An Alternative Way to Assess…….

Assessment FOR learning, to me, is the most important part of an assessment. Thinking back, I realized that I did not understand the value of assessment FOR learning during my internships and first couple years of teaching. It was not until I was actually  assessing my own students, and trying different ways to assess,  that truly learned the importance of it. Zhang (2016) describes assessment FOR learning as:

Assessment for learning is described as ‘noticing, recognizing, and responding’….These three processes are progressive filters. Teachers notice a great deal as they work with children, and they recognize some of what they notice as ‘learning’. They will respond to selection of what they recognize (p.258).

In terms of the article this week, I thought the study about learning stories and assessment Zhang(2016) conducted was impressive. The question “do ECE settings in NZ support the approach to assessment of learning taken by the ECE quality assurance authority of NZ” (p.255) was certainly valuable in my eyes. Why wouldn’t an educator or parent want feedback on the education their child is receiving. In saying that, I didn’t quite understand what the study was actually about until I began reading it.

I found it interesting that all of data collected was collected by himself. Phenomenographic interviews are extremely time consuming and difficult to decode alone. Zhang (2016), had several findings in this study and organized them in three sections, each with seven categories. The practitioners experience, parents experience,  and the ERO approach were the three sections. I will review some of the findings that stood out to me below.

One of the practitioners  admitted that “in terms of you presenting something the parents like portfolio books, they do, they like to see the pictures, they like to read everybody” (Zhang, 2016, p. 260). I can totally relate to this. Parents love to see their children demonstrating their learning during conference or meeting times. As well, another practitioner discusses how learning stories allow for great communication with parents as well captures important learning milestones. For me as a teacher, communication is the key to success for my students.

There were many good reviews from the parents as well. One being, “I think what we are getting from the learning stories is a wonderful documentation of her time at the kindy, something she would love to flip through, it’s colorful, it brings back memories” (Zhang, 2016, p. 261). There was no doubt in my mind when reading the article that the parents would have an issue with this assessment. Learning what their child can do and looking at their strengths can definitely be exciting for parents. Learning what their child can do and looking at their strengths is definitely be exciting for parents.

A few imitations were addressed in the findings. Four main consequences include that learning stories can be subjective, selective, time consuming, as well superficial. When thinking about someone assessing a child through a learning story, it truly is coming from one lense. Therefore, one can be arguably subjective and selective. Learning stories are also time consuming. This means that the time that a practitioner could be spending interacting with the child but instead are busy observing and collecting data. As well, “a lot of learning stories are very basic, you know it tells you what the child did in the sandpit, but it doesn’t go into the relationship, it’s about you know the relationship between the children and cooperation and the patience they have with each other, it’s all those sort of things, you need to look into deeper” (Zhang, 2016, p. 260).

Overall, I believe that learning stories are a great tool for assessment FOR learning. However I agree with Zhang (2016) that this should not stand alone when it comes to assessment. As stated in his research, there are many different types of assessment that should be used to assess our children. He states that “both the practitioners and parents regarded learning stories as an assessment tool that had both strengths and limitations, with the practitioners stating explicitly that there are a range of other ways that are essential for assessment of learning, and learning stories should not be treated as the only, or best, way of assessing the children’s learning” (p. 265).

OVERALL, I believe that  it totally depends on the needs of the child when considering an assessment!!!!! Do you agree?!

Thanks for reading!

The Importance of Documentation.

What does documentation mean to me? Well, to me, it is recording students knowledge in a variety of ways to see what they can do and what they know. So, basically, it is about collecting different types of data to ultimately see what students know.

After reading Rinaldi(2004) ,and reflecting on my own experiences with documentation, I feel like I have a much deeper understanding of it. Many aspects of documentation described by Rinaldi  were attractive to me. Some of her ideas I have actually have attempted to do in my own classroom (so it was nice to know I am not completely off in terms of documentation).

