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.
On-demand writing can be a stressful assessment task for students, but it does mimic the type of writing many adults face in their professional lives. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills work with students to create an on-demand writing checklist.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills use a jot lot to turn students’ notes on their learning into instructional plans and assessment.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share the process of helping students set weekly goals and then reflect on their progress every Friday.
Gigi McAllister gives a brief explanation of how her thinking on goal setting has changed, as well as the ways she uses student goals to connect with parents.
Mark Levine uses the “daily record” to encourage reflection throughout each day’s workshop in his social studies classroom.
Carly Ullmer transfers a messy goal-setting protocol to her seventh graders, and in the process finds they take on more accountability for individual success.
Gigi McAllister has her fourth graders consider what makes a reading goal measurable.
Melanie Meehan shares a wealth of ideas for better goal-setting with students.
Bitsy Parks has her first graders complete a quick reading reflection before a share session early in the school year.
Carly Ullmer ponders what it means to take risks in her middle school classroom as she and her students experiment with different response options.
Ruth Ayres shares her grid notes sheet, and takes teachers step-by-step through the process of using this assessment tool in conferences and instruction.
Katrina Edwards looks for clues in her first-grade students’ work and conferences to help them develop more writing stamina. She analyzes her notes to develop instructional plans.
Carly Ullmer shares how much her seventh-grade students learn from examining their own growth as writers with baseline, midpoint, and final assessments throughout the year.
Melanie Meehan explains why a baseline assessment at the start of any writing unit is well worth the time.
Katie DiCesare repurposes materials for her first graders to play with, and finds that encouraging play early in the year is a great tool for building reflection skills.
Katherine Sokolowski reflects on ways to extend the learning from an end-of-year activity all the way to the fall.
Melanie Meehan shares a series of thoughtful questions to help students reflect on their process as writers, and what they need as they move into the summer and new classrooms.
Katie DiCesare shares the process of having her first graders choose their literacy goals, and her role in helping them refine goals through observation and conferring.
Katherine Sokolowski revises the weekly reflection form her fifth graders use to ensure everyone is tracking goals, progress, and expectations.
Clare Landrigan confers with a student and discovers that a tool designed to help the reader is actually hindering her learning. The experience causes her to reflect on the need for flexibility when matching strategy scaffolds to young readers.
Christopher Carlson takes on the role of observer and researcher to analyze his students' needs when it comes to test-taking skills, and enlists students in the process of reflecting on his data to implement new test-taking strategies.
Melanie Meehan works with fifth graders to help them create their own set of indicators of success in a writing unit.
This vivid new poem from Shirley McPhillips, explores the disconnect between exams and life.
Mary Lee Hahn considers how the success of any day has to integrate observations from conferring, lessons, and share sessions.
Mary Lee Hahn realizes how much a workshop approach has changed her planning process and comfort level with the unexpected.
Celebrations are the pause that refreshes between writing units for many teachers. Melanie Meehan shares suggestions for creative celebrations.
Cathy Mere shares what to look for and what to try next with young learners who are easily distracted and struggling to concentrate during independent reading.
There may be few literacy homework assignments more despised by families than the dreaded reading log. Gigi McAllister proposes some alternatives, and explains how she keeps families in the loop on reading progress.
Jennifer Schwanke explains why pop quizzes can be damaging to students by using a pop culture reference.
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