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Sarah Horwitz: Today for our academic discussion, we're going to be sitting in line order.
Listening & Speaking:
A Formative Assessment Strategy
Sarah Horwitz: And the reason is because that's gonna help me to be able to score you, so that I can be checking off to see how you're participating.
4th Grade Teacher
Acorn Woodland Elementary, Oakland, CA
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Sarah Horwitz: Today was a new challenge for me of being able to simultaneously help facilitate the discussion, and also try to do some assessment during the discussion. Speaking and Listening Standards can only be assessed while kids are talking to one another and listening to one another.
Sarah Horwitz: I'm keeping track of who's using eye contact. I appreciate Aisha, I see that she's using excellent eye contact.
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Sarah Horwitz: One of my main goals today with that strategy was to be looking at my checklist and really thinking about who was showing those three skills. The first one was whether students were able to bring a new claim into the circle, or bring evidence into the circle, so contribute an idea. And that's kind of Step 1.
Student: In my opinion the California drought is the most important environmental problem, because it hasn't been raining for the past four years.
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Sarah Horwitz: It's the most basic. Because they don't need to have really been paying attention to what was going on in the rest of the discussion to do that. They can just look at their piece of paper to offer it.
Student: I agree, but I think endangered animals is more important.
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Sarah Horwitz: The second thing is whether they're able to offer evidence that supports somebody else's claim, or somehow relate their comment to what's already been shared.
Student: I want to add on to Sandra's, because like the climate change, there's a lot of methane.
Student: And I also agree with you, and I wanted to add on Adelaide, because the more carbon dioxide and methane that we make, the more it's going to harm the ocean.
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Sarah Horwitz: And then the third is, which to me is again the highest level, is could they ask a question that's either clarifying, or elaborative of a student who's shared?
Student: I disagree with the water. But I also agree with a lot of air pollution.
Student: Carbon dioxide, where does it come from?
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Sarah Horwitz: So one of the most important things, for me, in teaching English Language Learners is that ELD is not just an isolated block of time. ELD is something that's taught all day. And through opportunities to really share about what they think, kids are most able to authentically show their language skills.
Student: How do you know if he had diabetes?
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Sarah Horwitz: One thing that I'd really love to do, based on the evidence from the checklist is think about what it would take to support those students who were more hesitant, or participated less in stepping forward into the conversation.
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Sarah Horwitz: There are still some students who have not shared. If you have not shared anything in our discussion, I am now inviting you to come into the center of the circle.
Student: Something that is important is to not waste water.
Student: Something about--
Sarah Horwitz: Whether it would mean giving them a set role, whether it would mean pre-teaching them, some way of participating or entering in.
Student: Something that's important is not eat a lot of candy.
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Sarah Horwitz: Seeing, okay, "This is what the kid's content knowledge is at this point."
Student: Something that's important is the ice caps.
Sarah Horwitz: I do think that the kids really do notice.
Student: What are diabetes?
Student: Well, how does this have to do with environment?
Student: That they see me checking it off, and it raises the bar for them of how they want to perform.
Sarah Horwitz: Did you want to say more?
Sarah Horwitz: Good!