Sunday, May 5, 2013
Connect: The RTI team used the headlines routine at the end of our February PLC which focused on differentiation. The focus of this routine was to synthesize the work the staff had just done in generating a staff-wide list of all of the different assessments we already have in place within our building. Our PLC time is usally packed so full of information which can get overwhelming, so we thought using headlines would help the staff realize they already had many assessment tools in place to help them differentiate within the classroom.
Extend: After generating lists of assessments used, staff participated in a group discussion about the differences between formative and summative assessments. This staff discussion was so interesting to me because it confirmed what I already know: we have an incredibly thoughtful staff that knows each student as an individual. The RTI team's ultimate hope was that through discussion, our staff could come to a more common understanding of how we use this information within our building throughout the whole RTI process. We believe it is important for staff to realize that they ALREADY have the tools to differentiate their instruciton for ALL learners.
Challenge: The headlines the staff came up with are great, and ended up being such a wonderful formative assessment for me. I noticed from the formative assessment headlines that teachers understand the importance of the information they gain from "everyday in the trenches." Observation, quick tasks, and conversation are all critical tools to help scaffold instruction. These headlines (generally) appear to have an optimistic tone to them: "You've come a long way baby," "It's all formative," "Just in time..." The summative headlines, however, help to uncover and expose the pressures teachers feel everyday within their jobs: "Teacher panics: It's Too Late," "It's not who you know, it's WHAT you know," The Endless Road," "Where the Sidewalk Ends..." It is amazing that such a quick routine can have such a powerful undertone! From this information, I am challenged by my own next steps: How can I help support teachers in their assessment process? What can I do to help alleviate the pressures classroom teachers feel? How can we streamline our assessment process so we are assessing "smarter, not harder." Lots of directions to go with this one...