As one plans their lesson, it is essential to consider how the students will be assessed on their learning. I admit that in my daily choral classroom, sometimes this assessment might look as casual and informal (and not data driven). Examples might be as simple as a thumbs up for how much the singer understands a phrase, page or measure, or asking students to , “rate the difficulty level of this sight-reading line using their fingers with 1 as the easiest and 5 most dificult.” Even these simple ideas can give the teacher an idea of how the students perceive the lesson and their understanding of it. I am going to give three examples and ideas of assessments I have used in my choir classroom, and in my library practicum.
Three Assessment Methods
Interactive white board
In my first year of teaching, we had a multiple days long professional development session on Ruby Payne’s, A Framework for Understanding Poverty. This was a confusing time for me. I had not yet started teaching and I believed that my love of music and zany personality would win over any student to love everything I taught them. I very quickly realized, however, that this was not the case and that students come into the classroom with the widest ranges of needs and skills. I was then introduced to the work of Robert Marzano, who impressed the idea that the lecture style that I had grown up with does not lend itself to “sticking” in the mind of a young learner as powerfully as the visual image. For this reason, it was suggested that whenever possible to have students draw visual representations of vocabulary or any concepts they are learning. In this way, the image is more efficiently and effectively processed (Marzano, 2013). The interactive white board is a perfect instructional technology tool to use to assess students on their learning. When teaching an 8th grade PACE lesson on George Washington, in the final part of the lesson, after having analyzed various renderings of GW by different artists, I asked students to make their own depiction of Washington using an online interactive white board. The students not only synthesized the purpose of the lesson, by utilizing the white board, it was done in a way that was engaging, fun, creative and artistic. It is an assessment tool I will continue to use in my time in any classroom.
While I have not yet spent much time in this piece, having students collaborate and create is a dynamic, engaging, high order thinking and 21st Century form of assessment. This could take the form of students creating their own podcast, Google site, or Wiki. This could be students creating a presentaiton using VoiceThread, Loom, or Google Slides. The creation of Wiki’s or websites could be used to “facilitate peer review” (Perez, 2013, p.23). This not only allows students to create in formats of their choosing, which leads to greater autonomy and buy in, but also builds 21st century skills of creating, reviewing the work of others and oneself. In addition, it allows students to practice a multitude of digital citizenship skills ranging from honoring copyright policies which include using the work of others in a ethical manner and being aware of the digital footprint one leaves.
Exit Ticket via google forms
The exit card is a gem. It is a way for students to put into words and synthesize what they have learned. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it is another opportunity for the librarian to offer a safe place for students and offer their service and care. I always end my exit tickets with “What would you like me know?” and, “What questions do you have?” It allows for all students, whether outgoing or introverted to share what they are thinking. This allows a venue for introverted students to pose a question they wanted to ask in class, but were afraid to. It can also result in students sharing information that should be shared with counselors. Lastly, it can result in students asking me questions about myself which leads to relationship building.
Marzano, R. J. (2003). Instructional strategies. What works in schools : Translating research into action. Alexandria, Va: Assoc. for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Perez, L. (2013). Master librarian. Knowledge Quest, 41(4), 22-26.