I am on vacation with my family (my parents, brother, husband and kids). My parents rent a house each year on the water - this year we are staying on Sandusky Bay. Like every other house we've stayed at, it has its good points and not so good points. We have a nice entry onto the bay,the kids can go out in the water quite a bit, there's a nice yard here, there's a caboose on the property and the kitchen is about as well equipped as we've had. But, the kitchen is small (only about 2 can work in it at a time), the bottom of the bay is a bit rocky (had to go find lake shoes for the kids) and the only place there's a table big enough for all 7 of us is in the garage (where there's no air conditioning - which is really mainly an issue for my asthmatic mother). I love the location and generally the property - it's probably about the best place we've stayed in the 5 years or so we've been doing this.
I am sitting here outside on the swing enjoying the view and thinking about how I'm going to do things this school year. I'm on vacation thinking about school, willingly (hence the title). I'm reading Marzano's Classroom Assessment and Grading That Works and participating in a Twitter discussion each evening after having read the chapter of the day. (We're setting up the hashtag #sbarbook for those of you who want to follow our discussion. We're going to do Formattive Assessment and Standards-Based Grading next.) And as I started formulating this post in my head, I can't help but think that coming up with what I am going to do in the classroom this year is like our vacation home search. There are always good things and bad things about it. Maybe it will never be absolutely perfect.
So where does that leave me?
Isn't that a great question? I have blogged over the last month what I thought I was going to do in my classroom. My last post was full of questions which I didn't get a whole lot of response to (which is a little frustrating). I've been actively tweeting and lurking, trying to figure this out. I get that things aren't going to be perfect. This is not a panacea for my unhappiness in the classroom. But, I do believe it is the best answer for me. I am committed to doing SBG in my classroom this year. I am hopeful that it will foster changes in my students and my classroom. I want students to be focused on learning, not on the "almighty grade." I want them to understand better what they have learned. I want them to take ownership of their learning. I understand that this shift will take time. I know I am going this alone, but I believe my principal and superintendant will be supportive. (I briefly shared with my superintendant that I was looking at SBG and he appeared supportive.) The bottom line is that I feel this is best for my students and I believe it more closely aligns with what I think education should be. And isn't that what really matters?