Archive for the 'Observation' Category

Teach or Observe Students

I am the photographer for my church. I am supposed to record the events of the church. However, I often get involved in the events so I forget to take pictures such as last week when we baked 200 pies to raise money.

I realize that the same thing happens in the classroom. I am so busy “teaching” that I forget to observe the students. I do not do frequent check-ins so see where they are in the process. I do not build into my lesson plan student-self or peer assessments. I need to lessen my presenting and increase my student learning focus.

How do you change your focus to become the photographer of your students’ learning instead of th event main participant? Once you have a picture of their present learning, what formative actions do you take?

For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

Two Observations, Two Different Approaches

I was talking to two teachers from the same school. Both teachers were going to be observed. One supervisor not only did a pre-conference a week before the observation but also gave the teacher the evaluation rubric. This supervisor asked about any special conditions in the class or if the classroom teacher wanted the supervisor to look for anything in particular. As soon as the class observation was over, the supervisor gave some positives and some suggestions for change. Then within a week, the supervisor sent out the formal evaluation.

The other supervisor showed up two minutes before the class for the pre-conference. He looked over the lesson plan. After about two weeks after the class, the teacher received the formal evaluation.

I’m wondering which technique we use when we observe our students?

For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

Formative Assessment – Student Responses and Observations of Learning

My article Formative Assessment: Student Responses and Observation of Learning was published at Grant Wiggins’ Big Ideas An Authentic Education website

Full address

Observing Students as Part of Formative Assessment

Varying Structure

How do you observe your students as they demonstrate a standards-based process or skill? How do you record that information so that you can compare that observation with another? How do you use that observation and subsequent ones to help the student close any learning gaps they have in the standard?

Your observations are to be factual and non-judgmental. They are to be consistent across all the observations.

These observations can be
1. Completely open ended:What did you notice about the students performing the standard-based task? Example: You observe your science students as they set up a lab.

2. Semi-structured: You base your observation on a part of a subgoal. Example: You observe if your students ask questions during small group Social Social discussion.

3. Very structured: You observe in detail for numerous very specific standards-tasks. Example: You observe if students include elements of setting, character, problem, and solution as they retell a story. You may even rate each element on a proficient to non-proficient scale.

You facilitate this observation process when you use a computer (PDA, table, laptop or even desktop) as you enter your information. Your word processed (database or spreadsheet) comments are legible. By using the “find and replace” command you can replace your codes with full statements. These records do not get lost as paper can. You can easily compare your standard-based observation on a specific student over time.

How do you facilitate the observation of students through technology?

Every Two Weeks Formative Assessment Model

Every Two Weeks Formative Assessment Model

I would like to propose a starting point for doing, recording and analyzing formative assessment in the classroom. I call it the “every two weeks” method. Within a two week period you will do a formative assessment on one standard and record that information in a spreadsheet or database. You will record a rating and a quick comment for each student.

By the end of eight weeks, you will have four formative assessments on a particular standard. Since the information is in a spreadsheet or database, you can sort the information to see the growth of each individual student and to see overall class progress. You can review those assessments of an individual student to determine areas of growth and to identify areas for scaffolded improvement. For those students who have grown in the standard you can celebrate their growth and for those students who have not yet shown proficiency in the standard you can plan a structured approach for their improvement. You can see if the whole class is progressing in the standard.

What would this look like in your classroom? You decide to assess English Language Arts Standard 1 Information and Understanding and, in particular, the students’ ability to listen and agree or disagree with the information in a written paragraph. You look at the state benchmark to see the type of passage on the assessment and to see what type writing the students have to do. You think of the content you are covering during the next two weeks and incorporate a listening passage about that content and have the students write a reaction paragraph. You assess the writing according to the state rubric. For each student, you identify a strength and an area for improvement. After you do an analysis of the spreadsheet information, you build into the next listening activity at least one skill improvement activity that will help the greatest number of students. You repeat this similar standards-based assessment activity three more times during the next six weeks (one time each two weeks). Each time you figure out what one area would help the most students to improve in this standards activity and do some activities to help the students master those subskills necessary for success in this standard. You have identified certain students who will receive your small group or one-on-one help within the next two weeks. By repeatedly assessing the same standard and analyzing the results of the state benchmark rubric, you can help your students’ constantly improve in the standard. This every two week assessment model can work with DBQs in Social Studies and the inquiry process in Science. It helps to assess essential repetitive aspects of the standards.

Try it and see how much your students grow academically!

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Techniques to Record Classroom Observation of Students

Observation checklist

The more we know about our students’ learning, the more we can help them. We have students for at least thirty some minutes each day. We can gather much information during that time.

Some techniques for observing standards-based student learning:

* Write the student observation on a sticky-note, and, after class, stick the note to each student’s page in a class binder.

* Write directly on the student’s page in the class binder.

* Complete a short checklist and physically add that checklist to the student’s section in the class binder.

