How might we…

…get out from under the pile of stuff we have to do to engage with and enjoy this process fully and completely. Maybe that should be a How Might I question. It’s frustrating because I want to, I really want to, but I’m just so absolutely swamped. But here’s the kicker – this whole process is part of the problem! It’s all causing me to rethink my pedagogy and realize that I’m not doing things in a way that aligns with my philosophy BUT I just don’t have the time or energy to change things right now. It’s frustrating! Regardless of my delinquency in blog posting, twittering, and the like, I have been thinking A TON about my HMW question and tried to run a test in one of my classes (but I fear it failed miserably). Though I suppose I will learn from it so of course, all is not lost.

Onto the good stuff. Here is my HMW question:

HMW shift away from numeric achievement/evaluation while satisfying ministry and post-secondary entrance requirements in a way that reduces student stress?

And here is what I’ve done to work towards finding a solution:

  • I bought the book Hacking Assessments: 10 Ways to Go Gradeless in a Traditional Grades World – this came from a post from someone in Cohort but I can’t remember who for the life of me…I went down a bit of a rabbit hole and ended up buying this book. Just as soon as I’m done The Testaments (excellent book btw) it’s top of the ever-growing pile.
  • I spoke with admin and got the go ahead to do whatever I needed to test assumptions and try things out.
  • I posted my HMW question in my office window. I think I’m going to put some post its there with a sign telling students they can provide me with any thoughts or feedback they might have.
  • I used a one point rubric for a unit summative assignment with the intention of conferencing with students and co-creating their grade. This went horribly and didn’t serve the intended purpose in the least. I did it in a class with way too many students, it took forever, and basically ended up with me grading them anyways. A frustrating undertaking but I suppose we all have to start somewhere. Kids didn’t seem to notice or get frustrated so I guess there’s that.
  • There is something else but to be honest, I can’t remember what it is right now. #momlife #teacherlife #holyhannaimtired

So there you have it. That’s where I’m at. I’m questioning everything but doing nothing. Not because I don’t care – I do. A lot actually. I just have to get to a point where I’m not drowning to actually do anything about it.

  5 comments for “How might we…

  1. January 16, 2020 at 2:13 am

    I totally understand your frustration Anastasia! Feeling the same myself, as report cards are due Monday and take priority. Juggling many things, always. However, you are taking action and reflecting as you go. You are doing this! Small steps are still steps!

    • January 16, 2020 at 11:55 am

      Thanks Lisa! Pesky marking is always getting in the way!!

  2. January 15, 2020 at 11:13 pm


    Hopefully when things slow down for you a bit you will have the time and energy to dig deeper into your single-point rubric conferencing experience. If the students didn’t seem frustrated by the process, perhaps it wasn’t as disastrous as it initially seemed to you. Could you approach it with a smaller class? In groups? Tweak it into an ongoing process over the span of a unit/project/topic? Did (or could) the students co-create assessment criteria with you at the beginning of this process? Keep questioning, and you’ll ensure you have options to choose from when you free up sometime for “doing.” Great to hear that your admin is on side!

    • January 16, 2020 at 11:54 am

      Thanks Jess! I did co-create the criteria with them (which was a pretty painful process but we did it) and yes, I’ve thought of a lot of the questions you’re bringing up. Reframing this – a LOT of learning is coming from it, which is good…I just wish I had the time to really dedicate to it rather than in fits and starts. Regardless, I’m doing SOMETHING and that’s more than I was doing before so that’s a good thing. And the shift in thinking that I’m going through is great – it’s just bad timing! Must start reframing by looking at what I HAVE done rather than what I haven’t!

  3. January 16, 2020 at 10:28 pm

    Take heart Anastasia, you are not alone! When you say “I’m not doing things in a way that aligns with my philosophy BUT I just don’t have the time or energy to change things right now.” I don’t think there is a teacher alive who hasn’t felt this … I certainly have, even 20 years in. Here’s what matters … you care. You are thinking about where you want to be. You’ve bought books. You’ve tried things. You’re reaching out to students and colleagues. You wrote an honest blog post. You will get to where you want to be – look at all these steps you’ve taken already!
    I think it’s wonderful that you have put your HMW out there for your students feedback, this helps them see you as a learner too – how human! Something a faculty group soliciting feedback did this year that I thought was great was put a massive banner (think rolled out craft paper) with the equivalent of a HMW question on it across the entire wall of our staff room … a pile of markers sat nearby for anyone to add feedback to the chart. I wonder if this could work for you?
    I look forward to seeing you tomorrow to chat further!

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