Published October 2, 2008
Accountability , Achievement , Assess , Assessment , assessment for learning , celebrate , Content , Model , monitor , Rubric , scaffold , Structure , Student , student learning , Success , Teacher
Tags: Achievement, expectation, Formative, formative feedback, Learn, Model, monitor, Quality, Rubric, scaffold, Speech, Standard, Structure, Student, Success
My students have given their first speech in my college oral presentation course. I analyzed their entering speaking skills and adjusted the curriculum. We have gone over the speech rubric, analyzed three speeches using the rubric, analyzed the text of one speech, and created a template that incorporates good presentation. They organized their ideas with a graphic organizer. We spent time going over techniques for relieving nerves. They did a practice speech to a partner who gave feedback. As my students gave their first speeches, I was in shock. Wonderful Shock. Their speeches were actually at the same high level as the final speeches of my students from last semester even though this semester’s students are only in the third week of class. I had raised the bar for these students, they understood the high expectations and they had the tools to help them reach that high.
I congratulated the class on a superior job in presenting. I look forward to hearing their other speeches as they shine even more.
How do you structure your class so that your students soar in their learning? What do you do so that this year’s students do drastically better than last year’s?
If you are interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.
Published April 6, 2008
Achievement , Assess , Assessment , assessment for learning , Final , Formative , Formative assessment , formative feedback , Portfolio
Tags: Class, Education, Final, Formative, Formative assessment, Learn, Portfolio, scaffold, Standard, Structure, Student
Last week I went over my students’ portfolios before they handed them in. The portfolio served as the final in the course. The review gave me one last chance to give them formative feedback. As we went over each section, I asked the students what they did well and what they can do to improve. Their most common learning gap was that some students forget to relate what they had done back to the standard. For some students I had to give them the phrase “I showed (this part of the standard) by ……” or “When I wrote ……, I demonstrated the essential characteristics of …..”.
For several students, it was hard making the leap from what we did in class to the standard (even though for each part of the standard, I had labeled the essential characteristics as we had done them in the class. Students tend to get caught up in the activity without thinking about its real purpose.
How do you constantly remind your students of the bigger purpose for each activity they do? How do you keep your students focused on the standards?
Published April 3, 2008
Achievement , Assess , Assessment , assessment for learning , Formative , Formative assessment , scaffold , Structure , write , Writing
Tags: Class, Composition, Contrast Writing, Education, ELA, English, Formative assessment, Paragraph, scaffold, Structure, write
Even with all the step by step instructions that I gave my students, many became confused when it came time to write. I realize that I have to build in even more structure or scaffolding for my struggling writers. This coming semester I will offer a writing template to my students that is a first step fill-in-the-blank type of writing. For example, for contrast writing:
_____________________ (first item) and ________________________(second item) differ (or some other words showing a difference). They are different in ______________________(first category). __________________________________(the first item) (pick a contrast word such as however, on the other hand, meanwhile) ____________________________________(the second item-make sure to show the difference between the first and second item for this category). ………
I hope that they will use this for the in class practice writing and then they will modify it as they write their homework. The template provides a structure so that they focus on the content.
I have found it challenging trying to create a simple template so they can think about the content for the provided writing structure. To be able to create the template, I have to understand the essence of the writing pattern.
Published April 2, 2008
assessment for learning , Formative , Formative assessment
Tags: Class, Education, ELA, English, Occam's Razor, simple, solution, Structure, write, Writing
I’ve been looking over my handouts for writing and realize that I need to pare them down to the essential. As Occam’ razor states “All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best.” It is hard to teach someone to run when they cannot even crawl. I realize that textbooks and myself add so much stuff to an explanation of writing that the students get lost in what they have to do.
What is the type of writing?
What are its critical characteristics?
What steps would lead to success in this type of writing?
How will I model it for them?
Published March 31, 2008
Accountability , Achievement , Assessment , assessment for learning , Concept Map , Formative , Formative assessment , Graphic Organizer
Tags: Class, Concept Map, Education, ELA, English, Formative, Formative assessment, Graphing Organizer, Learning Gaps, Structure, write, Writing
This semester has reaffirmed that students who complete a graphic organizer are better essay writers. They have pre-organized their ideas and many even do a quick check to verify that everything fits where it should and there are no duplicates of the same idea. They are not “winging” it. When students write down random ideas and call it an outline, their writing gets very random.
Next semester, I am going to go even heavier on the graphic organizer. I will only accept their essays if they have completed their thesis statement, three pieces of evidence and the supporting details on their graphic organizer. For some writing assignments, I have elongated a graphic organizer to cover two pages so that they do not run out of writing space. Most of the students who had learning gaps this semester had thinking learning gaps; they did not have enough evidence or they did not have details to support their thesis. Some students had grammar learning gaps but even then I could understand their ideas or lack of ideas.
I want to reduce their revisions or rather make their revisions to change from being proficient to above proficient instead of going from below proficient to barely proficient. I hope to raise the bar for them.