Now’s the Time For You to Shine

Summer sat across from me, apologizing. “I had to change my goals a little.”

I smiled, delighted to hear that she had been reflecting on her goals, and urged her to continue talking.

“I had intended to write a short story and work on character development,” Summer continued, “But I decided to focus more on my poetry. I have new goals I would like to share with you today, though.”

I had been watching Summer’s skills develop all semester, and I knew that she had found a home in poetry, specifically slam poetry. She had designed three goals for her own learning for the fourth quarter and had to abandon them all, which allowed her to focus on more applicable goals in her poetry.

What I enjoyed most of all about this conversation was that Summer was the one making epiphanies about her learning. She and I had conferenced many times about her poetry and her other projects, but it was in this conference where she understood the direction her learning needed to take her for the remainder of the year. The power of the conference and continued questions allowed Summer to understand what she most needed.

I teach high school English at Waunakee High School, in Waunakee, Wisconsin, and I’m excited to be moderating our Twitter chat this Sunday, July 17, 2017, 9–10 p.m. EDT, examining the whys, the hows, and the whats of going gradeless. I’m joined by Adam Lester, who teaches English at Batavia High School, in Batavia, Illinois. Our topic for this Sunday’s chat is Portfolios and Conferences, investigating the role of empowering students through conferencing and self-reflection to build portfolios in the gradeless classroom.

Please check out our introductory video below and skim through the questions in the infographic. I hope you will join us as we shine a light on the topic of going gradeless.

How have you empowered students through portfolios and conferences in your classroom

Sound off in the comments below. And please share this so more people get to see this.

Teachers Going Gradeless is a global group of educators convinced that teaching and learning are better when we grade less. Find us on Facebook!

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