Semester Reflection Revisited

I've posted about this project in the past but since I've updated the project, I thought I would revisit the post. Since I am the only math teacher and have the same students 3-4 years in a row, I have to update things often enough that students can't pull out an old essay and turn it in with no effort. Where's the fun in that?

So here is my newest 'rubric':

I've honed this so well that I almost have no questions when students are working on this. The joy of being overly detailed and specific. :-)

 Here are some friendly tips if you ever do a semester paper:

  • Plan one to two days in a computer lab or with devices to make sure everyone can finish
  • Plan on some students using Google Docs so choose your font requirements accordingly
  • Take a basket, hole punch, and stapler with you (if you're in a lab) so that students can turn everything in correctly and neatly; also so you have to less to carry and keep up with
  • Type how you want students to turn in their papers so that your basket, hole punch, and stapler were not carried in vain
  • Send a Remind message out to let students know to go straight to the lab
  • Tell secretaries where you and your classes will be all day
  • Make LOTS of extra copies of your rubric because students who take longer than one class period will lose it
  • Make your rubric and requirements page one and the same
  • Be prepared for answers that are sucking up and answers that are very honest
  • Be open-mind about suggestions students make in their papers
  • Read a few of these a day over your Christmas break so that you won't be overwhelmed by grading
  • Make some personal comments and encouraging remarks; leave the grammar and spell check to English teachers

One of the questions I asked the students was "What are two characteristics every good teacher should have?" I thought it would be interesting to track the results.

I kept most of their wording the same, even though I wanted to group them but I still think the popular answers are pretty clear.

I noticed right away that none, zero, nil, nada, of the responses included anything about the pacing guide, the curriculum, the assessments....you know all the things that I constantly worry about.

This list helped me regain some perspective on what's important. I can always work on my patience and understanding. I can be a good listener and help my students. I can show kindness and respect. 

I can be a good human and teach others how to be a good human in ways that make them feel like good humans....and they might just pick up some math skills too.


  1. Love this reflection and what you discovered from the responses re: patience, understanding, kindness, and respect.