Chapter 7 and 8 Response

Using Assessment to Guide Instruction

What I gathered from this chapter is that it is important to include students in classroom assessment, like daily routines, to foster better learning opportunities. Davies gives the example of constructing a list of good reading tips as a class. When I taught Grade Five we made a list of what it means to be a good oral presenter. Then this criteria guided their speeches. I like that Davies mentions that teachers should add what students miss. I also like the idea of taking the criteria and using it to assess areas of improvement and strengths.

A quote that stuck out for me was: “Isn’t it time your students worked harder than you?” It is true that whoever is working hardest in the classroom is learning the most so a balance would be ideal. Now, that is easier said than done!

Guiding Your Own Learning

1. I find that students are most engaged in their learning when they are interacting with each other and have a clear direction. In this particular instance, students were in a circle sharing insights about a specific teacher-guided question. The strategy used was a jigsaw so that students could focus on one thing and get a chance to be the teachers. I was circling the room during the initial jigsaw group work and making sure everyone was understanding their task. Then I sat with the students in the circle but did not have to facilitate too often because of the talking stick used. Students knew the purpose because we just had read a book that related to the topic. However, they did not know the curriculum outcome. They were able to self-monitor and their discussion was more in-depth than I had expected. To make it even better, I would let students know the outcome they are working on.

Collecting, Organizing, and Presenting Evidence

I like the idea of getting students to be accountable by making them collect and evaluate their own work, with some teacher support. I think students are more likely to redo their work and take pride in it if they know it will be collected in the end. Davies also mentions that these packages are great data sources and foster communication with parents (2011, p. 74).

The steps:

1. Keep it simple and give students direction, purpose, audience and reasoning.

2. Involve students so they know more about what they learned and what they need to learn.

3. Get students and parents to value the work. One idea is a student led conference (Davies, 2011, p. 78).

4. Share the evidence! This can include showing works in progress, reflections on the course/learning and best works! There are many types of portfolios (process, reporting, best-work, and learning goals). Whatever one is selected, make sure there is a straightforward and consistent system in place.

I personally want to do blogging with my students or an online portfolio of work. This is easily shared and is relevant to our technological world. I did many creative portfolios in English, career and physical education and thoroughly enjoyed them. I could easily tie this into the English curriculum and it fits nicely with the writing process. I would get students to put information under each ‘I Can’ curriculum statement to show their mastery. I think students, parents and teachers should add work to a portfolio. I think it would be cool to build a blog from an early age across all subjects. This would be a great way to monitor growth throughout the years. Also, many people could provide feedback throughout the years/studies.

I wonder if a mark at the end (with feedback throughout) would be more beneficial than marking each piece. I also wonder if this would motivate students more? Parents would need to be made aware of this change.

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