Latest Comments

In response to: We're Not Done Yet!

Comment from: [Member]

I did not see this post until today but I did the two 200 words right away. Here they are:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1L9PDocyHQOB21e9qBqRGo2jWd_yIwksTl0G3khd59to/edit?usp=sharing

01/25/19 @ 11:43

In response to: We're Not Done Yet!

Comment from: [Member]

I think John’s grading scale is a good idea. It is fair and will give the rest of the class a good idea of what went into the project so it will be easier to grade.

For anyone who missed his post here it is.

“As part of student presentations students do three things:

a. Define in each of their projects the best part and the worst part
b. Define in each of their projects what they learned or value and how another similar project from another student taught them something of value.
c. Students grade their own projects publicly and explicitly from 1 - 10 - all viewing students respond with a “higher” if they think the student graded their individual project too low or “Lower” if the student’s grade was too high for the value. (I think this method will enable more honest and useful feedback.)”

01/25/19 @ 08:52

In response to: We're Not Done Yet!

Comment from: [Member]

Rowan I understand the point you are making. You are giving a good example of putting your heart and interest into a project. Thank you for the feed back.

01/24/19 @ 19:26

In response to: We're Not Done Yet!

Comment from: [Member]

Yes, I agree with you John. Here are the new essays. I kept the previous two essays for you to read though, because even though they don’t address me specifically, they answer some of the questions that were in the prompts. They also have some, of what I consider, good answers to your questions. The new essays are the ones after the first two. I do not know if they are what you wanted, but I tried, and here they are:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hfoXKtHtY5N_dtMZ_zqkd_-nPH0k8nri0oRC5_-3WaU/edit?usp=sharing

01/24/19 @ 18:42

In response to: We're Not Done Yet!

Comment from: [Member]

Emery I like it but one thing- some of the people’s coin flipping projects were well done in my opinion and I am pretty sure were suggested to do as a project because many people did them (I could be wrong). And besides that a lot of people put a twist in theirs like mine where I created a excel program to flip the coins for me hense learning programming on google sheets and graphing large ammounts of data (hundreds of coin flips). Maybe this would be a failed project but from my perspective (for example my project) I learned a lot from it and it sparked interest in excel and it was my mistake not to attend the optional classes- for excell if any other- and pursue that passion down. That’s where I failed.

01/24/19 @ 18:14

In response to: We're Not Done Yet!

Comment from: [Member]

Here are my reflections on the class:

A. The failure that I saw (and was a part of) came from two locations. The first being the optional sections of the class. These were fun and interesting section that were murderously underused. The most I ever saw at one of these class was six people. This showed a major disinterest in the productivity of the class as well as in the subjects as a whole. I understand that people want to focus on there own interests, but to not venture out is rude to the rest of the class. If class members were required to attend at least one of the multi-week optional sections, interest in the class would have been greater.
The second area was in the projects. When these were first brought up at the beginning of the class they seemed like an easy, push aside, assignment. This is what, at least for me, lead to the untimely turn-in of projects. This caused a snowball effect that resulted in projects being of a lackluster quality. The minimal pressure to produce a heart feld on time projects was what drove the failure of this class. With that lack of pressure, whether from a facilitator or classmates, helped fuel the laziness of this class.
With more and more students wanting to take the same classes there need to be alternatives to instruction. The two best examples of this were Juniper’s Health class and Cedella’s English class. With so many kids and only a limited amount of teaching time students need to help run a class or completely lead one independently.
If as a class we can come up with multiple ways receiving information in a class this can reduce the pressure on John, Lynne, and Renee. Without these options readily available I feel that another failure like ours is inevitable.

B. The grading we initially had for projects was destined to fail. There was no way for a project to be failed, only not presented. The inability to fail someone opens the gate for meaningless grading. I gave up on grading the projects at the end of the semester because I felt that I was doing a disservice to the projects and their creators. A successful project is one that takes a person’s interests or passions and uses the class to display them. Aly’s hockey presentations are a good example of this. Projects like the coin flip and other in class, slap together projects should be failed. When we rate projects a scale of ten works, but we need to have a failing line. There was no sign of this in our standards. A rating of a five or worse should be failed. Our grade inflation still would have allowed each project to pass.
When grading I felt obligated to try and have every project, and person, pass the class. This lead to me over inflating my scoring of peoples projects. Having a standard of projects to check others against would help reduce this issue. There was also a large amount of pressure on people to quickly rate projects. If projects are spaced out in a timely manner there would be less of a rush and more honest ratings.
This class needed to acknowledge failure as an option. We failed to due so and that hurt this class tremendously.

01/24/19 @ 18:07

In response to: We're Not Done Yet!

