Our week resembled my post from last week very little.
Monday: Collab FRQ
Tuesday: Mini FRQ
Wednesday: Portfolio Work Time/Individual Conferences
Thursday: Portfolio Work Time/Individual Conferences
Friday: Argument FRQ
Here’s the rationale behind the change. Watching the kids write collaboratively on Monday, we quickly realized that they are passed this style of collaborative writing. They ended up spending too much time fighting about working on choices that ultimately, they could alter as individual writers. It was a happy moment, realizing that they were developing enough of a style (finally!) that writing collaboratively became more challenging than helpful.
So we redesigned. They got a second prompt on Tuesday and we had them write claims and one body paragraph. Then, since we had already planned to work on portfolios, we spread that over two days which allowed us to meet with each students for a couple minutes to review their body paragraph.
And it was a good move!
I read one section of FRQs Friday and they were pretty darn good. Lots of fives, a few sixes, and even a few sevens. NO ones or twos. A couple threes. And just a few fours. For this point in the year (and their first independent Question 2 FRQ), I am very pleased.
Sometimes a change in the pattern is all it takes!
Now, I can anticipate the cringe on your face when I say this next things:
We are starting a new unit the week before Christmas break.
I know. I know. I must have a death wish? I must plan on reteaching everything after break.
Not really. The unit itself - which I’m admittedly proud of - is really a sneaky review of the essay types. I’m using the debate unit to review all three FRQs and test their work with those and critical reading this semester. So to start, they will do a RA FRQ with prompts associated with their resolutions.
I will be honest with you. I am at odds with my own philosophy these days. As the year has progressed, I feel myself moving away from what drives me - what I am Sincere about. It doesn’t help that everything outside of my control seems to be in conflict with those desires. I’d rather not do practice ACT questions for an entire class period because frankly, I’ve already “done my time” and will “do my time” closer to the ACT. But, that’s not up to me.
I’d also like to adjust my grading model - the standards based grading protocol we implemented this year - but as the semester comes to a close, I am bound to certain dates and requirements. I can’t easily make my gradebook work because - as you all know - logistics ruin every good intention we have for kids.
I’d also like to start switching to an individual pacing design, but again, that can’t happen. I’m taking on a student teacher and that kind of interrupts her opportunity to experience a traditional classroom.
So pretty much, all the things I WANT to do are CAN’Ts at the moment. Or maybe it’s just pre-break blues.