Fahari's Weekly Staff Memo: 12/11/2015 - 12/17/2015
On Culture with Jared Roebuck - Assistant Principal
Engaging our students in powerful literacy, requires us to reflect on our assessments of student learning. Why start with assessments? There are two reasons.
First, assessments drive instruction. What happens in our classrooms each and everyday, is always in preparation for some kind of assessment-- a test, a quiz, or a final project. Therefore, assessments connect directly to the kind of teaching we do in our classrooms. The second reason is this: Show me your assessment, and I’ll show you what you value. What do you want students to learn? What kind of learning and thinking is important to you? These are stories that your assessments tell.
The first quality associated with assessments that lead to powerful literacy is authenticity. What is authentic assessment?
"...Engaging in worthy problems or questions of importance, in which students must use knowledge to fashion performances effectively and creatively. The tasks are either replicas of or analogous to the kinds of problems faced by adult citizens and consumers or professionals in the field." (Wiggins, 1993)
Authentic assessments differ from traditional assessments in that they ask students to engage in tasks that mirror real world situations and applications of the skills and knowledge they learning. Traditional assessments (quizzes, test, exams) are inauthentic because they do not challenge students to apply what they're learning in a way that reflects what happens in the real world.
Professor Jon Mueller offers the following in differentiating between the two:
Selecting a Response to Performing a Task: On traditional assessments, students are typically given several choices (e.g., a,b,c or d; true or false; which of these match with those) and asked to select the right answer. In contrast, authentic assessments ask students to demonstrate understanding by performing a more complex task usually representative of more meaningful application.
Contrived to Real-life: It is not very often in life outside of school that we are asked to select from four alternatives to indicate our proficiency at something. Tests offer these contrived means of assessment to increase the number of times you can be asked to demonstrate proficiency in a short period of time. More commonly in life, as in authentic assessments, we are asked to demonstrate proficiency by doing something. (Mueller)
We don’t have to choose between traditional and authentic assessments. Students need both, depending on the circumstances and purposes of the assessment. However, students must engage in authentic assessments if we preparing them for careers that require critical thinking and literacy skills. If our goal to prepare students for a life of leadership of service, the ability to engage powerful literacy is essential. Engaging in the kind of tasks that journalist, lawyers, park designers, engineers, and scientists conduct in their careers, prepares students to one day do the same.
- How can I use both traditional and authentic assessments in my class?
- What authentic assessments do I have planned in my current unit?
Thanks for all that you do.Jared Roebuck, Assistant Principal
A Message from Fahari's Principal: Stephanie Clagnaz, Ed.D.
How Does Belongingness Increase Academic Achievement?
Goodenow (1993) described sense of belonging in educational environments as the following: “students’ sense of being accepted, valued, included, and encouraged by others (teacher and peers) in the academic classroom setting and of feeling oneself to be an important part of the life and activity of the class. More than simple perceived liking or warmth, it also involves support and respect for personal autonomy and for the student as an individual.”
Goodenow (1992) also revealed that one of the key factors affecting economically disadvantaged minority students’ academic motivation and classroom engagement in middle schools is the sense of belonging. suggested that belonging and support may be especially important for academic motivation, engagement, and performance of adolescents coming from ethnic minorities and economically less advantaged families. In a review, Becker and Luthar (2002) support Goodenow’s assertion,
In fact, studies consistently reveal that students who experience a sense of belonging in educational environments are more motivated, more engaged in school and classroom activities, and more dedicated to school (Osterman, 2000). Moreover, existing research suggests that students who feel that they belong to learning environments report higher enjoyment, enthusiasm, happiness, interest, and more confidence in engaging in learning activities, whereas those who feel isolated report greater anxiety, boredom, frustration, and sadness during the academic engagement that directly affects academic performance (Furrer & Skinner, 2003). Satisfying the need for belongingness in educational environments takes on a greater importance during early adolescence.
Back to Doug Lemov...the Joy Factor..."You want your class to feel that they belong to an important “Us.” (TLAC Field Guide, p. 418)
And there’s Danielson… “The result (of a caring environment) is an environment where all students feel valued.” (Component 2b)
It does not matter which voice makes sense to you; which voice helps to improve your practice in the area of helping children to feel like they belong to our community. Each voice communicates the same priority. Let’s work on increasing belongingness to the Fahari community as a vehicle to increased academic performance.
- What have you intentionally done to make a child or adult feel like they belong to Fahari?
- What plan can you put in place to increase belongingness for members of our community?
Family Engagement Updates
What is a Performance Task and how will we be using them in our January Conferences?
A performance task is any learning activity or assessment that asks students to perform to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and proficiency. Performance tasks yield a tangible product and/or performance that serve as evidence of learning. Unlike a selected-response item (e.g., multiple-choice or matching) that asks students to select from given alternatives, a performance task presents a situation that calls for learners to apply their learning in context.
In January, our students will be presenting a piece of work or a “performance task” in ELA and Math at their Student Led Conferences. This work will represent the individual learning and growth that is happening for each student in our classrooms. Teachers and/or students will select work that has already been completed or that students are currently working on. Students will be given prompts to help them present their work to their families and connect it to their overall learning. This is the next step in our process towards holding students more accountable for their own learning. We will discuss more details in the upcoming weeks. As always, thank you for your commitment towards doing what’s best for our students!
~Ms. Clarke, Director of Family Engagement
Field Trip Planning
Please be advised that you must receive field trip approval from Mr.Roebuck before reaching out to me for travel arrangements. Additionally you are required to submit a work plan to Mr.Roebuck (cc: Bev P) 5 weeks prior to all field trips. Grade levels may take up to two field trips per term that link directly to academic objectives.
As you begin to plan field trips this school year please keep in mind that the subway vouchers and free yellow buses provided by the Office of Pupil Transportation are not valid until 9:30 am. This means you can not board the bus nor the train prior to 9:30 am. If you decided to take the bus, you must return to Fahari by 1:30 pm. If you rather take the subway the vouchers are valid until 3:00 pm, this means you must board the subway by 3:00 pm.
In order to reserve a free DOE yellow bus, you must let me know your needs at least 2 weeks prior to the trip date. Additionally, if you want the cafeteria to prepare field trip lunch, please let me know at least 2 weeks prior to the trip date.
~Bev Parsons, Director of Operations
This week's schedule updates
Will it be an A or B week?
We will be following an A schedule this week.
Who will be out this week?
Please check the daily schedule for coverage updates*
Monday, December 14th, 2015
Tamara Destine (PM Out)
Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
Wednesday, December 16th, 2015
Thursday, December 17th, 2015
Robin Singleton (PM Out)
Christine Bannister (PM Out/PD)
Friday, December 18th, 2015
Honor Roll Breakfast
@ Fahari Gymnasium from 7:30 AM to 8:30 AM
Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
Fahari December Board Meeting
@ Fahari from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Wednesday, December 16th, 2015
5th Grade Trip - Museum of Natural History
Monday, December 20th, 2015
6th Grade Trip - MET
Tuesday, December 21st, 2015
6th Grade Trip - MET
Thursday, December 24th, 2015 to Friday, January 1st, 2016
Holiday - Winter Recess
School Building closed - No school for students and staff