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~