The Art and Science of Teaching

In an earlier post, I mentioned that this past year I started reading Robert Marzano's The Art and Science of Teaching. This book whispered to me. Many of his topics overlap with my districts new teacher rubric. One important idea being students knowing "how they know when they got it." I love the idea of having students using rubrics to assess themselves before, during and after their learning of a specific standard. This past year I use a Gradual Release Rubric but I found this year that it worked best for my older students.

I am not data obsessed, (well only sort of). But this year, I feel like I need to take a step back from my environment and instead focus on my instruction and my student's learning a bit more.

In many of my posts, I emphasize the importance of "learning targets" and how to use them as a formative assessment. Learning targets are important for ALL of your students because it tells them where they are headed during the lesson and where you want them to land. It tells our students what they are to learn, how to deeply learn it, and how to demonstrate their new learning. (Think of it like a treasure map--it tells students where to find the treasure.)

Learning goals are really pretty easy to make-I make mine from our district curriculum or extended evidence outcomes from Colorado's state standards (EEOs). EEOs I use for student who are functioning significantly below grade level standards.

With my instruction I first communicate the lesson learning goals to your students, plan a guided learning activity that takes place in the classroom, and then plan for assignments that are engaged learning experiences.

I use Backwards Planning to plan all my lessons, so formative assessments get planned while I'm writing outcomes and learning targets. With these formative assessments comes Marzano's rubrics. By using a scale the teacher and the students have a clear direction about instructional targets as well as descriptions of levels of understanding and performance for those targets.

I plan to start my year off slowly and remind my students how they will use these rubrics. I plan to align each rubric with each lesson and students will score themselves at the end of the each lesson. I will also rate them at the end of each lesson and justify why they rated themselves at that level. This will allow me to track their levels of understanding through the unit and help them to see why they are or are not at that level. This should help limit wildly inaccurate scores in a short time. I hope to see them internalize the rubric over the year and become are accurate with their own placement and justification.

It is most definitely a gradual release of responsibility! With these posters, as well as more student directed data tracking, I feel like my students will be more in control of their own learning and growth. I also think that this is something that my kindergarten students will be able to take on for the first time EVER. These will soon be posted in my TpT store as part of my new data binder. I'll have more to share. Have a great week.


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Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.
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