My budding love of teaching, stemming from my larger love of math and learning

Thursday, July 29, 2010


If there was one thing I learned last year it was "set you expectations" not just in how you expect your classroom to operate but also in what you expect the students' work to look like. I expected my 7th graders to have some sort of knowledge of what work should look like before they turned it in. You know what I am talking about: Name clearly written, assignment written on the page, problems labeled with the appropriate problem number, space between each problem. OH BOY WAS I WRONG!

I received work that didn't have the assignment written on the paper, which would be O.K. if students didn't turn it in late. I ended up having to find the problem in the book and then match it to the assignment given, which would have worked if the student wrote the problem, but that usually didn't happen either (they just wrote an answer...not any work shown either). Always a lot more work for me.

What else: usually not stapled, fringy garbage from sprial note books (pet peeve!), no name, 15 problems done on 10 lines of college-ruled paper, no numbers or letters of problems, answer not clear, pen (green, purple, florescent pink), scribbled out work in both pen and pencil, and the list could go on and on and on.

So this year I am not taking any chances. Yes my students will be in High School, but I can't assume anything. So I am including in my syllabus a Criteria-for-Credit. This is a suggestion in a book that I got from a Spence Rogers conference I attended my first year teaching, and I am finally starting to consult the book. The book is Teaching for Excellence, I think there is a newer version out.

Criteria-for-Credit are standards that must be met in order for the work to be accepted as done. These standards are the SAME for all students (with maybe some differentiation for some lower level students). Student work not meeting the criteria-for-credit must be adjusted to meet the criteria before it will be accepted.

So here is what will be posted on the wall of my classroom:

In order for my work to be accepted by Ms. S it must meet the following standards:
  • Neat (clean, unwrinkled paper with smooth edges, you can use one-sided recycled paper)
  • Properly Labeled (Name, Date, Class Period, Assignment in upper right-hand corner of the paper)
  • Problems Copied
  • All Steps Shown
  • Work Down
  • Answers Labeled Appropriately
  • Blanks Left Between Problems
  • Answers Boxed or Circled
  • Done in Pencil (Erase, Do Not Scribble out)
  • Follow Assignment Directions
What am I missing?????
I would like my students to ID appropriate examples of Criteria-for-Credit, so I am thinking about trying to make a game out of it for one of the first days of school. Something funny and but making it be totally obvious what the answer is. I think I am going to have a white board in my classroom, so I am hoping to make something we can use the clickers with.

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