Daily Archives: June 15, 2017

Summer PD: Part 2- Using Observations as Formative Assessment Tools

Welcome back! Today’s post is part two of my summer blog series focused on formative assessments. Last week, I gave a quick overview of formative assessments, the purpose and the importance of them, how teachers are currently using them in the classroom. Then, I offered a new perspective on how we can use formative assessments in the classroom to inform planning and teaching. This new perspective is one that I formed while reading the book, The Formative 5. (Missed last week’s post? See it here!)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY_Ihr3vpQk]

Don’t see the video? Click here to see the video version of this post!

In this book, the authors introduce five techniques that teachers can use every day to formally assess their students. These five techniques are in many ways simple but very powerful ways to better understand what our students know and understand about the content and skills that we’re teaching. In part one of the series, I described these learning tools as assessments done with intention and in the moment. As we continue through the series, I would like for us to look at the assessment tools with that lens, both with intentionality and in the moment.

The first technique is observations. I know what you’re thinking, you’re saying to yourself, “Why is observation a formative assessment tool?” I personally thought the exact same thing, but as I read the book and delved more into the section about observations, I begin to understand more clearly. We make observations about what our students are doing all the time, but we don’t always formally record the observations and then take that information and do something with it later. We often kind file it in the back of our minds and utilize it later, but more often than not, we take those observations and just file them for use later. In this case, we’re going to take the observations and we’re going to use them and do something with them immediately.

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Senior Language Arts Learning Goals Posters



Senior Language Arts Learning Goals Posters


Product Description

Senior Language Arts Learning Goals Poster

Learning goals are important for our students’ education and learning. When we have a goal in mind when teaching, everything else serves a specific purpose, and everything seems to fall into place. As teachers, we are asked to display these learning goals in our classroom, but for me, this wasn’t possible.

With 30 plus students in my class, I didn’t have time to write my learning goals on chart paper or display them on the board. Hmmm… what’s a girl to do?

I created these posters to make my life, as well as yours, easier. This bundle offers ALL of the senior, (grade 12) goals and is in line with the Common Core as well as the Canadian curriculums.

The bundle includes:

A 14-page checklist of all of the learning goals, which can help the teacher keep track of what’s been covered and what hasn’t.

55 Learning Goal posters (8×11) that can easily be posted on the bulletin board or the chalkboard at the front of the class.

These posters allow students to track learn the focus of the lesson.

Three strands are covered: (with the focus of each poster clearly indicated)
1) Reading and Interpretation
2) Writing and Representation
3) Oral and Oral-Visual Communication

It’s teaching made easy!

You may also be interested in the following products:

Thesis Writing Activity with PowerPoint Presentation

Teaching The Essay Package
Essay Evaluation Comments with Drop Down Boxes
Lord of the Flies Unit (No prep required)
Hamlet Unit (No prep – Complete Unit)
Death of a Salesman (No prep required)
Frankenstein (No prep – Complete Unit)
Poetry Unit for Senior Students (NO PREP)
Poetry Unit for Intermediate Students
Poetry Unit: The Art of Interpretation

Total Pages
64 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration



FREE LANGUAGE ARTS LESSON – “I Can Tell the Difference Between “b” and “d” Practice Packet”

by Sara Ipatenco

Pre-Kindergarten – 2nd Grade



Many preschool, kindergarten and early elementary age students mix up “b” and “d.” Though it’s normal, it’s also essential that students learn to recognize the difference so they’re able to read and spell accurately. This packet, by Sara Ipatenco, can help students notice the differences by asking them to sort the two letters in a variety of ways. Use it as morning work, classroom practice or homework.








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Summer PD: Part 1- What’s All This talk about Formative Assessments?

I’m so exciting to begin my 2017 Summer PD series with you today! When I attended the NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) annual conference this past April, one of the bestselling books was a new book called The Formative 5 by Skip Fennell, Beth Kobett, and Johnathan Wray, which offers teachers five everyday assessment techniques to inform your planning and instruction. Through the Summer PD series, I will be discussing each of the techniques and offering ways to get started using them in school next August. You can even catch a video summarizing the week’s learning over on Facebook or my YouTube Channel. Ready? Let’s dive right in!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVvGdT_JsHM]

Don’t see the video? Click here to see the video version of this post!

What is a Formative Assessment?

Assessing what our students know and are able to do is part of what we do as educators each and every day; however, the type of assessment we use differs from day to day. Sometimes, we want to assess our students’ understanding of the last unit or set of skills. In this case, we use a summative assessment—a tool that will allow us to assess students’ overall understanding of content and skills. A summative assessment can be a unit or chapter test, district-created benchmark test, high-stakes test, etc. Summative test results are often used to determine classroom or grade-level interventions.

On the other hand, formative assessments tend to be more fluid and vary widely. Formative assessments provide evidence and information that is used as feedback to make changes to the teaching and learning process. A formative assessment, sometimes referred to as assessment for learning, can be anything that will provide the necessary information to inform the instructional practices of teachers.

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