Keeping SBG Authentic

I’ll be teaching both physics 11 and physics 12 again next year and I’m interested in doing more performance task assessments than I did this year. I had intended on using more goal-less problems in ph11 this year but I always felt like I was under the gun for time constraints. As for ph12 next year, my co-worker is interested in sharing some common assessment strategies between his classes and mine.

Giving Formative Feedback?

I was reading this post by Carolyn Durley on formative feedback, and a sinking feeling came over me. I’ve read a lot about Assessment For Learning and Formative Assessment, I’ve tried to incorporate AFL in my classes, I pride myself on my SBG, and yet I’m starting to doubt whether I’m giving good feedback to my students. What I do know is that I give my students multiple ways for them to reflect on what they are doing and how things are going.

The Importance of Trying

Through the VSB I’m invovled in a series of workshops on Assessment For Learning, hosted by Linda and Judy. We’ve had two sessions so far, and both times the importance of having a Growth Mindset has been highlighted. The ideas and thoughts behind a growth mindset are compelling, and have motivated me to sharing this concept with my students. Joined with the concept of mindset is the idea that we need to foster grit and perseverance within our students.

Bogged Down

This past week or two I’ve felt really bogged down about the progress in my classes. There are many things that I think I’m doing OK with, but it seems that for every idea or accomplishment in my practice I come across two questions or mysteries. It sort of makes sense - the more that we learn, the more we realize how much we don’t actually know. However, if life is like a game of snakes and ladders, it would be nice to feel like I’m spending more time on tall ladders as opposed to slippery snakes.


One of my goals for using standards based grading is that I wanted to get away from the “get a mark” or “take a mark off” mentality. By using a three point scale tied to a learning objective and not a single question, my numerical feedback directly relates a holistic realization of progress. As a result I now get the truly enjoyable treat of having new students approach me and asking why they lost a mark.

Fall Inquiry

One of my biggest goals for this year (if I have a job) is to continue down the path of less notes and more inquiry. While I was pretty happy with how things went last year in my first full year of teaching, it was easy to identify areas for improvement. In particular, I thought that in Physics 12 we spent too much time doing notes. Physics 11 was more collaborative but perhaps too de-contextualized.

Concept Map Assessment

In my science 9 classes, we’re about to finish off a unit on Space. As will all good unit planning, I had decided on an overall unit assessment months ago. The general plan was to do another Concept Map test, sort of like I mentioned in another post: I’ve been working with the kids on concept mapping, and trying to follow a pattern of gradual release of responsibility. For example, the first few concept maps we did together.

Assessment Checkpoint

It had been about ten weeks since I started teaching fulltime and I thought I should reflect on how my classroom assessment is going. I am constantly thinking about assessment but sometimes I think it helps to write things down in order to get better clarity of whatever it is I’m thinking about. My overall assessment plan is different for my senior physics classes and my grade 9 science classes. For physics I have implemented a standards based grading scheme, whereas for the grade 9 I am using a more standard model.

SBG Here We Go

After spending months and hours of reading articles and blogs about Standards Based Grading (SBG), I will be embarking down this path myself starting next week. I’ve been planning on doing this since I first got my job at Prince of Wales, but I think I’ve finally sorted out in my head how I want to approach it. There are a lot of unknowns because there are a lot of different ways to do SBG.


I think one of the best ways to incorporate mobile technology in the classroom right now is through Polleverywhere. This service offers online polling where the students can participate in several different ways, including: sms text messaging - via the web using their web widget mobile device by visiting twitter a smartphone interface Polleverywhere is clearly growing, as the 3rd option that I mentioned above is a new development. I just tried it for the first time using an iPhone and it worked very well.