Being a Free Spirit

It’s funny how God gives your children the very character you desire to have. My oldest daughter is such a free spirit. She wears what feels right to her no matter the color scheme or weather. She moves to the music whether others hear it or not. I watch her and wish I could throw my controlling ways to the wind.

Now let me connect this idea of being a free spirit to my journey into middle school. Most teachers are hindered in best practices due to our own struggle with control. Unfortunately, students cannot accept responsibility for their learning if we do not give them some control. This is one way I plan to be a free spirit, my plan is layered like an onion.


Students will be graded based on demonstration of the standards. This will be done through portfolio based grading. Being a free spirit part 1, students will create a menu of ways to show understanding. Included in this menu will be two teacher selected pieces and 7 other options for students to decide. In order to grade the portfolio, a rubric will be created during a students and teacher collaboration, being a free spirit part 2. The rubric will be based on the SMPs and evidence of them within each unit of study. Well, students will need to understand the SMPs.

This is where being a free spirit part 3 comes into play. The activity plays out in my mind like this. Instead of posting kid friendly SMPs posters in the room, I plan to have students explore two standards a day. Students will look at the standard and discuss their interpretation of each. Students will be given the standard descriptors and will match the correct descriptor to the standards. This will be followed by an activity in which students will engage where the standards will be exhibited. After looking at all 8 standards, students can create posters of the SMPs.

Back to the rubric, with a better understanding of what they are expected to do, students can set the expectations of the 4 point scale rubric. My role will be to facilitate discussions and add specifics regarding the content standards. Free spirit squared 😁.



  1. You are definitely relinquishing control but it is with a purpose and that’s awesome!!!

    The areas that you are choosing to let go of are specifically the areas that allow students to develop a accountability and a sense of ownership for their work. Having the students select work samples to provide evidence of mastering a standard is truly empowering.

    Be sure to share how the SMP activity goes with your students. I’m super excited to see what the upcoming year has in store for you and your students!!!!

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