I want to examine a few ideas from this week’s reading – a quick google tells me that I’m not original in my invention of “Textcerpt.” Gene Wintner beat me to the punch.
Student-Parent Conferences sound great, but the text’s description rang young. I have trouble imagining what they would look like in high school. This is almost certainly confirmation bias – I can’t picture it working because I’ve never seen it. All I need is someone who has been there, or someone with a better imagination, to point me in the right direction. Collaboration ftw, as the kids say*.
Teacher Office Hours are held by almost every professor, but I’ve never known a public school teacher to do so. I’m thinking less of students, and more of parents. Start of the year, “Dear Parents, I’ll be at the school every Thursday until 7PM if you want to come in and chat.” A good idea? A useless drain on my resources?
“Being a Mathematician” as a criteria, worth 40% of your grade. How does that feel in your gut? Does it give you a visceral reaction? I’ve been thinking on it for a week, and the more I do, the happier I get. It would need refinement, clarification, criteria, probably a rubric, and sample pieces of evidence. But according to Paul Lockhart,
“Many a graduate student has come to grief when they discover, after a decade of being told they were “good at math,” that in fact they have no real mathematical talent and are just very good at following directions. Math is not about following directions, it’s about making new directions.” (p. 6)
What better solution than charging students, in a math classroom, to behave like a mathematician? It also puts a huge focus on the four goals of mathematics in Saskatchewan (Number Sense, Logical Thinking, Spacial Sense, Mathematics as a Human Endeavour).
Weighting Evidence is a frequent concern. Assignments are potentially fully cooperative, even if individual copies are handed in. Projects are individual, but with lots of available supports. Tests are very individual. I think that’s how we’ve traditionally, assigned weight to different pieces of evidence – the more help you might have had, the less it’s worth. If we’re sure you did it alone, give it a heavy weight. Extremely different from, you know, real life. Outside of school, you’re praised for accomplishing tasks. More difficulty, more praise. Often, more collaboration, more praise.
Final Note: The incomplete assignment form from The Problem with Penalties? I love it, love it, love it. I plan to play with it, and use it.
* No kids say this.