Showing posts from February, 2018

How Do We Bring Back Imagination in the Schools?

My wife Erica and I made a startling revelation one recent Saturday afternoon about our five children and a decline in their ability to engage in imaginary play. We often have what we refer to in our house as “no technology Saturdays” in our attempt to get our children away from the screens that seem to dominate their weekdays, particularly as a result of their school work. As we sat in the kitchen, we watched our three year old Zoey playing on the living room floor with her dolls and dollhouse, deeply engaged in imaginative play. The next oldest, five year old Owen, would play with Zoey off and on, but was always looking for us to prompt him to re-engage in play with his sister. Our older boys Liam, Cameron, and Brady, ages 8, 10, and 12 were struggling to reach consensus on what activity to do. Once they agreed upon something, they were having a difficult time engaging in it without several prompts from my wife and I what they should do (they were trying to make a skit that they cou…

A Grading Debate: The Pros and Cons of Reassessments Brian M. Stack

It is a typical day at my New Hampshire High School and I am observing a biology class. The teacher is returning a recent assessment to her students that they completed on ecosystems. Students are reviewing the teacher’s feedback and their grades on the assessment, as noted on the rubric that they had been given in advance. The rubric breaks the assignment into several transferable skills and objectives (we call these competencies) and explains, in student-friendly language, what it means for a student to perform on that skill/objective at a limited proficient, basic proficient, proficient, or exemplary level. Students were asked to complete a self-reflection, comparing their work to the rubric and identifying ways that they could improve it that could potentially bring their grade to the next level. Students were given the option to complete a reassessment plan with the teacher, a plan which detailed what they would do to improve their learning, and by what date. The teacher met one …