* Use a computer, PDA, or tablet to record your observation in a word processor, database, or spreadsheet. With any of these technology tools, you can sort or search for patterns. You can let your fingers do the walking and your brain do the analysis. One observation on the student’s lack of measurement skills may be a quirk or abnormality. However, several observations showing a student’s measurement errors can pinpoint an academic problem; you can guide the student in overcoming those errors. You can print out information for meetings with the student, parents, team, or school guidance counselor.

How do you observe your students and record this information using technology? How does your technology use allow you to see the big picture about the student’s learning?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Classroom Observations Study and student learning

Classroom learning or busy activity

Some sobering statistics based on observations from 1,500 classes in 2005:

Classrooms in which there was evidence of a clear learning objective: 4%

Classrooms in which high-yield strategies were used: .2%

Classrooms in which there was evidence of higher order thinking: 3%

Classrooms in which students were either writing or using rubrics: 0%

Classrooms in which few than one-half of the students were paying attention: 85%

Classrooms in which students were using worksheets (a bad sign): 52%

Classrooms in which non-instructional activities were occurring: 35%

(Learning 24/7. (2005, April 7). Classroom Observation Study. Study presented at the National Conference on Standards and Assessment in Las Vegas, NV as quoted in Schmoker, M. Results Now. (2006). ACSD: Alexandria, VA, 18.)

So what would your score be if your class were observed? How can you use technology to improve your score?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


RSS Education with Technology

  • Tech Integration Teacher, What time is it? August 23, 2016
    When someone asks what time it is, that person wants to know the time, not the history of the clock, not how a clock works, and not what other types of clocks there are. Classroom teachers want to help their students improve their academic learning through technology. Sometimes they need help with technology so they go […]
  • Curriculum Focus, Not Technology Focus July 28, 2016
    In my public school career I have been a classroom teacher, a technology integration specialist and a technology administrator. In my technology role, I served under the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction. She had a simple mission: Improve students’ academic learning. My mission was equally simple: Improve students’ academic learning through technology […]
  • Students React to Digital Badges: Pros, Cons and Interesting June 22, 2016
      ISTE 2016 By Harry Grover Tuttle, Ed. D. College World Language Students’ Preferences Digital Badges – 52%        Paper Certificates – 48% World Language: Can-Do Digital Badges Digital Badges Pro- – Breaks down proficiency more – Shows all badges at once – Is more attractive – Is more appropriate since we use […]
  • Digital Badges: Naming the Badge October 29, 2015
    Once teachers have selected what learning and what digital badges (individual or category badges; see previous blog), the teachers encounter another decision. What will they name each badge? Will they use the full name of the Common Core Standard or the national proficiency? For English, under “Speaking and Listening,”will they write out SL.2 “Integrate and […]
  • Digital Badges: Better Than Grades? October 19, 2015
    Teachers understand that the grade in a course consists of many different factors such as homework, participation , projects, tests, etc. Blodget observes that sometimes grades reflect attitude, effort, ability and behavior ( Equally important, a letter […]
  • World Language Students Use of Mobile Devices in the Classroom October 5, 2015
    Do world language students use technology n the classroom? Do their  teachers go beyond having their students use technology simply for the drill and practice in vocabulary and grammar? Students can use laptops and mobile devices to hear authentic language, read authentic texts, read tweets about famous performers, see up-to-the-moment culture,  watch video […]
  • Digital Badges: Individual or Categorized Learning Badges? September 12, 2015
    The idea of digital badges sounds appealing for the digital children in classes. As teachers start thinking about digital badges, they have to figure out what badges will be awarded. The teachers can award social or academic badges. If teachers decide to use academic badges, then the teachers may base their badges on the Common […]
  • English +Common Core +Mobile = Success (ISTE2014 Poster -details) June 30, 2014
    Here are the ten examples I showed at my English + Common Core  + Mobile ISTE 2014 Poster Session: Based on CCSS Anchor Statements: L.2 Take a Conventions Mobile Online Quiz  to pick the  incorrect sentence from four choices (capitalization) SL.2  Evaluate audio recording of a  book chapter on mobile and predict for next chapter. […]
  • Global Cultural Learning Using Mobile Devices (ISTE Mobile MegaShare Presentation) June 28, 2014
    Based on my presentation at ISTE 2014 Mobile Megashare Why teach about other countries? Location: Large view to small on maps. Culture or culture. Find six similarities in a  mobile picture from another culture (“Wars are caused by differences, not similarities.”-Tuttle.) Tell one piece of information from each different Internet visual from a place in that […]
  • English + Common Core + Mobile = Success in Learning Poster Session at ISTE 2014 June 25, 2014
    In my ISTE Sunday 8-10 am poster session, I demonstrate many diverse mobile activities to help students achieve the English Language Arts Common Core Anchor Statements through mobile devices. The mobile activities focus on free common tool apps that are available on both the Android and the iPad. The students use the apps as a seamless […]

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