Replied to One Simple Practice I Will Continue Post-Pandemic. (

If giving kids in a F2F classroom chances to answer questions from behind a computer screen can help me ensure that everyone — including the quiet kid, the new kid, or the kid struggling with academic confidence — is heard and celebrated as a thinker in my room, that’s a practice I’m willing to embrace.

Bill, your discussion of both physical and digital learning spaces reminds me of David White’s piece of Coalescent Spaces:

Accept that students can, and will, be present in multiple spaces if they have a screen with them and find ways to create presence overlaps. This is different from simply attempting to manage their attention between room to screen.

Bookmarked Remote Teaching Tip: Assessments in an Online Environment by Bill Ferriter (

if the questions on your assessment can be Googled AND you are worried about cheating, then you have written a bad assessment.

Bill Ferriter suggests that before you worry about how you are going to assess learning online, you need to address the question of what you are assessing for.

  • We need to know the level of rigor of the essential standard that we are assessing before we can write a question that will generate reliable information on student mastery.
  • We need to decide on the kinds of things that students should know and be able to do if they have mastered the essential standard that we are assessing.
  • We need to write and then deliver a small handful (3-5) of questions for each essential standard that we are assessing.
  • We need to think through the common misconceptions that we are likely to see in student responses to our questions.
  • For any constructed response questions or performance assessments, we need to decide together what “mastery” will look like in student responses.
  • That might include developing exemplars of different levels of student performance or creating shared scoring rubrics.

If the focus is multiple choice questions, Ferriter uses MasteryConnect, while if it is about deomonstrations, he uses Flipgrid. Although there are many other options out there, these work within his context. As he explains:

Your goal is to find tools that:

  • Have little to no learning curve for you or your students.
  • Aren’t blocked by your district’s firewall.
  • Fit into your budget — or the budget of your school.

Ferriter closes with a reflection on how he deals with the threat of students cheating. FIrstly, he makes a concerted effort to lower the stakes on my classroom assessments by making them smaller and providing students the opportunity to repeat where needed. In addition to this, he suggests that if the answer is in fact Google-able then maybe it is actually just poor assessment.

Your piece about cheating reminds me about an experience I had in Year 10 Science when we had an open-book test. I remember Ms. Hé not paying too much attention to our chatter during tests. We would turn and talk with colleagues to get the answer. The funny thing was that it did not really make a difference. I cannot remember what grade I got, but I know it was not great. I think it clearly highlighted the lack of care I had for the subject. Cheating made little difference. In hindsight, I wonder if that was in fact her strategy, not sure. It was a useful lesson to learn.

Liked (

I’ve kept the products that students have to produce here simple. Venn diagrams, 3 – 2 – 1 lists, 25 word summaries and Claim – Evidence – Reasoning paragraphs push students to think at high levels without requiring them to have access to tons of materials or tons of time to show me what they know.

That matters, y’all.

It may be fine to ask students to produce complicated final products as demonstrations of mastery when they are in your classroom and have access to your support for seven hours every day, but when students are working on their own from home, we need to lean on “no-frills” tasks that encourage higher order thinking without adding time and resource demands onto our students.

Liked Leaning on Parents Isn’t an Intervention, Y’all. (THE TEMPERED RADICAL)

Sure — letting parents know about the struggles of individual students is a responsible act.

And sometimes, those notifications may result in improvements. A parent might hire a tutor for their child to address academic gaps or a student might change their behavior in response to home-based consequences.

But seeing parent communication as your primary INTERVENTION — instead of as nothing more than providing INFORMATION — is a cop-out.

Replied to My Kid’s Bedroom is Proof that Feedback > Grading. (THE TEMPERED RADICAL)

Regular Radical Readers know that the joy of my life is my ten year old daughter, Reece.  She’s something else, that’s for sure. But check out her bedroom this morning: If you were to g…

Bill, your discussion of the classroom is a great way of encapsulating grades and the importance of feedback. It has me wondering about intrinsic and extrinsic motivations and where that all fits within the discussion.
Liked The Most Powerful Change I’ve Ever Made in My Practice. (

At the end of the first week of school, I noticed that two or three of my students had their Kudos Cookie note slipped into their binders or hanging in their lockers. Remember — that’s a handwritten note given to them TWO YEARS ago.



Replied to Are You a YouTube Recommendation Engine for Your Students? (

Long story short:  Our kids are already spending tons of time in YouTube.  If we can influence what they are watching there — a process that starts by carefully curating high-interest content connected to our curriculum — we can have a long-term impact on the role that one of the most popular digital spaces can play in their learning lives.

I love your idea and endeavour Bill. I remember trying this with my media class a few years ago. It reminds me of Silvia Rosenthal Talisano’s curation challenge.
Replied to Why This? Why Now? Why Bother? The PLC Edition. by Bill Ferriter (The Tempered Radicals)

The people drawn to teaching are deeply creative and reflective by nature. The work of high-functioning teams feeds those traits and will leave you professionally jazzed in a way that teaching alone could never do.

