Low stakes writing: How I reclaimed my sanity and unburied myself from grading.

My first year teaching AP Language, I was overwhelmed by the grading. The class culminates in a three hour exam; for two of those hours, students are writing three different essays. The amount of prep your average student needs to confidently bang out three essays asking them to do three different things in two hours? […]

5 Tips for Teachers Who Want to Quit Grading

I would wager that grading is probably the very least favorite element of teachers’ jobs. (I would also guess this is quickly followed by complaining parents and senseless, top-down mandates.) We’ve all had the fantasy of the perfect teaching job that would exist if only we weren’t bogged down in numbers and rubrics and gradebooks. […]

So, I Quit Grading: Part III, A Conclusion

Before reading this post, you might want to catch up with my grand grading experiment this year in my first post and second post in this series! I cried at graduation this year. No, that’s not right. I sobbed at graduation this year. Something that has never happened to me in the previous 10 graduations […]

So, I Quit Grading — Part II Update

This year, I quit grading almost entirely. While I still give quarterly grades (because my students have to have them!), I do not grade individual assignments. I’ve given up traditional grading for many reasons that I explain in my first post on this topic, but the biggest of the reasons is this: I don’t think […]

So, I quit grading …

Grades — good or bad — tend to make us do unproductive things. Each September, when I assess my students’ first piece of writing, processed and polished, leave feedback, and return it to them, one of two things happens: students who did well give a great sigh of relief and check English class off of […]

What Time is It? Notebook Time!

We are singing Hamilton as we read today’s fantastic, deep-dive guest post from Scott Bayer, an English Language Arts (ELA) Instructional Specialist for grades 6-12 in Montgomery County, Maryland. He has taught high school English for 16 years and is passionate about creating meaningful learning experiences for students, teaching a more inclusive reading list, and developing student […]

Tackling IB Literature Papers I & II: Test Prep Without Test Rep

IB exams begin in early May, and I’m a teacher who loves to settle into a discussion when the ideas are good and they just keep coming, so if you asked my students to identify an external conflict in the drama of senior year of IB Literature, they would say “Ms. Jochman vs. the calendar.” […]