Sunday, June 4, 2017

Maximizing the End of the Year

Excellence in Education: End of Year
With SOL tests beginning tomorrow and most AP tests in the rear-view mirror, this often becomes my favorite time of year as the shackles are released and students are given more time to create, discover and explore. With the restraints of standardization lifted, I love seeing lessons that remind us of why we entered education (it ain’t so students can do well on a multiple choice test).   

  • Create a class book. Each student/pair of students creates a chapter reviewing material from the year. These books could easily be used for next year’s SOL review sessions.
  • Experiment with new technologies: podcast/video creation, Adobe Tools,
  • Make use of Skype or Google Hangout—host an expert, collaborate with another class from around the world.
  • Cumulative assignments. As a history teacher, I tried to take a thematic approach to my teaching (some themes: role of geography, power, economic haves-have nots, etc.), so at the end of each year, students were assigned a theme and created a project highlighting examples of the theme from throughout the year.
  • Socratic seminars, talk shows or other discussions. Have students research a topic (individually or in groups), research it and then let them have at it. Furthermore you can assign students a side or perspective to research. If you’re hosting a talk show the producer and show host must become experts on both sides.
  • Mini-maker faires
  • Virtual field trips
  • Portfolio creations/improvements
  • Have students build board games--either a traditional one or something online
  • Give the students a FedEx Day. Essentially, a FedEx Day is where you allow the students to take an idea of their own and run with it. For more

I know the natural tendency is for us to lighten up after the SOLs, but let’s continue to challenge our students in new and creative ways. Why not stretch our students’ creativity, have them apply all what they’ve learned, and allow them to inspire us?

Shout Outs
Because this time of year is a frenzied one, it’s easy for us to get lost in the moment. But it’s also a time to celebrate the successes of our students and our influences on them. This past week, we saw the unique talents of our students on display at the 1st ever CTE Showcase, spring sports senior nights, and our spring musical. In upcoming days and weeks, we’ll have Honors Inductions, Awards Banquets, and, of course, graduation. For many of our students, none of this could’ve been accomplished without the dedication and commitment of our faculty/staff.

When you run out of food because an event is so well-attended, you know you’ve experienced success. The CTE Showcase allowed students to share their experiences and projects with families, community members and peers. Talk about authentic experiences! Tip of the cap to our CTE teachers for organizing this event!

Great job by the cast and crew of In the Heights. What an amazing experience and Ms. Michel couldn’t have done it without the help of so many of you. Our students undoubtedly appreciated all the the staff members who attended the performances.   

Useful Links:

Portfolio Assistance If you have a student who needs assistance setting up his/her portfolio, click here

Technology / Website Permission Request Form Please use this form to request use of a website that requires student log-in if the site is not already on the approved list. DART approved list

Calendar and Memo Items

May 15: SOL Schedule begins, modified bell schedules

May 17: Honors Award Banquet/Inductions

May 18: Faculty Meeting: Morning Only

May 19: Awards Banquet

Year-end calendar is here.

Final Exam schedule is here

Exams and Alternative Culminating Assignments
Midterm and Final Exams/Alternative Assessments account for 20% of student’s first semester grade (Marking Period=40%, Marking Period=40%, Exam=20%). All students are expected to be present during their midterm exam period and their final exam period unless they are exempt.  
Absences from Exams
The expectation is that all students will be in attendance for all exams (unless they are exempt, or unless their teacher has taken advantage of an Alternative Assessment - see below). Under no circumstances will teachers change or cancel exam times. Not including exempt students, all absences from exams require administrative approval. Upon receiving administrative approval, the student and teacher should make the appropriate arrangements.
During exams, students are not permitted in the hallways or cafeteria. Under no circumstances,  should students be sent to other locations, including the library, during exams.  
Copies of taken student exams will be turned in at the end of the year. For uncompleted exams due to student absences, a copy of the exam should be provided to the appropriate administrator and arrangements should be made to grade these exams.
Exemption from Final Exams
For classes offering final exams, a student is exempt from the exam if he/she meets the following criteria:
  • A 90% or higher in the class for the FINAL grade
  • No in-school or out-of-school suspensions
Alternative Assessment
If a teacher elects to use an Alternative Assessment, all students in the class are expected to complete it. All students are expected to attend class until the final class day of school.  They do not need to attend the final exam period for that course because students completing an Alternative Assessment will not have a final exam. The Alternative Assessment will be 20% of the student’s semester grade.

May 16: Monica Ferguson
May 19: Diane Clark

Worth Your Time

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