Jonathan Claydon
University of Houston 2006
BS Mechanical Engineering
Cum Laude, University Honors and Honors in Mechanical Engineering

Spring Branch ISD Houston, TX

2015 PAEMST State Finalist
2017 Campus Teacher of the Year
2017 SBISD Secondary Teacher of the Year

5yrs Algebra II, 7 yrs Pre-Cal, 3 yrs Calculus AB/BC

I had a job in construction project management juggling millions of dollars and pounds of paperwork. Then the little voice said go forth and teach, and yea, verily, it came to pass. 

I coached 8th grade and 9th grade soccer from 2009 until 2017 (70W 36L 27T).

Grading Policies

Students in Pre-Cal are graded as follows: 60% Tests, 20% Classwork, 10% Groupwork, 10% SBG Chart

Calculus is a new, evolving project, which currently uses an A/B/Not Yet system. All credit to Sarah Hagan.

Classwork is simply that, work done in class. Groupwork is things likes posters, iPad explorations, or data collection activities. Their SBG Chart is for keeping track of progress of graded topics (the Tests) and goes in the front of a notebook. For more details, check out The $1 TextbookMore on The $1 Textbook, $1 Textbook FAQ, and No Frills Notebooks.

My Standards Based Grading implementation looks a little like this: 

  • Teach 3-4 Lessons
  • Assess a maximum of 4 items/each on those 3-4 lessons
  • Assign scores from 0-4 for each topic, each topic is its own grade book entry
    • 0 for no effort
    • 1 for minor attempt
    • 2 for incomplete work or several major mistakes
    • 3 for anything from one major mistake, one incomplete item, or many small mistakes
    • 3+ for being oh so close  to perfect but with a conceptual issue that doesn't warrant a 4
    • 4 for everything correct, or only one or two small mistakes
  • Have students record their scores for those lessons
  • Add depth to prior lessons or reteach as necessary
  • Add 2 new lessons
  • Assess a maximum of 4 items/each on those 5-6 lessons, increase the difficulty level of old topics or ask something completely different about it
  • Have students record their second grade for the first lessons and their first grades for the new lessons
  • Rinse, Repeat

If a student improves (say from a 1 to a 3), they retain the higher grade with no penalty. If a student does worse (say from a 4 to a 2), the lower grade is ignored. If a student shows mastery (two 4's), they earn a 5 in the gradebook for 100% and a sticker in their notebook. If a student shows competency (two 3's) I will give them a 3.5 which equates to 70% for the topic. After two attempts, a student is free to come in after school to improve any grade they want before the grading period ends. From time to time I will let students work on tests in groups, I try to make sure the difficulty level is a little higher for something like that. If I give a test at the end of a grading period, anything on the test that's there for the first time will count towards the NEXT grading period.


Room Arrangement

Students are arranged at six tables in the room: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, and White. Large class sizes dictate groups sizes of 5-6. Each desk is labeled 1-6. I use the colors and numbers for different methods of randomization. Warm ups or classwork can be split up by color or desk number. Subdividing the class this way makes it easier for me to jump around the room evenly.

Groups are randomly assigned on the first day of school. I will change them a few times during the year. As time goes on the students are arranged with a little more purpose based on compatibility and ability. If we do any explicit group work these are the students they work with, saves prep time on my part.  It also spawns some goofy things like Spirit Day. You can see some more detail in Tables and Iteration.

Typical Day

I try to establish routine by not having a routine. We have note taking days, classwork days, project days, and testing days. Your average week will go something like note taking + classwork, review classwork + note taking + new classwork, review classwork + note taking + project, test. I try to have an all-consuming project at least twice a grading period. These projects are designed to be completed during class. I see students for 3 50 minute periods and 1 90 minute period in a week, so I try as much as possible to put projects on the 90 minute days. I avoid similarity in projects to keep ideas fresh. Posters are fun. Posters every week are stale. For project ideas, you can poke around my Algebra II and Pre-Cal collections.


There is a lot of equipment that runs the show. 

Home Hardware: Mac Pro, 2x Cinema Displays, Wacom Intuos5, LiDE 50 Scanner, LaserJet 1102w
School Hardware: 11" MacBook Air, Mac mini, Wacom Cintiq 22HD, 32" LG HDTV,  32" Sony HDTV, another 32" LG HDTV, 40" Toshiba HDTV, 52" Samsung HDTV, 60" Sharp HDTV, 2x8 HDMI Splitter, 32 iPads (14 iPad mini, 6 iPad 2, 1 iPad 3, 4 iPad 4, 8 iPad Air), 2-channel stereo receiver, 2x 5.25" bookshelf speakers, Brother color laser printer, miles of cable

Software:  Adobe Photoshop CS6, Adobe Illustrator CS6, Pixelmator, PDFPen, SketchBook Pro 7, Apple Music account, Dropbox (1TB account), Final Cut Pro, Aperture, Griddle, OmniGraphSketcher, Desmos, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Word, Excel, Deskscribble, LaTeX, TI SmartView

How can you afford these things? Coaching stipends, bus driving money, tutoring, and being single with no kids.