Posts tagged alternatives
Paper Problem Series Post 2: Reviewing My Systems

One of the biggest pieces of advice that I give to new teachers is to always be prepared. Not just the regular "I have got a plan prepared," but the "I have a plan and 2 backup plans just in case this whole thing goes to the birds" type of prepared. The term "systems" always has sounded fancy to me, but the instructional routines, expectations, and actual structures that are in place in any classroom dictate the quality of the learning environment and level of success regarding classroom management. Simply, the routines of how we do business in the day-to-day in my classroom impacts learning on all levels. I have a type of organized process for many things...and then for some things I don't. After coming to terms with the paper problem, I wanted to start by reviewing the systems I have in place so that I can take on the school year in the fall ready to give high-quality feedback in a high quantity without going completely insane. 

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I Don't Hate the Five-Paragraph Essay

I have been spending some time reading books, blog posts, and other resources on the internet about how to manage giving quality feedback without going insane. It is part of my Paper Problem Series I am working on because I believe that if I can figure out how to maintain the level of feedback I am giving AND not work 15 or more hours on a weekend-I can stay teaching. A lot of the books, articles, and other resources I am looking at bring up (to no surprise) the five-paragraph essay. I cringe whenever I read these parts. I think back to a moment that has happened many times over the past seven years. One of my students will come up to my desk and state: "Mrs. H I have a ton more reasons for my thinking, do I have to narrow it down to three for my essay?” I always die a little on the inside. For the given assignment? Yes, you have to narrow it down. For the real world? Not at all. Another one of my students bit the proverbial dust of the five-paragraph essay form. This happens each year because I would like to admit right away...I teach the five-paragraph essay. 

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