Daily Archives: September 9, 2009

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I'm feeling very proud of my colleagues this evening. Between my principal and I, we cooked up a sharing process based on a poster sharing session she was part of during a Teaching Australia principal's PD program. The focus was on sharing contemporary classroom practice with a technology flavour. We designed the poster template, had copies printed up on A2 paper and distributed them out to all staff members. I talked about the goals behind the process and followed up with this email:

Dear colleagues,

School Closure Day requirements:
Just to clarify from last night, you will receive your A2 sheet and marker  in your pigeonhole this afternoon. Your task is to reflect on and write in dot points about an aspect of your classroom practice that reflects
contemporary learning. Use the ISTE Standards to help hone your thoughts:
1.         Creativity and Innovation
2.         Communication and Collaboration
3.         Research and Information Fluency
4.         Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
5.         Digital Citizenship
6.         Technology Operations and Concepts
Think of something you have worked on that would fit into these categories, write it up on the A2 sheet with the view that you will present it to a group of colleagues speaking for no more than 5 minutes.
You will present it once more to more colleagues from other groups as well.
I know that this can be nerve-wracking for many of us but consider the following: Research shows that some of the most powerful learning occurs when colleagues share what they do (hence the emphasis on Professional Learning Communities). We also have a duty to our students and colleagues to de-privatise our practice - as we all build on each other's work as students move through the school.
This is not an exercise in big-noting or critiquing.

Well, the resulting sessions were excellent. Ann had shuffled the staff into groups of 5 with a 5 minute allocation for each person to speak to their poster. Once that had happened, each group broke apart to re-present their poster, this time for 10 minutes to interested staff members from the other groups. So, in the space of an hour, I personally heard how a Year 3 teacher was using interactive material on netbooks with her class, how a Year 5/6 teacher was fostering a learning community within her classroom, a Year 5 teacher who used a key YouTube video to cement a key inquiry concept, an inspiring story of a Year 3 teacher new to our school this year who had gone in his words from "Lost In Space" to "Star Trek" in his evolving use of the same netbooks, a junior primary teacher who was seeking to improve her IWB skills, our Assistant Principal who was using a literacy website with her Reception students as well as presenting my own on the use of delicious tagged bundles of sites for our Inquiry unit as well as the use of YouTube videos to show varying viewpoints on the topic of the Murray River / Lower Lakes. I've blogged about this before - but as is often the case, most of my colleagues don't read this blog so this was the first they knew about my strategies.

It was an awesome array of contemporary practice at our school and showed that although the progress is all at differing stages and speeds, everyone is moving forward and committed to ensuring that our practice provides the best learning for our students. My next job is inform the parents booked in for my ICT Focus evening tomorrow night.

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Toni Glasson - Assessment for Learning - My Notes From Our Session at our Pupil Free Day

Start planning with what skills, knowledge and understanding do you want your students to have, not what will we “do” in the classroom. 21st century learning is about personalisation, students are the focus, need to be able to see progress over time. assessment for learning - inquiry learning, quality  teaching

Summative = assessment of learning
Formative = assessment for learning (can be broken into for = teacher via learning intentions, and as= student, self assessment) Toni sees this as an artificial division, as teachers and students are a symbiotic relationship.

“Assessment for learning is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there.”
(Assessment Reform Group 2002)

Why AfL?
Use of AfL strategies leads to:

  • improved student achievement
  • greater engagement and motivation and responsibility for their own learning on the part of students


Learning intentions are an obvious sharing with the students of what they will be learning. This is followed by the success criteria which tells the students whether they have learned.

What happens to your learning if you don’t know what you’re expected to learn OR whether you’ve learnt it?

Sharing learning intentions with your students:

  • expressed in terms of skills, knowledge and understanding
  • learn, not do
  • separate the learning from the context
  • linked to the “big picture”

In practice, when do you share your learning intentions?

Sharing success criteria:

  • makes student assessment explicit
  • different forms, including rubrics
  • students become aware of work quality and the quality to which they aspire

The learning intention is separate from the task, but defines the purpose of the task. It is important not to have too many success criteria. Hattie points out that feedback is one of the most important aspect for student improvement - so use the success criteria to target that feedback. (Research says that oral feedback is more powerful and immediate than written.) Articulate everything and the reasons why you are doing things - the students are the conduit to their parents and informing them of why they are doing the work they are doing.

Keep collecting samples of work - at various levels - so that you have examples to draw on to outline your expectations. What makes this a good narrative? What needs to be improved for this to become a good narrative?
This becomes designing the success criteria with your students.
Don’t design rubrics on your own - the best ones are always designed collaboratively.

  • clearly expressed and relevant skills, knowledge and understanding
  • an appropriate number of criteria for your year level
  • mainly qualitative differences are identified in the descriptors (rather than quantitative)
  • clear descriptions of all levels for student self assessment - accessible for all, needs to be unpacked in class (without this accessibility, it loses its ability to be a formative tool)
  • for summative assessment, weighting of criteria needs to be included to reflect importance
  • where possible, rubric is accompanied by models and work samples
  • when used for formative, not used for “grades” and “levels”

Effective Teacher Feedback
Key ideas are that it must relate directly to the success criteria, identifies what has been done and and where improvement can be made, offers advice on how to improve that achievement, and can occur both during and after an assessment, can be oral or written  and allows time for students to act on the feedback.
How do you differentiate the success criteria to cater for personalisation of learning, even though the learning intention stays the same?

Plenty of food for thought here - Toni's work helps educators to inform their practice and ensure that effective assessment is informing student learning.