Comment from: [Member]

I rewrote my reflection essays:

I tried writing this many different times and ways so it may be a little confusing. I still agree with lots of the points in my first writings but reading all the comments from John and everyone’s writings has opened up my eyes.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/17ABjCWgPEXv_6fgQXzNSzklAkEX6xiGHstxQO1zxbEs/edit?usp=sharing

01/24/19 @ 17:41

In response to: We're Not Done Yet!

Comment from: [Member]

Juniper

A: As the school grows, the class size grows – this we cannot avoid.

The Second Block Fall classes was an attempt to build towards this larger future of facilitated classes.

Your reflects are a scathing condemnation of facilitated classes in general. Facilitated classes attempt to expand class participation by allowing student freedom AND demanding student’s ultimately working for the center of the class, in essence, interested students teaching other students from this interest.

For the confusions of every facilitated class these expansions: freedom and learning from INTERESTED peers.

This was a Upper Class – all of you have attended facilitated classes before and yet every corner of this class was misused – particularly freedom (low attendance, silly projects, untimeliness)not balanced by responsibilities, interests, or honest self evaluation.

Do Upper Class benefit from facilitated classes? Does any Laurel student benefit?

The answer – from your – and Cayleigh’s – reflection reads a resounding “No”

B: Your essay – and the majority of the class’ essay of what constitutes a failed– all lack the specificity which will make the class’ upcoming job – evaluating each other’s projects a pleasant task. Besides late and slapdash projects – (the majority – note there are posted deadlines that can be used for lateness) what about projects that have little understanding of statistics (many)?

What are the consequences of a failed project or failed projects – No Credit?

Objective standards are set up so that evaluation is fair; objective standards are changed when the original standards proved less than fair. Now that your class has lost all sense of objective standards – (is the only fair standard one where every project passes?) – you should have a conversation (given that objective standards have failed this class repeatedly) of what a fair result could be so that every student could demonstrate their learning and interest and not suffer from suddenly strict gradings.

The time for honest gradings is passed – the class needs a way to now be fair.

So – as suggestion – for example– if I were facilitating this unwinding of these projects, class, and credits I would suggest.

As part of student presentations students do three things:

a. Define in each of their projects the best part and the worst part
b. Define in each of their projects what they learned or value and how another similar project from another student taught them something of value.
c. Students grade their own projects publicly and explicitly from 1 - 10 - all viewing students respond with a “higher” if they think the student graded their individual project too low or “Lower” if the student’s grade was too high for the value. (I think this method will enable more honest and useful feedback.)

01/24/19 @ 16:37

In response to: We're Not Done Yet!

Comment from: [Member]

Cole — your essays need permission (at least outside school)

Cayleigh – very clear observations of the confusions and over-reach that were at the base of the class design. Two question remain for you (and the future) based on these observations.

a. Is alternative structuring of classes possible? Given the limited time for 50(moving towards 60 students) – if the school does not move to alternative structuring for facilitated classes what options do we have?

The freshmen and sophomores would fill up 4 blocks easily, with English, Mathematics and History – should teacher led/facilitated classes only be for the underclass?

Because this class did not work does not mean that this class could not have worked. Yet your skepticism (if only implied) speaks volumes that “upper” student classes are impossible.

b. You are on the practical pulse of what the Probability and Statistics class most notably failed – self evaluation.

As you rightfully note, the “grading” system did only harm – great projects were undermined by the lack of discerning grading (and great effort mock, when the average “grade” was 9.3 out of10)

The challenge for this class is to unwind this grade inflation –and your suggestion – giving ideas of what is a 1 project, a 4 project, up to a 10 project is an excellent one. (in fact clarifying grade scaling was the purpose of this second essay)

I would suggest the class decide what these numbers mean and define these numbers clearly.

Which leads to the questions – does your class have the conviction to fail any project? How does a failed project equate to a no credit for the semester (given that nearly all students did the minimum 6 projects or below)? If some class member fails one of their projects, do they have any consequence(s)?

The class is weighing more than individual credits for individual students – this class is deciding if students have the ability to evaluate themselves and their peers honestly and fairly.

If student do not have this ability of self evaluation (or do not want this ability or the work involved) the fundamental idea of the school is at stake and the idea of student led group education (facilitated classes) is dead.

If you – as a group – do not want the difficult task of holding yourself (and more importantly your peers) accountable for their work, effort, and quality – then stop the pretense of this middle ground between teacher led and independent study.

01/24/19 @ 15:38

In response to: We're Not Done Yet!

Comment from: [Member]

John- I am not sure what you were commenting extactly. Should I rewrite my first reflection on prompt A.

01/23/19 @ 20:03

In response to: We're Not Done Yet!

Comment from: [Member]

Of course Rowan!

Reflection is most vital when it is an ongoing conversation with yourself (and others)

01/23/19 @ 12:13

In response to: We're Not Done Yet!

