Back-To-School Backpack: Think About Assessment

2105 Back-To-School Backpack

At the beginning of the year, assessment may be the furthest thing from your mind. But thinking about it sooner rather than later will pay off in the long run. You need to know what you want kids to learn and how you’ll know if they learned it before designing the lessons that will get you there. We’re going to dive into the assessment resources in our Back-to-School Backpack, but first let’s look back at some of the great class culture resources that were shared in last week’s open Google Doc.

Class Culture Roundup

Class culture is such an all-encompassing term that its components include everything from grouping arrangements to creating classroom norms. The suggestions last week ran the gamut! I was particularly excited to find two of my favorite teaching books highlighted:

Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire by Rafe Esquith was recommended by Joshua Kwon, who says, “This book inspires me to create a culture of trust, rather than a culture of fear in the classroom.” Written by a fifth grade teacher, this book is full of practical advice and inspiring stories.

The First Days of School by Harry and Rosemary Wong, is an essential book for building class culture and establishing classroom management routines. Marion Ivey recommended this book and says that, “It helps in developing classroom procedures and protocols that once established, pre-address a great deal of the normal disruptions.”

Assessment Notebook

Before you get too deep into the hustle and bustle of the school year, let’s take a moment to think about assessment. The best assessments give you an opportunity to learn key information about your students’ learning, while enabling you to plan effective lessons that meet the needs of your particular class.

The assessment notebook in our Back-to-School Backpack will provide you with resources for designing assessments and learning from them. Filled with everything from backwards planning resources to strategies for engaging students in the assessment process, this notebook will get you thinking about how to best assess your students’ learning this year.

Debuting a New Assessment Resource

One of my favorite assessment strategies, and one of Teaching Channel’s most popular videos, is My Favorite No. We caught up with the teacher behind this video, Leah Alcala, and learned about another one of her assessment strategies. In Highlighting Mistakes: A Grading Strategy, Leah shows us how she has been using highlights instead of marks or corrections to give students feedback on math tests.

Time to Share!

What are your favorite assessment resources? Share them in this week’s open Google Doc. Looking forward to sharing and learning together!

Lily Jones taught K/1 for seven years in Northern California. She has experience as a curriculum developer, instructional coach, teacher trainer, and is also a contributing writer for Teaching Channel.

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