Last week I was fortunate enough to go to the EARCOS Leadership Conference (for those on Twitter, #elc13bkk, there’s some good stuff there!) I met Rick Wormeli who you may remember from the assessment and homework videos we watched earlier in the year. I held up my promise to you, I called him out (privately!) and asked his rationale for allowing homework to count in his class at all (he claims it counts about 1.7%, ha!) His response was honest…basically, he admitted that the pressure in his school district from parents and admin to count homework is strong and that he included it ONLY because of that fact. He encouraged me strongly to not count homework when assessing a student if at all possible and even offered to participate in a Google Hangout if we wanted to chat with him more as a staff…so that is on the table for the future if people are interested. I’ll write and share more about the ELC in the near future but for today I want to share a great article written by another great education mind, Alfie Kohn. One of the pleas I hear often from teachers, and one that I used to make myself, is “Just tell me what I can do!” Well I can’t do that but in this article Alfie Kohn outlines 12 core principles that are essential to success in the classroom. As I read through these I connected more to some than others but the three that hit me the most were numbers 5, 6, and 9. I especially like number 9 as it speaks directly toward the motivation piece that we so often struggle with in middle school. Have a look and let me know what you think…thanks for listening to my two cents (more like 3 or 4 cents this week!)
Originally published in SCIS MS Headlines on November 8, 2013.