Author Archives: Sarah M. Zerwin

Trust your students, trust yourself, and #StopGrading.

My colleagues and I did our #StopGrading presentation at our state ELA conference a few weeks ago. Seeing as we’ll be doing the same presentation later this month at NCTE in Atlanta, we distributed notecards to the teachers who came … Continue reading

Posted in #StopGrading, fall 2016 blog series, feedback, grading, making change, muddling through, not grading, presenting, the system, workshop teaching | Leave a comment

Step Nine: Coming to a Grade Agreement with Students as You #StopGrading

  The first semester I went gradeless, I didn’t have in place any kind of agreement with students regarding what would make an A, B, C, etc. once we had to put something in the gradebook at the end of … Continue reading

Posted in #StopGrading, assessment, blog series, fall 2016 blog series, grading, making change, muddling through, not grading, student feedback, surprises | 6 Comments

I don’t want to talk to parents about grades at parent/teacher conferences #StopGrading

You know the drill. Parent sits down for a conference at parent/teacher conferences. You pull up your grade records for the student. You walk the parent through the grade data, pointing out what the student is doing well and what … Continue reading

Posted in #StopGrading, blog series, fall 2016 blog series, gradebook, grading, gratitude, making change, not grading, relationship, things made of awesome | 4 Comments

An important reminder about why I am working to #StopGrading

I no longer put grades on individual pieces of student writing for a variety of reasons, but one of the most important ones surfaced this evening. I’m making my way through the first batch of my students’ thorough revisions. These … Continue reading

Posted in #StopGrading, assessment, blog series, fall 2016 blog series, feedback, grading, not grading, reflections | 2 Comments

Step Eight: Build your classroom community of writers to #StopGrading

I am one teacher in a room of thirty (or more) writers. They need copious amounts of feedback to grow, more than it is humanly possible for me to provide for them. But yet, we teachers of writing often feel … Continue reading

Posted in #StopGrading, balancing, blog series, fall 2016 blog series, feedback, grading, not grading, teaching writing, time, workshop teaching | Leave a comment

Step Seven: Start the #StopGrading conversation with parents

Back-to-school night was this past Wednesday, the evening where parents walk through their students’ schedules with ten minutes for each class. This is not enough time to tell them very much, especially if I want to leave time for a … Continue reading

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Step Six: Use conferences to focus on feedback instead of points to #StopGrading

When people find out I don’t put points or grades on individual pieces of writing, one of the first questions I get is what I do instead. I focus on feedback–as much as I can provide, and conferences are a key … Continue reading

Posted in #StopGrading, blog series, conferring, fall 2016 blog series, gradebook, grading, not grading, teaching reading, teaching writing, workshop teaching | Leave a comment

Step Five: Starting the #StopGrading Conversation with Students

“Is Alfie Kohn right or is his argument total crap?” So went the opening question for the Socratic seminar I planned for the first day of school Friday. Rather than reviewing a syllabus with my seniors, rather than doing any … Continue reading

Posted in #StopGrading, assessment, blog series, fall 2016 blog series, grading, making change, not grading, student feedback, teaching | 8 Comments

Step Four: Get Admin Behind Your Efforts to #StopGrading

It was fortunate that the moment I decided to stop grading, my assistant principal was sitting right next to me listening to Alfie Kohn make his case against grades in a conference presentation at NCTE in Boston in November of … Continue reading

Posted in #StopGrading, blog series, collaboration, colleagues, fall 2016 blog series, grading, making change, not grading, the system | Leave a comment

Step Three: Hack your gradebook to make it the data collection tool that will actually inform your instruction #StopGrading

I know you’ve had this conversation. We all have. You know, the one where a student asks you to round up a semester grade. You say no. No because you have a policy against rounding up grades. No because you … Continue reading

Posted in #StopGrading, assessment, blog series, fall 2016 blog series, gradebook, grading, hacking, not grading, planning | 4 Comments