We know when students set measurable goals and track them, students get results! I like the idea presented in Educational Leadership that this goal setting and tracking strategy works even better with rubrics. I have always been a fan of rubrics, as an educator and as a learner. They help to keep me focused on my goals. The article advised tracking each element of the rubric as opposed to the whole score. Interesting.
In many cases, teachers are required to do different types of testing. The National Center on Student Progress Monitoring has so many resources from a special education perspective. I found that much of the material applies to any students. There are interesting fact sheets for parents that have been developed to help them understanding what all the curriculum-based testing results mean. Of course, standardized tests results can help a teacher hone in on what each individual student needs in order to meet or work toward goals.
Diary, I’ve always used a portfolio system to keep artifacts of my students progress. Depending on the group of students and their level of goal setting, reflection, and critical thinking, I’ve had varying degrees of involvement in the creation and maintenance of portfolios. With my most successful, independent students, I have had them (with my coaching) set goals and place artifacts which represent progress toward these goals in a paper portfolio to be used in student-led conferences. Now that is something to watch!
My current students use a paper portfolio, but have quite a bit of guidance from me in both the goal making and the artifact selection. I would like to shift the portfolio to a virtual type. I think this could be done with Evernote. This portfolio lets the student capture audio, video, scanned papers and photos. I will develop my own portfolio to see if this type of system would work with my students. The other effective alternative would be blogging. I have watched my own personal growth with blogging. I am concerned that blogging is too word intensive for my current group of students who largely struggle with reading and writing.
After watching a few youtube videos on Evernote, I’ve downloaded this tool and am ready to try it for my own use as a pilot test before I have students use this tool. I will spend the rest of this school year using this tool so I can present it and have my students use it beginning with the next school year.
My frustrations lately have to do with group work. Diary, I must confess I am not big on group work. I don’t do a lot of group work with my students for the same reason I don’t like it. There usually is one person who is motivated to do the work. If I’m lucky, there are more people that the one (who is usually me). Also, if I’m lucky there are others that are not motivated to lead and be part of the decision-makers, but will do the work they are assigned. I spend time working on a group wiki for differentiation of storytelling. So far, I am the only one who looked at the site to get it ready for its first phase of publishing. Maybe I didn’t understand what needed to be done by this point? Maybe I was overzealous? I don’t want to take it over. I will wait a little bit and see what happens…
The other group that is working well in my learning network (PLN). My participation in the #diffimooc tweet-meetings is going more smoothly this week. I now understand I am not bound to our meeting time, but it is helpful to participate during the meeting times so that I can maximize my interactions. I’ve been reading the blog posts via the google reader, which is really helpful. The most interesting blog post was made by Alice Kangas about Kivgiq, and the story behind that celebration. I am always looking for Inupiat stories to help me with my teaching here on the North Slope. I’ve also been deepening my learning network by interactive more with people who I’ve had good working experiences with, in order to better our connections. For example, I reconnected with one of my teaching peers (who is special ed.) to start working on gathering tech sources for writing.
Diary, it’s been a busy week. I have many obligations to balance over the next few weeks. Survival will be a matter of keeping organized and not overextended. See you next week.