Thursday, January 07, 2010

Evidence of Learning

I had a not-so-fun sitdown with Principal X today, some of the details of which are discussed (carefully) over at my blog. Another thing that came up in our "chat" was the problem of "evidence of learning." Apparently it all comes down to charts.

Now, I know this. I've advised new teachers to plaster the walls with charts. But apparently I don't have enough charts. Or the right charts. Or both, who knows. I didn't really get any direction on that. But it just goes to show you, newbies, that just when you think you have it all figured out, you don't. The center will never hold.

It bothers me, though, that this is all it comes down to: Plaster your wall with enough charts and CLEARLY learning must be taking place in your classroom. Learning strikes me as more complicated than that, and every minute I spend making pretty charts is a minute I don't spend grading papers or planning lessons--the two activities that, to me, are really at the heart of my job. If I don't plan decent lessons, kids won't learn anything to begin with; if I don't grade papers, they don't learn from their mistakes or their successes. I feel that I should prioritize these activities. I feel that they are the activities that ONLY I can carry out. And if that was all I had to do, I could do it really well. But of course, that's not all I have to do.

There's lots of evidence that my kids have learned. Look at their notebooks or their portfolios. Talk to them. Talk to me.

Or, I suppose, you could look at all the charts I'll be spending the next couple of days making.
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