Day 17 – Rejoice, for Benko has Provided

Here’s a summary of what we did in preparation for and on Tuesday (10/18):

-No readings for class! We just needed to come with our most complete draft of our midterm. There was a bit of a misunderstanding about when we needed to do the assessment readings because of differences between our schedules, but those weren’t needed for that day (formative assessment will be key for the final, though).
-Class started with some reminders that will be detailed in the thinking ahead section! Following this, we were to send an email to Dr. Benko saying what all we had done for our midterms – no consequences for being honest!
-We were then paired off with people in different genre groups to go through our midterms and answer the questions listed on the lesson plan for the day.
-The last ten minutes of class were devoted to our big questions – one of these was about rubrics. Dr. Benko recommended looking at Gallagher for model of “meets expectations, exceeds expectations, and does not meet expectations” (sometimes four categories are more difficult) – if you start with meeting expectations to set framework, you can understand what your expectations actually are.
-If you don’t have room to teach everything in your midterm, you can look at previous grade standard for prior knowledge or just say that you’re making assumptions (e.g., “I’m assuming students have already learned about plagiarism,” but you can’t grade assumptions!).
-Your midterm goal is for Benko to not have to think super hard while reading; make sure she can follow it easily, whether you delineate by day or topic, whatever works for you!
-Logistics matter so much for teachers, but it’s not what we need to worry about right now – we’re just worrying about intellectual work rather than the day-by-day matters.
-Liv asked if this is how we go about crafting lessons; Benko responded by saying it’s good practice to start with end goal in mind. This will definitely come up in practicum and 395, so here‘s a blog post where a teacher recommends the same practice for students.
-We also mourned the breakup of the Civil Wars.

Thinking ahead:

-If you haven’t emailed Kim about needing permission for a practicum section, DO THAT NOW! She will send this information to TC; you don’t need to email TC yourself.
-Now that scheduling season is upon us, meet with your advisor ASAP – email Dr. Benko sooner rather than later for advising help, if you can’t meet with your assigned advisor.
-Dr. Benko has said that our readings will start to die down in about mid-November as we work on our grammar videos and our finals.
-The midterm due date has been pushed to next Tuesday! Rejoice, for Benko rarely extends assignment deadlines twice.
-We’ll be talking about the assessment readings for Thursday, if you’ve already done those!


Day 16: Wilson Vs. Gallagher: Battle of the Rubric

Today in 350:

We began with talking about happy things that happened over Fall Break.

  • Beth didn’t have to drive to Muncie for 2 whole daysScreen Shot 2016-10-14 at 11.26.38 AM.png
  • Cassie picked up her cat from the vet
  • Rachel met the Author of Percy Jackson…and he retweeted her!
  • Dr. Benko had a relaxing/writing weekend, and got to sleep in until 7am.

Everyone turned in their This I Believe Essays and Reflections.

Since we all had many meals and sleeps during Fall Break. Rachel started the class with our conversations from last Thursday (10/6)

Digitally Convenient or Digitally Enhanced?

Here is the Google Doc for our conversation over the TIB podcast and Joel’s Book Trailer.

Is the Podcast convenient or enhanced?

Many said that it was more convenient than enhanced, but knowing that it was going to be recorded had an effect on they way they wrote.

Rachel asked if even though the podcast was considered digitally convenient, does it still have merit?

Cassie said that it depends on how you use it. It does teach inflection, and is more engaging.

Beth said that it would be a good way to introduce students to working with digital media.

This conversation ended with this idea:

Even though the podcast was defined as digitally convenient, it may be used effectively as a scaffold to work students up to creating more digitally enhanced projects. Therefore, digitally convenient and digitally enhanced to not need to work as opposite, they can exist together.

“Now let’s talk about everyone’s favorite thing! Assessment!”

We discussed the positive and negative aspects of using rubrics.


can individualize rubrics

helps grading in a timely manner

clear descriptions of what is expected


Students may write for the rubric, and not for their own purpose

Rubric may not represent the writing

Wilson vs Gallagher 

Maja Wilson argued that using rubrics would take any real human response away. However, Gallagher showed that there are many ways that we can balance rubrics and human response.

Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 12.15.28 PM.png

Most agreed that Wilson’s article was solved by Gallagher’s chapter on Assessment in Teaching Adolescent Writers.

Brittany pointed out that Wilson had a very rigid use of rubrics, and fell into the same trap of students who worry about rubrics too much.

As A Side note: Dr. Benko asked us to think about numeric conversion when creating our rubric…

For the midterm, Don’t use numbers like 4, 3, 2, 1.

989e684fa333a4c45968c49854e86994.jpgThey don’t translate correctly, use percentages instead.



If you use a model, say it.

Things Dr. Benko asked us to think about when creating a rubric:

Good writing is good writing. How do you boil that down to a rubric?

“Good writing” as a blanket statement does not exist, but good narrative, good poetry, etc. does. What is my student writing? What makes this kind of piece good?

Rubrics will change with different genres of writing.

After these conversations, we separated into our midterm groups to discuss what we think should go on our rubrics.

For next time:

There is no reading. Just work on your midterm! Drafts are Due Tuesday 10/18, and we’ll be having peer review in class. The finished product is due Thursday. Good luck!

Oh, And a little something extra:

Here is an article from English Journal called “The Infamy of Rubrics” by Michael Livingston. I thought this would be interesting because actually cites and mentions Maja Wilson’s article in his piece. Enjoy!

– Makayla

Day 23 – Grammar

Hey team!

So, in class today, our friend Emilie taught our lesson about grammar videos. A few of the past readings that you may want to review that were applicable to this lesson include:

While reviewing these readings, keep in mind what the goals of the videos in this lesson are. Also, keep in mind what the goals for our own videos will be. These videos are examples of what you can do on your project or to gain inspiration. When looking at these videos it is helpful to reflect back on the rubric and what we discussed about the difference between categories. Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that none of these videos were made for this class.

IMG_1693.JPGRemember, in class we discussed the differences in between each section of the rubric and what elements were absolutely necessary to include in our videos. In the image above, you can see the necessary elements underlined in green and the elements that distinguish between sections underlined in black.

After going over the rubric, we were given 5 videos to watch and grade based on the rubric. Below are the grades that each of our groups gave the 5 videos. Click on the “VIDEO #” to watch each video again.

VIDEO 1 Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 5
Presentation of information P P Dis Basic Pro
Use of mentor texts P P Dis Basic Basic
Use of Visual scaffold B U Dis Basic Pro


VIDEO 2 Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 5
Presentation of information B+ B Pro Basic Basic
Use of mentor texts D D Dis Pro Pro
Use of Visual scaffold P- P Pro Basic Basic


VIDEO 3 Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 5
Presentation of information P P Bas Pro Dis
Use of mentor texts D B Dis Pro Dis
Use of Visual scaffold P U Bas Pro Dis


VIDEO 4 Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 5
Presentation of information P D Pro Basic Dis
Use of mentor texts B+ P Dis Basic Pro
Use of Visual scaffold P P Dis Dis Dis


VIDEO 5 Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 5
Presentation of information P B Pro Basic Basic
Use of mentor texts P B Pro Pro Basic
Use of Visual scaffold B- U Pro Basic Un

In groups, we discussed the full subjectivity that occurs in grading and perceptions. This should be used as a reminder of what to keep in mind when you are grading student work. The main issue that led us to this idea of subjectivity was the differences of opinion that we saw in the rubrics and the graphs above. This subjectivity means that we need to take care when it comes to creating our own videos. We must create videos that are as objectively educational as possible. Also, we learned that as teachers, we need to build an understanding and develop a means of grading fairly and equally when evaluating grading criteria.

For the future, remember to keep looking ahead and working on your finals and keep up with the work. Dr. Benko emphasizes that for the last bit of the semester to keep track and work a little bit at a time.


Some upcoming due dates:

Complete video lesson and reflection due Tuesday, April 19th

Final is on Tuesday, May 3rd from 12-2pm


Looking ahead links:

One teacher’s ideas on how to create white board video lessons.

Another teacher lays out some resources for creating videos.

Finally, a quick tutorial on adding interactive elements to YouTube videos.


All About Assessment (Rubrics)

Hey everyone, it’s Jill on the blog! Here’s a recap of what we did in class today, Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Our main focus of the class was rubrics.


