I am completing my seventh post in a row this morning. This in itself is a huge feat with the craziness of this past week. I just finished posting the last grade on my report cards and submitted them to the district site. I hate report cards, I really do.
I think trying to pigeonhole a student into a score, a letter and a bubble is ridiculous. Where can I talk about the struggles these students are facing? Maybe right now, it is just enough to get to school and be loved, to feel safe, and to step away from some serious stuff going on at home at the moment, never mind try and learn something. That C represents a miracle. And for others, who know how to manipulate the system, skate by without risking much, learning much, or contributing much to the learning discussions get a similar grade. They both could have that same bubble filled in, but each has an entirely different story. There is no room for student stories in this particular database.
I do, however, love creating, reading, and writing with my students. I learn a lot about a learner when we try something new, push to write deeper, and discuss fully. The current soundtrack project, for example, will receive a grade attached, but at the end of the day, who cares? I dutifully score work based on completion, but the measurement comes not from my assessment, but instead, both student and teacher reflection in studying the depth in which each student goes into selecting and producing their theme song. The success or failure of my students is not measured by points, but by the interactions, moments of collaboration, and the continual invitations to read and write together. It is measured in the revision that will occur with student input, and for me the amount of time I sit back and facilitate those discussions rather than direct them. When that one voice is heard, when a risk is taken, a brief glimpse into something more than the surface answer, there lies the learning and success. Documenting that is messy, and difficult, and important.
Here is a link to the project outline.
This next week I will be creating a narrative about this project in this digital space. I hope through pictures, reflections and student work we will begin this final trimester creating a portfolio of learning that will better reflect our journey together. I have tried several times to create this kind of space, most being epic failures. But we get up, we try again because I know in my heart there are better ways to reflect our learning than bubbles and scores. And so here’s to another chance to move forward and get it right.