My relationship to grades is complicated. I’ve never been satisfied with the way grades worked in my classroom. It always felt arbitrary. You know: why was a particular quiz question worth 10 points and not, say, 6? And where does this concept of “worth” come from? What qualities in a student assignment confer “worth” or value? I’d like to think it’s complexity of thought, but really I just made it up. I found myself weighting certain components of an assignment to encourage student attention or to compel compliance (“No-name papers get an automatic point deduction” or whatever).
Since returning from the JEA/NSPA convention in Denver, I’ve been thinking a lot about the explicit and implicit curricular implications of “student news” (especially TV news) as an informational structure, and its role in perpetuating certain assumptions—primarily that “news” is what disrupts the normal, that “normal” means smooth-running, rule and law-abiding, harmonious, and that what is not normal (under this definition) ought to be made so. Makes me wonder how a student media curriculum could be opened up to include critical evaluation of some of these assumptions (and if students would even be interested in doing that).
Charlie Huette is a public school teacher who also keeps a notebook. He dreams about making school just a little less terrible. Many of the posts you find here are based on notebook entries. You can learn more about Charlie by visiting the about page.