Tag Archives: Assessment

Your Heinemann Link Round-Up for the Week of June 21–27

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We have a handful of great links for your last weekend in June! Each week we find around five interesting reads for you to take into the weekend. These links are interviews with educators, posts from our authors' and friends' blogs, and any interesting, newsworthy item from the past seven days. Check back each week for a new round of finds!

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Author Jo Boaler wrote an Op-Ed for The Hechinger Report:

Brain science tells us that the students who are better memorizers do not have more math “ability” or potential but we continue to value the faster memorizers over those who think slowly, deeply and creatively – the students we need for our scientific and technological future. The past decade has produced a generation of students who are procedurally competent but cannot think their way out of a box. This is a problem.

Click through to read all of "Memorizers are the lowest achievers and other Common Core math surprises."

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On the Teaching Channel blog, teacher and math specialist Kristin Gray (@MathMinds) reflects on the difference between solving problems to learn math and learning math to solve problems. She asks, “How often do we give teachers ideas they must implement in their classroom and tools to do so, without offering the opportunity to think about how these tools work for them?”

Click through to read "Powerful Problem-Solving… For Teachers and Students."

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Melanie Meehan at Two Reflective Teachers wrote about balanced assessment for Tuesday's Slice of Life:

How do we get around the fact that assessments create GPAs, and in competitive high schools, GPAs are important components of college applications? Do we count formative assessments into GPAs? Within our conference room of teacher leaders, we did not have consensus. Some teachers do count formative assessment, while others use it only to provide information to students about how they are doing. If they don't average formative assessment into reported grades, should students who reach targets more quickly receive higher grades?

Click through to read "Thinking About Balanced Assessment."

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And Jennifer Ward wrote a post called "Getting Testy About Testing":

As Afflerbach states, the negative consequences of such high-stakes assessments far outweigh the positives. Students broke down and cried during our six days of state assessments. Students began school with two hours of state tests and then went through their regular classes. A full day of classes following a grueling two hours of high stakes tests upon which their graduation is dependent.

Click through to read the full piece.

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That's it! Be sure to check back next week for another round of links. If you have a link or a blog, be sure to mention them in the comments below. Cheers to your weekend!

A Common Core Kindergarten Checklist for Teachers and Parents to Use Today!

Hear from an expert on Common Core kindergarten standards and developmentally appropriate expectations.

gentry-cover

by Richard Gentry, PhD

Hey, kindergarten teachers, it’s test time again! Use your own teacher experience and expertise to show parents—or anyone—how a kindergartner’s reading brain is developing by answering one question: what phase on the five-phase pathway to code breaking is this kindergartner in today? Right now kindergarten kids are expected—at a minimum—to be in phase 2. So here’s a time-tested phase 2 checklist—research-based, easy-to-use, and understandable to parents. Complete the checklist in less than three minutes for each child, identify that child’s phase, and show whether he or she is below, on, or beyond the expected phase for this time of year in kindergarten.

This powerful formative assessment based on what you have already observed makes sense to parents and shows them what essential, basic literacy skill (“phase by-products”) their child can or cannot do—right now in kindergarten—plus what’s expected before the end of this year. I’ll also show you how to link the checklist to Common Core or comparable kindergarten state standards in ways that parents understand.

Step 1: Tell parents how the five-phase pathway works and link phases to Common Core kindergarten standards.

Teacher Talk: Common Core State Standards for kindergarten are spiraling, grade-by-grade, build-on-what-students-already-know expectations. The five-phase observation shows what your child already knows about literacy so it’s ideally suited for assessing Common Core expectations: it shows what your child can currently do as a reader, writer, and speller—the known skills we are building on in kindergarten. By building on these known skills we will move your child up to the next phase.

The phase your child is in closely parallels his or her reading brain architecture and development. That is to say, phase observation is a developmental gauge of how a child’s reading brain is developing based on what he or she can or cannot do.

Today we will look at how your child is progressing with phase 2 expectations—the minimal expectations for this time of year in kindergarten. Your child is expected to demonstrate the ten skills below by the end of the school year.

Step 2: Fill out the checklist and show it to parents.

Teacher Talk: Here’s the Phase 2 Expectations Checklist.

