Scripted Spontaneity

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Every year I ask my middle school students to complete a comprehensive survey to finish out the year. “It’s anonymous,” I explain to them, “because I want your honest opinions.” Yes, this means I am forced to filter out spam from those who take advantage of the anonymity to give…

The Pandemic happened. And what will happen next?

The Pandemic happened.

And we stayed home and focused on learning that mattered. We stripped away the learning goals that were reviewed later. We filtered out the minutiae. We took what was left and dove deep.


The Pandemic happened.

And we…

Earlier this year, I wrote about the reasons that I had become disillusioned with traditional grading and assessment. In the intervening months, my team and I have created a much more effective and sensible system that has met with tremendous success. …

“I just really need to get an A.”

Credit: iStockPhoto user photovideostock

That was her only defense, not that there was much else she could have said. I had just caught her with her science notebook in her lap while she was supposed to be taking the chemistry unit test.

Up until that point…

This week marks the beginning of a critical journey for my students, my teammate, and me. In my Science class and the Social Studies class, students will be learning about the Gradeless Classroom format that we will be employing when the second semester starts on January 2.

The kickoff this week begins with us sharing a letter with our students and their parents. Then, on Wednesday night, I moderate a Twitter chat for our district about shifting from grades to feedback.

Finally, on Thursday night, parents are invited to a question & answer session after our previously scheduled Curriculum Night.

I’ll post more next weekend, after I’ve weathered this adventurous week. Hopefully, I’ll have good news to share.

Originally published at on November 24, 2018.

As I prepare to start a new year of school (#yearroundschools), it’s time again to look back on the year that has just ended. Every year I follow in the footsteps of one of my edu-idols, Larry Ferlazzo, surveying my students about the things that worked and didn’t. …

All across North Carolina today, including in my huge school district, teachers have taken personal days to attend a rally at the state legislature. The goal is to advocate for public education in the state — better teacher salaries, more per-pupil spending, smaller class sizes — at the opening of…

Scripted Spontaneity

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