Posts by Tracy Blahnik

Need a gender-neutral greeting for a group?

As you are planning your first day of class, start out in a way that makes all students feel valued and included.  Joan Klinkner and I attended an amazing conference this summer on Gender Creative Early Learners.  Our keynote speaker Jess Dallman shared this business card with the group.  Instead of saying Ladies or Men etc try a gender neutral term or phrase like “Good morning everyone,” “And for you”  or “Welcome in today.”  This is a simple change to making everyone fee valued and acknowledged.

Cool Visuals to Explain Summative and Formative Assessment

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 WTCS Assessment Conference.  One of the sessions I attended was Teachable Moments:  Formative Assessment for student Success by Dr. Nancy Chapko and Dr. Meg Hunter.  At this session they shared these two visuals which struck me as a great visual way to explain the difference between Summative and Formative Assessment.  In the ice climbing visual, Summative assessment is like the Summit and formative assessments are the foot holds that you help you reach the end result, the summit.


Have you ever asked a question in class and got the Deer in headlights response? Did you ever look out into your classroom during a presentation and feel that the class just wasn’t Sleeping “with” you….. Do the same students always raise their hands to participate in class discussions?  This semester I had the opportunity to pilot a presentation tool called Nearpod Picture1  This presentation tool not only allows you to organize your presentations, but students are given a join code so that they can follow along using the internet or other Smart Technology (phone app).  Picture2  With Nearpod, I was able to attach pdf files, Google Documents, and pictures, take students to related websites, survey students and the feature I was most interested in, participating in open-ended discussion questions.  Like a “live” online discussion board.  All students are “forced” to participate in class discussion.  I was then able to select individual student thoughts to use. Challenges from the trenches: Not being able to use Google Documents unless students also have Google Account. It does take time at first to introduce students to Nearpod application/program Only one presentation is free.  Otherwise small monthly or yearly fee.   With paid subscription you are able to email presentation to students. You Tube videos are played individually on technology so videos started around the room at different times.  Just showed on main screen. Check it out for yourself Feel free to contact me if you want to learn more!