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March 26, 2017

Going 'Off Script': Authentic Elementary Assessment

Ask students how they can show what they know, their answers might be surprising and offer new pedagogical tools. Not one parent ever asks for a grade. Rather they ask about growth and development, so giving our youngest students these experiences builds a foundation for them to be part of authentic learning.

March 16, 2017

Make Standards Visible in Mastery Communication

Assessing students is a serious business and the better we get at it, the more students get out of it, enabling them to start doing it for themselves becoming more independent learners. We simply can't value things like "USB- remains in class" when it comes to assessing learning.

March 14, 2017

Have You Provided Students Enough Feedback for Growth?

Learning is an on-going process and it seems inadequate and arbitrary to try to label learning along the way when it looks so different for so many students. But since many of us are in the situation that does require grades, we must make sure students and parents aren't surprised when progress reports or report cards come. Even if your comments are pre-written, make sure to provide meaningful comments to aid in understanding the snapshot you are providing.

March 12, 2017

Is Connection Everything When It Comes to Blogging?

Although connecting is a big part of why we write publicly, it isn't the only thing. We blog to connect with ourselves and our experiences. So it's okay if you don't get a lot of readers at first (I know I didn't). It took a lot of effort of putting myself out there to attract people to my blog. I changed the theme, and restructured my personal time so that I could dial into the community consciously. It was an effort.

March 02, 2017

Traditional Report Cards Are Obsolete

Report cards were a solution once that probably made some form of communication easier. However, the kind of communication it fosters sends the wrong message about what learning should be. As we shift the mindset about learning, we also have be mindful about the sub-conscious messages we send systemically about what learning actually is.

February 09, 2017

How to Survive the Pre-Observation Frenzy

Ultimately, I am very confident that I capable to helping my students learn the way each of them need to. Despite the hoops that teachers have to jump through to prove that we can do that, it really comes down to the kids. Continually, I strive to better improve my practice, forfeit control and empower students to own their own learning in an authentic and meaningful way. When it works, I like to reflect on why and keep pushing harder and when it doesn't I have to examine what can be done differently. This is the only way I'll grow and that's what these observations are about... growth.

January 24, 2017

Reflections on a Classroom 'Gallery Walk'

Overall, it wasn't a complete loss. I'm not giving up. Sometimes I expect so much from my students and myself that I skip steps and when it fails I'm hard on myself, but this is such an opportunity. I may even share this observation with students.

January 10, 2017

It's Time to Streamline Writing Expectations From Secondary to Higher Ed

In the past I've been fortunate enough to collaborate with some higher ed professors of writing and try to streamline expectations between their composition classes and what I was teaching in 12th grade English. What we learned was that not just the content but method of delivery were wildly desparate. How can we expect students to be successful in college if we aren't having these important conversations and then adjusting our pedagogy and expectations accordingly to suit the students? It is their needs that should be driving instruction and not just our thoughts about expectations.

December 23, 2016

Who's in Charge? Make Co-Teaching Relationships Seamless

Great partnerships can really benefit students. What is the best part of your co-teaching partnership? What do you struggle most with? Please share

December 13, 2016

Remember to Be Kind in the Days Before Winter Break

As we all struggle to stay engaged in the next week or so, we need to be especially kind to each other. It's easier to be nice than it is to be grumpy and although that is where we may be (which is okay), a smile from a student, colleague or peer can go a long way. So why not be the smile. Say the kind words. Recognize aloud the things you notice and see if you can be the person who makes someone's day, every day.

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The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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