Category Archives: Assessment

Mrs Fintelman’s End of Year Report

You know that time towards the end of the school year, where you start dreaming about your next class and all the things you will do better next year?

The more I teach, the more I am concentrating not so much on what I do, but on the impact of my actions on students’ learning and wellbeing. So, I start thinking about the way I want my students in my class to learn and to feel. To do this, I ask them.

I use Google Forms to create the feedback form.

Every term, I get my class to review me as a teacher. I give them a series of questions and ask them to give some honest feedback about myself, and about the environment I create in the class, and the way they feel within it. It sometimes feels risky and vulnerable to open myself up to whatever they may say but it is actually very rewarding and insightful to see their responses.

I get a lot of honest, thoughtful feedback from this every time I do it. I get to hear what I’m doing well (“She is good at being positive and explaining things.”), what’s not working well (“You could improve on using a little less paper.”), and compare what I think is happening in the class to actual student perceptions about the same things.

What should I get feedback on?

This is up to what you. What do you NEED feedback on? Is it instructional strategies? Is it your ability to engage? Is it your process and procedure-related?

Some of the questions and responses I ask for are:

  • What does Emily do well?
  • What could Emily improve on?
  • “I feel like Emily challenges me to learn more” rating 1-5
  • “I feel excited and engaged in our class” rating 1-5
  • “Most of the time, Emily makes me feel…happy/listened to/angry/bored etc.” multiple choice answers
  • My favourite thing I learnt this month/term/year was… because…
  • My most challenging task/project this term was… because…
  • For me to learn best, I need… (provide some options or leave it open ended)

You could choose your own questions and prompts based on your own focuses. For example, in 2017 I tried eliminating ‘hands up’ in my class in the final term, so I asked students for feedback on how they felt it went.

Tips

Some tips if you plan to do this (and you definitely should):

  • Do it more than once in a year, and use some of the same questions each time to track your own progress.
  • Allow for students to be specific by including some long-answer responses. Don’t just use multiple choice or scales.
  • Make all responses anonymous. This takes away the implications of the student writing the comments and simply allows you to hear their message. (It takes away the tendency to say things like “Oh, that kid always says things like that, that doesn’t count). It also allows some students to be more honest, which is essential.
  • Use a digital tool like Google Forms or Nearpod to further allow for anonymity, and to make it simpler to get a range of feedback, like scales, multiple choice and long answers.
  • This year, after being inspired by another teacher at my school, I framed this evaluation as a report, because I had just written and sent home my student’s end of year reports. You might like to do the same.
  • See one of my previous feedback forms here.

What to do after the feedback

  1. Be prepared for honesty. You will get it.
  2. Celebrate the things to be proud of!
  3. Take on the feedback. Consider it. Plan for change. No, really – actually make a plan.
  4. Become a better teacher for having listening to what your students need from you.

 

How do you get feedback from your students on your teaching?

Thinking about next year?

Showbie and Evernote: Digital Tools for Assessment

I am sitting here in the middle of writing my final reports for the year, and am just SO IMPRESSED with my assessment and collection of student work samples and evidence of learning. I need to share two amazing apps that I use for assessment throughout the year. Using them provides me with a working record of learning that I refer to for planning (through my anecdotal notes and students’ samples of work) and also provides some beautiful summative assessment for when report time rolls around.

Showbie

Showbie is an app that allows students to share their work with me. It is designed as a tool that provides teachers with a digital space to set assignments for their classes and for students to submit their work. It is especially helpful if you find that work disappears when students use iPads.

In my classroom, I use it at a very basic level most of the time; I have really only used it to collect work in an organised (and digital) way.

To do this, I create a folder (or ‘assignment’) for the task we are doing, which is created inside the folder for my class, and my students use their own log in details to upload their work for that task in that folder. For example, I create a folder named ‘Information Report iMovies’ and all students upload their movie in that folder under their name. That way I have every student’s work from that task, and since it is stored online, their work doesn’t take up space on my hard drive and their books don’t take up space on the backseat of my car.

There’s so much more you can use it for than what I have been doing so far… Showbie is simple for kids to use and has lots of options depending on the task. You can upload photos and videos, you can leave comments on each student’s work, or send voice memos. You can also annotate a photo of their work and have them view it. A handy trick I figured out just as I was writing the last report (!) is that you can view work by assignment or by student.

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Assignments View

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A student’s submitted task and comment area between student and teacher

 

Evernote

Evernote is an note-taking app. It allows you to create notebooks (folders) and organise your notes. The notes can include text, pictures, video, voice recordings, inserted documents, tables and more. A great tool in Evernote is the ability to annotate your notes and pictures within the app. It also allows for sharing folders with other users and has a chat function, although I haven’t used those much yet.

For my class notes, I start by making a notebook stack (a folder full of folders) for my grade. Each student then has a notebook with their name attached, and inside that notebook I create a note for each subject area I take notes in, e.g. reading conferences, writing conferences, group work.

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My notebook stack for my class: 2D. It contains a folder, or notebook, for each student in the class.

The below is an example of the reading conference notes I take, with a photo of the running record (or voice recording) taken for that student. As you can see, it is a great source of ongoing, organised information about this student, and I have all the information I need at my fingertips when it comes to planning, conferencing or writing reports.

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This is brilliant for writing conferences! I take a photo of each student’s writing and insert it into their Evernote folder, then I have absolutely NO BOOKS to lug home at report time. I once taught Visual Arts for a short time and used Evernote to collect photos of their artworks and wrote notes on their skills beside the picture as they worked.

My previous school had students from grades 3-6 using Evernote as a learning journal (or digital portfolio) where each student shared a note with their teacher (and their parents) so that work could be submitted and tracked digitally.

If you are looking for a handy way to keep your notes organised, Evernote is it!

Any cool digital tools you use for assessment? Let me know!