Teaching With Intention Chapter 7

This week our chapter hosts are my blogging BFF, Chris from Famous In First and Laura from Luv My Kinders!   Make sure to check out their posts on chapter 7 and link up!
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This week’s chapter was short but powerful.  It’s all about that dreaded word:  ASSESSMENT!   Honestly, what teacher doesn’t throw up a little when they hear that word?!  We automatically think state tests…standardized tests….and we’ve all had those assessments that are definitely not developmentally appropriate!    BUT what I love about this chapter is how it makes assessment something teacher friendly, kid friendly and emphasizes the importance of assessment being ongoing.
And guess what you NEVER read in this chapter:  THE WORD TEST!   That’s right Debbie doesn’t mention testing at all.  So, how in the world can you assess without testing????
Debbie suggests the following ways to assess student learning as it’s happening!  WHAT?!?!?!  You mean assess them while they’re learning and not just test them when they’ve learned it or when the unit is over?!?!   CRAZINESS!
1.  Conferring!   Talk to your students and let them share their learning!  It is their learning after all so they’re going to give you valuable information!   Take notes!  This is something I do a lot of during writer’s workshop but I need to do more across our day!   Time to buy a new glittery notebook!!!
2.  Listening In!   Yep.  Be a spy.  Eavesdrop.  Listen to conversations in your classroom.  (If you’re classroom is a silent place, we might need to chat!  Message me!)  Listen to what students are saying and take notes!
In our classroom, we have a GoPro camera that the ‘staches wear.  One day I came home and watched the video that one of my girls recorded one with the GoPro.  I was blown away by the conversations she was having while working on her centers.  Hearing her talk through the words and chatting about the magic E on the end was powerful.  I was fortunate to have a GoPro to record this moment but even if you don’t have a GoPro, you can listen to what your students are doing and learn a tremendous amount!

3.  Observe.  Just watch.  How often do we sit back and just watch our students and take note of what we see!   Powerful.
4.  Examine student work.  This is my strongest area.  While we don’t have a lot of paper products to examine, we do independent work, writing, journals and center work that I will examine.  I also keep every piece of work that my students turn in and send it home at the end of the year!  Parents love it and it means I have documentation for the year!
5.  Charting student thinking.  This is another are that I’m strong in!  We do lots and lots of anchor charts to record our thinking and learning an dmake that learning public!   I really embraced anchor
charts last year and loved the results.  And better yet….the ‘staches loved them and use them frequently!   We display our charts on a rope that runs across our classroom!!!     This keeps our learning front and center for our eyes and the eyes of visitors!

6.  Reflecting, sharing and teaching!  When students share or reflect or teach other, take notes!   You will gain powerful insight into their mastery of a skill or concept or lesson!  This is something I need to allow more of in my classroom.  At the end of each day we share something we learned, but we need to have more explicit sharing time each day, especially after we’ve worked on skills and concepts!
So…all of that and not once do we give a test!   Imagine how much information I can gather on my students by watching and listening and talking to them?!?!?   I would be willing to bet that information is more telling and accurate than a test!!!  
The key theme is TAKE NOTES!   The notes provide your data and documentation!  So when admin or parents need data, you can point to your notes!
BUT…we all know that we have to have some data and testing our kids is necessary (mandates and evaluations and STUFF….)  so why not make it quick and painless?!?!
I use ESGI for all of my assessing needs!  It’s computerized and 1 on 1 so it’s quick and easy.  The software immediately calculates data and spits out personalized letters and flashcards for students!  There are tests for every standard or you can create your own!  BAM!   Using ESGI, I am able to do all of my report card assessments in….ONE DAY!  ONE DAY AND DONE!!!!!   If you’re not using this, you need to be!  
You can get a 60 day free till by clicking on the picture and using the code B2442!  Tell them Greg sent ya!  
And speaking of data…here some free data tracking forms that I use in our data notebooks!  

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