It’s time to Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayers. Thank you, Ruth, for this weekly practice and place to share our lives. Read more celebrations here.
This week I noticed a subtle change in our classroom. There is a level of comfort and a sense of urgency.
It happens every year, and every year it’s different. The difference is the child. This is their year.
Every time I sit with a child, I’m looking for their next step. What instruction do they need right now? Can they hold on independently in this place with this text, or do they need support? For how long? In what way? How can they reach for independence? What tools might help sustain independence? That is the beauty and purpose of assessments, formal and informal. Not for just the number or letter on a spreadsheet, but for what we do next.
And there are excellent tools available to help measure and guide student understanding. More than ever before.
This week I celebrate an assessment that doesn’t show up on any report or print out. One that moves the ownership towards those that need to do the work: student self-assessment.
This week we started student-led conferences. Students sit beside their parents and reflect on 1) what they can do well and 2) what is difficult. That reflection pushes students to name where they are and what they struggle with. This is powerful work that can be revisited and reflected on again and again.
If you think this is too difficult for students, consider Trevor Bryan’s post here that describes a flexible and replicable reflection process. He asks students: is the task easy, just right or difficult. And then, why. Simple and I’d argue an essential step for learning.
This week, and this year, I celebrate regular student reflection. Without this piece, our students miss out on a tool that could move them towards continual independent growth.