How much is too much?
One Click or two by Kaptain Kobold licensed by CC BY NC SA
How much work in a unit is too much? I would be the first to say it is likely that I am guilty of trying to do too much in a PE unit, but is it too much? How do you gauge what is acceptable and what is too much work for you as the teacher (or teachers if you teach across the grade level) and the students? I would like to try and quantify this if possible. Here are my ideas so far:
- It is too much work when – you can’t easily get the students to get the work done. Maybe you have introduced too many elements in one go or maybe you can’t easily get the instructions in during the lesson time. However, if half the class IS doing the work or blog post or analysis of performance and the other half ISN’T what is the next step?
- Teacher’s aren’t sure – if you teaching group isn’t sure what is happening and start to show concern about the amount of work, is this a sign you have asked for too much? If the assessment criterion used are the same for every student, does everyone need to have the same lead up tasks or teaching content? What do you discuss in your meetings to ensure that your students get the same opportunities as others in the grade? Does this matter to your department?
- Your unit stretches on-wards – if the unit doesn’t get to an easy finish, is this a sign that it is too much to cope with? The MYP and UNIS asks that we assess our students in each criterion at least 2x in the year, this means work – work for students and work for teachers. I will admit that part of this is the learning curve of using technology and practicing using the procedures in place to allow students (and teachers) to have protocols in place ready for next year too, this makes the life easier for the next teacher who has these students – all in a cycle really and important for the growth of our courses.
- Too much administration – how do you track your student blog posts or comments or feedback? Should we be taking more notes? What is your way of ensuring that you have supported documentation or feedback on your students? I am using google docs and also my ipad to try and keep formative notes, and this includes blog posts and whether they were okay. I use conditional formatting to try and note kids who have good/excellent or ok work and see if it progresses over a unit or not. I write the date of entries or when work was submitted to try and keep this all relevant. It is a big picture idea for my students and yes it takes time., but is a life saver when reports comes around. I just copy and paste text – often too much – into the boxes and there you go.
I would be keen to hear more from people about what they do for any or some of the questions or points raised above.