Monday, September 29, 2014

If You Could Write the Formula for the next California Academic Performance Index (API)...

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For years I have longed for a dynamic school dashboard. I'd like to refresh my computer every morning and look at all the most important data to help me get a picture of how the students at my school are progressing toward their individual and collective goals?  But, so many questions remain.  What is of greatest importance and how best to meausure?  Here are some things I believe would be beneficial to measure (notice I didn't say easy to measure).

  1. Attendance - Easy to measure and of obvious importance
  2. Tardies - would definitely encourage commitment to getting to school on time.  
  3. Number of books read - This is of critical importance.  The challenge is verifying that students have actually read... or I should say read with high comprehension.  
  4. Reading Conferences/Writing conferences - I believe anytime that a student spends time with a teacher getting feedback on their reading and writing life they are on the way to reaching the next step.
  5. Writing Entries - All writing is beneficial (just like books) Of course, it would be even more beneficial to get data on writing that is of high quality or meets certain criteria.   Since we are working at Camarena Elementary to get every class blogging, we could measure blog posts rather easily.
  6. Mastering Math Facts - Whenever students master these building blocks of learning they become more capable and able of thinking critically and problem solving.
  7. Student Teaching Videos Created - Clearly these need to be previewed and judged for quality, but it is without a doubt that the creator of these videos solidifies and enhances their learning.
  8. Formative Assessments - Students tested on their skills learn more when that assessment is coupled with explicit feedback.
  9. Parent/Community Volunteer Hours - Parent engagement in school (for any reason) strengthens our connection with families and supports learning in every way.

What am I missing?  What would you add to this list?  What would you take away?  What assessments of these areas would be most helpful to collect?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Persistence in Teaching and Coaching

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Give Students a Purpose for Listening

Caught this excellent post on Educating Grace about small things that increase participation in classroom discussions and especially appreciated this nugget:

Providing clear instructions for how others should engage when their peers are talking, beyond simply "tracking" or "listening" or "following along," such as "listen for whether you used a similar method or did something different" or "as you listen, think about how you would say this in your own words" or "listen for how [student] used a pattern to find a solution" gives students a reason for listening...

This is a much more authentic reason for listening that gives students a clear purpose that will enhance their own understanding of the content and process that is being discussed. Go on over and read the rest here.