Working backgrounds and needing assessment ideas

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by englishteach7, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. englishteach7

    englishteach7 Companion

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    Dec 23, 2010

    Working backwards and needing assessment ideas

    So I'm a first-year teacher teaching 7th grade English and need ideas on assessments. I have always been taught to create the assessment first and work my way backwards with the lessons preparing them for the test or assessment. I sometimes do this and sometimes don't. I got a rude awakening when I printed out a test on an educational site for the short story, "The Naming of Names." I apparently had not taught my students the various things asked on the test and many of them bombed it. It was terrible and I vowed I'd never make the same mistake again. Of course I allowed them to retake it for a better grade and most did, but it was a bad move on my part. Today, I am on Christmas break but cant' stop thinking about different ways to improve myself as a teacher. I am not the type that constantly wants to give tests each week. I'd rather mix up my assessments. I definitely know that after we get back from break that I want to assignment a book report before March, and do more grammar practice. I like to do writing activities and group projects for assessments rather than the traditional multiple choice and matching tests. What I need help with are some ideas. I was given a literature textbook, a grammar workbook and a standards map with a list of standards (CSOs) I need to cover during the nine weeks. I like to explore outside of this and find ideas and creative lessons online. Please share some ideas to help spice up my lessons and assessments. I'd greatly appreciate any and all feedback! Thanks!
     
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  3. englishteach7

    englishteach7 Companion

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    I sometimes wish I'd been given a pacing guide. It would make my life so much easier! I guess I could create one for my class. I don't know how and wouldn't even know where to start! Can anyone give me advice on this? The other seventh grade teacher likes to do her own thing so I feel on my own.
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    When making my pacing guide, I lay out what I need to teach in the nine weeks (or however long the period is). then I match each standard with what material I am going to use, assessments, and activities. Then I plot these into my pacing guide to give me time frames for covering all the material in the grading period.

    Assessments: Character trading cards, book reviews, dioramas, essay, make a board game...
     
  5. englishteach7

    englishteach7 Companion

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    Mopar- I feel lost. I have only glanced at a pacing guide before. It was a colleague's that was made for her before she came on board as a long-term sub. I am going to have to google them. I have been teaching without a pacing guide and feeling like I'm not making much progress. My vice principal and other teachers who have looked at my lesson plans say I'm doing a great job covering all of the CSO's, but personally, I feel like I could do much better with a pacing guide. I am going to work on one for the next (3rd 9 weeks) during break. Do you have any more advice on creating one?

    What are character trading cards and dioramas?
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Let's see....when you write out lesson plans, do you write a day at a time or by unit? My first suggestion, plan out a unit of instruction. Then place this on a monthly calendar with the goals that you are meeting each day. The calendar becomes your pacing guide. It is hard to create this if you've never taught the material before though. It will be so much easier for you to create over the summer once you have a year behind you!

    Character trading cards (like baseball trading cards, pokemon cards, whatever you want). The students create different cards for the characters in the novel or short story we are reading to show their personality, etc.

    Dioramas-I use an old shoe box and the students use props or paper to create a scene from the book. It is usually the climax or other important scene.
     
  7. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I also use Hot Seat, dramatizations, and other ways to play out the information...
     
  9. englishteach7

    englishteach7 Companion

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    Mopar - I write out my lessons weekly. I don't write them out by units. I agree, this summer would be easier to create pacing guide. Do you think I should just wait or try to create one over break?

    The character trading cards sound fun. I think they'd really like to do them.

    Mrs. K - Thanks for the link. I'll definitely be checking out those ideas!
     
  10. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    If I were you, I would try to plan out your units of instruction for the nine weeks over break...if you really want to work on something. Wait on the pacing guide until you've taught the curriculum once.
     
  11. englishteach7

    englishteach7 Companion

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    I will do that. Thanks for the great advice, Mopar!
     
  12. Mark94544

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    Dec 24, 2010

    Of course, you should always plan out the entire unit, but it's very helpful to start with someone else's ideas to build on. When you're looking at someone else's unit plan, you might disagree with many of the concepts and strategies, and you might end up replacing every lesson, every handout, every assessment, etc. -- but just starting with something "already fixed on paper" can help you move forward.

    There are several publishers that produce and sell assessments (not just multiple-choice tests), sometimes independently but always as part of a Unit Plan for a specific novel or theme.

    When I taught, I found these materials to be a very good starting point for identifying themes and issues, and for project ideas -- and some are ideal for last-minute reading-comprehension chapter quizzes. (Some publishers have very nit-picky questions, and some have poorly-worded questions and answers -- sometimes ambiguous, and sometimes strongly signaling the correct answer even for those who haven't read the book.) The quality of tests found on the web, including AR tests, varies widely.

    Of course, AtoZ offers some literature-related resources (but as a new member here, I can't even post a link to that section of the web site).

    I'm currently building a much more ambitious directory of literature lesson-plan resources; my site is still at the "prototype" stage but I've already compiled a database of more than 60,000 literature-specific lesson-plan resources.
     
  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I almost never give tests--no more than a couple a year--but use a wide variety of assessments. When planning, I start with my summative assessment and provincial standards in mind and plan my teaching and resources by looking at the skills needed to be successful. For example, in January, we will be doing a Mystery Unit and, as a culminating activity, the students will be writing their own short mystery story. During the unit, we will be looking at a variety of mysteries (fiction and non-fiction), reviewing narrative structure, practice identifying and using figurative and descriptive language and discussing author's purpose and the importance of audience. Throughout the entire unit, the students know what their "end product" will be and how everything ties together.
     
  14. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Mrs C-that is exactly how I plan out my units as well. I think that starting with the end goal and standards really focuses your instruction.
     
  15. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Dec 24, 2010

    Well, it sounds like you are using the UbD backwards design, which is what I use as well. Your assessments should be varied, like observations, journals, portfolios, projects, etc. Not just a written test (although that is one means as well).
     
  16. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Agreed! I have been doing it "backwards" as well since this school year, and I love it. I think it is so beneficial for the students, and it puts them first, which is really the way it should be.
     

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