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Reflecting on "Gradeless" Math - Modelling Life-Long Learning

This entry was originally published on my personal blog here.

As the title of this entry may suggest this entry is serving as a place to express my thoughts around how last semester went and the changes I am hoping to make. My desire is that this "public diary" will help me to be accountable to my goals, will inspire someone else to take a risk, and will model that we (teacher) practice what we preach - we are all learners.

What worked well that I will continue:

  • Having students engage in deconstructing curriculum (specifically the math processes and instructional language)
  • Making students reflect on their learning (often!)
  • Having a grounding document for evaluation (learning map with overarching learning goals)
    • evaluation is based in criteria
  • Having students analyze their evidence of learning to determine their grades (and conferencing about it)
  • Constructing success criteria with students
What I will strive to do better:
  • Engage in curriculum deconstruction more frequently (not just at the beginning of the course)
  • Doing more explicit instruction around reflection (how, when, why)
  • Helping students understand where they currently are (map was not ready until midterm last semester, students did not know how to use it or make meaning from it) so they can better match evidence of learning to the map and, therefore, determine a midterm and final term grade
  • Teaching students to self- and peer-assess and give appropriate, meaningful feedback
  • Spending time getting students to co-construct criteria for types of questions or tasks (and for daily topics)
  • Getting students to self-identify as needing help and committing to getting that help (perhaps with a simple Google form)
  • Collecting student feedback on my practices
What I will do differently:
  • Provide a copy of the completed learning map from the start of the course to each student
  • Engage students in the use of the map frequently
  • Scaffold student note-taking based on investigative learning (i.e. in the early stages I am publishing a "note outline" that asks prompting questions indicating that there is something they should take note of/think about
Future goals and desires (that are just not realistic right now):
  • Have a usable learning map for the other course(s) I am teaching 
  • Engage same-subject colleagues in work around assessment practices [we are engaging in some "department" professional learning time in the coming weeks that may help with this]
  • Be better at recording observation and conversation assessment data of student learning


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    1. A version of the map is shown on this entry


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