The Grade Debate and Decision Fatigue

Topics for this week include grading systems, preparing for state testing, and overcoming decision fatigue.

The Grade Debate and Decision Fatigue
Photo by Jens Lelie / Unsplash

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!

I am currently on a road trip. We are on a mission to find good food and have some family fun. Road trips are great because my kids can't escape, their phones lose their charge, and we get to spend time listening to music and talking.

I've been trying to pause at the end of each school day and record at least one highlight. The goal is to focus on something positive before I leave the building. One of my highlights from this short week was being able to connect with students in a slightly unstructured environment. We talked. I listened. They decorated the classroom. It was simultaneously enjoyable and exhausting.

I hope you are able to relax and renew yourself over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The News

Here are some articles and resources that grabbed my attention.

  • The Grade Debate - The "zero" has become a divisive number in education. Many educators would like to see a reevaluation of the 100-point grading scale. It can be difficult for students to recover from a "0", and their final grade might not accurately represent what they know and can do. Some districts are considering a move to a 50-point scale, while others support standards-based grading.
  • House Party Challenge - Using team challenges can be a fun and effective way to reduce test anxiety and improve performance in state testing. Frequent low-stakes quizzing cycled over time can give students a less threatening way to learn from their mistakes. Learn how Anson ISD used this test preparation to its advantage.
  • Podcasts for Learning - Using podcasts can help students develop critical thinking skills, become active listeners and creators, and gain experience working with various digital tools. They provide opportunities for note-taking, discussion, reflection, and questioning.
  • Resource - Here are 11 great Chrome extensions for students. My favorites are Just Read, Hypothesis, and InsertLearning.
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

  • Decision Fatigue - Teachers are highly susceptible to decision fatigue due to the high volume of daily decisions they make. This might explain why I feel like I need to spend time in a sensory deprivation tank at the end of a school week. As teachers, we are faced with countless decisions every day. From lesson planning to classroom management, grading papers to addressing student needs, the demands on our decision-making abilities can be overwhelming. The constant barrage of questions and choices can lead to a phenomenon known as decision fatigue. Teachers can make as many as 1,500 decisions each day. Here are some coping strategies.
  • Clarity - The world is becoming more complex. It is now more important than ever to be able to clarify your thinking and seek clarity. Being able to examine assumptions, engage in dialogue with others, and recognize the limitations of your own perspectives can promote clearer thinking and productive conversations.
  • Blind Spot - According to recent psychological research, people tend to overestimate their ability to make others feel better, especially when the person already has a high base rate of feeling positive. This blind spot can lead to misguided efforts in providing emotional support and can be particularly relevant in workplace settings where managers and colleagues may unknowingly make others feel worse despite their intentions.


When people will not weed their own minds, they are apt to be overrun by nettles.”― Horace Walpole

Teacher Commuter Playlist - Everyday People (Playing for Change).

Favorite Things

  • Documentary - Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World - If you are a music lover I think you will like this documentary. My dad recommended it to me. This movie explores how Native American influence is wrapped into modern music's DNA.
  • Shower Thought - Indiana Jones had an impressive travel budget for being on a teacher's salary. [source]
  • Life Stats - Just enter your birthdate and then start scrolling.
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