UAI Staff News
March 30th, 2020
AnnouncementsWeek TWO UAI Online Instruction. There are 8 days of Online Instruction before the Spring Break. With no clear path or message about where we will be after the break, it is imperative that we focus our energies on tasks and skills that will be useful and applicable for when we do return to a normal schedule at school.
Questions about the logistics of grading are valid, but challenging to answer. We don't want to expend significant time and energy into creating an equitable and fair grading policy that effectively applies in an online learning environment. However, the question then immediately follows is how do we communicate with students the significance and purpose of actually doing the assignments?
Well, the answer to that is Assessment and Feedback! In the classroom setting, much of your energies and time is spent thinking about the lesson and activities. Less time and energy is spent planning for assessment and feedback. In the virtual setting, because many kids are participating asynchronously and not in the live zoom (or even in tutoring/office hours), student performance and your feedback becomes significantly more important. In a virtual setting, you are more heavily reliant on student output to see whether or not your instruction is landing where it should.
For the next 8 days of instruction, prioritize your efforts on providing students with the coaching and feedback that improves their practice. You should have about 1-2 summative assessments (see below) for actual grading, but the remainder of your tasks and assignments should be used so that you can give constructive feedback - not numeric grades. Message to students that through the feedback and practice, students prepare for the summative assessment coming later this week (and/or before spring break).
To-Do This Week
Check out the PD Offerings this week. They will be live and recorded to post up on the UAI GC. We'll get exact dates from the PD presenters during Monday's AM Check In. The links to the technical explanations of how to use the following tech tools are linked below. However, joining the PD will give a chance to work with peers to understand how you can optimally use the tools in your own instruction.
- Broad Spectrum Pulse Taking - Getting a Sense of the Forrest
Using The Question Tool in Google Classrooms to Take Attendance AND Assess
Jamie will be hosting a live zoom for teachers who are looking for ways to streamline taking attendance. In addition, the Question Tool in Google Classroom gives the opportunity for students to quickly take a quick pulse check of the class as a whole, thus giving the teacher a general picture of how well the class grasped the day's concepts. Multiple Choice questions for comprehension checks are ideal for this purpose.
- More In-Depth Understanding - Getting a Sense of the Trees
Using Breakout Rooms in Zoom to Structure Discussion and Assess
Nina will be hosting a live zoom (and posting a recording later) for teachers who are interested in using breakout rooms to structure discussions and student collaboration. In addition, she'll share how she uses assignments to generate student questions which become the foundation for planning her classroom Zooms and Office Hour/Tutoring sessions. Open ended discussion questions that require students to reason and apply concepts and skills (e.g. prompts that require students to analyze, justify, prove, explain, or synthesize).
Grades vs. Feedback. Traditionally, the exchange between teachers and students is disproportionately on grades. When athletes compete or when musicians have a performance, prior to the meet or appearing on stage, there are hours and weeks of trying, failing, and learning from frequent and directional feedback from an experienced mentor, coach, or teacher. This week I have been hearing a lot of expressed need to figure out how grades work in our new online environment. But I want us to pause on that.
We are in an unusual circumstance, and we are presented with an environment that is giving us a unique opportunity where feedback can and is more important than the grade. This week, rather than spending your time "grading" to give students back a number, focus giving them tasks that asks them to show their thinking so that you can give them advice how how to improve their performance. After several experiences (e.g. at least three at-bats), only then give them a task that tests how well they have integrated your coaching. That assessment is their track meet, competition, or performance.
Between now and Spring Break, you should have multiple opportunities to provide constructive advice that pushes student growth and improves their performance. HOWEVER, you shouldn't have more than 1 or 2 performance assessments (the unaided test of what they can do).
If you are struggling to see how this could work, visit Jamie or Nina's sessions to discuss with them and your colleagues how it may work with the digital tools we have. No one of us has all the answers, but together, we can definitely come up with ideas to make the ones we need!
In short, if you absolutely need to put in a "grade" for formative assessments - they should be pass/fail only, with the focus on giving feedback and coaching to help students improve and get ready for a summative assessment. The summative assessment (only 1 or tops 2) in the next 8 days should be independently (no notes, no coaching, nada) completed so that each student has an accurate picture of what she can do on her own. If you provide enough feedback and coaching BEFORE the final assessment, they will have the confidence needed to excel on the summative test (or essay or project or performance).
Social-Emotional Learning Update
No Updates this week