Weekly Bites 9/19

Some things to think about this week...

Get Students Involved

You've heard it before. Learning is active, not passive. Well, the same is true about assessment. The time to get students involved in their learning is now. The littlest changes in your day-to-day lessons/interactions with students can make a huge difference in how much they learn.

The first step to get students involved is to show them what the end looks like. You've heard me say it before and you'll definitely hear me say it again; show them what proficiency looks like. To take it a step further, create a continuum of novice to advanced work and have them identify the criteria that sets them apart. You can hang these examples in your class and have the students rate their work as they go with the goal of advanced in mind.

The second step is to find ways for kids to rate and chart their progress toward the goal. One of my favorite strategies for this is Marzano's Levels of Understanding. Hang posters (like the one in my office) in your classroom and have the kids routinely reflect where they are toward proficiency. Use a Student Data Binder to help your students keep their progress organized. Have them set weekly learning goals in order to increase their motivation and engagement. They will quickly start to feel a sense of ownership and urgency in the work they do.

Another way to get students involved is to take them through reflection activities after an assessment. After grading an assignment/assessment, have the students fill out a form similar to this. An activity like this will get the student thinking about if they truly need more help or if they just need to slow down as to not make silly mistakes. Collecting back these forms provide a great tool for planning reteaching/extension activities the next day.

Something To Try...

Strategy of the Week

This. Guy. Rick Wormeli. Many of you have heard me talk about him and witnessed me possibly semi-stalk him at the Colorado Reading Conference. It is true that I have great love and respect for him. He has shaped so many of my beliefs and I continue to try to read and watch everything he is a part of.

While in Denver for the CRC, I went to one of his session on Summarization. *Confession. I was not interested at all in writing summaries or anything to do with summarizing. I just wanted to spend more time listening to this guy talk. However, this breakout session turned out to be some of the best information I've learned! To see the slides from his session, click here.

The idea is simple. 10 minutes before the end of a lesson, whether you have finished teaching or not, stop and have the students summarize their learning for the day. The opposite of this happens so often. You're in your groove of teaching. You look at the clock and realize you're late for specials. You frantically tell your kids to drop everything and RUN! So maybe not as dramatic as that, but you get the point. Setting a timer and stopping with 10 minutes left to give your kids time to digest and reflect what just happened to them will increase their levels of understanding. In fact, summarization is among the top 9 most effective teaching strategies in the history of education! Don't believe me...fact check with Robert Marzano! If you want to read the introduction to Rick Wormeli's book, Summarization in Any Subject, that references that little fact and explains the importance of summarizing much better than me, here it is: Part 1-The Case for Summarization. If you want to try it out this week and I think you should, here is an easy yet effective summarization strategy you could do tomorrow.

Share one; Get one

Stay tuned for more summarization strategies you can easily implement into your lessons. If you can't wait that long, come borrow the book from me. You will have to sign a blood oath that you'll return it. I love it that much...

If you want to watch some of my favorite videos of Rick's, I got you covered:

11 Short Videos on the Subject of Differentiation

Do you have summarization strategies that you've tried? Share them in the comments below!

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