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A year of teaching without tests

Session 3
Steve Goldberg — Research Triangle High School, Durham, NC

In today's digital world, it makes little sense to ask students things that they could look up on Google. Instead, in my US History class (1877 to the present), I am placing a premium on students who ask thoughtful, well-informed questions. In order to ask a good question, you usually have to know what you are talking about.

What I do is read my students' learning journals on a rotating basis — I get to roughly four per day — and provide them with regular feedback via comments on the Google Docs that hold their learning journals (each student gets feedback about once a week). If someone asks a great question or conducts fascinating research (both have happened), I share what they did with the whole class.

We generally spend class time doing one of two things: discussing readings or videos they've read/watched before class, or working on projects, such as a Supreme Court simulation and a "how does the Stock Market work" project. What I love is that I don't have to read a stack of 60-100 of the same thing any more. I get to see where students have engaged with the material. And they are exploring topics I never would have thought of.

Conversational Practice

I'll explain how the "learning journal" has worked in my class so far, and then we'll talk about how it might work in your classes back home. I'll make a short video that walks through one student's learning journal. I will also make a shared Google Doc that combines some of the best aspects of my students' learning journals.

I can make those available before EduCon, and they will be available as a resource after EduCon as well. During our conversation (and after) we can add to that shared Google Doc.

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