Making sense of the enormous amount of student data in any classroom or school is probably the biggest challenge we face individually and in our school communities. Here you'll find everything from one-page templates created by teachers for use in their classrooms to videos of staff teams poring over large data sets. We don't have all the answers, but we do provide tools to help you ask better questions as you evaluate students and talk about assessments with your colleagues.
Tammy Mulligan shares how she introduces students to the process of interpreting literature at different grade and developmental levels.
Mark Levine wonders why his most some of his most skilled readers take the most time to get through texts. So he asks them, and gets some fascinating answers he uses to assist struggling students.
Bitsy Parks finds inspiration for her teaching journal in the work of Debbie Miller. She explains how she uses her journal daily, and how it has evolved over time.
Kate Mills notes her own miscues in reading a bedtime story to her young children, and thinks about what that means for analyzing the running records of readers in primary classrooms.
Tammy Mulligan explains the process of having students analyze and create models of good writing and analysis for assessing themselves and peers.
Stephanie Affinito encounters an unexpected byproduct of testing for her son—the uninterrupted reading time waiting for others to finish builds a good habit. She shares how teachers might reclaim ten minutes a day for independent reading.
Teaching the genre of tests can seem far removed from writing workshop. Matt Renwick explores how to teach constructed response in a way that is integrated with the tenets of good workshop instruction.
Franki Sibberson uses status of the class each day as a window into her fledgling reading community.
Dana Murphy finds that adding numbers of pages to her status-of-the-class list for reading makes all the difference in assessing students’ growth and needs as readers.
Mark Levine releases responsibility for teaching and assessment to students late in the school year, and hears echoes of learning from previous units.
Dana Murphy explains how her small-group planner is an essential tool for organizing groups in her fourth-grade classroom.
Ruth Ayres is interrupted during a busy day by a first-grade teacher who enthuses over the details in a student draft. This leads to some reflection on the importance of taking time to marvel.
Christy Rush-Levine realized she had to help her students find a different “why” for their time in her classroom and school beyond test scores and standards dictates.
Suzy Kaback marvels at a very young learner who is a “secret reader,” and this leads her to reassess the value of constantly celebrating new skills in school communities.
Ruth Ayres encourages her son to use the web for assistance when doing homework, and then has to ponder whether what she is advocating qualifies as cheating.
High-stakes tests weigh on teachers and students through the winter and spring. Mark Levine shares mindfulness strategies for test-taking, explaining how to help students recommit and refocus in the midst of an exam.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills explain why short-term writing goals can help students reset expectations for their writing on a daily basis, and how they make these goals an integral part of their writing workshops.
Christy Rush-Levine finds her students sometimes need to stop and be challenged to think in more positive ways about their reading abilities. She describes how she designs minilessons for impromptu resets in her middle school classroom.
When students set intentions, reflection and celebration go hand in hand. Melanie Meehan explains how teachers can help students become more explicit about intentions with practical cues from bulletin boards and index cards.
Jen Schwanke gets berated by a tire shop repair guy for ignoring routine maintenance needs on her bike. That gets her thinking about what needs routine maintenance in elementary classrooms.
It's May, and teachers everywhere are preparing for final assessments of students. Jennifer Schwanke explains why it might be time to rethink or even ditch some of those plans.
Melanie Meehan uses reflective questions and video to build a library of materials at the end of the year to use with next year's class.
Reading logs have fallen out of favor in many classrooms because they often become a rote activity for recording pages read. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills find authenticity with the logs comes when they move from emphasizing recording to goals and reflection.
How do you know an assignment is authentic and worthy of your students' time? Suzy Kaback explains why you need to try it out yourself first.
Ruth Ayres explains how data can make students and teachers feel empowered or deflated—so much depends on what you are looking for and how you present it.
Asking students to assess and grade their own work cements learning and deepens understanding for many students, but only if it is done in a thoughtful, collaborative way. Melanie Meehan takes you step-by-step through the process in a fifth-grade classroom.
Benchmark assessments can be incredibly time-consuming for teachers to complete. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills describe how they leverage the time spent by using the assessments in strategy conferences with students.
Students are always watching us, whether we realize it or not. Jennifer Schwanke explains how we can capitalize on that interest to build independent reading and writing habits.
Melanie Meehan uses independence bulletin boards to provide students with options when working on their own during units of study.
Gigi McAllister is disappointed by the shallow and unexpected responses by her fourth graders to literacy rubrics at the end of the year. The experience sends her on a quest to do a better job of helping her students learn to set goals and understand what measurable progress looks like over time.
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