Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Engaging With Literature: A Workshop for Teachers, Grades 3-5

About This Workshop

Asking Questions: An Interactive Guide
1. Foundations

2. Looking at Literature

3. Starting Classroom Conversations

4. Classroom Dialogues

5. Using Art and Other Disciplines To Enrich Classroom Conversations

6. Beginning the Year

7. Many Students: Many Voices and Abilities

8. Reacting to Students' Work

Introduction »

Key Points

Learning Objectives »

Background Reading »

Homework »

Classroom Connection »

Teacher Reflection »

Ongoing Activity »

Additional Reading »

9. The Professional Teacher

Site Map

Workshop 8. Reacting to Students' Work

Key Points

Teachers often follow class discussions with notebooks in hand to help them reflect on and assess the group's work. Informal Assessment:
  • Informal note-taking capturing developments in student performance is a useful assessment tool in envisionment-building classrooms.
  • Informal individual conferences provide teachers with an opportunity to assess student understandings and abilities as well as an occasion to offer one-on-one support and coaching as needed.
  • Teachers in envisionment-building classrooms sample student behaviors when students are in the processes of reading, thinking, writing, and talking about literature to provide authentic assessments.
  • Authentic assessments guide teachers' on-going instruction because they reveal areas where individual students or groups of students need additional coaching and encouragement.
  • Sharing observations of what individual students or groups are doing effectively helps other students develop as well.
Formal Assessment:
  • Recording on-going observations of student performance and comparing them with earlier observations gives teachers a sense of students' developing abilities.
  • Teachers connect assessment tools to their explicit instruction. If they have been helping students learn to make connections, inferences, and predictions as well as ask questions, those are the behaviors they look for while observing students discussing literature.
  • Writing—both informal responses and formally crafted pieces—provides additional assessment opportunities.
  • Assessment rubrics give students a clear idea of what they need to know and do to succeed.
  • Explicit discussion of assessment standards and guidelines helps both students and parents know what is expected while helping develop students' intrinsic motivation.
  • Many teachers are learning to understand assessment as a partnership between student and teacher designed to support the growth of the learner.
  • Teachers can help students prepare for state-mandated high-stakes assessment tests by helping them understand how the test works, what it evaluates, and what it expects in terms of successful responses; they can then apply what they have been learning every day to the demands unique to the testing situation.
  • Offering students opportunities for self-assessment supports their learning as well.
  • Honest self-assessment, although difficult, helps teachers grow as professionals. Some keep a daily teaching journal; others make notes of classroom successes (and failures). Others ask students for feedback on what is or is not working, using that feedback to guide their development.

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