Sunday, 21 August 2016

10 Reasons for Formative Assessment

1. Formative assessment allows students to take responsibility for their own learning. 

2. It requires that the teacher to communicate clear, specific learning goals to the students.

3. It focuses on goals that have valuable educational outcomes.

4. It identifies the student's current knowledge and skills and the necessary steps for reaching the desired goals.

5. It requires that plans are developed so that the desired goals are achieved.

6. Students are encouraged to self-monitor their progress towards attaining their specific goals.

7. There is frequent assessment which includes peer and student self-assessment and assessment is embedded within the learning activities.

8. Teachers provide examples of learning goals which also includes relevant, specific criteria or rubrics act will be used to evaluate the student's work.

9. Students are given opportunities to revise and improve their work and deepen their understanding.

10. It promotes metacognition and reflection by the students on their work.

You can follow my Pinterest Board  on 
Formative Assessment and Careful Observation and Questioning: The Key to Learning

For other ideas on Formative Assessments follow the links below

Monday, 18 April 2016

Formative Assessment and Making Learning Visible.

I have been reading about formative assessment and making learning visible for students, two topics I am extremely interested in.

I have read the books below and I highly recommend them.

The first is "Visible Learning for Teachers" by John Hattie.

Another book is "Visible Learners".  Promoting Reggio-Inspired Approaches in all Schools. 

and last but not least,

“An assessment functions formatively to the extent that evidence about student achievement is elicited, interpreted and used by teachers, learners, or their peers to make decisions about the next steps in instruction that are likely to be better, or better founded, than the decisions they would have made in the absence of the feedback. ”

— Dylan Wiliam, Embedded Formative Assessment, p.43

Friday, 4 March 2016

Five For Friday

MiniLit (Meeting Initial Needs in Literacy)
Testing students to go on the MiniLit program.
MiniLit is an explicit and systematic program that targets the bottom 25% of students and aimed for struggling readers. (Tier 2 based small group of four students).  It comprises of sound and word activities, text reading and story book reading.
Image from

Workshop on Trauma and Learning
I posted about this workshop.  You can follow the links below to read the posts.
Wednesday Words of Wisdom
"When someone is drowning it is not the time to give swimming lessons".
(From book "Children are People Too" Dr Louise Porter, 2001)

Dr Louise Porter, an Australian psychologist, uses the above tree diagram to explain to parents what children’s needs are.;postID=1446052636437876907;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=1;src=postname

Trauma and Learning;postID=4889335960428430909;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=2;src=postname

Personalised Learning
In the process of completing ILP's (Individual Learning Plans).
It is important that teachers work along side students, parents and other agencies to ensure they have are planning an ILP that meets the student's individual needs.

Sustained Silent Independent Reading.
I have been working with a small group of primary students who are reading below their age group and have a low reading esteem.  I'm aiming to help these students find the "just right" books they will love to read using the five finger rule. I want these students to read a book independently every day for a period of at least 15-20 minutes.  My aim is for the students to start and finish a book with the emphasis on reading for enjoyment.  Some students will pick up a different book each day during D.E.A.R (Drop Everything and Read) time and therefore they never experience the pleasure of the characters coming alive and the anticipation of what is going to happen with the delight of the ending of the story.
Image from
I am also giving the students bookmarks Pick a Just Right Book and Stuck? Try... that has some reading strategies they can try if they get stuck on a word.

You can download these bookmarks for FREE at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Just follow the link below.

Visual Literacy
“As with most of my stories, it is the emotions in the text which interest me most.” 
Margaret Wild. 

I am in the process of designing a program for a group of primary students using the book Fox by Margaret Wild as a stimulus.  A colleague of mine recommended this book to me and it certainly is a winner.
In the book "Fox" Magpie can't fly and Dog is blind.  Dog rescues the Magpie and they become friends.
Together they explore the world until Fox arrives on the scene.  Will Fox break up this special friendship?

Tuesday, 1 March 2016


"When someone is drowning it is not the time to give swimming lessons".
(From book "Children are People Too" Louise Porter, 2001)

This book is an extremely valuable read.  It will make you reflect carefully on how we reward children and school reward systems.  Dr Louise Porter is an Australian child psychologist and has written many books.  She has a website at

Following from my post yesterday on trauma and learning and reflecting on Dr Porter's quote "When someone is drowning it is not the time to give swimming lessons" I feel it is important for teachers to  always be sensitive and caring towards their students.  Often we don't know why or how regarding their behaviour but being able to be calm will be a critical factor for working with students with challenging behaviours.

It can be difficult at times when a student is violent, verbally abusive or difficult but getting out of control isn't the answer.  Teachers who argue or scream at the student will only escalate the problem.  As they say "slow and steady wins the race".

