Last month I was very fortunate to be able to send a small group of my teachers to the Dylan Wiliam Formative Assessment training. My teachers were very excited about what they had learned that day and were ready to bring back his information to their classrooms right away. Seeing this excitement, I wanted to find a way to have them share that with their colleagues. After the training was over, I asked my teachers who attended to pick one or two of his strategies that he suggested and incorporate into their lessons. The teachers were very excited and started the next day incorporating a couple of his strategies. This was a great first step for my teachers. As I watched these teachers start to incorporate the strategies in their classess I soon realized that they would need to share how these were going in their classes. After a few days had passed and my teachers were starting to feel more comfortable with the strategies I had asked them if they would be willing to share with collegues the successes they were finding in their classrooms and all them said "Yes". Time to start planning the staff PD meeting.
Thinking about how to share some of the key points from our day with Wiliam, we put our heads together and came up with a few great activities for my teachers at the staff meeting. 1) We grouped the teachers into small groups and gave them a variety of assessments and asked them to group them in Formative, Summative and non assessments. The teachers quickly realized like we did at the training that over the years we start to get them all confused with each other. 2) We showed them a small video about Dylan Wiliam to let them know about his background and his definitions of assessment. 3) The teachers did a quick jigsaw on Formative Assessment, and Assessment for Learning Article from Dylan Wiliam. 4) After the jigsaw activity, we asked the teachers to reevaluate their sorting activity and many of them realized the difference and started making a lot of changes to their charts. 5) Introduced them to a variety of the strategies that Wiliam suggested from his book and had my teachers present to the staff the strategies they had used. 6) Gave them a quick exit slip via Google Form centered around Formative Assessment.
The staff meeting was a great start to building my teachers capacity around Embedded Formative Assessment and giving them the tools to be successful. Here is a couple of their quotes from the exit slips. "Formative assessments affect student learning.", "Formative assessment is used to change or alter the teaching or instruction of a lesson or unit. Reflection on your work is key. Reflection among peers and between teacher and student is very important to the success of the classroom." and "I see that formative assessment is not for grading but to adjust the teaching to help students to improve their learning." From these quotes you can see that I was excited about the results. Now my goal is continue to monitor and offer support when my teachers are trying these new strategies. Together as a team we can change our students future.
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