rethinking assessment: map the landscape

This semester I’m teaching a special topics graduate course with the title “Rethinking Assessment.” We’re a few meetings into the semester and our overarching question for the course is, tentatively, “How could assessments help our teaching and our students’ learning?” In order to work toward understanding this question, I’ve divided the course into three different chunks: mapping the landscape of assessment, understanding the work assessments do, and designing our own performance tasks.

I mostly want to spend some time here writing about the first three class sessions as a way to capture what I think is sticking out to me as we “map the landscape of assessment.” [Read more…]


alice munro: patience and patterns

This month I’m reading Alice Munro’s (1998) The Love of a Good Woman. Ever since Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2013, I knew that I wanted to spend 2014 reading her stories and trying to understand how they work. Each month I’ll read a different Munro collection, and then write a bit in order to see if I can figure out what makes her writing so strong and compelling to me. These posts won’t be short or final; instead, they’ll track my thinking about the kind of moves I think she makes as a writer. [Read more…]


educators’ voices: some responses to sandy hook

In “Our Stories Matter Because We Matter: Thoughts on the Power of Our Voices” Brene Brown writes, “The truth is that in the midst of tragedy nothing matters more than our stories. Our complex, nuanced stories are the path to healing and change. They are the truth and there’s no better foundation for change than the truth.” It’s in this spirit of sharing stories, of sharing our reflections and responses, that I offer a quick round-up of educators’ thoughts and voices on last Friday’s events at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. [Read more…]


“reading” the classroom: silence

It’s fair to say that in my work as a teacher educator I want to help beginning teachers develop their repertoire of teaching strategies; however, I think one of the central aims in my work is to help beginning teachers develop their professional judgment in order to use those strategies wisely. More simply, I want to help beginning teachers “read” the classroom so they can use their own judgment to consider what they might do next. [Read more…]


on fear, failure, and falling short

It’s true that a parent once looked at me during a parent/teacher conference and said, “My son just needs to be inspired. My high school teacher used to jump on his desk and celebrate our ‘A’s. Can you just do that for my son?”

“Ma’am,” I said. “The problem isn’t that your son needs me to inspire him. It’s that he’s a afraid to do anything, because he doesn’t want to do it wrong.” [Read more…]