying to sell WW here, but I will say that the concept need not cost the district any "extra" dollars. No workbooks or gimmicks are necessary with this method, just 1) quality models (from picture books by Cynthia Rylant for lower grades to a novel like To Kill a Mockingbird for high school), 2) a teacher who is willing and able to talk about what makes writing "good," and 3) students who are willing to write, gather feedback, and rewrite with the goals of "good writing" in mind.

Momma Snark said...

Adhoc: you asked how the "correction process" works with WW.

I can't speak for other teachers, but this is how I deal with this issue:

1) I teach grammar in the context of what is happening in class. This means that I teach (via direct instruction) and have my students practice a specific type of punctuation for a specific purpose based on what we are reading (if a writers is using a lot of dashes or semicolons, for example), or what I am seeing in the students' work. Obviously, if a particular student is having trouble with a particular grammatical rule, I will have a conversation with that student. What I mean by "practice" here is actually applying the punctuation rule in one's own writing, NOT completing worksheets, etc. Or we might all stop everything and edit each other's papers ONLY for comma splices or run-ons or misused semi colons.

2)When I teach a particular convention to my students, I emphasize why this convention exists and how it affects the message and meaning of the writing itself. Obviously, most published fiction writers employ run-ons, fragments, and other grammatical "errors" - but nobody cries foul here! I want my students to understand the rules, but also know when and why they can be "broken."

3) When I am grading a student's paper, I circle areas that need attention but I do NOT correct errors. As I said before, this just demonstrates my prowess as an editor and does not force the student to consider and correct the error on his own. My students are always encouraged (and sometimes required) to revise their papers for a better grade. That way, my comments and questions can actually lead to learning and better writing , and my students (hopefully) don't just skim past them to see what grade they earned.

4) I consider conventions to be an important part of writing, but not the ONLY part. That means that I comment on and assess all aspects of my students' writing, from ideas to sentence fluency. While it is often difficult for students to write grammatically "perfect" papers, I would argue that it is even more challenging - and more important - that they be able to organize their thinking, articulate and support their arguments, and choose their words with care. Finally, it is far easier to use spell check or have someone edit your writing for grammatical errors than it is to have someone "fix" your cloudy logic or make your sentences flow more gracefully.

Again, I'm not trying to downplay grammar or make excuses, but I feel like this is an area parents (and many teachers) can too easily focus on to the exclusion of everything else.

Dorothy Neville said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dorothy Neville said...

"Again, I'm not trying to downplay grammar or make excuses, but I feel like this is an area parents (and many teachers) can too easily focus on to the exclusion of everything else"

Thank you Momma Snark for the clarification. Coincidentally, I started an email conversation with my son's LA teacher because I am disappointed that she (and likewise his LA9 teacher) have *never* put any emphasis on quality of writing, only on conventions and mechanics. My son's got the conventions down pat. I suspect he knows how to use a semi-colon better than I do. He has a good vocabulary and excellent sentence skills. But has never ever had a teacher who has gone beyond that to improve his overall paragraph and organization skills. What prompted my email is that his last paper was, in my opinion, stunk. Partly because it's poorly organized (and he is starting to check-out and not care) and partly because part of the rubric was to have "six blended quotes" and putting them in made his writing artificial.

Not to slam this poor teacher too much. She's been gracious and open with replying and mentioned that because LA10 is new this year (they revised it to align with AP HG) the project was new and kids were stumbling a bit. She sees where she can improve it. Then the snow days really interfered with plans to do related instruction. (Something I hadn't considered. HS classes that pretty much schedule themselves with projects and semesters get slammed with snow days in one semester and make-up days in the other.)

Peer review: The only reviews for quality of writing my son has gotten in three semesters of high school have been peer review. He's been told by his peers that they don't understand his vocabulary, he's been told that his writing is fine, he's been "reviewed" by peers who admitted to him that they hadn't finished the book themselves, he's been told that they can't understand his handwriting (an in-class assignment) and thus got 1/7 points. The teacher agreed that his handwriting was bad, but did move the score up to 3/7. Yes *peer review scores are part of your grade!*

As for revisions, they were accepted (with a specific due date) but they were considered "late work" and thus receive the 35% late penalty.

