Room 241: A Blog by
Concordia
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Students working on an assignment to be graded

How Teachers Can Create an Equitable Grading System

By Jennifer Gunn March 12, 2019

Grading is one of the most challenging and emotionally charged conversations in today’s schools. Teachers are protective of their right to grade, but inconsistent grading practices and the ways they can inadvertently perpetuate achievement and opportunity gaps among our students make grading an issue of equity. There are grading practices that are more bias-resistant and… Read More

How many five-paragraph essays do students write in their school career? A lot. How many standardized tests require an essay? Most of them. How many essays will students need to write after college? Eh, probably not that many. Essays have their function, but they’re certainly not the only academically rigorous form of writing, nor are… Read More

How to Encourage Student Self-Efficacy

By Jennifer Gunn January 7, 2019

A confident classroom is a successful classroom. How do you build a culture of academic excellence in classrooms that promote student accountability, confidence, and success? By encouraging a growth mindset for all learners, finding ways to boost their confidence and their sense of academic potential. Here’s a look at a few ways to cultivate student… Read More

When is Differentiation Detrimental?

By Jennifer Gunn December 13, 2018

Educators have gotten very good at building scaffolds for student learning, but are we going too far? Are we underestimating our students’ ability to struggle and then succeed? When is it time to step back? Should every assignment have scaffolds? Let’s explore if and when differentiation and scaffolding should take a backseat to healthy learning… Read More

How to Make Student Assessments Useful and Productive

By Brita Williams February 8, 2018

When it comes to assessing our students, it’s easy to fall into the age old trap of giving an exam, grading it, and moving forward. But to get the most out of the assessments we give, we need to stay focused on the two primary goals of an assessment: gather evidence that our students learned… Read More

How Do We Actually Know a Lesson Went Well?

By Jennifer Gunn October 27, 2017

Sometimes when we say a lesson “went well,” we mean that we managed to “get through the lesson” without a classroom disaster. A lesson that’s “going well” is often equivalent to a classroom where students are working, remaining quiet, or appearing engaged. But how do we really know if students are actually learning in class?… Read More

Instructional Rounds: Not Just for Administrators

By Jennifer Gunn October 11, 2017

Ever wonder what’s happening in the classroom across the hall? Besides overhearing some Staff Lounge chatter or taking a cursory glance from the hallway while passing by, teaching can often happen in isolation, and we don’t always know what’s really going on in classrooms beyond our own. Why instructional rounds? Teachers get observed and evaluated… Read More

Problem-based learning (PBL): It’s all the rage. PBL is an innovative addition to modern K-12 pedagogy, but it can seem overwhelming for beginners. It doesn’t have to be, though. PBL’s principal goal—meeting students where they are and putting them to work solving real-world problems—marks a significant shift from old educational models. Putting it into action… Read More

6 Ways Students Can Reduce Stress Before Big Tests

By Kara Wyman, MEd May 16, 2017

Tests help us assess students’ comprehension and skills, but they can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety. To help students destress before taking a test, try one or more of the activities below. Whether you work with elementary, middle or high school students, there’s always a way to help them feel even slightly… Read More

Test Anxiety: Reducing Stress on Students

By Monica Fuglei May 10, 2017

Parents and educators alike worry that standardized tests place undue burdens on students, triggering stress and anxiety. In a fast-moving culture full of pressure to accumulate good grades and broad experience portfolios, teen stress and anxiety are moving down the chain and affecting middle and elementary students as well. Sometimes this stress manifests as testing… Read More

For the second year in a row, my daughter launched a full-fledged campaign against standardized testing. About a week before the tests began, she argued they were ineffective and unfair. She echoed the concerns of a variety of students, parents and teachers: It’s a bad measure, it’s stressful, it doesn’t influence grades, it takes too… Read More

Right now, students across the U.S. are registering for next fall’s high school classes — including honors and advanced placement. Traditionally, schools used test scores or previous coursework to place students in AP or honors courses, but lately more students can self-place in these courses. Students getting into high-level courses essentially because they want to… Read More

It’s easy to fall into a routine of assessing students the same way over and over. But letting students choose from a menu of assessments can do them a lot of good — and make you a better teacher. Sure, it takes time to create alternative assessments, but there are tons of resources online that… Read More

In an era of increased standardized testing and a focus on standards and competencies, teachers must use the best methods for measuring student learning. The rote memorization and multiple-choice tests of years past are increasingly incapable of assessing the complex tasks modern students perform. These old testing strategies are too narrow for the high-level benchmarks… Read More

Today’s education models tend to focus on a child’s achievement deficits — if students aren’t reading at grade level, for instance, then teachers try to get them caught up. Mindprint Learning flips this model, using cognitive tests to identify children’s strengths and engage them in ways that compensate for their weaknesses. The goal: Let kids… Read More