20 Years Gradeless: Having My Cake and Eating It Too

The divide between teaching and learning and traditional assessment is real. Many of us think about the relationships we could develop and the authentic learning students could engage in if only we removed could grades. I'm here to tell you how the gradeless classroom can be more than an "if only..." fantasy. Instead of being … Continue reading 20 Years Gradeless: Having My Cake and Eating It Too

Now’s the Time to Hit the Road

Well, our first #TG2chat is in the books, and it was pretty incredible. The following GIF sums up my attempt at keeping up with the lighting pace.   A big thanks to my Teachers Going Gradeless cofounder, Aaron Blackwelder, for his expert moderating, and thanks to the many participants who brought a wealth of wisdom and … Continue reading Now’s the Time to Hit the Road

Using Self-assessment Letters for a Conversational Evaluation

Breaking the monopoly of evaluation In the interest of supporting the autonomy of our students, we should seek every opportunity to place students "behind the wheel" of their own learning (see Ike Shibley's "Putting Students in the Driver Seat"). This issue becomes particularly sensitive when it comes to evaluation. We know what a powerful learning … Continue reading Using Self-assessment Letters for a Conversational Evaluation

Beyond Mandates and Measurement: Lessons from Genocidal Education

In 2005, after my first year teaching junior high English, Illinois passed a mandate to expand the required Holocaust unit to include other acts of genocide. Like most new teachers, I turned to colleagues for help, but found very few knew much about genocide beyond the Holocaust. So I began seeking genocide literature appropriate for junior … Continue reading Beyond Mandates and Measurement: Lessons from Genocidal Education

The Importance of PLNs

Change. Growth. Learning. Three short but complicated words. These intangibles are important to instill in students, and yet, in the day-to-day reality of work, teachers often neglect a need for continual professional growth. And as the years go by, it gets easier to become stubborn and set in one's ways. Change is hard. As teachers push … Continue reading The Importance of PLNs

To Change Everything While Changing Nothing: Going Gradeless

This is the first in a series of posts exploring teaching and learning in the de-graded and de-tested language arts classroom. The first thing I tell teachers about removing grades is that it changes everything while simultaneously changing nothing. Students still come to class, complete assignments, and receive feedback. Hyper-students, kids who have successfully mastered … Continue reading To Change Everything While Changing Nothing: Going Gradeless

The Child Behind the Grade

Teachers don’t generally like to come down to the office. In fact, most people (even as adults!) still have negative feelings about seeing the principal. They believe when they are in that space that they are ‘in trouble.’ This is a large reason why I like to engage with students and staff in their spaces … Continue reading The Child Behind the Grade