Reaching for My Goals


Formative Assessment Design 3.0

After several iterations, peer feedback, instructor feedback, and tweaks and changes, it’s finished. My FAD 3.0 is below. I am quite proud of this assessment, and as we worked through the different versions of it, I found myself applying these principles to my real-life assessment design (more on that to come in my “Proof I Learned” blog post, coming soon!). I definitely feel like this was such a useful assignment. So often in graduate courses, we design projects based on hypothetical situations, often focused on the ‘ideal’ classroom. I know that I could actually give this project out to my students and it would be an excellent representation of their mastery of this particular skill set.

FAD 3.0


CMS Assessment 2.0

After receiving feedback from one of my colleagues as well as an instructor for my course, I’ve revised my CMS Assessment 2.0 to reflect their suggestions. I chose to use Canvas for this assignment because of the ease of creating different question types within the same assessment. I like that I could ask students to complete several different tasks and that my feedback to them can be more than just a few typed sentences.  I also really enjoyed that even as a novice user, it was fairly straightforward to jump right in and get started. If I were to design a course from the ground up, I’d definitely use Canvas for it! I’m currently enrolled in a Canvas course for my Professional Learning Community in my teacher-life, and from the student perspective, it has been easy to navigate and figure out.

You’ll find my screencast in the embedded video below!

Angry Birds in the Classroom

Since I wasn’t able to get Minecraft to work, I was given the go-ahead to use another game, but still complete the same assignment. I have used Angry Birds before in a lesson on quadratics, but only touched on it. I am contemplating actually developing this idea into one I use in my courses, to help students go a little deeper into both the quadratics as well as gaming. My screencast describing my initial thoughts, as well as demonstrating the game, is below.


Technology is great…until it isn’t.

Monday, November 20, 2017

This week’s assignment was to play around in and create a screencast within Minecraft. When I first saw this week’s task, I was so excited, because it looks like something I would really enjoy (especially as a math teacher! There is so much math involved in Minecraft!). However, I wasn’t able to get the program up and running and don’t have the right set of troubleshooting skills to figure out what I was missing on our home computer. Disappointed is definitely not the right word for this!

I think this is a perfect example, though, of the limitations of gaming in education, and specifically, using games as a part of assessment. I used to be at a 1:1 iPad school, so was constantly searching for ways to seamlessly build technology into my curriculum. Every time I thought I had an excellent activity planned, technology got in the way for at least one student and prevented them from being able to complete the assignment. Either their iPad/device/computer stopped working for some unknown reason, the internet connection was too slow, or too busy, or non-existent, the game wasn’t available on that particular device, or a myriad of other possibilities. I had to have regular alternate assignments available in case the planned activity was impossible for some students. This created twice the work for me, to have to create two assignments for each activity and then have to grade the different versions, as well. It was frustrating to students who wanted to participate but couldn’t, and frustrating to me because I wanted all of my students to have the same experiences.

I think using games in education definitely has its merits, and I was pumped after watching Jane McGonigal talk about the effect that games can have on society, but I think we also have to be cautious about throwing all of our eggs into one basket. Not only do video games have a negative connotation, especially in regards to education (likely because of their addictive characteristics and thus, students spend hours playing games instead of studying, reading, or practicing skills), but access to them isn’t something we can provide to all students. We would have to make a conscious effort to provide equal alternates for students who don’t have access or who are overwhelmed by bright, busy screens.

I know we are at the beginning of an era of “gameducation,” so I am so curious to see where this goes in the next decade or so. I bet that when computers were new in schools, many people were resistant at first because of the lack of access and the new-ness of it all, but now you are hard-pressed to find a school without them!

CEP 813: CMS Assessment 1.0

This week we were challenged to actually make an assessment using one of the CMS’s we explored last week. I chose to use Canvas. At first I wanted to use Educator, since that’s what I use in my everyday work life, but I kept seeing on Twitter how much my other classmates really enjoyed using Canvas. That’s when I decided I’d give it a try and actually make something I could use with my own students. I couldn’t actually ever give this exact assessment, since all of my courses are housed in Educator and I don’t have the freedom to incorporate outside sources like this, but I definitely plan to use similar type questions in the future when assessing students.  Online assessments are so much more meaningful for students and teachers; as teachers, we can gather and manipulate data more efficiently than ever before. For our students, they can demonstrate their mastery in unique and creative ways that don’t have to involve a five paragraph essay. Even my students who struggle with handwriting can still be successful on an internet-based assessment. At the same time, though, using a lock-down browser to ensure academic integrity and instilling good values in my students regarding being responsible digital citizens is a must. Overall I really enjoyed playing around in Canvas and I was wishing I had mock-students that could take my assessment for me, so that I could practice giving feedback.

Below you’ll see a screencast I made, describing some of the details of my assessment and how it relates to Rubric 4.0. The screencast was only supposed to be less than two minutes long, but mine is a little bit longer… I was excited that I’d managed to get all ten of my Rubric 4.0 criteria in there that I HAD to mention them all.



CEP 813: Formative Assessment Design 2.0

This week we worked on the second iteration of our Formative Assessment Design. From peer feedback last week, it was recommended that I articulate the directions and provide a copy of the rubric I’d use to assess my students; I’ve included both of these in this version. Scroll to page 4 to get to version 2.0!

CEP 813: Assessing CMS’s

What an eye-opening activity this was! I explored three content management systems– Schoology, Educator, and Canvas. The one I am currently using for work, Educator, was my favorite until I played around in Schoology and Canvas! My biggest challenge in being a virtual teacher is quick, meaningful feedback within the course. In the brick-and-mortar classroom, feedback in math often comes in the form of demonstrating a problem and discussing– orally– the process and applications for it. I have found it difficult to give constructive feedback quickly and effectively within my virtual class because feedback comes in the form of sentences. So many students do not read carefully, so expecting them to learn how to correct their understanding of a complex mathematical concept via sentences is not reasonable. Schoology and Canvas offer video feedback! That would be an incredible opportunity to be able to include a short instructional video when I notice that a student has a major misconception.

I really liked the familiarity of Schoology, as I’m an avid Facebook user and I liked that it was similar to my feed there. However, the possibilities within Canvas seem limitless– I didn’t find anything that I couldn’t do in Canvas, either from my own exploration, a quick Google search, or from the “Intro to Canvas” course I found on the Commons and imported into my sample class. I think that Canvas would definitely encompass everything I needed it to in order to be an effective math teacher.

My analysis of the three LMS’s can be found here. Comments and feedback are welcome and appreciated!


Final Iteration: Rubric 4.0

Sunday, October 22, 2017

I have finally put all the pieces together to form Rubric 4.0, an assessment of assessments. As I put the finishing touches on it, I wondered how a state standardized assessment might measure up to our definitions of a “good” or “effective” assessment. Several criteria I know offhand would definitely score in my “inadequate” column; I think I will be looking at this spring’s standardized testing with a new lens!

You can find Rubric 4.0 here. Feedback and comments are welcome!


CEP 813: Formative Assessment 1.0

Now it’s time to put my knowledge to good use! This week, I used the criteria from my rubric 3.0 to create my own formative assessment. I chose to create an assessment on linear functions because that is the gist of what algebra is all about, and if you get through Algebra without understanding the use of these functions, you’ve got another thing coming. I have always enjoyed getting to teach linear functions and helping students see the application of them beyond school. Here’s a link to my Formative Assessment, Take 1.

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