To help encourage conversations about the importance of delving deeper with questions to improve feedback, our topic/question of the week is: What is your response to this statement: Preparation and presentation skills, along with the ability to respond to and challenge peers with relevant follow-up questions and evidence, should be a core component of formative assessments. Follow-up question: would it make your job more interesting?
As we end the month of March and break into April, I am hopeful that warm weather and spring flowers are on the way (the optimist in me!). We enjoyed a nice break from the routine, spending the weekend in the Berkshires with family as we celebrated my cousin's 50th birthday. It's always nice when we are able to head out that way, as the limited 4G and spotty WiFi really 'forces' a shutdown and unplugging for all of us.
Over the last few weeks I have been sharing thoughts and highlighting posts about the assessment process and systems of feedback that will foster reflection, commitment, and growth. Through conversations with students, teachers, and parents about these topics, I have been able to better understand the values that we hold as a community. I have enjoyed the questions and 'debates' that arise and these questions have pushed my own thinking, allowing me opportunities to further and deepen my convictions. In actuality it is the process of questions and reflection that has allowed me to learn - and, that is the ultimate goal. I do believe this is true for our students and I hope that we can continue to work towards a formal and informal system for providing feedback that does just that. The three posts that I have linked below underline the importance of delving deeper to gain and increase one's understanding (although they may not all directly relate to assessments and recognition, the connections are there)...
You Just Never Know
post by Lisa Meade (@LisaMeade23)
This brief post by Meade is a reminder that we need to keep asking questions and take time to find out a little more and to be open to the reasons for something taking place and possibilities that lie ahead.
"You just never know what can be...You just never know what will matter to someone...You just never know what opportunity is around the corner...You just never know what kind of struggles others are enduring...You just never know when an amazing moment will come your way."
"As long as we keep believing in each other, we'll never know what might be, could be, or we can be. You just never know."
The Importance of Low-Stakes Student Feedback
post by Katrina Schwartz (@KSchwart) in MindShift
Schwartz's post references Bernard Bull's work and discusses some of the concepts we are exploring as a school for how to give meaningful feedback, encouraging all of us to think a bit differently from the norm and systems that we have experienced in the past.
"Any innovations to assessment must be done carefully, and whatever replaces the current system must be well thought out."
"...his personal bias is towards creating a “culture of learning” instead of a “culture of earning.” In other words, he’d like to see assessments that reward students for genuinely desiring to learn something that will benefit them in their lives, not just earning a grade so they can get out of school."
"Right now, assessment is something done to students, rather than a participatory part of education."
Growth Mindset Parenting
post by Eduardo Briceno in Getting Smart
We have talked a great deal about Carol Dweck's work with mindsets, and I found the tenets shared below to help reframe my thinking as a parent and an educator. Although parents are his intended audience, the parallels and correlations for teaching are clear.
"The mindset that we adopt leads to very different behaviors, improvement, and achievement...We’ll be more successful in developing a growth mindset in our children if we also work to develop it in ourselves, which is never too late to do...Learn about the malleability of abilities and how to develop them...Monitor your self-talk...Become a role model learner...Be deliberate about the messages you send."
One of my resolutions for 2015 was to be a better listener. This takes time and the questioning process, coupled with the ensuing conversations, is an important component for listening. I am looking forward to continuing our conversations and taking time to ask more questions - I know that the pace that I often push at Blake is rapid. Please keep reminding me to take the foot off of the accelerator from time to time to ask questions, listen, and reflect. Your input is critical and I do appreciate it. That is the feedback that I need and that our students need as well.
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