Friday, November 2, 2012


How do we evaluate learning?

In this day and age of accountability, testing and evaluation, how do we judge learning in a classroom?  Do we wait until the final month of the school year and give a comprehensive exam?  With this exam, there are no books, no talking, and few breaks.  Is this the type of learner we are trying to create? I am all for assessments and setting high expectations for all, but why do we teach day to day one way and then in the end here is the final grade? 

The more I think about our testing practices the more I think about how we have not changed our assessment strategies.  We expected our students to collaborate, discuss, apply, communicate, and think global, then we assess them with a multiple choice test.  The future is looking a little brighter with some on line assessments ELA and math with companies such as   @SmarterBalanced that are making the shift to have assessments that match the skills that we are expecting our students to be able to do on a daily basis.
I would also like to say as a school, we are starting to utilize more formative assessments that are performance based and not "what is capital of North Carolina).  Grade levels are creating short assessments that evaluate skills that are testing often, but do these assessments evaluate the essential skills that showcase the skills we want to have our students leave our campus with?  We need to continue to modify our formative assessments....
Other articles about assessments - rethinking assessments

Friday, September 28, 2012

Race to the Top Module

We are in the process of completing the Race to the Top Module 2 for our state.  I have had the opportunity to facilitate two of these meetings.  The discussions were focused on the work of work of Tony Wagner Rigor Redefined.  He shares his research about the Seven Survival Skills students need in this every changing world.  We had great discussions on creating a classroom that has open discussion, teacher less as the keeper of information, but a provoker of questions.  We had great discussions on the type of classroom environment that asks questions, relies on student leaders and collaborators, that supports communication and sharing out.  I thought Dan Meyer speech hit the points home in a subject/skills that I have long forgotten.  He also discussed how he is being a change agent and not just a problem identifier.

I thought back of the time that I was a kid.  I went outside and seeked out solutions to problems and be free thinkers.  Weather it was: how fast do I need to run to jump over this puddle or what will happen if I run down this hill.  I also thought about how easy it is for me to come up with a game or something to do outside that didn't involve a handheld device.  We have become a society that wants someone to tell us what to do and how to it.  A society that wants the answer now (as mentioned in Dan Meyer's presentation) and we have lost the ability or the sense of freedom from trial and error.  As a fairly new parent (21 month old boy), I see a child that tries things out and sometimes is successful other times we have to use a boo boo bunny and wipe off the tears.  I continue to be a leader that encourages people to "try and see what happens" and follow up with, "what did you learn".

What type of classroom are you trying to create in your class, school, or district?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Integrating Technology into Teaching

Technology is a powerful tool in teaching, but are we using it to help students become better thinkers or to continue doing what we have always done?

As I think about this topic I go back to what do I want to do with the technology device?  Sometimes the answer is "I don't know", which sparks the rhetorical question, of what do I want to do....  As we continue, to educate in the 21st century, we need to look at what are the desired outcomes from the lessons that we teach our students.  There isn't always a finished product or a right answer.  Sometimes its the discussions, the thought provoking questions, the debate that ends with "we agree to disagree" not I am right because I talked louder and longer then the other person.

We need to continue to put technology devices in students hands.  With the iPadsKindle Fire, Samsung Tablets and other devices that provide students with access to informations, apps to support skills (lower level to higher level), and produce work.  How do you use technology to enhance students thinking and learning?  

Friday, April 13, 2012

What to post first?

I am new to the blogging world or at least blogging my ideas.  I am trying to figure out where to thoughts range from Daily Five, reading instruction, integrating technology, become a 21st century learner, ect.  more to come.....