Tuesday, October 11, 2016

What Comes Next?

Happy month-after-formative-assessment-month

So we spent a month looking at types of formative assessment. So now what?

In the Best Musical Ever*, Hamilton, after the colonists win the American Revolution, the King of England, King George III sings gleefully,

What comes next?
You’ve been freed
Do you know how hard it is to lead?
You’re on your own
Awesome. Wow.
Do you have a clue what happens now?

*As rated unscientifically by me

I’d like to follow up to our thinking about formative assessment with King George’s first question (not his third question, which iis kind of snotty and jerky. His second question isn’t really related to this post.)

What comes next?

Meaning, what comes next, after you formatively assess your students? What comes next, after you see if they know the content or not -- in real time, once or even twice a class period?

What comes next?

The answer is  -- adapt.

Lesson plans are written (and often posted or emailed or shared...) but they’re not in stone. Despite the impression others may try to give you, your lesson plans should be living documents. In addition to the benchmarks, strategies, vocabulary terms, objectives, and whatever else your administration asks for ... you should include one thing FOR YOURSELF, not because someone asks for it.

You should include a contingency plan, based on your formative assessment.

Image result for heavy dLike Whitney Houston, your formative assessment asks “how will I know”?
Like Heavy D and the Boyz, you should be able to answer “now that we’ve found out, what are we going to do with it?”

Meaning, what do I do IF such-and-such happens....

What do I do ...
  • If my kids get my lesson more quickly than I thought?
  • If SOME of my kids get my lesson more quickly?
  • If SOME of my kids get the lesson quickly and SOME are lost?
  • If my lesson bombs and NONE of my kids get it?
  • If the kids get part of the lesson but not another part?

If you don’t want to put this stuff in your written turn-it-in lesson plans, that not my business. I’m not your boss or anyone’s supervisor.

BUT -- I would think it out, at least, for my lessons.

  1. Formatively assess students
  2. Adapt lesson based on what the formative assessment tells you.

Some ideas on your adaptation --
  • How might you reteach to the whole class?
  • Are you ready to move on to the next part if they get it really quickly?
  • How might you use strategic grouping of students to help kids who struggle with different parts of the lesson?
  • How can you differentiate for ELL students, ESE students, gifted students, other groups?

There are a million ways to do this. More than I can fit in this email, at least!

What comes next? How do you adapt your lessons based on what you learn in your formative assessments? What’s working? What’s not?

I’d love to hear about your responses to formative assessment! As always, email me newmantr@pcsb.org

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