Posts by Guest Author


How Learning Targets Empower Students (and Help Me, Too)

This guest post is written by Shannon Finnegan, a social studies teacher at Hopkins High School in Minnesota.

Throughout my teaching career, I have taught in three vastly different schools: a suburban high school, an inner city 6–12 school, and an alternative high school. In these different settings, I have found that there are certain educational buzzwords and catchphrases that will provoke groans and eye rolls on teacher professional development days regardless of where you work. Words such as differentiation, backwards planning, and standards-based grading are just a few of the phrases that will make teachers cringe on inservice days. When I began teaching at a small school in Brooklyn, New York, I came to loathe one phrase in particular: learning targets. Read more


Using Feedback and Success Criteria to Empower Students

This guest post is written by Tara Reed, a fourth grade ELA teacher at Hawk Elementary School in Denton ISD.

Being reflective is essential. Whether done by the teacher or the student, reflection allows an opportunity to think closely on one topic, make decisions about work, or ask peers for some feedback.

Last spring I took some time to interview kids about their interactions with feedback and co-constructed criteria. One thing I learned about my students was that they hunger for feedback. They crave someone with whom to collaborate, discuss, rehearse, revise, and reflect. Read more


SPARK Testing so students learn!

This guest post is written by Kara Hageman, a PhD student in Educational Psychology at the University of Iowa and former high school science teacher. She blogs at www.spiralingassessment.com. Kara can be reached via email at kara-hageman@uiowa.edu or via Twitter @hageman97

A poem is learned by heart and then not again repeated. We will suppose that after a half year it has been forgotten: no effort of recollection is able to call it back again into consciousness (Hermann Ebbinghaus, 1885, p. 8).
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Powerful New Book Advocates Rethinking Grading Practices

This is a guest post by Kelly Rockhill, Solution Tree

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Bloomington, Ind. (March 4, 2016)—Solution Tree, a premier educational publisher and professional development provider, has announced the release of Grading From the Inside Out: Bringing Accuracy to Student Assessment Through a Standards-Based Mindset. This new book by Tom Schimmer provides educators with active steps to positively change grading and reporting in their classrooms. Read more


Powerful New Book Promotes Collaborative Assessment Practices

This is a guest post by Kelly Rockhill, Solution Tree

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bloomington, Ind. (January 25, 2016)—Solution Tree, a premier educational publisher and professional development provider, announces the release of a powerful new book that seeks to reinvigorate teaching and learning through collaborative assessment practices.

In Collaborative Common Assessments: Teamwork. Instruction. Results., author Cassandra Erkens outlines the practical steps teacher teams must take to establish clear, comprehensive assessment systems that guide instruction and strengthen professional learning communities. “When common assessments are developed and employed properly, as a collaborative, formative system aimed at improving learning for teachers and learners alike,” writes Erkens in the introduction, “the gains in teacher efficacy and student achievement can be staggering.” Read more


Assessment: The Game Changer

This is a guest post by Natalie Romero, Principal, Moriarty Elementary

At Moriarty Elementary School in Moriarty, New Mexico, our process of collaborating professionally has changed dramatically over the past 18 months. When we began the journey, the idea of gathering grade-level members together was not frightening; however, our typically brief conversations were not deeply academic or very student centered. Read more