Thursday, March 15, 2018

Resource Time

Students filed into the room after school in pairs or alone. They walked in slinging  backpacks and lunch boxes and athletic bags and water jugs and musical instruments onto empty desks. A chorus of "Hey Spillanes" pulled me out of my end of the day reverie.

I wheel over to a students desk--it's the end of the day and jet lag is catching up with me, so I just stay in the chair and scoot, scoot with my feet. It makes me chuckle. Once I sidle up to the desk I say, "What are we working on today?"

And so it begins.

Thursday afternoons from 3-4:30  or so I stay late for kids who need to come in for additional support or to make up work or or who want to re-assess and give a task another try to show me their learning. I call it resource time after a practice my son experienced at his K-8 school. I appreciated that he had an opportunity to get extra help or have that time (if needed) with his teachers each day. When he was in middle school, every school day ended with twenty minutes or so of  resource time. His experience shaped my own practice.

I've been holding a weekly resource time for a several years now. At my former school,  during my final year there, the principal pushed for such an hour in each department. Then, Tuesdays were earmarked for English.  Other days of the week were tagged for math, science or social studies. School wide support can't be beat.

Resource time helped me refine my grading practices too. I've written about grades and grading and zeroes here and  late work policies here and grades and working time here. As a teacher, grades and grading policies have been an interest of mine for many, many years. I believe a grade should represent what students know and can do--not a behavior or an economic status. I believe a grade should represent the learning, not the average of attempts to learn.

Any grading program, it seems, is a limiting factor because each averages grades. Our PLC and school overcomes the averaging factor with policies. School-wide, we use letter grades, not points or percentages. We look for trends in performance and exclude early attempts to capture the most accurate and most recent achievement level(s). 

1 comment:

  1. Glad you got home safely. I really like this idea of resource time - what a gift you give your students by making yourself available.