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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Make-up day

I rarely give make-up days.

In general, I probably give students too much time to start with.

But it needed to be done.

First, overall grades were atrocious.

I am a firm believer that if every kid fails, I did something wrong.

I failed to create the conditions needed for success.

Second, I was absent for FOUR consecutive days.

I had two back to back conferences.

The sub wasn't exactly who I thought it would be...

So we needed a make-up day.

I made this decision with serious reservations.

Especially for my more challenging sections.

I was wrong.

It was brilliant.

Now, I was nowhere near caught up on grading, so I needed a plan.

There was literally no way to actually grade everything.

Instead, I recorded checks for what had been turned in to me.

Then I made a list of the assignments I was still accepting, printing it for every kid, and filled it out.

Next, I made about a zillion extra copies of said assignments.

At the start of each class, I handed out the lists.

Students were asked to review what they were missing and then go looking for it.

Hand to God, about half that work was hidden in backpacks, pockets, and Chromebook cases.

Not only that, but kids used their time.

Like really used their time wisely.

Like completed incomplete assignments, asked for copies, did extra credit when finished.

It was kind of awesome.

My favorite moment was a comment from a Junior who is retaking my class.

At one point, he looked at me and said, "I like this system. This is way better. Can we do this all the time?"

This is not a kid who plays school well.

I love that.

A kid who has struggled to do the bare minimum to pass, liked doing the work.

He liked being told what he needed to do.

He wanted time to get caught up.

They pretty much all did.

Enough that we did two days of make-up time.

It was totally worth it.

Will I do it again?

Ummm, I don't know...we have a LOT to do.


It was a good thing.

I will definitely consider revisiting the list system.

That worked beautifully.

A whole two days to get caught up.

Well, despite the goodness, that might require another instance of extreme circumstance.

We'll see, I'm kind of a sucker for a kid who wants to pass.

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