Reflection is one of the most underutilized tools for teacher and student learning and allows metacognitive thinking to take place. Incorporating thinking strategies is “the single most effective way to increase student achievement” (Silver, et al pg 57), thus making metacognition and the reflective process taste that much sweeter to any teacher aiming to promote critical thinking in the classroom. How can you learn from others while teaching? Conducting a “Slice of the Day” is a great way!
To conduct a slice of the day, choose a school period and map out your schedule. @GraysonLawrence and I conducted our “Slice of the Day” during sixth period (A 96 minute period). We stayed in each classroom around seven minutes. We used the slice protocol to create a snapshot to share with teachers in Teacher Academy. Our goal was to show teachers the “Slice of the Day” and give them time to reflect on practice, create goals, and discuss classroom pedagogy that is impactful to student achievement.
@GraysonLawrence and I chose to do a new take on the “Slice of the Day”. We each had a lens of what to be on the lookout for. The only reported information was observable information/data garnered by the lense. His lens was student engagement and my lens was rigorous instruction. Here is what we discovered for each applied perspective:
Rigorous Instruction Lens:
- Citing textual evidence
- Academic vocabulary from the ACT Aspire in elective courses
- Quality question by teachers
- Students using content vocabulary in conversation without the teacher present (high expectations present)
- Performance tasks (open-ended questions) in ALL content areas
- Graphic organizers, such as ACE, in history and elective courses
- Number talks in math
- Manipulatives used by students to model thinking
- Application of Ethos, Pathos, Logos in elective course
- Differentiated Small-Group based on student needs
- Students using Rubrics to assess their learning
- Classroom Managers present and eager to discuss their learning and the learning in the classroom.
- Students troubleshooting through assignments together
- Students using rubrics in groups to assess learning
- Learning Targets posted that show a pathway to learning
- Students asking questions about their own learning
- Bellringers to start the day
- Math Stretches
- Students participating in PBL (Project Based Learning)
- Blended Learning opportunities for students
- Collaboration in Google Docs/Slides
Silver, H., Dewing, R. T., & Perini, M. (2012). The core six essential strategies for achieving excellence with the common core. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
**Small side note about The Core Six Essential Strategies for Achievement Excellence with the Common Core: It is a short read, BUT very transformative!!! I highly encourage you to read and reread it! I have a copy you can borrow anytime! It is not content specific, rather just a focus on effective teaching strategies!
This blog is written by Emily Nestor (@emlouau). She is the Title 1 Resource/Technology Integration Specialist at Winterboro High School. #Exceptional Blog post Mrs. Nestor!
Assessment is an important component of teaching and learning. The data gathered from both formative and summative assessments help educators to make both long term and short term instructional decisions that will have an impact on student learning. For most, when the word assessment is mentioned a picture of a student taking a long, formal test comes to mind. And although some assessments do look like this, this doesn’t have to be norm for classroom assessments. By adding a little tech to it, educators can apply the same ideology behind an assessment, but make it more appealing and engaging to students! Some of these tech tools, such as Triventy, Quizziz, and Quizalize turn assessments into digital games where students are racing against each other to be the first to answer correctly! Other tech tools like ProProgs Quiz Maker and Google Forms with Flubaroo allow students to take a “traditional” assessments digitally and eliminate the hassle of a having to grade each assessment.
Check our these tech tools a little more in depth below!
Welcome back! We took a hiatus on the Teacher Academy blog over the summer! We wanted to start Teacher Academy off with a bang this year, modeling teaching strategies through small group instruction. Over the course of the next week or so, we will be highlighting the theme of each group. The first theme was the Performance Level Descriptors or PLD for short. These are rubrics published recently by the ACT Aspire.
Summative Assessments should not be a secret. The data from Summative Assessments, when coupled with appropriate Formative Assessments, should not be a mystery or a surprise. More times than many, when students take the ACT Aspire, the data can be a surprise. This causes much frustration for teachers under this new assessment model. Each year, the ACT Aspire gives morsels of information to aid teachers and students. Some of the information given is to focus on concepts rather than procedures by using the Webb’s Depth of Knowledge Wheel (in particular Levels 2 and 3) and that writing is valued, particularly in constructed responses. Recently the ACT Aspire released the Performance Level Descriptors. You can find them here for each grade tested on the ACT Aspire.
What are the Performance Level Descriptors? This comes straight from the ACT Aspire: “Performance Level Descriptors outline the knowledge, skills, and practices that students performing at any given level achieve in each content area at each grade level. They indicate if the students are academically prepared to engage successfully in further studies in each content area, the next grade’s material and, eventually at the high school level to verify that they are college and career ready.”
How does the ACT Aspire suggest to use them? This comes straight from the ACT Aspire: “PLDs are essential in setting standards. Standard setting panelists use PLDs to determine the threshold expectations for students to demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to attain performance levels of “In Need of Support”, “Close”, “Ready”, and “Exceeding ”. PLDs are also used to inform item development, as each test needs questions that distinguish performance all along the continuum.
We encourage the use of the PLDs for a variety of purposes, such as:
- Differentiating instruction to maximize individual student outcomes
- Completing assessments to help identify target performance levels for individuals or groups of students
- Tracking student growth along the proficiency continuum as described by the PLDs.”
If you haven’t checked out the PLD’s, do! I think it is a powerful plan for students and teachers to follow. Students can view the rubrics as a way to hold themselves accountable. Teachers can use the rubrics to develop stronger formative assessments in order to match the summative assessment that students will see at the end of the year.