Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Day 143: A Letter

State testing: Day 6 of 14

I've been toying with the idea of having my student resubmit their presentations.  Not every student, since several produced some excellent work.  Unfortunately, many presented what might generously described as a 6th grade book report.

My thought was to tell all students that if they earned less than a 70 on the rubric, that their work was unacceptable and it would be dropped down to a zero until they submitted a product that met the requirements of the assignment.

In the long run, I decided against this approach since I had not made that clear at the beginning of the assignment.

Instead, I wrote a letter.

It will be handed out to my students who did poorly on their biography presentations and are in danger of failing for the year.  It will also be mailed home to those students and I've posted it on our LMS for access by anyone with a password.

Fun note: When I posted it to the website, a student with excellent grades came to me in a panic because of the first line.  She received a notification because she's a responsible student and I had to spend a few minutes assuring her that she is not at risk of failing the course.  In fact, she could never show up again and still pass the class.

I want to afford them every opportunity to succeed, but they have to be the ones to do the work.
Student of Astronomy,

If you are receiving this letter, your performance on the Astronomer Biography Project, and therefore current grade for the 4th marking period, will guarantee that you fail Astronomy for the 2015-2016 school year. 
If you are a senior, this puts your graduation in jeopardy.

As an educator, my goal is not to prevent you from moving on in your life, but rather to ensure that you are ready and able to do so.  In this effort, I am providing you with the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and ability to perform at grade level.

You may resubmit your Astronomer Biography for consideration using the following deadlines and fulfilling the rubric on the back of this sheet.

Written speech:  Due Friday, April 29th
Video or audio recording of you rehearsing your speech: Due Tuesday, May 3rd
Final Powerpoint/Google Slides presentation: Due Friday, May 6th

You MUST meet these deadlines in order to have your work considered for resubmission.  All work must be completed outside of class and may be submitted electronically, either by sharing it through Google Drive, submitting it through Schoology or emailing it directly to me at

Do NOT wait until the last minute to submit your work.  “I couldn’t get to a computer” is not an acceptable excuse.

If you have any questions about this resubmission, the assignment, your grade, the expectations, or the rubric, see me or email them to me as soon as you have them.

I wish for you to be successful.

Mr. Aion

Several students were confused as to why they would earn zero points just because they weren't ready to present.

There was also an issue with 30+ students being turned away from the school today for dress code violations.  I have very strong feelings about dress code, but I'll save them for another post.

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