Phase 2 Expectations Checklist

As a reader your child can:

  • Read words on sight (examples: word wall words, classmate’s names, family names, labels and signs).
  • Use the beginning letter or other known letters in words to read (cue) some words (partial phonemic awareness).
  • Read level B to C emergent texts with purpose, fluency, and understanding. (Show samples of texts being read independently after practice. Include child-selected samples from the child’s book bag and samples from guided reading.)

As a writer your child can:

  • Write little informational, narrative, and opinion compositions with a mix of invented and a few conventional spellings.
  • Demonstrate some letter-sound correspondences when producing drawings and meaningful texts.
  • Create meaningful independent compositions such as R U DF for Are you deaf?
  • Read back her own writing in Standard English when short pieces are transcribed by the teacher and practiced over and over by the student. (Show examples of stories you have “published” by transcribing the child’s writing and pasting it under the child’s original “kid writing.”)
  • Begin to use a few conventions such as appropriate capitalization, grammatical usage, and punctuation. (Show examples from the writer’s portfolio.)

As a speller your child can:

  • Spell some high-frequency kindergarten-level spelling words correctly. (Show examples of spelling words you have taught.)
  • Invent spellings of many unknown words with close letter-sound matches making them readable. (Show pictures and examples from AEL, pages 24 and 25.)

Many kindergartners have moved beyond these minimal kindergarten expectations. In some schools and districts where standards are established locally, kindergartners are expected to enter first-grade phases.

What about the 5-Phase Pathway to Literacy and Common Core?

In a recent post on the Psychology Today web site, I used phase observation as a lens for interpreting each of the Common Core kindergarten literacy standards. Check it out here.

Let's face it. Teachers love phase observation. Heinemann has had a surge of requests for Assessing Early Literacy with Richard Gentry: 5 Phases, 1 Simple Test (a three-part, DVD-based kit with videos of children that make the phases come alive).

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Richard Gentry, Ph.D., has authored multiple books and a video with Heinemann, including My Kid Can't Spell (1996), Teaching Kids to Spell (1992), The Science of Spelling (2004), and Assessing Early Literacy (2007) as well as numerous articles in academic journals and textbooks for school-age children.

Follow Richard on Twitter @RaiseReaders.

Fountas and Pinnell Monthly Twitter chat on Assessment

Each month authors Irene Fountas & Gay Su Pinnell host a Twitter chat. This month their focus was on assessment.  On the topic Fountas & PInnell say, "we want our ongoing reading assessments to provide us with evidence that students are using systems of strategic actions across texts. Knowing the readers in your classroom requires regular, systematic observation, as well as the application of high-quality literacy tools. The information gained from systematic assessment of the way a reader works through text provides teachers with new understandings of the reading process."

We invite you to review the chat from Thursday night below and to read Irene Fountas' new blog here: "Are You Testing or Teaching Comprehension?"

 

Continue reading

Jennifer Serravallo: Focusing on Conversation

As we wrap up our month-long conversation around Jennifer Serravallo’s Five Lenses to Assess and Teach Readers, it’s appropriate to note that the last lens is conversation. We started with engagement, covering some of the methods of assessing engagement in students and classrooms. After engagement we covered the different aspects of fluency, including automaticity, intonation/expression/prosody, phrasing/parsing, emphasis, and pace. After fluency we talked about print work, including running records and the three cueing systems all readers use (meaning, syntactic, and visual). Last week we touched on the importance of comprehension, as well as ways to assess it in your classroom.

Each lens is important on its own, but you will get the clearest sense of a student by using all five lenses together.

CONVERSATION

Conversation is a skill. Student conversations about reading, whether with a reading partner, book club, or during a whole-class conversation, can give teachers a window into students’ understanding. It is essential that we provide opportunities across the day for our students to engage in meaningful conversation. These conversations should be about topics of importance to the classroom community, about books read together as a class and independently with partners and clubs, about writing, about math, and so on. As students speak and listen, it is just as important for teachers to listen and assess. You can take notes during whole-class, one-on-one, and small-group conversations. Use your notes to develop teaching and learning opportunities for students.

Talking well—especially about books—comes naturally to very few children. When students have time to talk about their books, they grow in many ways. Listening in as students talk can help you determine what reading skills they are and are not using, as well as how proficiently they are using those skills. An oral text, these conversations provide a window into what children are thinking about as they read and discuss their books. It is also important to listen for conversational skills as children talk.