One idea I liked that Rinaldi spoke about is allowing children to have the freedom to explore and come up with their own theories. She states “making listening visible means to be open to the theories of the children. The elements of observation, interpretation and documentation are strongly connected. It is impossible to observe without

interpreting because observation is subjective” (2004, p.4).  Allowing children to do this is not

always easy as teachers. We have tight timelines and certain outcomes that need to be covered within a year. However, giving students that extra time to explore can have huge benefits as it is another way that students can truly share their knowledge. This ties into the next aspect of Rinaldi’s idea of documentation I liked. The idea that the  actually process of student learning is much more valuable than the final outcome or the final assessment. Rinaldi (2004), states that “from your documentation, the children can understand not only their processes but what you value as meaningful for their learning processes” (p.4). In my own classroom, I do my best to document their process of learning. For example, when working in small groups in both literacy and numeracy, I write notes about each student in a notebook every time I work with them. Once I get to report card time, I gather all my documentation and notes on the student to help decide on a final mark.

In terms of the  Dahlberg, Gunilla, Moss, Peter, Pence, Alan R  (2007) article, they did a fantastic job explaining the elements of pedagogical documentation. As I was reading chapter 8 and taking notes, I made a specific chart with all the elements of pedagogical documentation. Check it out below:

Elements of Pedagogical Documentation
  • Does not assume what the child does is a direct representation
  • Reflexivity and self reference
  • Process of visualization
  • Vital tool for the creation of a reflective and democratic pedagogical practice
  • Central role for meaning making
  • Communication, Interaction, and observation
  • Building relationship with student/other colleagues
  • Requires interpretive work and dialogue between pedagogues
  • Documentation can engage parents
  • Requires interpretive work and dialogue between pedagogues
  • Documentation can engage parents

Again, these were some of the main elements I picked out during the reading. Similar to Rinaldi,  one aspect of pedagogical documentation I really like is that it is the process of learning that means the most rather than the end result. “Pedagogical documentation’ as content is material which records what the children are saying and doing, the work of the children and how the pedagogical relates to the children and their work” (Dahlberg et al., p.144). I also like the fact they outline the importance of using a variety of methods to collected documentation. Audio recordings, collecting photos, handwritten notes are examples they gave.

One thing I took away from this chapter is the differences between pedagogical documentation and simply child observations. I appreciated that they included the section Why Pedagogical Documentation is NOT just Observing in this article.  I had not realized what the true difference was before and now understand that pedagogical documentation is a lot deeper than just the act of observation. “Dahlberg et al, (2007) state that, “It should not be confused with child observation. As we understand it, the purpose of child observation is to access children’s psychological development in relation to already predetermined categories produces from developmental psychology and which define the normal child should be doing at a certain age” (p.143). I feel as if those who disagree with this idea of assessment , have the notion that pedagogical documentation is simply just observing a child. Therefore, they would not think it’s a valuable form of assessment.

Overall, reflecting and engaging in these two readings was very informative for me. Reminding myself that it’s the process of learning that is most important for students was most valuable for me. As well, understanding what pedagogical documentation is made my understanding of documentation much deeper.



Dahlberg, G., P. Moss and A. Pence (2013). Beyond Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care: Languages of Evaluation, 3rd ed., New York: Routledge. Read chapter 8, Pedagogical documentation: A practice for reflection and democracy. Available as an eBook through the URegina library.

Rinaldi, C. (1994). Documentation and assessment: What is the relationship? Linked on UR Courses.

I learned about how to use POWTOON this week…and you?!

Wow, there are so many content creation tools! I am always looking for fun and creative ways to enhance my lessons in the classroom.

I like to try to incorporate new technology and new ways to present knowledge to my students. This way,  I can make sure I can reach all learners in some way. Once I am comfortable with a new tool, I like to let my students explore it as well. In saying that, I am aware that it can be very time consuming to do this for the a teacher. That is why I am excited to get this opportunity to explore a new one!


Out of all the wonderful options, I choose to check out Powtoon. I have never used Powtoon myself but have heard nothing but great things about it. I decided to download it to give it a shot to see how I would like it. Upon my exploring, I remembered watching a Powtoon video someone made for their summary of learning assignment last semester. I remember thinking it was pretty funny and actually, I quite enjoyed watching it.