So yes, I am frustrated with this particular class and with my son's RHS LA experience so far. I'm reminded how Charlie writes about his daughter and math. Years of neglectful and substandard curriculum and she's not very fluent and does not like it -- a preventable loss. I feel that way about my son and writing.

Back to the bigger picture. As you can tell, I am very curious about this edict from above to change things. These "common project, common rubrics" concern me. They could be great, they could be horrible.

Mel's comment that a reason she was given was that this would simplify professional development worries me. That could be code for saying that they want a packaged curriculum, along what Theo is suggesting. Otherwise, why couldn't professional development be something inspiring and helpful to all HS LA teachers using a variety of materials?

Math adoption has dragged on and was, as Charlie pointed out, an element of the latest Strategic Plan. I wrote to Karen Kodama and got the same response Charlie did. The December Strategic Plan update (Charlie linked the slides) has nothing to say about overall k-12 math alignment, but says that HS math adoption will be announced for vetting in March and voted on by the Board in April. I have written the board complaining about the short amount of time. I suspect the staff considers the board will rubber stamp it anyway.

So here we have possibly big changes to LA. Where's the stakeholder engagement? Where's the timeline for vetting and board action? Why is it that the only public announcement and explanation that we know of is at a PTSA meeting, with the parent PTSA volunteers being the ones to invite the district?

Momma Snark said...

Dorothy -

"As for revisions, they were accepted (with a specific due date) but they were considered "late work" and thus receive the 35% late penalty."

I don't understand this. Why would a student be motivated to revise a piece of writing for greater clarity and effect if she knew she would be penalized? Revision is the ONLY way students will take feedback seriously (whether from a peer or teacher), and it is absolutely a part of "real world" writing.

"Common project, common rubrics" scare me too. If the suggestion is that every ninth grade teacher in the district must teach ONLY a specific list of texts or certain types of writing with specific prompts, then I have to wonder why the district even care who is teaching their classes. This type of standardization completely undermines the primary value of a teacher, which is his or her knowledge of the students' interests, strengths, and weaknesses.

I understand and support curriculum mapping, which should outline what we expect our students to know and be able to do by the end of each year. But aren't we already pretty clear on these goals, given the EALR's? Don't the EALR's clarify what types of writing we want our students to produce, and the criteria by which these pieces should be assessed?

Dorothy Neville said...

Dorothy: "As for revisions, they were accepted (with a specific due date) but they were considered "late work" and thus receive the 35% late penalty."

MommaSnark: I don't understand this. Why would a student be motivated to revise a piece of writing for greater clarity and effect if she knew she would be penalized? Revision is the ONLY way students will take feedback seriously (whether from a peer or teacher), and it is absolutely a part of "real world" writing.

------
Well, to be clear, one would *not* be revising for clarity or effect because there is no rubric that gives points for clarity. And of course the issue of clarity has never even been addressed. One would be revising to fix grammar errors, supply a missing title, add or modify the bibliography, fix other such mistakes.

So if each part of the rubric is worth 5 points, the points one receives first time through remain, but each part of the rubric one addresses in "revision phase" only gets awarded 65% of five points.

My son's doing OK, he'll survive. But what about a struggling student? Seems kinda harsh and unhelpful.

I suspect you have a different grading philosophy that goes along with a different teaching philosophy.

Unknown said...

Momma Snark "I am not familiar with SpringBoard. What is this program, and why exactly are some unhappy with it?"


SpringBoard is a canned curriculum packaged and sold by the CollegeBoard as full years of Language Arts for grades 6-12. I object on three major points 1) It is not reading intensive at the freshman level they read only Romeo and Juliet and the rest is short passages 2) It is not writing intensive at all and 3) It does nothing to prepare students or engage students in higher order thinking. The system is based on workbooks that you have to buy every year for every student plus other consumables like DVDs if the video snippets change. It's a cash cow for the CollegeBoard and frankly for the few people who are getting paid a lot of money to implement the program...who have never taught the program or potentially Language Arts at all. I'd much rather see more novels, plays, and poetry at every grade level than workbooks. When I taught it the students felt condescended to that they had to get workbooks rather than real novels. I know SPS wants to roll this out to every school in the district and I have a feeling that there will be some equity issues in that rollout. I also hope that SPS comes to their senses and stops frittering away our scarce resources and concentrates on proven methods of rigorous instruction from high quality teachers.