Monday, April 6, 2015

My opinion


I have been reading a lot of articles and books lately. Some say reteach- redo. Some say build grit. I am not sure which is right. I can see the benefits of both.
One amazing author says giving zeros tells the students the work wasn't important. We should reteach, let re-do, and give full credit. I agree with this because if I require lesson plans from my teachers, and if the teacher takes the time to develop amazing lesson plans, they should require the student to learn the standards. Each standard is required so why would we let the student get away without doing the work and without learning the standard? Why would we allow students to move on (or not) to the next grade unprepared? We all know the next year's teachers will make a judgement on what the student knows. Because of all of this we have developed a ZAP policy at my school. (Zeros aren't permitted.) If a student doesn't do the homework, doesn't finish the class work, or does poorly on a test the are sent to ZAP. In ZAP they are required to complete all work or be zapped again until they do. This has been extremely successful. Most students do not want to miss break or other free time and will get work done on time. 
I recently read a compelling article that says when we started lavishly praising kids and handing out trophies to all we made kids coddled, slower, and less likely to persevere. I agree somewhat with this as well. We have developed a set of students who want to wait until the retake to learn it. We have a set of students whose parents will come to school and demand their child be allowed to turn their project in late because they are "busy". The work is half done but want all credit. 
I do believe we should reteach and retake. It is our responsibility to make sure every child in our class learns what is necessary. If a child isn't doing the work the teacher needs to handle that. My opinion is that the student isn't there "yet". But we can get them there. Zeros are not permitted and that teacher needs to set expectations so the students know it will not be acceptable. The teacher should not accept the half-done project. Make them complete it. The teacher should also be held responsible for keeping the students engaged and making them want to learn. Students will rise or fall depending on expectations of the class, teacher, and school. 
But what about "that kid" : the one that will not do anything, the one that stays in ZAP for a week and still hasn't finished, the one after reteaching stills makes a poor grade? These are the students we end up having to give the zeros to. Time runs out and you have to make the decision to go ahead and move on. Are we teaching that student responbility? Doubtful. I know this because the next 9 weeks he does it again. 
Which is the correct answer? I am not sure. What I do believe though is that every student and every school is different and may require a few different things. We as a school system need to develop what is best for us. Maybe that requires a little bit of both philosophies. 
However, all this is my opinion. And you know about opinions: they are like feet- everyone has them and most of them stink. You decide. 


  1. Monica,
    Thank you for your post! I love the idea that "Zeros aren't permitted". ZAP is a good way to strive toward mastery learning. As you pointed out, there are no perfect solutions, but as educators we continue to tweak and adjust to help each child be successful. Thank you for sharing:)


  2. I like the "Zap" idea. Thanks for sharing. It is always difficult for those student who stay in ZAP. We continue to tell them how great they will be today, tomorrow and into the future. Building on their strengths and interests. They need to hear it from all of us and they need to feel empowered. It takes time and sometimes the environment outside our classrooms and schools work against us... but we never stop trying. As Rita Pierson states, "You say it long enough it starts to be a part of you." We just need to make sure our students are hearing the right things so that it will "be a part" of them. I appreciate reading your post and like your feet analogy; however, I don't believe your opinion stinks! Have a great week!