Always being positive and letting the student know that you care about them is paramount.  Teachers can do this  in so many ways, simply by smiling at them, greeting them personally and telling them that you are glad they are there today.  This will slowly shift even the most difficult student. Developing a genuine relationship that is honest, friendly and comforting is crucial.

We need to remember that for some students school is there only refuge and school is where they feel safe.

Have you had a student with difficult behaviour and how have you handled the situation?

Monday, 29 February 2016

Trauma and Learning

Today I attended an informative workshop on Trauma and Learning.

Students with trauma may have experienced refugee experience, residing out of home, have experienced neglect or abuse, illness/hospitalisation or severe cultural dislocation.

Recent research has shown that traumatic experiences in childhood can diminish concentration, memory, social skills, language development and academic ability at school.  What has also been discovered is that educators are misunderstanding the reasons underlying some children's difficulties with learning and this can profoundly hinder the student's learning.

Traumatised children can display behaviour that is profoundly misunderstood and the role of the educator in the lives of the traumatised student is crucial.  Research clearly shows that regardless of the adversity they face a child can develop and maintain a positive attachment to school, and gain an enthusiasm for learning.  This goes to show how important building trusting and caring relationships with all students.

Behaviours that a traumatised child can demonstrate are internal (behaviours and characteristics shown by students can be being withdrawn, numb, frozen, depressed, fear, perfectionism, shame or anxiety) and/or external, also referred to "acting-out" (behaviours and characteristics shown by students are reactivity, impulsivity, anxiety, aggression, shame, defiance or perfectionism.)
If we look behind the acting-out behaviour of traumatised students we see that many are suffering from deep, long-lasting pain and it is not that they won't behave like other children but they can't.
Recovery from trauma will occur best in the context of healing relationships therefore the role of educators in the lives of children by trauma can't be underestimated.
(Calmer Classrooms - A guide to working with traumatised children (Child Safety Commissioner Victoria 2007)

A student who has experienced trauma can react to a situation, an event or trigger and then this is followed by a behaviour whether it is internal and/or external which in turn provokes a reaction in others.  This then gets the student in a state of heightened arousal and stress as the reaction in others is perceived as an additional threat to them.  This is when we can't reason with the student at all.  It is vital to allow for a calm down time.
Forming secure and stable relationships with our students is crucial.  For our students who are traumatised is the difference between success or failure.

Let's have a look at the importance of attachment from the very beginning.
Attachment, the emotional bond formed between a child and its primary caretaker, profoundly influences the developing brain.  Failed attachment, whether caused by abuse, neglect or emotionally unavailability on the part of the caretaker, can negatively impact brain structure and function, causing developmental trauma.

Secure and stable relationships are the foundations for social and emotional health that lead to secure and stable relationships.

Look at this video below, Dr Edward Tronick demonstrated the reaction of baby when mum doesn't respond to the baby.   This is called The Still Face Experiment.

After watching this I wondered could control crying cause damage to a child?  What are your thoughts?

Friday, 19 February 2016

Five for Friday

Welcome back to another Five for Friday hosted by Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching.
Growth Mindset Display.
I have my Snoopy Growth Mindset on display in my room.  You can find this resource on TPT.  Just follow the link below.

The Snoopy Growth Mindset "How High Can You Fly?" is based on the visual below "Which Step Have You Reached Today?"

Collecting Data
I am collecting data on all the children I teach so that I can place them on the literacy continuum and in their correct clusters.

Professional Discussions.
I will be presenting a workshop with a wonderful colleague.  Our presentation will be on Making Thinking Visible.  

Running Records
Part of my data collection is also finding the child's instructional level by using running records.
Running records are a great tool to help teachers identify patterns in a child's reading behaviour.  They help teachers to document progress over time and a teacher can find the appropriate text level for a child.

"The single most important factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows. Ascertain this and teach him accordingly."
David Ausubel 
I am Roaming around the Known with my new Reading Recovery children.
During this time the teacher has the opportunity to observe the child closely.  Valuing what the child already knows and designing appropriate reading and writing tasks using Clay's teaching procedures will support children to become strategic readers and writers.

Until next time.

Sunday, 14 February 2016



Started reading this book today and couldn't put it down.  Students in Paul Solarz classroom demonstrate collaboration and student leadership.  They are empowered to take responsibility for their own learning.  I will be reviewing this book in more detail in the near future and I highly recommend it.
Working on...
An integrated unit for the book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"(Bill Martin Jr/ Eric Carle).
A free Valentine's Day product on TPT follow of link below.

This pack aims to celebrate Valentine's Day with developing friendships amongst your class using the character Snoopy and his friends. 

The beginning of the school year is always exhausting for everyone as we settle into our new routine and plan for the year ahead.

Being part of the blog community.  As a newie can't wait to become connected with more bloggers.  Thank you Kacey for inviting other bloggers to link up with Five for Friday.