Ignoring this blog has become the norm. A couple of readers have contacted me to see if everything is OK. It is.
I was trying to figure out why blogging has been on the back burner for the past few years, and it finally dawned on me that the blogging is directly proportional to the change in job assignments.
1. For the past six years I have been directing at least one show a year. (That knocks out three months a year for each show.)
2. Two years ago, I changed rooms and teaching assignments so that meant new preps.
Actually, my job seems to be constantly changing, so I am having a new class to prepare for almost every year.
Five years ago, I was teaching five hours of Sophomore English and a class called Exploring Teaching As A Career.
Three years ago, I was teaching five hours of Sophomore English and an intervention class called Reading Strategies.
This was the year, I made the switch to Standards Based Grading. (More on that later.)
Two years ago, I started teaching three hours of Sophomore English, and one hour each of Speech, Drama, and Forensics. Three new preps and I was still directing. For Forensics, I was also attending weekend tournaments from February through April, means life got quite a bit crazier.
This past year, I taught three hours of Sophomore English, Speech/Reading Strategies, Drama, and Forensics. Speech is a semester class so I picked up a Reading Strategies class second semester.
Next year, I am teaching three hours of Sophomore English, Stagecraft/Speech, Drama and Forensics. AND, Little Big Brother and I are directing the fall musical instead of the spring play. So the changes continue.
Confused yet? I am!
3. Standards Based Grading took a considerable bite out of my time. I like it and believe in it, but WOW!
Essentially, each standard is evaluated and re-taught if needed. There are two practice evaluations and then a final evaluation.
If students are struggling, we put them into tutoring hub, where they can be re-taught and/or re-tested.
If they just aren't doing the work, we put them into academic lunch. (A forced lunch with an administrator where they complete missing work.)
There are 9 literature standards, 10 informational text standards, 10 writing standards, 6 speaking/listening standards, and 5 language standards. (Each of them to be evaluated at least 3 times.)
Now, there is no way that I evaluate all of those standards in one year. Our State and our English department have designated some that need more emphasis than others, so those are the ones that receive the bulk of my class time. Since State Testing is sophomore year, I spend quite a bit of time on the State emphasized standards. (Looking back, I evaluated around 20 of them--and some of them were evaluated both first and second semesters.)
For finals, students choose between 2-5 standards that they want to re-evaluate. (Kind of a cafeteria plan where they pick and choose.) We have written an evaluation for each standard covered in the semester. They complete the evaluation to see if they have mastered the standard yet, and their performance can change their grade for that standard, which in turn changes their grade for the semester.
And then vacation comes and I collapse in a big heap...!
I guess that is the reason that I don't have time to write/blog much any more. Boy, do I miss it. Maybe I can catch up this summer. (There are a lot of photos that I need to remove from my phone!)
PS. We finished the school year yesterday; hence, the blog post today.