“Great conversations can invigorate children, spark new thinking, encourage laughter, and teach healthy debate. They can help students come to new insights and even increase motivation to read.” —Jennifer Serravallo

How often do your students have opportunities to be social around books? What is your role when students are talking about books?

We have created blank versions of some of the engagement and fluency tools we have discussed in previous blogs for you to download and use in your classrooms. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for both Microsoft Word and PDF versions.

For more tips, examples, and strategies from Jennifer Serravallo, join us on Twitter using the hashtag #literacylenses.

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Jennifer Serravallo is a national literacy consultant and the bestselling author or coauthor of the Heinemann titles Conferring with ReadersTeaching Reading in Small GroupsThe Literacy Teacher’s Playbook K–2 and The Literacy Teacher’s Playbook 3–6. She started out teaching grades 3–5 in Title I schools and then spent eight years as a national staff developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.

Jennifer Serravallo: Focusing on Comprehension

We are going to continue our conversation around Jennifer Serravallo’s Five Lenses to Assess and Teach Readers. Three weeks ago we discussed engagement, including methods of assessing engagement in students and classrooms. After engagement we covered the different aspects of fluency: automaticity, intonation/expression/prosody, phrasing/parsing, emphasis, and pace. Last week we talked about print work, including running record and the three cueing systems all readers use (meaning, syntactic, and visual). Each lens is important on its own, but you will get the clearest sense of a student by using all five lenses together.

COMPREHENSION

What is comprehension and why is it so important?

“Comprehension is at the heart of what it really means to read. Reading is thinking and understanding and getting at the meaning behind the text.
–Jennifer Serravallo

To read is to uncover meaning within a text, to understand what the author is saying, and to have your own reactions and responses.

In an educational context, comprehension is often used as an umbrella term and includes several skills. In their book Mosaic of Thought, authors Ellin Oliver Keene and Susan Zimmermann cite proficient reader research and explain seven comprehension areas. It is important to be aware of these areas to better support readers’ deepening understandings of text.

  • Activate Prior Knowledge: Proficient readers make connections to a text/topic before, during, and after they read.
  • Determine Importance: Proficient readers understand the most significant events in fiction, and the main ideas in nonfiction.
  • Visualize: Proficient readers don’t just visualize, but also hear, see, smell and feel what is described in the text.
  • Infer: Proficient readers form judgments, make predictions, and determine the theme or message of a story.
  • Question: Proficient readers read with curiosity. They question the text and their reactions.
  • Retell and Synthesize: Proficient readers can figure out how parts of a text fit together, and understand cause/effect.
  • Monitor for Meaning: Proficient readers monitor their own understanding, fix confusion as it arises, and understand new vocabulary.

Teachers can use these seven areas of comprehension to see where students are strongest, and where they need the most support. Instead of looking at skills as yes or no, consider how deep a students’ work is within each skill, and work within the skill to deepen.

How can you assess comprehension? Try to sample student understanding in a variety of ways. Often, running records are the first piece of data about students’ comprehension, and can be tools to inform earliest teaching. A running record can offer some insight into comprehension. When conferring around comprehension, you can start with questions instead of asking a child to read aloud. If you don't know the book, check the back cover blurb and skim the page the child is reading. Ask students to retell and to answer some literal and inferential questions. Have students keep track of their thinking on sticky notes. What they write can connect to what you taught in conferences and small groups. As Jen writes in her upcoming The Reading Strategies Book, “Regardless of how you choose to collect samples of your students’ thoughts about the characters in their books, you’ll need a rubric or continuum against which to judge their responses. I find that understanding expectations for comprehension aligned to complexity of the level is most helpful.”

What systems and structures are already in place in your classroom to make your students’ comprehension visible?

We have created blank versions of some of the engagement and fluency tools discussed in previous blogs for download and use in your classrooms. Scroll to the bottom of this post for both Microsoft Word and PDF versions.

For more tips, examples, and strategies from Jennifer Serravallo, join us on Twitter using the hashtag #literacylenses.

