Spring is finally here! And with all the new buds and blooming flowers comes state testing. Sigh.
A little while ago, we shared our 10 best assessment apps with you. This article highlighted a number of great tools to use for formative and summative assessments in the classroom.
As we look at our classrooms to arrange them for the start of the year, we should ask ourselves this reflective question: “What type of classroom do I want to create?” Or even better, “What type of learning environment do I want my students to experience?”
There are different answers to these questions, and multiple answers are correct. As a teacher, you must first teach from the heart—from your own heart, and not someone else’s opinion of what teaching should be. The environment that is created should not be gathered from Pinterest, but should sprout from your own philosophies about teaching and effective learning.
Snacks, games, songs, and assemblies—I’ve seen it all over the years when it comes to motivating students for high-stakes assessments. I’m not sure how effective any of it is, but teachers are willing to go all out when it comes to testing. Teachers know that these tests matter a great deal, so the extra effort and focus are worthwhile.
When it comes to technology, most schools don’t assign separate grades for “computing.” Most of us in the EdTech world probably wouldn’t suggest doing that anyway. Technology should be integrated rather than being treated as an add-on; it is just part of “what we do” in the classroom, and not a separate subject.
One of the advantages to being a building principal is that I get to see what takes place in classrooms all around the school. I love seeing a great strategy in one classroom, then going to the next classroom and sharing it with another teacher. I think we can all agree that there is not nearly enough of this kind of sharing and collaboration in education.
In our school, we have been studying different approaches to formative assessment in the classroom. We looked over about twenty-five different ideas for how to formatively assess, then I asked teachers to try one of the concepts in their classroom and provide me with feedback about the strategy.
Do They Get It?
A few months ago, I shared an article on checking for understanding in a 1:1 classroom. Because there are many classrooms that do not have aa assessment device for every student, I wanted to share some other ideas for how to check whole groups of students to see if they are understanding the content and confident in their learning.
As educators, we know how easy it is for students to say they understand a concept and are ready to move on. However, this is not always the case, so consider using formative assessment to determine what should happen next in your classroom.
The purpose of formative assessment is to gather feedback from your students in order to determine what your students have learned and help you decide on the upcoming instructional measures. Good formative assessment can provide immediate feedback and will impact how and what is being taught. In planning for formative assessment, ask yourself some questions such as: What is essential for my students to know or be able to do after my lesson? How might I assess that? How will the data change my teaching? We live in a digital age, and technology is a great tool for formatively assessing students in a way that makes the process more interesting for them.
From Flash Cards to Book Clubs, Google Apps Are a
Great Asset for Classrooms
There is no doubt that Google Apps is revolutionizing classrooms. This centralized platform of creation and collaboration makes group projects and teacher feedback easier. It also streamlines parent-teacher communication, making it easier to keep busy parents informed of their child's progress. Perhaps you have already integrated Google Docs and need ideas, or maybe it’s time to make use of this extraordinary tool. No matter where you are with the totally integrated paperless classroom, here are 25 hacks to start you off on your Google Apps journey.
Those of you who aren’t social studies teachers may be inclined to skip over this blog post, thinking it doesn’t pertain to you. Still others may be saying, “Why bother teaching current events at all?” After all, with the 24-hour news cycle, nothing stays “current” for long! However, research indicates that a regular dose of current events has a multitude of benefits, even in classes outside of social studies.