Thursday, September 5, 2013

Assessing, Respecting, Encouraging

During these early days of the school year, we all spend a great deal of time getting to know our students.  We are busy assessing what they know and what they can do across many subjects areas.  We do so that we can differentiate our instruction, focus our teaching, and respect what students already know!  We also assess so that our administrators and parents can quantify what we have taught, but that is a post for another day!

As I was listening to students read and watching them write yesterday, I was thinking about the impact of every word out of my mouth before, during and after the assessment.  Peter Johnston was standing right there beside me (not really :), but certainly his words were ringing in my head) as I greeted new students telling them al little about me and eagerly welcoming them to my school.  I welcomed back 'old' students eagerly hearing about their summer adventures at the town camp or in Cancun.  I greeted each one with a smile and embraced wherever they had been before and whatever they had done during the summer.  I tried to make sure they knew what we would be doing, as far as this intake assessment was concerned, and why we were doing it!

As I was assessing and thinking about all the assessment our students will face in these early days, a few guidelines kept popping into my head.  It is critically important that our assessing respects the diverse needs and differences in our students.  It is also important that our assessments encourage rather than discourage or raise the angst in our students; so, I made a poster (see below)!  

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