Should I Grade Everything?

Topics for this week include what is necessary to grade, how teachers felt about this past year, and making good decisions.

Should I Grade Everything?
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TGIF Teacher Newsletter


TGIF Teacher Gadgets and Gifts
Every day should be Teacher Appreciation Day. Here are some teacher-approved gifts and gadgets that will bring smiles in and out of the classroom.

Happy Friday!

Here are three things I've been pondering this week.


Some of the data that I'm sharing this week can be a bit of a downer. There are so many ways that education can be improved. For me, one of the silver linings is knowing that I am part of a community of teachers who show up each day and do amazing things for their students despite these challenges. Teachers are amazing.


Here’s something from my journal I recently came across. The halftime score isn’t the final score. This year during the Super Bowl the Eagles went into half-time with the lead. The Chiefs came back in the second half and won the game. Adjustments that were made at half-time ended up being the deciding factor. It’s a great life skill to be able to figure out what’s not working and then be able to make the appropriate adjustments. It’s not over unless you stop learning.


"Remember, no man is a failure who has friends." - Clarence (It’s a Wonderful Life) The holidays are a busy time, but having friends and family to spend time with is truly a gift. Relationships are the currency you use to purchase the good life.

In today’s newsletter…

  • Is it necessary to grade everything?
  • How teachers viewed 2023.
  • Making good decisions.

The News

Here are some articles and resources that grabbed my attention.

  • Do I Grade It - What is the purpose behind grading student work, and is it really necessary to grade every assignment a student completes? It is important to provide timely feedback, but there are ways to do this that don't involve excessive grading. On-demand discussions and the use of peer critique are two time-saving ways to give students feedback.
  • Ask the Teachers - When asked about their experiences in 2023, educators across the country provided a variety of responses. Some mentioned that dysregulated students had a significant impact on learning. Others expressed fatigue with the idea that building relationships with students can solve all classroom challenges. Additionally, it would be difficult to find a teacher who doesn't desire systemic changes in education to better support both teachers and students.
  • Year in Charts - “Researchers continue to ask all the questions that have traditionally set the parameters of America’s K–12 agenda: Why do student populations self-segregate? Is it better for kids to be assigned to tough or easy graders? How much do teacher training programs really help? Have charters caught up to traditional public schools?” The 74 has compiled a year-end inventory of the most fascinating discoveries, insights, and ambiguities that came out of education research in 2023. The charts that stood out most to me displayed student absenteeism data, grade inflation statistics, and the advantages of "tough grading.”
  • The Teaching Profession - This past year, teachers experienced a mix of challenges and positive developments. While job satisfaction improved compared to the previous year, teachers still faced high levels of stress. Student mental health issues had a significant impact on learning, and educators were working hard to close learning gaps caused by the pandemic. Additionally, there were concerns and debates surrounding the use of artificial intelligence in classrooms, and divisions arose over issues like race, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Despite these challenges, teachers remained dedicated to their profession and showed optimism for the future.
  • Greatest Hits - This is the last newsletter for this year. I checked the data to see which newsletters seem to resonate the most with readers. Here is this year's TGIF Teacher Newsletter Greatest Hits. Thank you for reading each week.
STRONG Teacher Toolkit
Here are some of my favorite resources, ideas, tools, services, and miscellaneous gadgets and goodies that keep me STRONG in both my personal and professional life.

Ideas, resources, tools, and free downloads to make your teaching life easier and more enjoyable.


Personal Development and Wellness Resources

  • Cells and Cytokines - Simply put, go to bed. Lack of sleep can hurt your immune system's ability to defend against infections. Quality and quantity of sleep play a role in maintaining optimal immune function, as sleep allows for the production of protective cells and cytokines that aid in fighting off infections.
  • Liquid Modernity - According to Zygmunt Bauman, “Liquid Modernity, is the growing conviction that change is the only permanence, and uncertainty the only certainty.” Society flows in a river of constant change. It’s important to hold off making decisions based on temporary emotions. Setting aside time and space to calmly ponder life’s challenges can tilt the outcomes in your favor.
  • Good Stuff - If you can spare the time, take a few minutes to think back on the year and record all of your favorite memories. It might be the start of a great tradition. Here’s my list of “Good Stuff” from the past year.


"I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming." —Haim G. Ginott (Teacher and Child: A Book for Parents and Teachers)*

Teacher Commuter Playlist - Tide Turns by Phish

Favorite Things