WORD PDF
Blank Reading Log D-I WORD Blank Reading Log D-I PDF
Blank Reading Log J-M WORD Blank Reading Log J-M PDF
Blank Reading Log L+ WORD Blank Reading Log L+ PDF
Blank Rereading Log D-I WORD Blank Re-reading Log D-I PDF
Blank Reading Interest Survey K-2 WORD Blank Reading Interest Survey K-2 PDF
Blank Reading Interest Survey 3-6 WORD Blank Reading Interest Survey 3-6 PDF
Blank Engagement Inventory WORD Blank Engagement Inventory PDF

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Jennifer Serravallo is a national literacy consultant and the bestselling author or coauthor of the Heinemann titles Conferring with ReadersTeaching Reading in Small GroupsThe Literacy Teacher’s Playbook K–2 and The Literacy Teacher’s Playbook 3–6. She started out teaching grades 3–5 in Title I schools and then spent eight years as a national staff developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.

Jennifer Serravallo: Focusing on Print Work

We are going to continue our conversation around Jennifer Serravallo’s Five Lenses to Assess and Teach Readers. Two weeks ago, we discussed engagement, including methods of assessing engagement in students and classrooms. Last week, we covered the different aspects of fluency: automaticity, intonation/expression/prosody, phrasing/parsing, emphasis, and pace. Each lens is important on its own, but you will get the clearest sense of a student by using the five lenses together.

PRINT WORK

Let’s dive into print work/decoding, focusing on running records and the three cueing systems readers tend to use.

Running records were made mainstream by Marie Clay as a way to record what students do as you sit and listen to them read. A running record can help you gain insight about a student’s miscues, fluency, and comprehension when reading a text that is just right and reading a text that is at an instructional level. Jennifer also recommends that you take a running record using a text one level above a student’s just-right level to give you a window into what readers do when they encounter difficulty.

We touched on using running records to help you assess fluency last week. When you take a running record, you are collecting data that will help you understand exactly what a student does as they read. To take a running record, record what you hear as a student reads. Record when words are read correctly and when a child says something different from what is on the page. This could include insertions, deletions, sounding out behavior, appeals for help, repetitions, and alternate pronunciations.

When you take a running record, you are collecting data that will help you understand exactly what a student does as they read.

There are three cueing systems all readers use: visual, meaning, and syntax. Running records offer numerous opportunities to assess children’s use of these three cueing systems as they read. Print work is best assessed and taught in the context of meaning, so that a reader is constantly practicing their ability to integrate what they know about letters and sounds (visual), with what is happening in the story (meaning), and how language works (syntax). To determine which of these three cueing systems a student is using and not using, you can ask yourself three questions.

  • Does that mistake/self-correction/error look right? (visual)
  • Does that mistake/self-correction/error make sense? (meaning)
  • Does that mistake/self-correction/error sound right? (syntax)

While a student reads, count the number of times the student uses the meaning, syntax, and visual cueing systems. To analyze each miscue, you’ll read up to, but not beyond, the point of error. Each miscue can be analyzed to see which of the cueing systems a student uses consistently, inconsistently, or never. By recording and analyzing each miscue, you’ll be able to look back and notice patterns that can help determine what you teach. Seek out some of the work of Marie Clay for more in depth coverage of running records and miscue analysis.

Do you currently take running records in your class? As you consider print work/decoding, what resonates?

We have created blank versions of some of the tools Jennifer talks about to help assess readers. These are for you to download and use in your classrooms. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for both Microsoft Word and PDF versions.

For more tips, examples, and strategies from Jennifer Serravallo, join us on Twitter using the hashtag #literacylenses.

WORD PDF
Blank Reading Log D-I WORD Blank Reading Log D-I PDF
Blank Reading Log J-M WORD Blank Reading Log J-M PDF
Blank Reading Log L+ WORD Blank Reading Log L+ PDF
Blank Rereading Log D-I WORD Blank Re-reading Log D-I PDF
Blank Reading Interest Survey K-2 WORD Blank Reading Interest Survey K-2 PDF
Blank Reading Interest Survey 3-6 WORD Blank Reading Interest Survey 3-6 PDF
Blank Engagement Inventory WORD Blank Engagement Inventory PDF

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Jennifer Serravallo is a national literacy consultant and the bestselling author or coauthor of the Heinemann titles Teaching Reading in Small GroupsConferring with ReadersThe Literacy Teacher’s Playbook Grades K–2, and The Literacy Teacher’s Playbook Grades 3–6. She started out teaching grades 3–5 in Title I schools and then spent eight years as a national staff developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.