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Saturday, March 3, 2012


Several students have asked about grades this week. Let’s start with what I said in the Syllabus:

Your grade is based on the examinations you take, the 15 projects you produce or in which you participate, the formal presentation you make, the critiques you provide of other students’ products and presentations, and your class participation. An A represents Outstanding work; B Above Average; C Average; D Below
Average; F Unacceptable. You must complete all projects ON TIME. Late projects will negatively affect your grade! Dr. Strange will consult with the teaching associates before assigning a final grade.

Everybody starts with an A. If you want to know how to blow that A, just do any of the following and we will probably see you in EDM310 again next semester.

How to blow your A:
1. The failure to satisfactorily complete any of the projects for this course will result in a D or an F and you will have to repeat the course. ALL 15 PROJECTS must be satisfactorily completed to get a grade better than a D in this course. ALL means ALL! In other words, doing 14 (or less) satisfactorily but not 15 projects satisfactorily GUARANTEES that you will get a D or an F for the course.
2. You must correctly complete your Foliotek entries for this course in order to receive a passing grade in this course.
3. You MUST make your weekly posts to your class blog ON TIME (or in advance). Failure to do so will, most likely, result in a VERY POOR (D) grade in this course. DO NOT GET BEHIND IN THIS COURSE!
4. You MUST complete all required posts to your blog.
5. Failure to attend ALL class and lab sessions and the final exam will most likely result in a D or F.
6. Failure to use good grammar, good spelling, and your brain in doing your blog posts will blow your A.
7. Failure to be an active, self-directed learner will also blow that A.
But don’t blow it!

I really don’t like using force to get students to learn. If you are going to be a teacher, you will want your students to WANT to learn. They should not be forced, with threats of bad grades, to learn. I want everyone who takes this class to WANT to make an A and to WANT to do the work that will result in that grade. I want everyone in this class to do A work and get an A! Sadly, that is not the case. The best students do that. The others do not.

It seems to me extremely important that teachers WANT to learn. So if you do not fall into that category, if you are not eager to learn, you should think about a different career!

Let’s count. I asked you to do that the first day of class. “ How many times did I say ‘Don’t be late.’ ” So let’s count how may times I said that in the section on grades in the class materials: 19.

Now let’s take a look at what you think about your progress in this course.

So what is your grade? You know better than I. Are you participating fully in the educational community I am trying to form in EDM310? Are you putting forth your best effort? Are you doing ALL of your assignments ON TIME? Are you asking for help as soon as you need it? Are you attending all classes and labs? Are you planning ahead? Are you learning? Are you excited about learning?

You tell me. If Final Grades were distributed tomorrow, what grade would you give yourself? What grade would you give your classmates whose blog posts you read or don’t read because they have not been posted on time? What grades would you give your team members? Have they participated filly? And on time?

If you have friends in this course who have not yet understood that I mean it when I say do all your assignments ON TIME, please inform them before it is too late.

And for those of you who are leading the way in creating a wonderful learning community ( I am excited by the fact that this is happening) THANK YOU!

I have been told that should not think that I can undo 15 or so years of schooling which trained you that grades should be your focus and have you suddenly behave like learning was the most important part of being in school. I guess that is correct. But I am going to keep trying!


  1. Good clarification. Impressive one surely.


  2. I find it interesting that this has to be explained once again. Are the syllabus and manual not enough to understand how this class works? Consider these quotes below:

    Marva Collins: "Once children learn how to learn, nothing is going to narrow their mind. The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another."

    B. F. Skinner: "Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten."

    If we are going to be educator's, shouldn't we appreciate the chance to learn something new and challenging? Don't view this class as a means to an end, but as an opportunity to learn, to make mistakes, to get frustrated, and at the end of the day to own what you have been able to accomplish.

  3. Umm I don't understand the blog post due on May 2, 2010. Do you mean due May 2, 2012?

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  6. Hi

    Sorry for commenting off-topic.

    My name is Jack Sloan and I teach at Ferry Lane Primary School in London ( ).

    I wanted to just say thanks for all of the comments your students are leaving for my class. It's great for them to hear from the other side of the world, and I hope that you see the power of blogging in schools. Blogs have really opened the eyes and brains of my class, and the improvement in their writing in clear to see as a result.

    One little request - please could you ask your students not to include their email addresses in comments? I work hard to ensure my students are safe on the net, and they are extremely sensible. I'm also sure that you are all very nice... However, I don't feel that communication should happen privately between your students and mine without consent.

    Thanks again for the excellent comments - I'm looking forward to hearing from you again,

    Jack Sloan
    Ferry Lane Primary School.