Lesson Plans: a New Look at Data and Agency

In my first semester beat, I’m exploring the life-saving power of routines–but not just any routines. I’m talking about routines that make life easier, more efficient, and more familiar–even in the most daunting of times (cough, 2020, cough). I’m talking about routines that allow students to thrive whether you are teaching in person, virtually, hybrid, […]

Rubrics, Metacognition, & Writing

In this post I want to talk about how I have started to use analytic rubrics in the formative process to help students reflect more purposefully—to help them increase their metacognitive skill set. The consultant Tom Schimmer was at my school recently…I might have mentioned him before?! He is all things assessment—he makes assessment sexy. Seriously. […]

“The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle” (and How to Help Your Writers Deliver it with Assessment Reviews)

I came across one of those well-intended but ultimately wrong-minded tweets today while scrolling through Twitter.  It offered advice for “ELA teachers” from someone who isn’t one. It suggested encouraging students to try out a new Microsoft Word feature that will basically auto-suggest (or replace, if I interpreted the gif correctly) segments of student writing […]

Assessing Writing Workshop: FAQ

Gentle readers, when we were last together, I shared some ideas for assessing the spirit of workshop with an emphasis on assessing both process and product without looking for perfection. Instead, in writing workshop, we look for growth. When we consider assessment separate from grading (something too personal, too school-by-school to really make broad recommendations […]

Low stakes writing: How I reclaimed my sanity and unburied myself from grading.

My first year teaching AP Language, I was overwhelmed by the grading. The class culminates in a three hour exam; for two of those hours, students are writing three different essays. The amount of prep your average student needs to confidently bang out three essays asking them to do three different things in two hours? […]