Reflection: Checks for Understanding Novel Discussion, Day Seven - Section 2: Discussion


In my first few years teaching, I tended to sit on my grading until the weekends, focusing instead on my planning during the week. While this system allowed me to keep up with my workload and, for the most part, meet the needs of my students, I was missing the whole point of formative assessment, or all classwork and homework that goes into preparing for a major test/paper/project/etc.

Formative assessment is meant to be a check for understanding for teacher and student; it should guide next steps. Work that sits in a folder while more practice occurs in the classroom is not serving this purpose.

Is it a challenge to get work quickly turned back to students? Yes, especially in the English classroom where assignments are wordy and long.

How do I cope? First, I schedule EVERYTHING. I write down what assignments I need to assess each day and do my best to stick to the list. Second, I make use of class time. I don't need to look at everything myself; when we can, we correct and discuss in class. Third, I allow myself to JUST GIVE FEEDBACK on early attempts--no numbers; this allows students to focus on my comments without worrying about scores and the gradebook.

Do I still get behind? Yes, it's inevitable but certainly not as bad as it once was. More importantly, I catch up before we practice the skills again--because I must. What's the point of assigning work which cannot be used for improvement?

  Quick Turn Around
  Checks for Understanding: Quick Turn Around
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Novel Discussion, Day Seven

Unit 2: Finding Themes and Making Inferences in Literature
Lesson 11 of 17

Objective: Students will be able to discuss a novel by posing and responding to questions, incorporating others into discussion, and presenting their own ideas and justifications.

Big Idea: Moving beyond talking at one another--true discussion.

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