Shapshots from the end of a school year that just… faded away
I began writing this piece in early June, when I had already met with about a third of my students for their final one-on-one meetings, in which we reflect on the year that was and talk about what they might do next. I’ve been doing this for 9 years now; it’s old hat. And yet, I kept feeling like I wasn’t doing my students justice this semester when our meetings were virtual and our connections were digital. …
Each school, no matter how much concrete and asphalt surrounds it, has some patch of outdoor space that could be utilized by a creative, adventurous teacher.
This piece was originally published on November 19, 2019.
The songs of robins and red-winged blackbirds, the green shoots poking through the dirt, and certainly the later sunsets all help me to remember that this, too, shall pass, and that at some point I will be back in the classroom with my students.
This piece was originally published on April 15, 2020.
The bedrock underlying everything we do at school is, in a word, relationships. This remains true whether we are in the same room together or interacting exclusively through our screens.
This piece was originally published on August 17, 2020.
Face-to-face learning is demonstrably better for most students, but it’s also much less safe than remote learning. Remote learning is a safe alternative, but it’s inequitable, especially in rural school districts like mine. Parents need to work, and kids need to eat. Every answer brings more questions.
This piece was originally published on November 30, 2020.
Note: I’m participating in the 2020–21 Math Equity Project, and one of our first tasks was to introduce ourselves with a “Storientation” giving the rest of the cohort and idea of who we are as a person, teacher, and mathematician. This is mine. (For more on the importance of storytelling in classroom culture, see this Edutopia post.)
Hi! I’m Skylar L. Primm, and though I’ve lived in Madison, Wisconsin since 2003, a bit of my heart will always be in my hometown of New Orleans, where I was born, grew up, and attended college. I was the only child in…
Well. That did not go the way I expected it to. I actually thought that by May I would have not only a solid definition of humane assessment to share with the world, but also a series of beautiful anecdotes of how humane assessment was playing out in my classroom. The hugs and the high fives! The authentic assessments through on-stage presentations! The sample reflections where you can clearly see just how much more human this year made them all feel!
Yeah, no. My expectations were not met. So, what can I draw from a truncated year of humane assessment…
The week before schools were shut down, my co-teacher Amanda and I co-led a field experience for the first time in… several years, at least. I introduced students to Nature’s Notebook, a community science tool for monitoring and reporting on phenological changes. Amanda led a poetry writing marathon, based around the theme of unwanted creatures. It was brilliant. Several students said it was their favorite field day of the year.
At the time, the leaf buds on the on-campus trees we observed were just shy of bursting, there was still some ice on the lake at John Muir Memorial County…
It’s been a little over a year since my declaration of independence from rubrics. In the intervening time, I’ve worked alongside my students to develop various alternatives. I haven’t found one rubric to rule them all, but my assessment has continued to evolve in what I believe is a more humane direction, for students and staff alike.
“I have three families: my home family, my work family, and my school family.” –D.
A Letter for the 10th Anniversary of the Greater Madison Writing Project
…thank you for giving me the confidence to be myself in the classroom and beyond. Without the 2015 Summer Institute and the connections, experiences, and learning I began there, I don’t know where I would be right now, five (FIVE!) years later. Possibly not in the classroom any more. Certainly not feeling fulfilled.