Based on Small Changes, Big Impact
Recently, I have witnessed more acts of compassion from teachers than ever before in my career.
In my own home, I watched my teenager’s face light up as he opened a hand-written letter from his math teacher, merely saying she was proud of him—nothing about math. I watched as my other son’s second-grade teacher changed the lesson for the day, and instead asked the student to write a thank you note to a community helper. Read more
Many readers of this blog will be familiar with the age-old philosophical question that raises a variety of responses regarding what we see and what we perceive:
“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Read more
We define singletons as those teachers who are the only one who teaches a grade level or subject area in their school.
When schools define themselves as professional learning communities, one of the hallmarks of that work is to work with a collaborative team with whom teachers learn together. Read more
There is an English proverb, “necessity is the mother of invention,” that fits in education today as teachers are forced to become digitally innovative in the face of immediate, and possibly an extended, period of need during the COVID-19 lockdown. These are indeed challenging times.
But what if it’s an opportunity too? If I could wave my magic wand and offer a little peace of mind to teachers today, I’d offer this support: Read more
The vital position education holds in the future of a society is rarely debated. However, the nature of this position is a constant source of discourse.
Why is education important? How does it support the values and beliefs of a community? What goals guide it? Who decides these goals and what purpose do they hold for the learners and the communities in which they find themselves? Read more
I was recently working with a team to develop common formative assessments, and they were having some difficulty generating appropriate questions and tasks for the standards being addressed in this particular unit of study.
We talked through the standards, as well as the learning targets, and brainstormed assessments methods to match the various elements of learning required for students to master the concept. Still, we were in a pause.
So, I decided to change course.
Instead of further belaboring the learning targets and what student proficiency would need to look like, I engaged the team to consider what was preventing student learning in the first place. Read more
The caricature of the tough grader is familiar to most; the teacher who only doles out As or top marks to the truly elite performances. They often begin grading a stack of papers with the idea of holding back the As early on, in case someone deeper in the stack produced a truly exceptional paper.
Often, this caricature has a sense of pride about the competitive nature of grades, whether that competitive culture was inadvertently or intentionally created. Read more
Okay, I will admit it…the title of this blog post is a little misleading.
Assessment is something that deserves thoughtful and extended consideration. “Quick” has the potential to move teachers and students from valid and reliable assessment to assessment that is surface-level.
However, I also know that when educators decide to shift assessment paradigms and adjust daily practices, looking at the whole assessment topic can seem daunting, and knowing where to start can feel out of our reach. Read more
I think I always knew how important it is to connect the dots as we work to implement new ideas and provide professional development, but recently I was reminded of the crucial nature of making connections to make learning meaningful. Read more
I plan to explore self-assessment with my blogs this year. One of my favorite things about writing for this blog is that it causes me to reflect and formalize my own thinking about assessment topics. Maybe it is all of the talk about resolutions, or the fact that my own resolutions have not quite taken hold (Sorry elliptical machine! I promise to visit you soon!), or this looming birthday of mine, but the pulls of both reflection and action are pretty strong right now. Read more