Thursday, July 11, 2013

Assessment Literacy

Have you heard of Assessment Literacy? 

Assessment Literacy is based on seven strategies:

Strategy 1- Provide students with a clear and understandable vision of the learning target.
Strategy 2- Use examples and models of strong and weak work.  (This is one of my favorite strategies.)
Strategy 3- Offer regular descriptive feedback.
Strategy 4-Teach students to self-assess and set goals. (Another one of my favorites.)
Strategy 5- Design lessons to focus on one learning target or aspect of quality at a time.
Strategy 6- Teach students focused revision.
Strategy 7- Engage students in self-reflection, and let them keep track of and share their learning.

The above strategies came from the book Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning 
by: Jan Chappuis

Two years ago my school district introduced us to Assessment Literacy.  We met monthly to learn about the seven strategies and how to implement them within our teaching.  My principal approached the staff about attending the training and becoming part of a cohort of learners.  At the time I taught kindergarten and my team and I decided to give it a try.  I must admit at first we were not sure what we got ourselves into.  Over time our thoughts about the program changed.  We found that the seven strategies were strategies of really good teaching.  If we could apply these strategies in kindergarten then anyone could do it. 

Now, I am one of the biggest supporters of Assessment Literacy.  In another week I will be attending a week long workshop on Assessment Literacy and I will share with you my new learning.

Today I want to talk a little about Strategy 4- Goal Setting.  This is one of the first strategies that we embraced in kindergarten.  I want to start with it because it is so powerful.  The first year I applied this strategy I wasn't as consistent.  It is time consuming.  You have to figure out the best way to work it into your schedule.  I promise you won't be sorry!.  Last year I became more fluent with goal setting and meeting with my students.  I tell you this because it takes time to become a natural part of your everyday teaching.  I  suggest you start slowly.  When I first began my goal was to meet once a quarter with my students.  Now I meet a couple of times a month with each student.  Here is a quick overview of what goal setting is all about.

With Strategy 4 students learn to self-assess.  They decide what their strengths and weaknesses are and set personal goals based on their self assessment.  In kindergarten I would show my students how they were doing using my assessment check lists.  We talked about their strengths and weaknesses.  (In kindergarten and first you will have to guide your students with picking goals.  As they become older they can do this without as much teacher input.)  After discussing a student's strengths and weaknesses I would zone in on a couple of areas my students needed to improve in.  I then would ask my students what they wanted to set as a goal.  This is one of the most powerful pieces.  The students take the ownership in their learning.  (If I thought my student was setting to big of a goal I would help him or her modify it into an attainable learning goal.)  After my student set his or her goal I would send home a letter to their parent(s )stating their personal goal.  I would also attach some materials that the parents could use at home to help their child.  This is where the magic happens.  My students began meeting their goals quickly.  They were so excited and self driven to learn their goal and show me and their classmates their accomplishment.  (Once a student would meet their goal I would send home a certificate and post it on a bulletin board outside the classroom.)  Another exciting thing happened in my kindergarten class.  The students began to encourage one another to meet their goals.  If a student didn't make their goal they would say encouraging words like, "Don't worry about it.  You will make it next time."

Here is a sample of one of the forms I used last year.

This form was a part of my student's portfolio.  Every time my students made a goal then we would fill out this form and set a new goal.  Some of my students were working on more than one goal at a time.  This school year I am going to try something a little different.  Have you heard of Evernote?  If not check it out here:    Evernote is a free app that you can download on your ipad, iphone, computer, etc.  This year I am keeping student portfolios on Evernote.  I can attach pictures, video, sound, etc. and keep it all electronically.  I can share my student's portfolio with anyone I want to.  I am excited about attaching pictures and sound to show evidence of student learning.
In Evernote I have created a notebook for each student.  I titled each notebook with the student's name.  Once you have created a notebook you can start inputting notes and artifacts.  I began by typing a note with each students end of year reading level.  This way when I assess my students in August  I can quickly see if they have made progress.  Then I created a Personal Goal Chart.  In August I will keep track of their goals by filling out the following form.  I can add pictures and sound to show student learning. 
My Common Core Goal Is:

Things I can do to reach my goal are:

I would like to reach my goal by: 
Evidence of Learning:  I can...

I met my goal on:

I will post more on goal setting later.  If you have any questions please don't hesitate to e-mail me. 

A New Adventure

Welcome to my new blog.  I am about to set off on a new adventure personally and professionally.  Starting in August I am moving up from Kindergarten to 1st Grade.  I am looping with my kindergarten kiddos and am so excited to work with my new teammates!  In August I am also going back to school myself.  If everything goes well I will begin working on my doctorate!  As I move along this new adventure I am going to try my hand at blogging again. It is a lot harder than it looks.  On my last blog, time would slip away and months would go by before I got to blogging again.  One of my personal goals is to blog weekly, maybe more.  My blogs will be dedicated to my learning adventure.  I hope you come along with me!