Saturday, November 3, 2012

November Snuck Up On Me!!

I don't know how it happened, but it is already November.  My first quarter at a new school site is completed.  Do I feel caught up now?  No!  I still feel disjointed and worse even -- disorganized!  it's amazing to see that  even in the same district, things are not done exactly the same in each elementary school.

Although we use the same curriculum, all our assessments are not exactly the same.  It has been a struggle to pull it all together...and now that I need to be filling out report cards, I feel that I don't have all the assessments completed to do my report cards.

Now, that is not to say that I don't know what each child can and can't do, but I just don't have a summative assessment in hand to back me up.  It's more anecdotal and formative type assessments that give me my information.

Why do I not have what I need?  Well...long story short...we have Scot Foresman as our reading series.  We also have a transition going on toward the Common Core.  Our report cards are standards based.  The standards that are on the report card sort of jive with what we are trying to do with the Common Core...but our assessments are in limbo because they are from a curriculum that we now only partly use.  Our district is trying to create stand alone assessments to measure our students growth in achieving the standards in the Common Core, but they are a long way off from accomplishing that mighty goal.

We are a district that was curriculum driven for a very long time and now are trying to switch to being Standards driven.  This is what I am used to doing all along (from working in other states and other school districts)  The thought of relying solely on a publisher to tell me what and when to teach things to my student was alien to me.  Also, having assessments tied to a curriculum always seemed biased to me.  Stand alone assessments not only 'test' your students, but it 'tests' the ability of the curriculum to meet their needs.

So I am trying to find a clear path between assessments and standards and teaching.  I know there is one there.  It's just a matter of finding the time when you are mired in it all to rise above it and figure out the path I need and how to organize my direction to meet all my students' needs!

If anyone has some good advice or resources, I would love to hear it!

O.K.  back to my report cards!