This is a useful provocation Bill. I look forward to reading the rest of your series.
Replied to Digital Lessons Teens Can Learn from the Covington Catholic Confrontation by Bill Ferriter (The Tempered Radical)

Find a teenager who is important to you and remind them that their private lives begin only after they walk away from their devices.  Until then, they need to be on their best behavior.

Just teenagers?
Liked Implicit Bias is Real (and Sneaky). Here’s Proof. by Bill Ferriter (The Tempered Radical)

I want you to realize that when equity advocates talk about the impact that bias has on students, they aren’t talking about the overt actions of openly racist people that are easy to spot. They are talking about the unconscious actions of good people like me and you.

Replied to Be Someone’s Conversational Follower. by Bill Ferriter (The Tempered Radical)

My goal is to both to add and to find more intellectual value from the time that I spend in social spaces.

More information doesn’t really help anyone to improve. It’s deeper reflection and conversation that matters most. I can encourage those behaviors in others and feed them in myself by becoming a conversational follower and reinvesting in blogs as a forum for extended interactions.

Personally, one of the changes that has made a difference to me is to keep a copy of the comments I make around the web. This is a part of the IndieWeb. Some sites accept comments in the form of webmentions, however those that do not (like your own) I simply cut and paste. I find that this extra effort has made the exercise more meaningful. Someone who might have something to add to this is Chris Aldrich.
Replied to A Note to My Child’s Teacher by Bill Ferriter (Tempered Radical)

I guess what I am saying is that I want my kid — a kid who has never really felt appreciated by a teacher — to walk away from your room each day convinced that you care about her as a person.  If you can pull that off, you will change her life for the better — and in the end, that’s our primary responsibility as classroom teachers.

I love this post Bill. It has me thinking about my own daughter’s teachers. I was wondering though about a different response, celebrating the successes or strengths of the teachers?

When I think about the teachers my daughter has had, there are a number of things that have stood out? For me, it has been relationships and a focus on strengths.

Originally posted at Read Write Collect

Bookmarked We’re in a new age of obesity. How did it happen? You’d be surprised | George Monbiot by George Monbiot (the Guardian)

It’s not that we’re eating more, that we exercise less, or that we lack willpower. The shaming of overweight people has to stop, says Guardian columnist George Monbiot

George Monbiot explains that the reasons given for our current increase in obesity are often wrong. Rather than issues over portions or exercise, the real issue are the increase of diary and sugary foods in our diet:

So what has happened? The light begins to dawn when you look at the nutrition figures in more detail. Yes, we ate more in 1976, but differently. Today, we buy half as much fresh milk per person, but five times more yoghurt, three times more ice cream and – wait for it – 39 times as many dairy desserts. We buy half as many eggs as in 1976, but a third more breakfast cereals and twice the cereal snacks; half the total potatoes, but three times the crisps. While our direct purchases of sugar have sharply declined, the sugar we consume in drinks and confectionery is likely to have rocketed

This reminds me of Bill Ferriter’s classroom blog #SugarKills, a careful look at the not-so sweet side of tastes we love.

One of the things I like about George Monbiot’s work is the focus on systems and society. Although we could stop eating fast food or get off Facebook, but these decisions are often decided for us. This is captured in his closing remarks.

Just as jobless people are blamed for structural unemployment, and indebted people are blamed for impossible housing costs, fat people are blamed for a societal problem. But yes, willpower needs to be exercised – by governments. Yes, we need personal responsibility – on the part of policymakers. And yes, control needs to be exerted – over those who have discovered our weaknesses and ruthlessly exploit them.

Replied to A Simple Plan to Make My Love of Reading Transparent to My Students by Bill Ferriter (The Tempered Radical)

To make my love of reading even more transparent this year, I’m stealing an idea from my friend Pete Caggia: I’ve created a space on my board where I’m sharing the covers of the books that I’ve already read this year AND the cover of the book that I’m currently reading.

Bill, I am assuming that you only teach in the one classroom?
Liked Lead Smarter, Not Harder Tip 2: Start Asking Better Interview Questions by Bill Ferriter (Tempered Radical)

The goal for interviews in a professional learning community ISN’T to spot candidates who already have “all the answers” to questions about technology use or differentiation or classroom management.

The goal for interviews in a professional learning community is to spot candidates who are reflective, who have a growth mindset about their own practice, and who realize that personal growth is a function of collective study with capable peers.

Replied to Lead Smarter, Not Harder Tip One: Understand Teacher Approaches to Change by Bill Ferriter (Tempered Radical)

Leading smarter, not harder depends on having a clear understanding of who the Trailblazers, Pioneers, Settlers, Stay-at-Homes and Saboteurs are in your building because each group is going to need different kinds of support in order to move forward. 

This is interesting Bill. I think that the hard thing is that we do not always choose who we work with.