One of my main focuses this year (as many of my readers may have already guessed) has been assessment. I have been discovering ways to know if my students 'get it.' Sometimes, even after what I think is a great lesson, I discover that they don't.
|photo courtesy of annais on Flickr|
I walk methodically to each student during the class period checking off whether a student has mastered the skill I want them to have by the end of the period (i.e. "Show me how to use the paintbrush tool." or "What do you click if you want to leave this website and go to a different one?") In this way, I can quickly pick up who 'gets it' and who doesn't. I have found this vital to ensuring that everyone is ready to move on and that I address any misconceptions before applying these skills to a new situation.
The biggest realization for me has been the acceptance that when my students fail it's usually a direct result of something I have or haven't done.
This fact has been proven to me a few times this year as I changed my approach or my method or allowed my students to revise projects based around feedback. I have watched my students succeed and produce better and better projects and I smile inwardly as I hear them tell each other how to move files around and teach each other how to find applications with the Spotlight.
It's not all roses. I have stumbled and there have been lessons that failed. When this happens and my students obviously didn't get it or are not ready to move on, I have to take a step back and assess what they need to be prepared for the task or tasks ahead.
Today I told my 4th graders, "If you fail, that means that there's something that I didn't do right. If you fail, that means I failed."
It's a bold statement, but I'm starting to think that it's true.