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In the world of educating, planning, teaching and assessments come hand in hand; by developing my plans I am also developing my assessments. It is satisfying to know that my planning, instruction and assessments are continually changing to better meet the needs of my students.

In developing my plans I continuously review my assessment practices and look for opportunities to change my practice to better assess my students and meet their specific learning needs. By paying attention to the variety of learning needs within my classroom and remaining open to all forms of assessment allows me to meet the needs of my students and while considering their strengths and weaknesses.

First, I always look at the needs of my students and evaluate the learning levels that they are working at and how they learn best. I have to take into account if they are on a modified or adapted program or simplify learn in a different way. Assessing for learning means that I need to determine how this individual student learns best before I can determine how to best assess this student.

Secondly, I look at summative assessment as the next necessary tool to be used in the classroom. Using summative assessment, I can determine if the curriculum is being understood in terms of a quiz, test, paper or project. More important to my practice is my formative assessment.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, is formative assessment. Formative assessment truly guides my instructional practice. I use it as a means of improving my practice and providing a stronger emphasis towards learner focused instruction. I have the opportunity to identify strengths and weaknesses in my students learning. When I notice students struggling it can be addressed immediately and a change of practice can occur.  This helps to insure that gaps are not occurring and ensures that a true assessment is taking place.

The role of the administration is to continue modelling and presenting the different types of summarize and formative assessment. Administration should be mentors that are actively watching and encouraging change of assessment practices. By continuing to advocate for the student and putting the students needs first we will create an environment where teachers are able to deliver different types of student assessment in order to maximize students growth and potential learning capabilities.

Reflecting on all the changes that are being made to instruct students in a different way and to do things differently impacts assessment greatly. Our school district as a whole wants us to make changes and teach and assess differently. At every grade level meeting and district professional development day our super intendent asks us to consider teaching differently, assess differently and give us permission to do things in a different way. Specifically, in our grade level meetings he tells us to put thoughts about Provincial Achievement Tests aside and not to worry about them in terms of results. As a district we are moving forward and looking at the individual child and the individual learner’s needs.
As a school district we have been working as a grade level team to create common grade level math and ELA assessments to get a better understanding of where the students are sitting in terms of levels district wide. This has been an interesting process as a group to establish common questions and use them as a benchmarking tool. We will be using these common assessments at the end of this year. After using them and studying the results as a district we will have a more complete understanding of what we need to do to better prepare and support our students.
In terms of daily assessment I am taking the time to assess formatively and summative throughout the day. I will be looking specifically at the needs of the student and the growth that needs to be achieved in order to meet the individual learning needs of each student. I review each individual student to determine the most appropriate assessment for them to truly get a clear picture of their understanding.
Assessment is beginning to moving past looking at one test given to the class in the same way. Formative assessment is looking at the students understanding though differing methods such as asking them verbally, scribing, having readers or assessing a small group of learners. By taking the time to build on learning through ongoing check-ins we can determine the most appropriate form of assessment to utilize. Another example would be having students color code their work green indicating they are feeling good with their understanding, yellow indicating that they need a little review and check in and red indicating they are not feeling confident with this concept. This provides a visual understanding for each student which is a simple act that can help to open up more dialogue and the opportunity to conference with students. This type of assessment can truly impact and influence instruction.
Different types of technology have had an impact on student assessment in our changing classrooms. Assessment tool such as Kahoot; where you can instantly have the feedback for the students to find the answers and for you to get a report for your formative assessment. You can look immediately to see what the students know and don’t know, using this a chance to gage where you should move on with new concepts or take time to review and re-look at some concepts. Using Google Classroom changes summative assessment where you can create rubrics for students using “Joezoo” or a number of other add-ons. Using this tool you can create your own rubrics and mark directly while the students are working. The tool Google Classroom can provide immediate feedback to the students while students are working.
By providing students with an opportunity for self-assessment and reflection on their learning allows them to reflect on their own achievement. This can be an important element of the assessment process. Through the use of technology you can provide the students reflection questions on their work and the students can respond and take the time to make changes. The use of Data Notebooks daily to help the student’s track their own individual learning data can also be of benefit for reflection. This incorporated with goal setting can be an effective tool in conjunction with assessment by having the students take time to rank themselves with their own learning while not always comparing it to others. By providing the opportunity to look at individual learning and what goals and changes the individual student wants to make towards learning.

In today’s teaching the style of planning has changed drastically. Instead of only looking directly at curriculum, teachers are beginning to change their practices by looking at the needs of the students as the driving force in education. Students have a variety of backgrounds which results in various needs and skills that will require the opportunity to be developed within the walls of the classroom. When I first started teaching I was allocated my grade and that was the grade level and curriculum I taught. I no longer merely have a grade 6 classroom that requires me to plan following just the curriculum. I now know that I need to accommodate for all learners and support all learning needs and styles; this requires additional planning and is something that must to be developed within my plans.

My classroom is diverse group of 28 students who learn in a variety of different ways. They represent many different cultures and learning levels. I have 9 students new to Canada from Ghana, Nigeria, Italy, Philippines, Ireland, China, Vietnam and Croatia. I need to plan to meet the learning needs of each ELL students and balance it in a way to help support them in learning English, helping them to feel confident and to be culturally aware and supportive. In my plans I include time for these students to teach us their languages and share with us their culture. I currently also teach 12 FNMI students for the Kainai Blood Tribe. For these students, I want to include in my planning ways to “encourage the heart” of these students and have them attend school regularly and to develop a love for learning. Included in my planning are elements of their culture to make them feel proud and accepted. I want to be culturally sensitive to our Aboriginal people’s history and this needs to be included in my planning in order for it not to be neglected.

Diversity in learning levels is another reality in planning that takes place in my classroom; I have a number of students who require additional support, time and understanding to learn. I have 9 students that are on individual programs to support their learning disability as well as a number of students are delayed in learning due to not attending school regularly. I need to go back to basic skills of reading, writing, addition and subtraction for some of my students; this type of differentiated instruction needs to be occurring and included in my planning practices in order for there to be success. All of this additional planning goes surpasses preparation for the grade 6 curriculum and really focusing on a differentiated learning and supporting the individual student.

I also plan to give students “Voice and Choice” and variety in my teaching and instruction. I want them to have ability to choose what they are learning, when and how they learn. I want students to develop the self-motivation to have choice during the day and to work independently and collaboratively on projects that interest them. When given a choice, I want the students to be prepared in order to know how to use this time and space effectively. In order to be successful, “Voice and Choice” learning needs to be planned for and incorporated into the learning day.
My administrative team and school district are very supportive in planning for the needs of all learners. We are currently in the process of developing a common assessment for math and ELA to help determine where are students are functioning to help guide our planning and practices. They are open to giving students “Voice and Choice” and want to see us plan and instruct in a different way. I feel that the more support that we receive in the classroom and the awareness of the diversity of learners needs to be taken into consideration; this would make a difference in our planning and instructional practices.

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