Category Archives: #mtbos12days

Look Back… formative assessment strategy


Not sure that this counts as a #MTBoS12days post since I actually returned to school today.  I appreciate having a day back before our students return.  It requires me to be in the building and I get a moment to refocus.

As I drove home this evening, what a beautiful moon!  So glad it was full on a day that we didn’t have students. ha.

Anyway, I pulled my Keeley & Tobey blue book over my shelf and began digging to see what strategies had I never tried – with the idea, I would pick a couple to try over the next couple of weeks.  Well, as I went down the table of contents, I realized I utilize many more of the strategies than I initially thought.


When I came across the “Look Back” approach – basically students account for what they learned over a given period of time.  They think of specific examples of things they know now and describe how they learned them.

I have used “brain dumps” before to list as many topics / ideas as they could about a given unit in a set amount of time – then they get up and meet with a partner for give-one, get one – but this basically just creates a review list of topics / skills.

However, what makes the look back strategy intriguing to me – having students to tell how they learned the concept.  This idea helps students think about their own learning.  It allows teachers to look at the sequence of their instructional plans and determine why students got the most out of certain aspects / activities.  Interesting.  Look back can also provide the teacher with ideas on how to plan differentiated learning in the future for specific students.

We must remember that this is allowing students to share what stood out to them in the learning cycle – but not necessarily how much they learned.

I look forward to using “Look Back” toward the end of a unit – maybe even use this feedback, compared with the unit assessment to see if students in fact showed proficiency on the concepts they listed.

Revisit of Two Books #MTBoS12Days Post 5


Since much of my goal this spring is on Formative Assessment, I felt a need to review some of my past readings…

Looking forward to a revisit with these books over the next few weeks.

Looking through my notes/markings in the #75FACTS, I have used about 30 of the strategies outlined in the book.  It has been about five years since I really dug in to this book and the conversation about a volume 2 released earlier in the year, makes me want to revisit this one.  I plan to skim those not marked to see what ways I might be able to implement in my planning this spring.

The #EFA book – seems I made it to Chapter 5 and never quite finished.  I believe this was the year were we on 7 period day and I had 5 sections of Algebra I (3 levels) and AP Stats, the semester got a hold of me and wouldn’t let me go. ha.  After skimming the TOC and my notes, I feel this is a good book for me to be accountable to better quality FA this spring.


While looking for the Wiliam/Leahy book, I paused to look through the stacks I have at my house…  so much good reading in recent years thanks to the encouragement of my #MTBoS friends!



Goals for Spring Semester #MTBoS12Days Post 4


Saw Elissa’s tweet and wondered… which lead to this conversation a couple of days ago…

So, what were those SMART goals again?


So, to take this…  Be intentional with planning formative assessments, develop and focus on vocab with roots-weekly system, and… more open questions in assignments & assessments. Are those measurable?

Elissa’s question – how do you measure intentionality?  Hmmmm.  If its a goal, I should be intentional with it right?  So, how do I measure that?  By asking someone to review my unit plans to ensure that I am including these in them?  By weekly self-accountability?

All of these things are related to my planning – I constantly use formative assessments, they are just not formally documented in my plans as they should be.  How do I know they are actually assessing the desired learning outcome?

At the beginning of each unit, I have a Words Worth Knowing Vocabulary Survey – that I modified from Sarah’s here.  I walk around the room and observe students’ assessments of their knowledge of these terms.  Towards the end of the unit, we revisit and they re-assess, hopefully being familiar and knowing more than they did in the beginning.

Yes, they are exposed to the terms within the unit, but do they have a deeper understanding of the words?  When I taught geometry, I did a lot with the etymology of the words.  I am wondering how I can develop a list of latin/greek roots, etc. relating to our intended vocabulary?  And someone develop a weekly system like my science colleague to help students truly build a foundational understanding.  I started a list just before Christmas Break, but have not spent much more time with this task.

I have included open questions often within a daily task, and tried to include in unit assessments.  But not at the level to truly elicit student thinking and frequency I would like.

The focus of these goals will all be one section of Algebra I.  My other Algebra I class uses the Springboard Curriculum – a completely different order of topics and pacing.

For the Spring 2018 Semester, in my 4th block Algebra I class, I will increase (currently, I do not link them in my plans) my planning of formative assessments for each learning target listed / linked in my unit lesson plans.  Twice per week, I will take time to formally reflect (written) the student work and devise a plan for next steps.   Currently, I only informally reflect / plan next steps, without formal documentation in my plans.  I hope this work will lead to better quality formative assessments that are truly at the level and integrity of the standards.

Over the course of the Spring 2018 Semester, I will develop a list of common Latin / Greek roots as related to our content in Algebra I.  Through the collaboration of my colleague, I will develop and implement a weekly system to help students learn and make connections within the content to the roots, etc.   The list, weekly quiz results and study tools will be documented in lesson plans.  At the end of each month (January – April), I will reflect on our progress, analyze the impact on student learning and adjust, continue.  This list should grow throughout the semester.  List to students, implement study tool, report student progress.

I will revisit Small & Lin’s book More Good Questions for ideas on creating Open Questions.  As part of the formative assessment tools, I will begin to include these on a weekly basis in our lessons – for feedback only and incorporate on every unit assessment (after discussing with my content team teacher).

If I have a sheet in my planner for weekly reflection…  Suggestions?

goals 2018



#MTBoS12days #teach180 Post 2


I failed tp blog all semester, but I am proud that I was successful with daily #teach180 posts. I revisited A Look into Learning and with the exception pf about 3 weeks, I was able to post a couple pf sentences, screenshots, picturea from a class each day. Those weeks, I fell behind I woyld […]