S'More From The AP

Week Ending Sept. 26, 2014

New Segment!

This week, we will launch a new S'More segment: Mrs. Hayunga's "The Principal Ponders", a mini-blog to go along with our big idea for the week! Also, if you have any ideas for a "big idea" for a future S'more, please share with us! You can suggest a topic and you can also write the blog to go with it...we would love to have a YOU as a guest writer -- please consider sharing your thoughts!

Formative Assessment

This week I had the opportunity to learn about the district's plans for ePortfolio rollout while attending a session with Mrs. Blair. This is going to be such a wonderful thing for our students! One of the things that I kept hearing was "formative assessment" and how these can be used as a tool for student learning. I couldn't help wondering though about the following:

When you hear the word "assessment" -- what do you think of? Grades? Report Cards? Data? Final Evaluation? Learning? Why do we assess? Do you grade all your assessments? If so, do those grades have any impact on the learning? If so, what? How?

I think these questions are great ones to start thinking about as we settle into our year. Here is a collection of things related to Formative Assessments to get the conversations started!

The Principal Ponders

When we think of assessment, at least in the great state of Texas, one thing comes to mind…STAAR. Well, just like everything else in Texas that is bigger and better, there are bigger and better ways to assess our students. As you learn more about formative assessment practices and how they benefit student learning, keep these things in mind:

  • Productive assessment is not easy and will involve missteps along the way – teachers should have the confidence to go outside their comfort zone to make changes that are good for kids.
  • We are often better coaches than teachers – look for things that you can do to move students to the next level of performance – in other words, assess their learning to move them forward.
  • Learning is more important than grades – teachers should organize lessons according to learning goals and identify clear levels of performance to ensure the focus remains on the learning – advice on how to improve will naturally follow.
  • Trying shouldn’t result in the punishment of a low grade assigned to soon – our job is to examine student work and offer adequate penalty-free practice time, reteach and redirect when needed, and provide both success and intervention feedback when appropriate.
  • Relationships are crucial – positive relationships are essential for success in teaching and learning – period.

I encourage you to take the new information you learn about formative assessment and reflect on your own successes and failures with assessment. What are your non-negotiables when it comes to assessment? Are there assessment practices you now feel you need to cast aside for something more focused on learning rather than grading?

We all want better learning for our students. By paying attention to the needs of our learners and thoughtfully and purposefully assessing their progress, we improve our teaching, which in the end, meets their needs and improves their learning.


If you save the infographic below, you can then see a larger version. It is really cool.

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Worth Reading

Worth Watching

Let's teach our kids to "fail forward" | Ramy Mahmoud | TEDxPlano

Tweet of the Week

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Tech Corner

Here is a nice Formative Assessment board on Pinterest with articles, ideas, and more!