Electric Mower, Retracing Steps, and Formative Assessment

I purchased an electric mower. It works very well. It is much quieter and lighter than my previous gas mower. The only trick is I have to  always mow away from the cord. I cannot retrace my steps.

Once I got into the zen of mowing, I began to wonder  how often my students retrace their steps in my class. Does each class move them forward? Do they truly learn a new skill goal so that they can move on to a more advanced skill or goal?  Do they continually grow not just in having more facts but in thinking about how to put those facts together? Do they become more critical in their thinking about the subject?

To be more concrete, in my writing course, do students master a skill such as using a topic  sentence so that they can move forward or do they always make the same learning gap over and over again?  I can  structure my class so that they do not retrace their steps but they always move forward. I can  provide feedback and exemplars that will move them forward. I can have brief direct instruction and mini-assessments to verify that they are not going backward but are moving forward in their learning.

How do you prevent your students from retracing their steps?

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3 Responses to “Electric Mower, Retracing Steps, and Formative Assessment”


  1. 1 Dawn Colavita August 21, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Mr. Tuttle,
    As I read through your 5 most current entries, I was really blown away. Every aspect of your life somehow relates to your students and your teaching. I commend you for that and for being able to share it in a meaningful and concise manner.

    I am amazed that the entries I read had no comments. Thus, I just had to do so. I’ve included a link to your blog in the CILC E-News, coming out early September under the heading “The Scavenger’s Hunt.” May it draw more teachers to your blog and may it make them reflect as you are doing.

    Sincerely,
    Dawn
    Director of Communications
    CILC
    http://www.cilc.org

  2. 2 hgtuttle August 21, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    Dawn,
    Thanks.
    I appreciate the kind comments.
    I love what I do (teaching) and always try to improve the students’ learning.
    I’m excited that my book on Formative Assessment: Responding to Students will be published by Eye on Education in early Oct so that I can share more detailed info.
    Harry

  3. 3 Dawn Colavita September 2, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    Harry,
    I didn’t realize you had a book going to print.
    CILC, Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration, has a database on its website for Professional Development. Those who offer PD through videoconferencing and/or webinar can post their sessions there. Would love to have a conversation about this opportunity. A great way for you to reach so many teachers, administrators, etc. If you are interested, please call me toll free. 866-474-5226. In the meantime, please feel free to go to http://www.cilc.org and view the PD Marketplace. We currently have 28 providers there. I’m not expecting you to make this entry public. Just wanted to share the opportunity for you to explore.
    Dawn


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