After some investigation, I learned that the overall idea of Powtoon is to create or make animated videos or presentations. I picked out a couple strengths right off the bat. You can add several features into your videos such as music, voice recorder, and movement! You can also choose from a variety of presentation formats including and explainer video, marketing video, infographic video, ad, or just a blank Powtoon. Just for fun, I started creating my own Powtoon. It was super fun but I definitely need more  practice.

I guess one weakness would be that it is a bit overwhelming at first. I had to look up some YouTube videos on how to navigate the site. I think that it is going to take me a few tries to figure things out(just like any new tech!!!). I did appreciated how easy the the Powtoon dashboard was to work with. It included all the different templates, background features, characters, shapes, props, media, etc. Similar to word press, it is pretty easy to navigate to those main add ons. Another potential weakness I noticed is that there is a 3 day premium trial. I am wondering what all features will still be available after the trial. Hmm….

I definitely enjoyed investigating Powtoon. I think before I used it in the the classroom I would spend more time on the site! Once more comfortable with it, I think then it would be a great tool for students to use and

to share their knowledge with. As well, if teachers are looking for non-traditional ways to assess, this is a great option. Students who enjoy using technology might really excel using it. I also think if teachers have some extra time, they can create presentations with it. This would definitely enhance lessons and make them more engaging.

Have you ever tried Powtoon? Do you use it in your classroom? If not, how do you use it? How do you FEEL about Powtoon? What are your thoughts?

Course Profile: Bullying… a multi school novel study

Hello everyone,

Kyla OColette and I have put together our Course Profile. Feel free to check it out!!


The focus of our unit is “Bullying”, a novel study with grade 7 and 8 students across 3 different schools. There are a variety of novels which we hope will engage all students at their own reading levels. Throughout this Online/Blended learning experience, we are going to  use  technology which enables us to connect with the other schools as well as within our own building contexts. Each student has a specific teacher they will working with in regards to their assigned novel. Their connected teacher could be a teacher from a different school, but the classroom teacher is also there to support each student in their classroom environment. Students will report weekly via weekly blog on their section of the novel. They will also complete a creative component pertaining to that section of reading. In addition, there will be a weekly online discussion forum(chat) on each section of the novel. Students will be reporting to the teacher in charge of the novel, to which they have been assigned. This allows for diversity of needs as well as connectivity of students outside of the classroom.

The unit will begin by having all 3 classrooms meet together on zoom to review the expectations, course outline, weekly assignments, and connect each student to their “lead” teacher in charge of their particular novel. This will be our only synchronous meeting until we have finished our novels. The platform which we are sharing/collaborating on is:

This way, all teachers have collaborated together to share the weekly assignments and it is made readily available for all students to access from school or at home. The link can also be shared with families for quick access to check in on what their children are doing at school. There would be no login required and no need to recall a password to access the website.

We have chosen 13 Reasons Why, The Outsiders, and Wonder as our main focus. We have listed additional resources that could fit well within this unit.

The Novels:

  • 13 Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  • The Outsider – S.E. Hilton
  • Egghead – Caroline Pignat
  • Wonder – R.J. Palacio
  • The Only Game – Mike Lupica
  • BLubber – Judy Bloom


Course Format:                                                                      

For our unit, we have split up our novels into five different weekly sections. The expectation would be that students complete the required readings for the assigned period, whether that be reading on their own, with a partner, or listening to an audiobook. The audiobooks help learners who have lower reading comprehension, keep up with the pace of the weekly reading assignments. As stated earlier, students will be assigned a novel, a teacher, and also a learning partner from a different school. Students are able to connect through Zoom to talk to their learning partner about their weekly tasks that go along with the reading. This promotes collaboration and creativity.

