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I am a student at the University of South Alabama, College of Education. My husband Brian and I have been married since 2004, and in 2010 welcomed our son Deigan. I also work full-time as the Marketing Specialist for a local Real Estate company.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My Thoughts on the "Live the Conversation" Blog by Becky Georend...

Becky Georend is a 6th grade, Development and Communications teacher from Waukee, Iowa. She is also the author of the "Live the Conversation" Blog. I recently had the opportunity to read a few posts from her blog and here are my thoughts...

Turning it over to them - Success in the making!

“Too much social, not enough learning” is a common problem that many teachers deal with, including Mrs. Georend. To help solve the problem, she came up with a way to make the class accountable for their own actions. Here’s what she did:

  • First, she had the class help to identify the main areas of struggle – care and respect towards others, tasks and voice level.

  • Next, the class participated in creating a rubric to score their behaviors.

  • They then identified 3 key times in the day when students struggled the most.

  • And finally, two students were chosen daily to assess the class during the “struggle” times and report their assessments to the class.

sometimes the struggle, is what makes success even sweeter
And the end of the first week, Mrs. Georend compiled the data to have a starting point so the class could determine their goal. The class scored 65/144 which was below 50%. They decided that 50% would be their goal for the next week. And at the end of that week, the scores showed that the classroom behavior had improved to 78/144 - 54%!

Mrs. Georend admits there are still areas of struggle, however, the classes behavior overall has improved. With students assessing each other, they receive an honest reflection about their behavior. When faced with judgment by their peers, students typically behave better. Turning the responsibility over to the students makes them accountable for their own actions and a sense of responsibility also helps to build valuable self-esteem.

“Flipping the responsibility” is a great way to get students involved and tackles classroom behavior issues at the same time. I particularly like the idea of letting the class set their own goal. That way, they have no one but themselves to blame for not reaching the goal. I really like this idea and it is definitely something I would like to someday incorporate in my own classroom.

My Comment:
What a great idea! I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama, College of Education" and I plan to use a similar technique in my classroom. Such a cool way to get the students involved and held accountable for their actions.

The Checklist

In college, rubrics are an educational standard in many classes. At times, rubrics can be tricky, even for a college student; so I can imagine the confusing and frustration younger students may feel. For her 6th grade students, Mrs. Georend came up with a great way to eliminate those fears by creating various checklists for her students to use with writing assignments. In her blog, "The Checklist" Mrs. Georend describes how she held "mini-sessions" with her students and referenced mentor text to assist them in creating the checklists.

self assessment checklist
For their first writing assignment, which was a Personal Narrative, Mrs. Georend used the checklist instead of a rubric to assess her student’s pieces. Unfortunately, the checklist didn't help to produce the quality writing she had hoped for. So for their next writing assignment, a book and movie review, Mrs. Georend decided to make the checklist a "self-assessment checklist" and allow the students to use the checklist and assess their pieces prior to turning in their final drafts. BINGO...it worked, their writing quality was much better! An additional thought that she noted was that even though the students had the ability to fix their errors, some were in too much of a rush, and didn't take the time to fix it. We need to encourage our students to take the time, and turn in their best work possible. As invested as Mrs. Georend is to her students, I'm sure she did just that!

Yet another great idea by Mrs. Georend! She is obviously a teacher who genuinely cares about her students and wants to see them succeed. She does a great job at finding ways to engage her students and keep them involved. It is refreshing to see a teacher willing to write in a public forum, and admit they have found a flaw in their ideas and readily corrects it, like Mrs. Georend does. We can all learn from each other’s mistakes. It's all about learning, growing and moving forward.

My Comment:
It's always good when we can come up with an idea that will help to keep the students engaged and excited about learning. Rubrics can sometimes be overwhelming and the ease of the checklist helps to eliminate any confusion.

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