Thursday, April 17, 2014

Time audits to inform Balance (and various systems level masters).

More on this idea of balance and how to proceed. Start with your current reality. Keep a weekly log of your assessment times. All of it. Code for later the type of assessment: screening, formative, summative. Anytime your primary goal and purpose is to evaluate a child's development or there is a clipboard or an i pad in between you and the experience. You can do this from one child's perspective or for the whole group. Either way, you are giving numerical power to our grassroots balance movement.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Maintain your Balance

Imagine an elephant standing on top of a large rubber ball. Never mind, I will give you the image. What do you notice about how the elephant must distribute his body to successfully balance. Now think about the mismatch of opportunities there are for responsive and intentional instruction vs. the amount of time mandated for assessment? With our elephant, I like to think of formative assessment as the trunk, leading the way and definitely something that can be embedded and analyzed through authentic experiences, like journaling. The tail might be summative assessment, a very small piece of the important balancing act but flexible and it tapers off. The head, body and legs of the elephant make up the core. This is the instruction and bridge between formative and summative. This is where the heart of the relationship is centered. To achieve balance we must define the parts of the whole and ensure that the heart of teaching and learning remains the constant core. Call out for balance and have authentic conversations when asked to prioritize testing. How many minutes a week of assessment must be in place to ensure an appropriate response instructionally? Are there any assessments that give you redundant information or that are not useful the next day? While we should not go back to pure cardiac data, we do need time to build relationships, trust and to define a goodness of fit for each child. Balance is key.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

San Francisco/Napa Valley
The 2013 DEC conference trip

A year in review. I am once again organizing myself electronically for a review of my work. This year has been marked with transitions at both work, home and school. I dislike trying to piece together evidence after the fact, but it does lead to a sense of  justification. When I begin to try to compartmentalize my work to align with phrases of value (Standards), I realize that there is a deep connectivity between my work, my passion, my relationships (both sustained and abandoned), my family and my goals and aspirations for better childhoods. That is all I've got and it might be awhile before I reexamine this body of evidence. Namaste~

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Welcome Kent State Students and Southwest Iowa Teachers!

A very cool idea. This week at a state level meeting we discussed the importance of family involvement with literacy in preschool. Each statewide program is required to conduct a home visit and a family fun night. One innovative program is modeling shared reading or interactive read alouds as part of their home visit. What an amazing connection and opportunity to connect with families and share one simple strategy that will have positive outcomes for their child! My new quest is to find a grant so that the book can be left in the home. Imagine if this would be followed up by a language and literacy focused family fun night! Two positive opportunities to share an important experience with all families prior ot the first parent conferences!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Social Stories for Back to School

Two new teachers worked to create a short social story that will be shared at home visits prior to school starting. The short story features 4 pages with 2 pictures per page that depicts photos the journey from the drop off point/bus stop into the building, past the secretary, down the hall, into the classroom, to the coat hooks and then two interest areas (blocks and group time). Each picture features a friendly person that will be there on the first day to help. So picture of entrance with Principal, picture of crosswalk/stop sign with Principal, entrance to building with secretary, down the hall with the teacher, to the door of the classroom with both teachers, etc... We made a colored "permanent" book to stay in the library area and then photo copied one for each child in black/white. The teachers will share the story at the home visit and then leave the book for the family. Way to go early educators!!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Authentic Assessment: Please Define!

I find myself in an unexpected and interesting collaboration. I am contributing to a revision of an authentic developmental assessment for B-6. What do you need from your assessment system? How does it enable you to make instructional decisions. What are the problems? Which areas do you feel need to be represented? strengthened? omitted? How can you manage tier one assessment with a group of children in a classroom setting? I look forward to your thoughts!

Perfect Early Childhood Assessment

So I find myself on this amazing but unexpected journey. I am contributing to a comprehensive B-6 developmental assessment. So I ask you...what does a good assessment (classroom based) look like? What do you need it to do/inform? What areas of development do you rely on the assessment to guide the instruction (if any). I truly am in need of your input. I have some ideas, but it has been awhile since I managed a classroom of 20 or more preschoolers and used a comprehensive tier 1 assessment. If you could list your top 10 things an authentic (feel free to define authentic) assessment must do...what would they be?