Course Toolset:

  • WordPress Blog
    • This is where all of the student assignments will be posted.
  • KidBlog
    • Each week, students will be required to complete several questions based on reading strategies and they will publish their answers to their blogs.
      • Kidblog provides K-12 teachers with tools to safely publish student writing. Teachers can monitor all activity within a community of authors. Posts can even be public, but nothing goes live until a teacher approves it. Kidblog empowers students to write with a meaningful purpose for a real audience. Connect with other classes down the hallway, across your district, or around the world. Students practice digital citizenship within a secure environment.
  • Postermywall
    • In some weeks, students have a choice on how they want to represent their creative component. They can use postermywall to design a poster related to their novel and assignment. For example, creating a poster that demonstrates why kindness matters.

Overview of our features for schools

  • Create projects to organize designs created by students.
  • Students are not required to create an account.
  • Students see only student appropriate content.
  • Students’ projects are never made public.
  • No ads.
  • Completely free to teachers. We believe in supporting our schools. You can help keep it free by sharing a link to with your parents. Their purchases help to fund the Classroom Accounts Program.
  • YoTeach
    • A set time for each week has been designated.  The teacher in charge of each novel will invite students to the group chat to respond to questions in real time.  Students will discuss a series of per-compiled questions and dialogue with other member of their group about their assigned novel.  This gives the students a weekly opportunity to connect on a weekly bases.
    • Yo Teach! lets you create online backchannel spaces to facilitate discussions. To get started on Yo Teach! simply go to the site and name your room. You can get started by just doing those two steps, but I would recommend taking a another minute to scroll down the Yo Teach! site to activate the admin function, the password function, and to select “avoid search.”  The “avoid search” option will hide your room from search results so that people cannot find it without being given its direct URL. The password function lets you set a password that must be entered before students can participate in the chat. The admin features of Yo Teach! let you mute or remove students from a discussion, delete your room, and view statistic about the usage of your room. The admin function that reveals statistics will show the names of participants and how active they have been in your Yo Teach! Room.


  • Adobe Spark
    • Each week students are required to complete a creative component. An example would be having students use Adobe Spark to create a post with the key quote (or quotes) from your novel. The background must represent you think the setting of your story looks like.
    • Features:
      • Graphics: Pick a photo, add text, and apply design filters to instantly stand out from the crowd.
      • Webpages: Turn words and images into beautiful, magazine-style web stories that will impress readers on any device.
      • Video Stories: easily add photos, video clips, icons, or you own voice. Select from professional-quality soundtracks and cinematic motion.


Course Content/Learning Objectives:

  • CR 7.2 → Select and use appropriate strategies to construct meaning before (e.g., formulating questions), during (e.g., recognizing organizational structure), and after (e.g., making judgements supported by evidence) viewing, listening, and reading.
  • CR 8.2 → Select and use appropriate strategies to construct meaning before (e.g., previewing and anticipating message), during (e.g., making inferences based on text and prior knowledge), and after (e.g., paraphrasing and summarizing) viewing, listening, and reading.
  • CR 7.6 → Read and demonstrate comprehension and interpretation (including thoughtful and critical response to content and craft) of grade-appropriate texts including traditional and contemporary prose fiction, poetry, and plays from First Nations, Métis, and other cultures.
  • CR 8.6 → Read and demonstrate comprehension and interpretation of grade-appropriate texts including traditional and contemporary prose fiction, poetry, and plays from First Nations, Métis, and other cultures to evaluate the purpose, message, point of view, craft, values, and biases, stereotypes, or prejudices.
  • CC 7.1 → Create various visual, oral, written, and multimedia (including digital) texts that explore identity (e.g., Exploring Thoughts, Feelings, and Ideas), social responsibility (e.g., Taking Action), and efficacy (e.g., Building a Better World).
  • CC 8.2 → Create and present a group inquiry project related to a topic, theme, or issue studied in English language arts.
  • CC 7.4 → Use pragmatic (e.g., use language that demonstrates respect for others), textual (e.g., use common organizational patterns within texts), syntactical (e.g., ensure agreement of subjects, verbs, and pronouns), semantic/lexical/morphological (e.g., avoid overused and misused words), graphophonic (e.g., enunciate clearly), and other cues (e.g., use appropriate gestures and facial expressions) to construct and to communicate meaning.
  • CC 8.4 → Use pragmatic (e.g., use appropriate language register), textual (e.g., use artistic devices such as figurative language), syntactical (e.g., combine sentences to form compound and complex sentences for variety, interest, and effect), semantic/lexical/ morphological (e.g., use words to capture a particular aspect of meaning), graphophonic (e.g., correctly pronounce words with proper emphasis), and other cues (e.g, arrange and balance words and visuals as well as fonts) to construct and to communicate meaning.


