As I read chapter six, the voices of Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan (authors of Assessment in Perspective and #cyberPD participants) were also whispering in my ear. I learn so much from their work, not the least of which is the idea that if we're going to assess kids, we need to make it useful in our day-to-day work. In my district, we have a required weekly reading test connected to our basal reading series (Reading Street.) I don't have a choice in whether or not I give the assessment, but I do have a choice as to what I do with the information collected. If I use it as a formative assessment to help drive the lesson planning decisions I make, it makes me feel slightly better about having to subject them to the test each week.
Reading chapter six made me think more about this and what other kinds of assessment I'm using. I thought long and hard about the list on page 90. I'm sad to admit that in the past two years that I've taught fourth grade, my conferring with students has taken a back seat to small group instruction. A lot of that has to do with expectations from my district, but a small part of it also has to do with getting to know what fourth grade is all about. I've come to the conclusion that it is still absolutely critical for me to meet with my students one-on-one to meet their individual learning needs. I appreciated all of the resources and ideas Franki and Bill shared in chapter six that will help me accomplish this.
It's funny how so much of this book has tied directly to goals I have for myself and for my students! Chapter 7 was no exception. As fortunate as we are to have 1:1 devices, we are still faced with educating parents so they can become a member of our digital community. I plan to begin this process at our Curriculum Night (held a few weeks into the school year.) Part of my presentation will include introducing our Haiku page (the learning management system my district uses) and our class Twitter account. I set out with the best intentions after our "Who Owns the Learning" #cyberPD conversation to have my kids gradually take over the responsibility of sharing our learning with parents and the community at large, but it didn't quite happen. I have a renewed sense of motivation and purpose for this after reading chapter 7 as well as my earlier read of the absolutely fabulous book by Paul Solarz titled Learn Like a Pirate.
Lastly, I simply loved the last paragraph of chapter 7 (page 108.) I believe these sentiments to be true not only for communicating with parents but also for our work with children. There is no magic list or a "one-size fits all" approach to making learning authentic, intentional and connected. We can pick a few tools and plan to stick with them, while keeping flexibility and student needs in mind. And of course, new possibilities will always be opened up though our PLNs... and those new ideas deserve our time and careful consideration as well.
|Reflection Perfection up here in the woods of northern Wisconsin!|