Thursday, May 1, 2014

Takeaway from Embedded Formative Assessment

My biggest takeaways from the book, Embedded Formative Assessment, deal with how assessments should guide future plans, appropriate feedback,  and clarifying learning intentions.

It states that formative assessments should be an indicator as to where the lesson should go in the future.  It is a little "old-school" to think that the exact same lesson plans can be done the exact same way each year.  Every class is different, and by using formative assessments more often, we can be flexible with the plans and teach those students, not just the curriculum that we HAVE to get through.

I know I have to improve in the area of feedback.  I think more of the lower-end kids would benefit from more one-on-one feedback because English can be very overwhelming for those that don't understand the basics. 

Clarifying learning intentions is another takeaway I'm going to try to improve on.  I'm sure I assume the kids know what I'm trying to teach and my expectations, but sometimes they don't...and I find out a little too late.  I will do more with the "I Can" statements as well as verbally telling them at the beginning of the lesson.  I also hope to get across to them that they aren't learning this just for this 45 minute time period, but to apply what they've learned to other things outside this class.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

formative assessment

       I did a short formative assessment on the literary term, personification. After they read the short story,  "There will Come Soft Rains," I asked them three questions: what is personification, cite examples of it, and what was the inanimate object was personified. 75% of the sophomores got 3/3. 25% did not. I realized that most of the kids that didn't get it were kids on IEP's. From the help of a student, I realized my vocabulary word, inanimate, was confusing some of those kids. I am now going to think about how I word my questions and repeat to them that they should ask if they don't understand something I'm asking.
       I also learned the value in asking those questions immediately after the story instead of asking at the end of the "unit," because in the next story, they were able to pick the personification out.  The changes to my lesson plan was to go over personification again and pick examples out together in class, so they can do that independently in the future.
       I enjoyed figuring out the data because it was very quick and gave me instant results of what was going on that day- not a week later.  The formative assessment worked well for literary terms, but can be done with nearly everything.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Biggest takeaway from fixes book

       My biggest takeaway from the book would be evaluating what I currently do with grades and what changes I will make in the future. There are some fixes that I won't really need to take into account because I don't do them anyway. However, fixes 4, 11, 12, 13, 14 will be something I will need to look at a little more closely. Fix 5 will effect the current attendance policy, but won't really have an affect in the individual classroom. If changes are coming district-wide, then consistency might be the biggest takeaway. If there are only a few teachers changing their old ways, it will not work. Also, if we are trying to make too many changes all at once, I think there will be resistance from a number of teachers. I think some of the fixes in the book may be a little radical, and therefore don't have a strong "selling point."
        I don't think we need to totally reinvent the grading policy, but be open to a few changes that will logically fit with standard-based grading.  Some of the things we currently do in the classroom are opposite of what standardized grading is... I think, anyway. I've never done standard-based grading. I think changes are easier to accept if the people using the changes are the ones creating them, which seems to be the case.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fix #2:
I understand the point the author was trying to make about zeros not being a true reflection of what was learned or achieved, but where does responsibility fit?  I understand that there can be other "punishments" besides hurting the grade, but if those other punishments aren't met, then what? 
I'm thinking from a parent's point of view...If my son had all the time in the world to do as assignment, you'd better believe he'll use it.  He will be overwhelmed by the end of the quarter with all these assignments that he can still hand in because he knows they will still be accepted.

Fix #4:
As an English teacher who tries to "scare" the students into thinking they will be kicked out of college for plagiarism, I wonder how else to punish kids who cheat.  They make reference to the "real world" in the book, and how you get second chances to fix your "sin."  Is that really how it is?  There are punishments in the real world for copyright infringement and things like that, so what punishment fits the crime of cheating, I don't know.