Assessment Strategies

Each week, throughout our unit, the students will receive immediate feedback based off of a rubric to offer, suggestions, and compliments by the assigned teacher.This will allow students to improve their next post prior to it being submitted.  Each week will serve as a formative assessment, with the final assessment at the end being summative. In addition, the students will complete peer assessments each week with their “blogging partner”. The students are required to use the format:  “3C and a Q” – which means they must compliment the student, comment on the students work/contributions, make a connection (via text to text, text to self or text to world) to that student’s post, and pose a question as well. This will keep the dialogue going and provide students with a set structure.


Considerations for Common Concerns

Overall, our main consideration for common concerns is as follows. For those students who require adaptations for their reading, there is access to Google Read and Write which assists in completing assignments. There is a word prediction tool, spellcheck, voice to text, and many more tools. We will also have access to audiobooks for those students who require them. All books are at different reading levels to accommodate the diverse needs in the classrooms. Fortunately, all schools working on this project have easy access to technology at school. In some cases, students who have homework and limited/no access to technology at home, may have trouble if they cannot keep  up with the academic demands and there would be a need for a teacher intervention to support those students.


Our rationale is to make connections with other schools, teachers and students alike. We will be spending our time creating a product that will be utilized in our own classrooms! We chose a relevant educational topic that is part of the curriculum for every grade and we hope that all students will be able to create many “takeaways” from the readings provided. We have chosen this forum as it is easily accessible to all of our students and our school all have availability to the apps or websites. Each of the sites provides their to be multiple leaders or teachers which is necessary for a project like this to work.

Group Chat

The questions listed below will be distributed to the students prior to the weekly chats.  Students will be provided with the opportunity to reflect on the direction of the questions and the answers they would like to give.  This is an adaptation that allows students not to be put on the spot and to feel comfortable with their contribution to the chat.

13 Reasons why:

Week 1 Questions

  • What are your initial thoughts about Clay? Support your answer with 2 direct quotations from the novel.
  • What are your initial thoughts about Hannah? Is she sympathetic character? Do you like her? Why or why not?
  • What was your reaction to listening to Hannah’s voice over the tape?
  • What was Clay’s reaction when his mother wanted to listen to the tape?
  • Do you think Hannah’s tapes will stay between the twelve people on the list, or will they be shown to the authorities and/or released to the public? Should they be? Why or why not?
  • At the beginning of the first tape, Hannah says, “…there are thirteen sides to every story.” What does she mean by this?

Week 2 Questions

  • And in the middle of the room, one desk to the left will be the desk of Hannah Baker. Empty. – Clay (Prologue, p.4) What is your reaction to this quote?
  • How do you feel about Justin Foley? Are there any reasons you feel you should not trust him?
  • Who is the last name in the list of people to receive the tapes?
  • What is the purpose of Hannah’s tapes?
  • Another student sabotages Hannah during a class project. Clay’s nightmares about Hannah spill over into the daytime. How does this make Clay feel?
  • What does Tony do to support Hannah and Clay throughout this process? Do you feel he is a good friend who is making sacrifices for better or worse?

Week 3 Questions

  • What did Mr. Porter do wrong? What could he have done better? What will he do with the tapes when he gets them?
  • How does Hannah and Clay’s dual narrative enhance the story? What additional details are revealed through this method of storytelling that might have otherwise remained secret if the book had been written from only one of their perspectives?
  • How do you feel the teachers are handling the situation?
  • What are specific experiences that have led to Hannah’s 13 reasons why?
  • Hannah’s classmates even said that “whoever wrote the note just wants attention” (9.222). What do you think of this quotation?
  • How do you think Clay internalizes all of what Hannah is staying on the tapes?


