Thursday, August 20, 2009

Do Our Students Really Know the Purpose of Assessments in School?

Here are two students, Nick and Sarah, trying to explain why they took a formative reading and math assessment today. Unfortunately neither one can really answer the question.

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Here is Dale giving a pretty good explanation of why we assess.

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If we spend so much time assessing students, shouldn't they understand the purpose of the assessment? When I think about the years I spend assessing students without giving them a good reason for the assessment (either by explaining what I hoped to learn or by using that information to help make decisions in class) I feel bad. What is a teacher's responsibility in regards to the students and their assessments?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Whyt Did I Move Out of My Comfort Zone
























After spending the last 15 years teaching science and reading/communication arts I changed positions that does not require teaching anything I am comfortable with. Yes, now I am a keyboarding teacher! As strange as it seems to me, I am having to teach a class I have not been prepared for. I didn't take any methods classes in keyboarding, in fact the only class I took was a basic keyboarding class in 1985 when I was in high school. Yes, I do keyboard every day and I have been known to write lots of content in a short period of time, but I have never taught it. Talk about being out of my comfort zone!

While I am finding it a real challenge, I also see this as an opportunity. Because this class seems to be pretty straight forward and I have the luxury of using a program purchased by my district to use I have more time to interact with my students. I can spend a few minutes talking with each one about not only what they are doing in class, but also what is going on in general. The opportunity to create relationships and gain trust will hopefully help me help them as the year progresses. After all, it really isn't about teaching content, it is about teaching students. Because of this, I see my new position as a huge opportunities to make a real difference in the junior high this year.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Always Evolving, Always Changing



One of the best reasons to become more technologically literate is because technology is always changing.That of course requires us to continue to learn, adapt, and evolve. An active mind is a sharp mind. With that in mind, welcome to the next generation of content collection for Noel Elementary, Grou.ps.

The picture above shows a screen shot of the beginning of our eight grade group. The purpose of the group is two-fold. First, it is a place for students to display content they create using tech (and non-tech) tools. Second, it is a learning community where students can communicate with each other (and selected adults) so they can further their education. With this site, there are no barriers for learning other than computer/internet access, unless you consider moderation a barrier ;>.

I suggest you consider how you want your students to display their work and communicate with each other. Spend some time looking at the tools available (and check with your district to see what they block) and get started. It is never too late to begin learning anything, especially tech tools!