Copy Room Convos

While unjamming paper and shaking the toner bottle, we have some of the most meaningful, important, and humorous conversations with our colleagues. Check back here for weekly Copy Room Convos! I want to hear your thoughts on this week's topic.




Tough Times Deserve Tough Conversations

In the wake of all the recent tragedies and school shootings, I'm struggling. I'm struggling because, just like me, our students are having an impossible time processing and coming to terms with these events. But, there's something that is a secondary weighted tug in the back of mind. It's crouching there, begging to be heard: How do we teach students to talk about these topics, many of which are considered touchy, inappropriate, or controversial? If we are avoiding those difficult conversations, how are our future leaders going to be successful in speaking the truth, solving a problem, or empathizing with opposing sides? Many teachers are being told to avoid these conversations. Someone is going to be hurt. Someone is sure to be offended. Someone will complain. So, my question is this: Do these difficult topics belong in the classrooms at all? Should they be left for conversations at the home dinner table? I don't know the answers, but I do know this: The conversations have to happen. Our students need guided practice in having real conversations about real topics. They are aching for the opportunities to explore these topics, voice their opinions, and find their ways. Who's going to give them that?

What do you think? Do you touch the "touchy" topics with your students? Do they need to be explored in the classroom, or are our schools not the place for these lessons to be learned?



Grades: What should really determine a student's final grade?

This week in the copy room I ran into a fellow ELAR teacher. We were discussing the finalization of second semester grades. She shared she struggled sometimes (like we all do!) with what a final grade or progress report actually reflects. What should it reflect? Here's the point for you to ponder: Should grades be only determined by mastery through completed formative and summative assessments, or should work habits, personal behavior, and daily work quality also be reflected? When a student consistently is penalized for late or missing work, his/her grade might not be a reflection of mastery, but rather a result of poor work habits. On the other hand, are work and personal habits a part of mastery? Are grades a part of the whole child or simply a reflection of knowledge? Do work habits have a place in final grade determination? What do you think? Sound off in the comment section.





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