Outsiders – Week 1

  • Describe each of the characters relationship with one another.
  • Who are the socs?  Who are the greasers?
  • How do Ponyboy’s relationships with Darry and Sodapop differ?  Explain.
  • Why is the ‘gang’ important to Johnny?
  • How does Ponyboy react to what Sodapop tells him about Darry?
  • Do you think Darry loves Ponyboy?  Why does he treat Ponyboy the way he does?


Outsiders Week 2

  • Why does Pony have a problem with Johnny’s idea to disguise themselves? What does it take away from him?  Why do they have to disguise themselves?
  • Why does Johnny think Dally is a hero?  Do you think Dally is a hero based on what he did?
  • Why are the socs and the greasers going to fight in the vacant lot? What is at stake?
  • Who is the spy for the greasers?  Does this surprise you? Why or why not?
  • “Maybe people are younger when they are asleep”.  What do you think about this comment? What does it mean?
  • When Pony asks what kind of a world it is, what comment is he making about how society judges people?


Outsiders Week 3

  • Even though Pony does not want to be a greaser and does not like many of the things that greasers do, the rumble allows him to be proud to be a greaser. Explain this contradiction.
  • What is the difference between Tim Sheppard’s gang and Ponyboy’s?  Explain how Pony feels this difference might give his group the upper hand?
  • What are the rules of the rumble? (pp. 140-142).
  • Explain why Pony might rather anyone’s hate than their pity?
  • What do you think is going on with Ponyboy when he says, “Johnny didn’t have anything to do with Bob’s getting killed”?


Wonder Week 1

  • Why do people look quickly away when they first see August?
  • In this section August discusses the issue of him going to school.
  • Why has he never gone to school? Do you think he should?
  • August goes on the tour of the school and meets three students. In your opinion which one would turn out to be a bully?
  • How would you describe the other students’ reaction to August in homeroom?
  • What does September’s precept, “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind,” mean?

Wonder Week 2

  • Do you think Via is jealous of all the attention August gets?
  • Did Via have a good first day of high school?
  • Who is Miranda and why did she call?
  • August decided to change his costume. How do you think mom reacted to this?
  • Would you describe Summer as a good person? Why or why not?
  • Do you think Summer thinks Jack is a good friend?

Wonder week 3

  • How does August feel about going on the 5th Grade Nature Retreat?
  • Jack and August find themselves in trouble. What is the trouble and who helps them?
  • August lies to the teachers about not being able to remember the 7th graders’ faces. Why do you think he did this?
  • What animal does August use to represent himself? Do you think it is a good choice?
  • There is a ceremony at school, what happens at the ceremony that shows a change from the beginning to the end of the school year?
  • Mr. Tushman says “Always try to be a little kinder than necessary.” What does that mean to you? In your opinion what character shows this the best?


Thanks for reading.
Feel free to leave a comment!!

What Assessment Means to Me: Reflective VS Determinative

As a teacher, assessment is something that requires ongoing development and thought. In my 5 years of teaching, my beliefs and knowledge about assessment have deepened greatly. This includes my understanding on formative and summative assessment, reflective and determinative assessment, schooled readiness, and finally standardized testing. Similar to one of

Murphy’s (2013) Principles of Epistemically Responsible Assessment, I believe that teachers must keep an open mind in terms of assessment and must consider a variety ways about how to administer assessment. This week I will be discussing my own definition of assessment, my experience with both reflective and determinative assessment, as well, standardized testing.


As stated above, my understanding and feelings toward assessment has changed throughout my career as a teacher. If I created my own definition or statement of what I believe assessment is today, I would say:

An assessment should truly reflect what a child can do both in an informal and formal setting. Assessment should be a combination of formative and summative. Assessment should also be adapted for students in order for their needs to be met.

