Stallion Gazette

Celebrating Excellence

Increasing Student Exposure and Choices Leads to Success

Quotes of the Week from Marshall's Memo

“Being a well-educated person and passionate about learning isn’t just about reading and computing well… Music and art; world languages; physics, chemistry, and biology; social studies, civics, geography, and government; physical education and health; coding and computer science – these aren’t luxuries that are nice to have. They’re what it means to be ready for today’s world.”

John King, U.S. Secretary of Education, in a Nevada speech April 14, 2015,

Building Ownership by Allowing Students Some Choice

In this Chronicle of Higher Education article, James Lang (Assumption College) suggests three ways to give students a degree of choice without sacrificing control over essential curriculum direction:

Student-generated test questions – “Traditional exams in a course represent one of those moments in which students seem to lose all control,” says Lang. To counteract that, he suggests having students work in groups for 30-45 minutes coming up with test questions that might be used (or reworded) in the actual exam. This is a two-fer, says Lang: it not only gives students a sense of control over their learning but also serves as an effective review session.

Open assessments – This involves leaving 10 percent of the syllabus for an assignment that students create with the instructor. The default is a paper, but students are free to come up with a more creative and interesting assignment.

Class constitutions – Having students collectively come up with ground rules for a course gives them a collegial sense of working together toward a shared purpose. This could include the use of cell phones, tablets, and laptops in class, how late work is handled, and other items that aren’t on the instructor’s list of non-negotiables.

“Ceding control over any aspect of teaching can be scary,” says Lang, “which may be why my own progress in this area has been so gradual. But if you find the prospect intriguing – if these ideas resonate with your own experience as a teacher or learner – see if you can offer students one new choice next semester, either in how they demonstrate their learning to you or in how your class forms its community rules. In doing so, you just might nudge them one step closer to the goal we have for every student: taking ownership of their own education.”

“Small Changes in Teaching: Giving Them a Say” by James Lang in The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 22, 2016 (Vol. LXII, #32, p. A34-A35),; Lang is the author of Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning (Jossey-Bass, 2016)

Pictures of Excellence

What Superheroes do in their Free Time

Alex Sanger Elementary Preparatory

Alex Sanger Elementary School is a place of learning for students, staff, parents, and community members. Located in the beautiful Forest Hills neighborhood of East Dallas, it provides a safe environment where academic excellence is the focus.