Over these past few months, I have come to embrace one distinct truth: things are predictably unpredictable right now. From the method of instructional delivery, to student access and opportunity to receive academic and emotional support, the dynamics around how we are able to “do school” this year have presented themselves as anything other than consistent and reliable. Read more
Let’s Talk Strengths and Celebrations
When I am working with teacher groups to analyze student work, our first area of focus is always student strengths. By identifying areas of celebration from the outset, we nurture optimism and hope in teachers, which they can then pass on to learners.
I have seen the power of this approach, and this is why I would love to show it to you in this blog post. By making time to focus on strengths and celebrations, I am explicitly acknowledging the progress educators are demonstrating—and make no mistake, we are doing some amazing things in education right now! Read more
Enough: (Re)Designing Assessment Practice to Interrupt Racial Inequities in our Schools
How many times have you uttered that same word in these past few months? Pause for a moment. How often has the word “enough” emerged as an emotion or direction toward your children? To your spouse or partner? To your neighbor? To your social media feed?Read more
Five Things I Have Learned About Assessment
This guest post is written by Michelle Wambach, a principal at Carmichael Elementary School in Sierra Vista, Arizona.
Assessing When No One is Around…
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
How Do We Do Common Formative Assessments in a School of Singletons?
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
This Time is Our Opportunity
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
Next Generation Assessment: Increasing Student Voice and Choice
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
#Winning: Anticipating Errors as Preventative Instruction
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
Are You a Tough Grader or a ‘Tough Grader?’
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