Like I said, this definition would have been completely different if you would have asked me my first year of teaching. I don’t think I would have truly understood the importance of the balance of formal and informal assessment.

Murphy(2013) describes many principles of reflective assessment. Most seemed attractive to me in terms of student success in the classroom. In my experience, I find that my students get a lot more out of  this style of assessment. I see a lot more student engagement when asking them to represent their knowledge. Not always using the traditional assessments allows students to truly show what they know. Other aspects of this assessment I like is the flexible grouping and small group instruction time. I currently do both Daily 5 and Explore +4 in my classroom which allows me to work very closely with my students. This type of environment allows me to have very valuable time with my students, especially those with extra needs. Although attractive, it is not always possible to effectively assess reflectivly. Resources, materials, and time definitely is a factor. As Murphy (2013),  states “every assessment is marked by limitations in design because no design can serve all possible functions(p.3)”.

Determinative assessment is also not an assessment I completely avoid. Murphy (2013) describes determinative assessment as three assessment types. “Three different assessment types fall within those involving determinative judgments: 1) standardized testing, whether large in scale or individualized; 2) rubric-based assessments; and 3) assessments based on

observational or developmental checklists (p.5)”.  Fountas and Pinnell is considered a standardized test in which all grade threes in my school division need to complete two times a year. I  actually like this assessment because we can see what students reading levels exactly are. When I first started teaching however, we had about 3 different standardized assessments we needed to do at both the beginning and end of year. These test included a math, writing, and comprehension test. I was not a fan  of these assessments. They were very time consuming and very irrelevant to students and content being taught in class. I also appreciate the rubric based assessments as sometimes that is the best way to assess students knowledge.

Overall, I believe that both styles of assessment are extremely important for our students success. As Murphy admitted (2013),  “the type of assessment you choose to use as a teacher depends on the different people and places we are in” (p.10). Therefore, it is up to the teacher to decide what type of assessment they use to best meet the needs of their students.


Murphy, S.(2013). “Towards Knowing Well and Doing Well: Assessment and Early Childhood Education,” In. J. Larson & J. Marsh (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Early Childhood Literacy. New York, NY: SAGE

What Blended Learning means to me!!


Blended learning and the integration of technology, in my eyes, is very important for the success of our students in the classroom.  The idea of blended learning became more and more popular ever since the idea of progressiveness was introduced to the world. Incorporating values and principals from progressive educational theories such as Dewey, Montessori, Piaget, ect.,  who believed in more of a student centered approach of teaching, has definitely shaped and continues to shape the type of education that exists today. In saying that, I believed that the main purpose of education is to prepare young children to become successful members of society. As well, to use their interests and to help motivate and guide them in a direction in life that can allow them to be successful. However, I also believe that a teacher should be using a variety of philosophies to accomplish this. In other words, using a blended learning approach, is how I believe students will be successful in the classroom. The Video: What is blended learning? that Alec showed described blended learning in a way that really stuck with me. Basically, they said that blended learning is the combination of the best teacher and computer instruction. Therefore, for my response this week, I am going to reflect on the pros/cons of blended learning, as well discuss my own experiences with blended learning.


We had great discussions in our zoom session this past Tuesday about the history of blended learning as well the pros and cons . During these discussions, I was jotting down notes on the ideas and information that was being talked about. This includes the pros and cons of blended learning. In the chart below are these ideas. A couple of the ideas came from the zoom chat. I will be sure to credit those who shared their ideas!



  • Personalized learning
  • Small group instruction
  • Student driven (Kyla M)
  • Empowered learners (Wendy)
  • Opportunity (Kelsey)
  • Not being able to meet curriculum guidelines
  • Technology changes, hard to keep up
  • Hard to teach an old dog new tricks
  • Cost of putting technology in school
  • Lack of PD

There were many other ideas discussed however those stood out most to me. Do you have any ideas to add?! In the end, I believe that the pros and cons even out, and that blended learning is still the way to go to make our students successful.

