I'm stumped... any ideas of when to hunker down and assess?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Backroads, Sep 5, 2017.

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    Sep 5, 2017

    One thing I like about my school is they're very good about planning time. Another thing I like about my school is they generally seem to care about the staff.

    This has led to a recent conundrum for me...

    It's the beginning of the year. I need to assess students. Traditionally I have done this during Spanish time. I can easily pull the kids out one at a time, even in the same room, while the teacher teaches.

    Anywho... a week ago, the Spanish teacher's mother died. And... her mother lives in a different country. So Spanish Teacher is out for three weeks. By golly, myself and everyone else wants her to take this time to mourn and get everything put in order. We get it.

    However, she's such a niche teacher that at the beginning of the year there was no time for emergency lesson plans for three weeks and the school has been unable to find a long-term Spanish speaking teacher sub.

    Again, we get it. I am absolutely fine with doing other stuff during what truly is my planning time (which administration has promised to find a way to make up to us). I can give up planning time for a few weeks.

    However, at the beginning of the year, when I really really really need to assess. And teach behaviors and expectations and routines. And maybe get in some curriculum. I'm at a loss when to make the time to assess! I know plenty of other teachers do it, but I'm still not sure how. I have been spoiled. We're working on read-to-self, but we're not at yet a long enough period of time for me to do much--particularly when I'm still watching them like a hawk.

    Ideas?
     
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  3. cupcakequeen

    cupcakequeen Comrade

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    Sep 5, 2017

    Read to Self was going to be my first suggestion, but I can see how that would be hard to do with younger kids who can't read independently for extended periods.

    Since I would imagine other teachers are in the same boat, is there any way you could team up and alternate with supervision/assessment? Or maybe your kiddos would be more attentive to an audio book, which you could let them listen to while you assess one at a time while still keeping an eye on the group.

    Edit to add: this would be during your normal Spanish time, so you wouldn't have to take the time from somewhere else in the day.
     
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  4. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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    Sep 5, 2017

    Something that might work; I say might because I know it would've worked for my classroom situation, but I've always had a small class, and other circumstances can vary too. What I might try in this situation is to use the extra period to set up a cooperative learning activity. Then observe each group and take notes. (I never had to do any formal assessments, just personal assessments for ability grouping, which was required at my school in reading and to some extent in math). If assessing reading, for example, I might have photocopies of the text and quietly notate as I listen to each child read a page of the text. My favorite method is to just mark down missed words and their corrections with any relevant information I also hear. A good initial grouping method for cooperative tasks is to secretly assign groups according to personality. In a group of 4, assign one quieter student, one more rambunctious student, and two not as quiet or as active students. Their personalities seem to even out during group work. At the beginning of the year, I also run a couple of practice cooperative activities, so that the students and I have an opportunity afterwards to discuss and upgrade such activities. (Hearing thunder, now, so I'd better post and get off the computer).
     
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  5. bella84

    bella84 Fanatic

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    Sep 5, 2017

    We are required to do our 1:1 reading assessments during our reading workshop time. Our admin don't seem concerned about whether the students have built up the stamina yet or whether I feel confident enough in their independent reading behaviors to stop watching them like a hawk yet. They set a deadline, and we have to meet it. So, I guess I'd just say, as unfortunate as it is, you might just be in the same boat where you don't have the luxury to thoroughly set the expectations for read-to-self and gradually build up stamina as much as you'd like to. You might have to just jump right in!
     
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  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2017

    An idea: Call around to the nearest university Spanish departments and ask if there's anyone on staff or among the students who could qualify to substitute for, say, a week: the kids get some Spanish, your staff gets this sort of assessment sorted out, a university person gets up close and personal with K-12 education and gets paid, and with luck the district is smart enough to pony up at substitute-teaching rates and not complain. (I write this from a state in which short-term substitutes are literally plucked out of a pool of availables and in which "specials" teachers in elementary simply aren't a thing. Your mileage almost certainly varies, but I figured I'd throw this out there.)
     
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