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!