In terms of the blended learning and integration of technology in my own classroom, I do my best with the time, materials, and resources I am given.

By using the classroom computers and school tech carts, I try to use as many applications and suites as possible. For example, and as Kyla talked about in her blog post this week, I have used google classroom in the past. It is super easy to use as well I found it kept the students online work organized. I also have been trying to incorporate more experiential learning into the classroom. I find giving the children additional time to explore inside and outside the class can create richer learning experiences for them.

I have been faced with a few challenges when trying to do this. Drawing from the challenges I presented already in the post, I would say the lack of PD, the resources provided, and availability

of technology is most challenging for me. I am currently without a data projector in my classroom and still in the process of getting one (4 months later). Overall, I believe that it is important for students to have the opportunity to be exposed blended learning opportunities as well technology.

On a side note, Alec showed this theorist chart in another class. I LOVE it and have used it several times when learning and writing about all the educational theorists out there. Click the link to view it more clearly (learning-theory).


Thanks for reading!

Amy 🙂

Traditional VS Progressive Education

Ever since I began my journey of becoming a teacher, I have believed that the main purpose of education is to prepare young children to become successful members of society. As well, to use their interests and to help motivate and guide them in a direction in life that can allow them to be successful. However, I also believe that a teacher should be using a variety of philosophies to accomplish this including the both Dewey (1938) discusses, progressive and traditional. 


Dewey (1938), outlines many principles of each philosophy. I found myself caught in the middle of deciding which philosophy I felt can best meet the need of my future and current students. I reflected on the principals and properties of each and was able to think deeply about which I truly believe might work best in the classroom. For this response, I will share my reflections on both philosophies and the two qualities I find most appealing.


The traditional way of teaching is not all that bad. As Dewey (1938) discusses, it is the attitudes of both the teacher and students that can make an experience a positive or negative one. Two principles of the traditional way of teaching in Deweys (1938) book, and also in my own experience in elementary school, stood out for me. As we know, the progressive way of teaching is all about students having learning experiences. However, there are many opportunities in a traditional setting for students to have similar experiences that can impact their learning greatly. Dewey (1938) concurs by admitting that “it is a great mistake to suppose, even tacitly, that the traditional schoolroom was not a place in which pupils had experiences” (p.9). In my early elementary years, I would have considered my school experience traditional. Despite that experience, I remember having many memorable experiences that I was able to learn from. Next, I believe that learning about history and the ways in which society has been and not been successful in the past has a lot to offer. I remember appreciating learning how our history has shaped our world today. Dewey (1938) raised a great point when stating that “how shall the young become acquired with the past in such a way that the acquaintance is a potent agent in appreciation of the living present” (p.8). I did not mind being taught information and answering questions as I found myself truly comprehending and learning the content. Therefore, having experiences and learning about how our past has shaped our future are two principles that I found attractive about the traditional way of teaching.

Progressive education, on the other hand, has many principals in which I believe can benefit students both in and outside of the classroom.  Aside from the “organic connection between education and personal experience” (Dewey, p.8), progressive education is not contained to potentially dull textbooks. Progressive education provides more flexibility for the teacher and students. As well, teachers are able to really focus on the needs of the students rather than trying to educate our students with irrelevant and foreign knowledge. Another positive element of progressive education is the fact that it provides a better quality of human experience. Dewey (1938) also states, “can we find any reason that does not ultimately come down to the belief that democratic social arrangements promote a better quality of human experience” (p. 12). In my five years of teaching, I can name dozens of experiences in which children who have learned through experiences, conversations with peers, and through doing. Therefore, the flexibility and opportunities for endless experiences are two principles of progressive education the stood out for me.

Overall, I believe that it is important for students to have the opportunity to be exposed to different teaching philosophies. I don’t believe there is one right way to educate our children. I believe, and continue to believe, that the way in which a child should be learning depends solely on their needs. After all, “teachers are agents through which knowledge and skills are communicated and rules of conduct: enforced ( Dewey, p.5)”.

I hope you enjoyed reading my response 🙂

Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York: Collier