Assessment is a word that has come to take on a particular meaning in education. It has come to be synonymous with testing, evaluation, grading. But here is one traditional dictionary’s definition of assessment:
Assessment (n.): The evaluation or estimation of the nature, quality, or ability of someone or something.
This definition seems to carry less judgment and pressure than some of the ways in which the word assessment is often applied. To assess, then, is to really understand the current state of something. Assessment is about gathering information, noticing details, collecting ideas. It does not necessarily connote uncovering weakness, or ranking, or using data in a high-stakes way.
Research shows that students who have positive home support for homework activities not only find the homework experience more rewarding but get more out of it. Parents, in most cases, are eager to help their children do the homework necessary to augment their classroom learning, but conflict can enter the picture when kids push back— which is often the case. Many students view homework negatively, but there are several simple practices parents can put in place to help mitigate the negativity and influence the homework experience for the better.
On October 13, Heinemann author Sue O'Connell hosted Elementary Math Chat (#ElemMathChat) on Twitter. The focus of the conversation was on helping students move math facts beyond memorization only. Some of the questions discussed were:
What criteria do you look for when choosing activities to promote math fact fluency?
How can you help students see the link between facts like 9 x 2 and 2 x 9?
What is the benefit of exploring math facts through real contexts?
No matter how long you have been teaching reading workshop, it’s likely that Lucy Calkins' Units of Study for Teaching Reading series will help you to charge up the level of reading teaching and learning in your classroom. The series is chock-full of tips, advice, and suggestions collected from scores of reading experts, staff developers, and teachers. When implementing a series as robust as the Units of Study, there is much to consider. Classroom set up, resources, and scheduling have a huge impact on the success of the units themselves.
At this point in the school year, it is likely that you have begun to get a clearer picture of who your students are as readers. You have a good sense of the kinds of books they like, the kinds of books they shy away from, their reading levels, and the goals they are working towards as readers.