Blogs on Formative Assessment

Blogs on Formative AssessmentRSS
John LarmerOctober 7, 2013

"I thought the project was going well . . . but by the end, I felt that the work my students produced was not as good as I imagined it would be. I was a little embarrassed and almost wanted to dial back the audience's expectations on the night of the presentations!"

This is a common concern of teachers who are new to project-based learning. Things can appear to be going smoothly -- students have been engaged by the project, they've been learning content and skills, they've been busy and meeting deadlines -- but their thinking is not as in-depth and their final products not as polished as they should be. If this is your experience, it's time to ask yourself some questions:

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Andrew MillerOctober 4, 2013

Authenticity -- we know it works! There is research to support the value of authentic reading and writing. When students are engaged in real-world problems, scenarios and challenges, they find relevance in the work and become engaged in learning important skills and content. In addition, while students may or may not do stuff for Mr. Miller, they are more likely to engage when there is a real-world audience looking at their work, giving them feedback, and helping them improve. This is just one critical part of project-based learning. However, maybe you aren't ready for fully authentic projects. Where are some good places to start taking the authenticity up a notch in your classroom?

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Mary Beth HertzSeptember 26, 2013

CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.B.5: Apply properties of operations as strategies to multiply and divide.

Most math instruction for younger elementary students (K-2) is based around number sense. Students are given opportunities to compare and contrast numbers, add them up, subtract them, identify place values and solve basic word problems. In third grade, students are asked to apply this knowledge to explore and recognize patterns and relationships between addition, multiplication and division.

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Matthew FarberSeptember 11, 2013

When today's K-12 students enter college and embark in their careers, they will most likely encounter a wide array of game-like elements, such as badge systems. In June, Blackboard Learn, a learning management system for higher education, announced a partnership with Mozilla to support digital badges. In the corporate world, badge systems are also used to increase employee productivity. Mozilla's Open Badges Backpack serves as a virtual resume to display one's mastered skills.

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Beth HollandSeptember 5, 2013

Introducing new technology into the classroom, especially iPads, can be overwhelming -- even daunting. When first getting started, the technology may seem like more of a distraction than a learning opportunity. So how do you begin?

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Matt LevinsonAugust 30, 2013

Benjamin Zander, the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, has a wonderful talk on how to give an A to students. On the first day of class, he tells all of his students that they will receive an A, and all they have to do for it is write him a letter -- from the perspective of the end of the year, looking back -- explaining what they did to earn that A. He marvels at the insights students share in these letters and the way that they fall in love with the person they have become. He also shares that, by putting the A up front, he has taken steps to build relationships with his students. For Benjamin Zander, it's all about how he views his students, starting from a place of asset and not deficit. He starts with the A.

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Andrew MillerAugust 23, 2013

Play has earned some inaccurate baggage of connotations over the years. When we talk about playing in education or play time, many would push back that it is not appropriate to play in classroom, or that play is not good learning. This could not be farther from the truth. I think Fred Rogers put it best:

Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.
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Matt LevinsonAugust 20, 2013

In my first year of teaching English, I had to teach prepositions to sixth graders. I fumbled around for an entry point and reached out to a more seasoned colleague, who suggested that I employ the analogy of the rabbit and the log.

He said the approach was simple: draw a picture of a log and a rabbit on the board, and place the rabbit at different positions in relation to the log. This would draw out the use of prepositions. For example, "The rabbit is on the log." It sounded like a sensible approach.

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Andrew MillerJuly 15, 2013

I had a great time at the PBL World Conference in so many ways: as a presenter, as a panelist, as a listener, as a collaborator, and even as the subject of art. (Now, that is something I would never, ever have guessed!) Everyone took away his or her own ideas for implementing PBL projects, but one theme I noticed throughout the entire conference was assessment. Assessment remains a challenge for many of us who do PBL, but I left the conference feeling more confident not only in the assessment practices I have done, but also in generally accepted best practices. Here are some of my big takeaways:

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Mark WilbertApril 19, 2013

At Sammamish High School, our staff has dedicated our professional development to building expertise in the key elements of problem-based learning. Previous blog entries by my colleagues have given an overview of this process, as well as exploring how we include student voice and work with authentic problems. Another crucial element of successful problem-based learning is using authentic assessment throughout all stages of a unit to constantly evaluate and improve student learning.

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