I had moments of frustration today as I sat listening to Eric Twadell share his experiences with inplementation of formative assessment and standards based grading. I expected to learn more specifics – the HOW to implement it well – when what we were doing (his intentions) was participating in engaging table discussions to lead us to an understanding of the WHY its important.
He is a strong speaker – very purposeful in his presentation. The focus was on what we believed – his questions allowed us to reflect on our individual classrooms/settings and through sharing and answering his specific questions, we were able to set a foundation. He said “Its about leading change from the inside out.” If we can help our teachers understand why its important, the change will be more effective. We are very similar to our students – when told to do something, some will comply and complete – so they can check it off their to-do list and others will not.
I was discouraged when many of the examples being shared were very similar to things I am already doing in my classroom. But a colleague reminded me that sometimes just knowing you are doing things the right way can be empowering. Wow. I do feel I am moving in the right direction. It was a realization – that this is how my students feel / learn. When they know they are moving in the right direction, they are more likely to keep moving. Does that make sense? When they are unsure of themselves, there is little or no effort. I must be aware – able to give them descriptive feedback that allows them to move forward. I’ve know this for a long while – but today, it really sunk in. Today was my feedback – to help me reflect on my practices and continue to move forward.
I am more confident to continue improving some of my strategies for pre-assessments, student self-assessment.
Although a work in progress, I realize our unit organizers will help students answer the three questions in a formative assessment environment (Stiggins):
1. What am I supposed to be learning today?
2. Where am I at now in my learning?
3. What do I need to do to close the gap?
Today has helped me realize – I need to bite the bullet and be more collaborative with colleagues.“People improvement is the key to school improvement.” Eric Twadell