Comment from: [Member]

Am I able to rewrite mine? I feel I could write a better one

01/23/19 @ 11:26

In response to: We're Not Done Yet!

Comment from: [Member]

Deadline extended again until Thursday 7PM

01/23/19 @ 08:22

In response to: We're Not Done Yet!

Comment from: [Member]

Powerful reflection Kali, thanks.

01/22/19 @ 21:51

In response to: We're Not Done Yet!

Comment from: [Member]

Isaac – thoughtful comments – thanks.

Facilitated classes are complex and near and dear to my whole concept of education.

Perhaps, however, these classes are too complex.

Think how easier to remove this idea of “facilitated” and replace it with all independent study. I could map-out my time for anybody who wanted an hour and told me what to do. I’d be happy as a clam following the bliss and motivation of individuals.

But Laurel has the ability to do more (and do more with me). If students bind themselves to a facilitated group – much more can be done. There is no doubt many interests levels and energy levels and skill levels and responsibility can join into a successful whole– it has happened many times to GREAT result at Laurel.

Yet facilitated classes happen because students are willing – as a group– to say that to be IN CLASS is a privilege to be earned by what you do outside of class and bring to the class. Facilitated classes happen because students commit to the principle that the interest of a group of students facilitates the interest and motivation of each member of the group. Facilitated classes happen because class leaders do the extra work of holding the standards of the class against the inevitable lull in morale, interest, and effort that will come to every class. Facilitated classes happen because every student who shows up to class wants to be in that class that day and every student takes on their share (notice “their share") of the responsibility for a class working that day.

If there are two students in a semester’s class who do the extraordinary work of being there for every option and every idea and every learning experience you can grow a faciitated class with cool options, experimental ideas, and genuine learning experiences. When there is two, there will be a group to form around them.

But when there a bunch of individuals waiting for a class to give them something, facilitated classes fail spectacularly.

This Probability class failed because no one joined Dylan to be that center of a class – that second other to look for the class first and themselves second. The class like so many indivuals gone to a buffet – got their meal and went away to eat.

A facilitated class is a dinner with friends. Each comes with a dish to pass, ready for sharing and ready for good conversation. I never mind setting the table and cleaning up the dishes when people go home – but why should I do this if nobody wants to try things they don’t eat normally, and, worse, if nobody can count on a dinner being laid, why would anybody bring a dish to share? Groups are fragile things when you embarrass members for doing extra work….

Do students want to do the hard work of deciding, forming, maintaining, evaluating and taking constructive responsibility for a class? I don’t see it clearly.

Yet if there are two students that serve as a rock in any class that class will find interest, meaning, pride, and power in a facilitated group.

Dylan is gone. Independent study is a buffet (you take what you want and go eat it by yourself). Think how simple this would be….

01/22/19 @ 21:43

In response to: We're Not Done Yet!

Comment from: [Member]

Here is my essay, I’m sorry it is late, I was at work and couldn’t post it earlier. I understand if I can not attend nor get my credit because of it being late.

What I think I could have done better for our probability and statistics class in the time I had is make every second count, be in every class possible. I feel like everyone (including me) with the exception of a few waited till the last week or so to get projects done. I am at laurel for a few reasons and one of those reasons is self motivation, which I feel only a few people in this class actually had, I did but I waited way too long to show. The factors that caused this class to fail is the lack of motivation, urge to learn and succeed. The standards we made for our class were based on the time we had which I feel was rushed and I did not get enough time to cover everything as thoroughly as I would have liked. I feel as though I failed our class but we also failed each other, I rated other’s projects to the highest instead of doing what was right and rating them to what they actually should’ve been rated to. I feel as though there are many aspects of how this class could have been better and how I could have made it more fun, exciting and meaningful for myself. I know that I am very interested in these subjects (probability and statistics).

With the new expectations I need to be completely straight forward with my peers. I need to judge as if I do not know them, but I also need to think about what a pass project is in their mind. Everyone’s standards are different for themselves yes, but I need to work as a class or a “team” with our standards. I must judge if the projects are worth being called a passing project or not. A project that has been thought out and has had time put into it is worth a pass, depending on how neatly it is done determines if it is a above average, average or low average. There is also a chance of a failed project. A failed project is a project that had no time put into it other then scrappy work to get it done. Another thing about a project that is worthy is not only the project but what you have learned from it and what you can take from it. The main point in me doing these projects was to learn about probability and statistics in the areas I am most interested and what better way is there then doing projects on our own.

01/22/19 @ 21:35

In response to: We're Not Done Yet!

Comment from: [Member]

John- I think that is a great idea.

It would be awesome to go into the class with knowledge of my shortcomings so that I can make a better class for myself and others.

As well as a better idea of what I enjoy most about Probs and Stats.

01/22/19 @ 21:33

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