[Explore the MTBoS] Mission #3: SBG Makes Grading Fun & Math Mistakes

Standards Based Grading (SBG) is a different approach to how grades work at a fundamental level that will change your classroom.  To get some real background on this, read Shawn Cornally’s stuff here.

I have absolutely loved SBG so far this year. I’ve got a few posts on it, if you care to see exactly what I’m doing, but that’s not the purpose of this posts.

Something you should know about me is I get bored and distracted easily. Even before I became a teacher, I knew that motivating myself to grade would be a struggle, and early on I recognized the importance of getting grades back quickly to students. I used to be very bored while grading, checking off boxes brainlessly like a computer.  Even my open-ended problems could have been graded by a computer, and I often didn’t pay attention to how well different students did, as they all blended together when marking problems right or wrong.

Now, because of SBG, I look at their quizzes looking for understandingnot ticking off boxes saying whether their answer matches my key.  This makes me much more interested in what they’re doing, which helps motivate me to grade.

One website that is now essential for me to study and use is Math Mistakes.  It’s a great website that Michael (@mpershan) runs by getting teachers to submit student mistakes and then others comment on those mistakes and discuss what the student understands and doesn’t understand.  Many teacher contribute both student mistakes and comments on those mistakes.

It’s something that I should be visiting more often than I am, and a must for any math teacher. I hope to motivate myself to visit more often so that I can continue building my capacity to understand student mistakes and the misunderstandings behind those mistakes.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “[Explore the MTBoS] Mission #3: SBG Makes Grading Fun & Math Mistakes

  1. Carrie Annable

    Great post. After taking Jo Boaler’s How to Learn Math Class this summer I am also trying to get students to see that mistakes are ok, and are just a part of learning. I know of the Math Mistakes page, but haven’t had much of a chance to look at it in depth. I also love what you are doing with SBG. I am glad you posted some links to more information about it because I am interested in learning more about this way of marking.

    • Hi Carrie, I was too late to the Jo Boaler Class/Party and didn’t want to have to play catch up with so much other stuff going on but I hope to get a chance next time she runs the course (or a similar one). Did you find it useful? Have you any blogs or links for more reading? I’ve just bought her ‘elephant in the classroom’ book. Thanks in advance for any advice 🙂

  2. Thanks for the helpful links for further reading on this topic. I hate marking and grading papers too so this would be useful for me to look into. I love mistakes in my classroom and the kids think i’m crazy when they say “i’m stuck” and I say “congratulations” or “well done”… As teachers we must ensure there is an atmosphere for mistakes to happen without judgement and it sounds like your classroom is a great place to make mistakes and learn from them. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. I really like the Math Mistakes site. My favorite part so far is that it is organized in a side-bar by common core standards. So I can go to my grade and the strand I am teaching to see what has been posted so far. Very cool that I could also post mistakes my students make and see what other math teachers think.
    I totally agree that creating a culture where making a mistake is an opportunity to learn is critical.
    I love Leah Alcala’s video on her warm up routine she calls “My Favorite No”. I have been using it about once a week since last spring and I LOVE it. Great discussion starter.
    https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/class-warm-up-routine

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