January 24, 2015See All Newsletters
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January 24, 2015
This Week: Student Reflections on Learning
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During a portfolio defense, students have the chance to defend their mastery, growth, and readiness for college and career.
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In this video, Yvonne demonstrates her learning through a portfolio defense. Take a look as she answers questions from a teacher panel and reflects on her growth.
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The process of calibration helps teachers align their expectations and sets the stage for collaborative conversations. Watch teachers prepare to assess a student’s portfolio defense.
Sarah's Notes

When I'm teaching, I try to avoid soapbox moments. But occasionally, this kind of clear message is necessary. I can always count on stepping up to that sudsy platform the first time I hand back assignments with feedback or grades on them. My speech goes something like this:

I've learned over the years to be careful on days like today, days when I hand back your work. Students who've come before you have taught me that you might say, "She wrote a lot on here; she must think it's bad," or, "I didn't get the grade I wanted; she must not like me." You need to know I write a lot because you make me think a lot. You need to know that I'm being honest with you because I do like you. I care about you enough to tell you the truth: both when you've killed it and when we need to re-think. But most importantly, I don't see you through the lens of your grade. I see you and your incredible potential.

As I read this insight from Ron Berger's blog on assessment, "The most important assessment that takes place in any school is not the end-of-year test; it is the assessment that is going on all day long in the mind of every student,” I was reminded that the way we frame assessments doesn't begin with our rubrics, it begins with how we talk about getting better together.

P.S. Don’t miss our book chat on Thursday, January 29th. We will discuss Ron Berger’s book, Leaders of Their Own Learning.

Sarah Sarah Sig
Teacher Laureate at Teaching Channel
Tchers’ Voice
Img LeftFind everything you need to celebrate Black History Month. On this Pinterest board we’ve shared project ideas, blogs, crafts, books and more.

Img LeftFind out why learning through the arts is an essential practice, and learn how to get started integrating the arts into your teaching.

Q&A: Answer These Questions
Q: How do you use portfolio assessments in your classroom?
Q: What’s your favorite protocol for looking at student work?
Q: How do you pace for reading long and complex texts?
Mark Your Calendar
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Join Sarah Brown Wessling and Teaching Channel for a book chat on Twitter.
Thursday, January 29th
4 p.m. PST
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March 21-23
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