Monday, March 18, 2013


Our quarter ends this week. Students start spring break on Friday. Several students have not been able to post a slice a day. When they asked if they could make up posts or slices they missed, I said sure.

Does it matter? Slicing on time during in the adult challenge matters to the community and it matters in terms of prize eligibility. I take late work. I am generous, according to some teachers, in terms of any penalities that may apply to said late work. Some folks I've read advocate no penalty at all. I've not been able to make that work for me or my students yet.

But, I take make up work. I give students time after school every week to come in and make up work they need to do. Most do not take advantage of that time. I think they don't because they have transportation issues.

I go long for the hail Mary pass from a student who is willing to do something in order to improve a failing average. I want students to meet the goals of the activity or assignment or project. I want them to learn. I explain how projects will be graded before we begin. For the Slice of Life challenge students will earn a quantity grade and a quality grade. The quality grade is the most subjective. Students will answer some self-evaluative questions and I will add to that my evaluation of their writing based on mini-lessons we've done throughout the month. The quantity grade is by the numbers: how many on-time posts, how many comments. I thought I did a decent job revising the descriptions this year. I used a range of posts 25-31 instead of all 31 which seemed more manageable.

I don't want to grade students' behavior or grade their supportive or non-supportive home environment. I want to grade their work. It's tricky though when their work comes in late, late, late and does not demonstrate much learning. I do want them to feel a deadline and to be held to one.

Today, as I was checking off slices. I am giving students a participation grade for the Slice of Life challenge this week. I've checked up on slices and noted who is posting and who is not. At first I did the checking to ward off issues of access and ability. Today's recheck was just to "see" how it's going. I've been commenting as much as can: not on every student every day. I wanted a clearer picture than I've seen in comments.  I noticed that a student posted eleven slices on Sunday. Eleven. He caught up in one fell swoop. His slices are cut from a story he wrote. Sometimes the segment he posts does not even start with a complete sentence. Here's a snapshot:

I love that the writer wrote about Santa. I like that the writer is taking risks with sentence structure in places. I enjoyed some of the details; I am starting to hear the writer's voice. Still... I  wonder. What would you do?


  1. Good question. I have a feeling my "late" policy probably resembles your policy. It's this kind of thing that just makes me shake my head...I mean, starting in the middle of the sentence? Hmmm.... It's a good thing you love 'em! ;)

  2. I think he came up with a wonderful workaround. Now I would talk to him about serial writing and give him an opportunity to revise his posts so they are more polished. Just what I am thinking.

  3. Oh LeeAnn, I am laughing. I'm not sure what I would do, especially with the beginning and lord knows, I am all about the learning. I do like some of the messages and acts of kindness in his story, but they get bogged down by the fact that it sounds like he's already written it! Maybe he should write about his teacher sharing his post!

  4. Did you make some policy about posting all in one, or two times? I guess I wouldn't give the credit. I know there are many more things you know about this student than I do, but if he "gets by", is that the message you want to give? Because of all those other "personal" variables, I know that I might relent and give him a pass too. It's such a dilemma. Thanks for sharing, Lee Ann.