Brief, frequent chats with students help teachers assess their reading and writing skills while building strong relationships.
Traditional assessment tools in English language arts classrooms include written assignments and tests on the readings, along with the odd presentation or small group book study. For years, my assessments focused on these tools, but I didn’t feel like they were working for me or my students. I’d pass the garbage cans in my classroom at the end of a period and see my written feedback—hours of work—carelessly thrown away. Why was I wasting my time?
I tried everything I knew how to do but still felt like I wasn’t really doing a great job of moving my students forward or providing authentic literacy assessments.
On their own or with an instructional coach, new teachers can create a data-driven action plan for improving their teaching practices.
Melinda, a second-year English teacher who I mentor, needs to incorporate more student reflection in her classroom, according to guidance her vice principal offered in a recent evaluation. Her vice principal’s recommendation was for Melinda to have students reflect on their learning by identifying their own learning goals and areas of growth.
In our mentoring session a week later, Melinda confided, “I don’t really know how to do that. Should I just ask them to write down a goal and a growth area in their journals? What if they can’t easily identify what their goals and growth areas are? Then what should I do? And how will I effectively monitor learning goals and growth areas for over 100 students?”