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"All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and so gorgeous at the end." -Robin Sharma

Since my last blog, there have been a few updates worthy of a blog entry. If you are considering trying a new approach that is student-centered and different than traditional grading, then there are a couple things that I would like you to know because they are things that I wish I was better prepared for. Unfortunately, I don't think any amount of professional development or reading can really help with these preparations. Without sugar coating it, this change has been hard. Transitioning into this ROLE-esque classroom has not been easy for me or the kids. One of the biggest things that we both struggled with was the lack of structure. Going from a traditional classroom to student-led is hard to balance when it comes to structure. I wanted to give them freedom like it was suggested by so many experts. Student autonomy is extremely important in a student-led classroom. However,…
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THAT kid

Normally, my blogs focus on my sophomores trialing the ROLE approach, but this time I wanted to discuss something about my freshmen classes. Thoughts have be whirling in my mind since this morning. With my sophomores blogging and reading today, I’m going to blog beside them and finally articulate and share to get these thoughts from my mind. Freshmen can be very difficult to teach, along with sophomores, juniors, and seniors. 😂 In particular though, freshmen really struggle with transitioning to high school: emotionally, mentally, and physically. There are always a few that no matter what I say at the beginning refuse to turn in anything, participate in class, etc. With that being said, I had a student who had a 17% two weeks ago in my class. This child finally came to me and said, “Ms. Lewis, what can I do to bring my grade up to passing?” This child, like a few others, did not turn in but one assignment the first 9 weeks. I had to reel in my sarcasm, my annoyance, my frustration, a…

An Outdated Update

Hello, loyal reader! I am sorry I have yet to post the trials, tribulations, and successes of this year's classroom setup so far: flexible seating, autonomy & project driven lessons, as well as transitioning to a feedback oriented classroom. I have missed quite a bit of unexpected days due to a family tragedy. Alas, I am back and want to update everyone on how this nine weeks is going.

I want to remind everyone that I work in a traditional setting high school. Most teachers still grade each individual assignment, limit feedback, teach by lecture, and limit student autonomy. Another reminder that I am not judging or saying that there is anything wrong with being a traditional teacher. I am all for working on figuring out what works best for each individual. Traditional teaching just wasn't for me, and therefore, I do not think it was benefiting my students.

This blog post will specifically describe the major changes in our classroom in A310 this year, as well as discuss the…

Common Myths Debunked:Differentiation, Student-Led, Gradeless, Collaboration

Melissa Lewis

Before I begin this year blogging about how the year is going with differentiated, student-centered instruction with feedback replacing grades for activities (not semester grades), I wanted to debunk some common myths of those exact terms. I think the terms really scare a  lot of people away from even experimenting with any of them. I read books of course that debunked the common myths I'm going to mention; however, I didn't really understand until I started experimenting with it all on my own last semester.
Myth One: Differentiating means creating an individual lesson for each student, which sounds like an extraordinary amount of work.
What I've learned: Differentiating for each student by the aforementioned definition would be an astronomical amount of work, and that sounds terrifying. However, differentiating is actually far from creating 160 different lessons for each lesson taught. What I've come to truly understand is that true differentiation means…

An Epiphany: Gradeless, Student-Centered, Differentiated Instruction

By: Melissa Lewis

"Don't worry about failures; worry about the chances you miss when you don't even try."
-Jack Canfield
The intent and purpose of this blog is simple: to hopefully shed light on this new experience and to help others wanting to burst out from traditions without knowing how. My hope is that this blog will inspire other teachers to reflect on their own teaching practices and start questioning everything we do. I have no idea if this year will be successful. I do know that I will be painfully honest in our journey in room A310: the ups, downs, and everything in between.

The Epiphany: Last year I had a few honor students struggling, along with multiple average students. I teach 9th grade average/regular and 10th grade honors in a diverse school. New Albany High School's diversity is one of the many reasons I love working here. We house the wealthy and poor, all races, LGBTQ students, etc. It's a beautiful aspect that I don't even think the ch…