To Start:

  • Our readings for today were Maja Wilson’s “Why I Won’t be Using Rubrics to Respond to Students’ Writing,” Kelly Gallagher’s chapter on assessment from “Teaching Adolescent Writers,” and “Assessing Writing” from “Teaching Writing in the 21st
  • Can we email Dr. Benko with questions about our Midterm? Of course we can! Just don’t ask her if your idea is okay-she will not like that.
  • Our TIB essays, short reflection, and podcasts are due this Thursday! We need physical copies of the essay and reflection and podcasts are to be turned in either to the BOX account or Soundcloud (thanks Emilie).
    • The short reflection should talk about the process we went through when writing this essay and completing this project. We were reminded by Dr. Benko to think like a writer by thinking about what we were trying to do with our essays, and to also think like a teacher and consider how to connect what we have done in this assignment to what we have learned so far in this class. Very helpful ways of looking at this!




After announcements and a little bit of hearing what is due next time, Dr. Benko informed us a little bit more on what she is looking for in our final TIB assignments. Her suggestions included to reflect and connect.” We should all be thinking back to our readings from the semester and connect them to this assignment.


Dr. Benko also noted that we all have learned something about teaching writing after going through this assignment as a writer. We’re learning without even realizing it!



Shoutout to Emilie for being awesome and creating a mash-up for us of all of our opening statements, it sounds so professional! Here is the link in case we are struggling to figure out how to upload our own podcasts to our account.

If you really can’t figure out how to do this, it is still okay to upload your podcast to BOX!


We are almost done with this TIB assignment! It’s so exciting for me to see this project we’ve been working on pretty much all semester coming to a close. I know personally, it has helped with my narrative writing and given me insight into my fellow classmates, and I have really enjoyed that. I


We then moved into talking about assessment in the classroom and how different classes in our program may talk about assessment differently and that’s perfectly okay! Many people view and talk about assessment differently and it all depends on what kind of teacher you want to be, what you’re teaching, and the school you are at.


Then we looked at three questions Dr. Benko had for us on the lesson plan for today for thinking about our readings.

  1. What are different ways we can evaluate student work?
  2. Why are rubrics helpful? How can they be harmful?
  3. What do we need to keep in mind when designing our own rubrics?

Something that got me thinking when it came to our discussion on rubrics, was how to make them flexible to meet different students’ writing styles but also have a clear structure to follow? Another question the class thought about was how to make rubrics something our students wanted to do and use?


Lastly, we looked at two rubrics Dr. Benko found and talked in our tables about some positives and negatives of each. A document that was really beneficial for us looking into designing our own rubrics can be found on our Blackboard site, under “Materials from Class Daily” titled “Designing Rubrics.” Here are the two rubrics we looked at in class today, one of them is only partially included!


This class really opened my eyes to all of the possibilities and options we have when creating rubrics. Honestly, it’s still kind of scary to think that in a year and a half I will be creating and modifying rubrics for my own students. I definitely want to do more research on how to balance the strict rules of rubrics with the need for flexibility, because I think they are both important aspects of rubrics overall. There are several things to consider when creating rubrics and even Dr. Benko noted that she is always working to improve her own.

Some classmates talked about their own experiences with rubrics. We talked about a “6 plus 1” style rubric, which Cate said she had some experience with. Dr. Benko pulled up an example of one and showed how limiting these kinds of rubrics can be in a traditional classroom. It also worried a lot of us that we would be forced to use a specific type of rubric once we are teachers. Some of the categories on certain rubrics we looked at made it seem like students had to conform to have certain styles or techniques in their writing, which sometimes can just not happen. We discussed again about finding the balance between too flexible and not flexible enough.

If anyone is looking for extra reading on rubrics, I found a short article, which talks about standardized test and rubrics. I’d love to hear anyone else’s thoughts while reading this!



For Thursday:

  • Physical copies of the TIB essay and reflection
  • TIB podcasts uploaded to either BOX or Soundcloud
  • No readings!! We will be doing an in class work day


Hope this helps everyone feel more confident in what we discussed today and ready to tackle the rest of the week. We’re almost to Spring Break, we can do this!