Week 34: Assessing

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Every builder knows how important it is to have a strong foundation and to assess the structures before removing the scaffolds and adding on another layer.  Adding on to the structures prematurely could have negative consequences.  In classrooms, we call it behavior problems. 

Things were going so well until I added another task for the small groups to complete.   After using a Fish Bowl to model, the small groups successfully went off to discuss and determine an important concept.  The next layer was to discuss what they learned about friendship that they could apply in their own lives and report orally in whole group while the teacher transcribed.  All was fine until I gave the facilitators a piece a paper to write on.  The group had to discuss and agree on an important concept, what they learned about friendship they could apply in real life, write the group consensus on a piece of paper, and report to the whole group. Only one group out of five managed to the complete task.  I asked the facilitators what happened to help me determine my next steps. I’ve learned classroom problems occur due to structural issues rather than the students choosing to misbehave.  This is good in that I have control to make things work. 

So, I asked myself the following: Do facilitators need more support and training to manage group? Do I need to regroup the students and separate students who do not work well together?  Are there too many students in one group who need additional support with self-management? Did I add on another layer to the structures prematurely before all other procedures were solid? 

Rather than talk about what went wrong, I asked the group that was successful to tell us what they did. Here’s the list of what they said:

  1. 1. Sit in a circle
  2. 2. Active Listening
  3. 3. Take turns talking
  4. 4. Decide what to write
  5. 5. Facilitator writes what the group said 

I’ve learned assessing the parts that contribute to the success of the whole is a proactive way to support students.  Determining next steps based on assessment can lead to desired outcomes. To achieve the CCSS, I think involving students in assessing and problem solving will help determine structural needs and support they need to meet the standards.