Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Documenting Learning

Learning is my passion. Many things about the schooling process are important to parents. Parents are trained from daycare or preschool by the schools to care about grades and behavior, as well as, activities and field trips.  But, my passion is learning. We need to activate our parents concern for the actual academic learning taking place in each classroom, particularly in middle school and high school.

More importantly, as educators, we need to retrain ourselves to document learning, and to talk about the actual learning.  Preschool programs such as Montessori and Reggio Emilia are meticulous about documenting learning. MS and HS teachers are meticulous about grading.  Is SBG the answer
(look to @drjolly and @garnet_hilman)? Perhaps. Even if a school uses a standard grading scale with mandatory weighting, grades are still subjective. As teachers we also need to hold students accountable for documenting their own learning. Are student-led conferences the answer? Perhaps. Could Interactive Notebooking become part of the process for students (thanks @acaciatc), perhaps.  Are portfolios the way to go? Perhaps. Retraining teachers, students, and parents to question the learning, rather than the grade or the behavior is a noble starting goal.

Thankfully, teachers across the US are implementing the Common Core Standards. These common standards will help teachers begin to see beyond the scope of their own communities. Educators can learn best practices from each other for documenting and sharing learning. Some schools began implementing SBG many years ago.

I am passionate about learning. Please do share the ways that your community documents learning in your middle schools and high schools.

Suzanne Rogers, M.Ed.

Resources for learning how to document learning.
Reggio Emilia
Interactive Student Notebooks