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Assessment For Growth

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  1. Module 1 - Clearing The Path For Assessment For Growth
    5 Lessons
  2. Module 2: Formative assessment Techniques Your Classroom Needs
    5 Lessons
  3. Module 3: Standards Based Grading For Growth
    7 Lessons
  4. Module 4: Building Time for Assessment
    4 Lessons
  5. Module 5: How to Help Key Stakeholders with Assessment For Growth
    7 Lessons
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You’ll learn:

  • What makes an effective team and why math teachers need to know it;
  • Why we need to understand fight or flight in math class;
  • How to create a welcoming atmosphere in our classrooms;
  • How to embrace conflict in math class.

Make Math Moments Academy Forums Lesson 4: Psychological Safety & Assessment – Discussion

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  • Lesson 4: Psychological Safety & Assessment – Discussion

    Posted by Jon on December 6, 2019 at 4:55 am

    What was your big take away from this particular lesson?

    What is something you are still wondering?

    Share your thinking below.

    Stephanie Pritchett replied 4 months, 4 weeks ago 39 Members · 58 Replies
  • 58 Replies
  • Cathie O’Malley

    Member
    December 19, 2019 at 10:20 am

    I’m wondering how those grouping cards work. I downloaded from the toolbox but I don’t know how they work. I’m assuming they will be explained somewhere. 

    • Jon

      Administrator
      December 20, 2019 at 5:30 am

      Hey there Cathie, 

      We’re glad you found them! You can look here to learn how I intended teachers to use them: http://mrorr-isageek.com/random-grouping-cards-for-math-class

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by  Jon Orr.
      • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  Jon Orr.
    • Virginia Hagman

      Member
      February 9, 2022 at 6:19 pm

      Hello Cathie,

      We utilize the grouping cards in our classroom. Students are given a random card upon coming into the room and they work with whatever grouping they end up with. The random grouping allows for students to interact and find strengths among many rather than just working with friends. This allows for knowledge to spread across the room and helps the teacher to identify those who are struggling.

  • Kelly

    Member
    January 4, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    I am also interested in the grouping cards, however the link does not work.

  • Mary Ali

    Member
    January 30, 2020 at 10:25 am

    I have been working a lot on classroom culture using the words expected, unexpected and getting students to think about how they want others to think about them.  I meet the kids at the door before they enter and try to get there when they are leaving.  I started my year out with Kagan, totally loved it, then switch to random grouping when I am getting them to work on the white boards.  It is a work in progress but I am enjoying the results.  I do have one class where some of the students have a bad history so they are adamant that they not be put together. I say Okay and work around it.  I liked the activities you showed on getting kids to stand and make decisions.  Do you have this resource available for download? And thanks for the group cards. I have been using a deck of cards and your group cards would be more fun.

  • Maggie Moor

    Member
    February 17, 2020 at 8:36 am

    Math is collaborative, but everyone has something to offer. It’s not just about the ‘smart kids’ leading the way.

    I wonder – how can I get students reliably grappling with the work in group situations and not letting others do the work for them.

  • Lori Noyes

    Member
    March 18, 2020 at 11:51 am

    Our school is talking a lot about this topic of building relationships this year…with respect to the research regarding trauma and adverse childhood experiences. Developing these relationships has been a struggle for me…within the confines of our curricular and delivery mandates (teach in small group rotations .. direct instruction, independent (computer practice), collaborative activities. It has been difficult to not let the timer run the classroom! I finally began to be braver about making my own structural decisions…but now I share students with a learning support teacher, who has her own requirements pertaining to IEP instruction…and we are back to the timer. 🙁

    Looking forward to learning how to help my students learn and grow…and appreciate the journey.

  • Kyle Kline

    Member
    March 22, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    It is so funny seeing the word “safety” being related to assessments. But honestly, if you think about schools, one of the best things about school is the safety a teacher and a school environment can provide for a student. When I was in the classroom I tried very hard to make attempts at learning more about students than just their math abilities. My question for everyone here is this…what do you say to a co-worker that doesn’t necessarily believe in the importance of a positive teacher-student relationship? I have a co-worker that seems to drive students away because of their abrasiveness. When do you step in to work with this peer? Thanks in advance.

  • Pat Morris

    Member
    March 23, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    Thanks for the 5 tips to creating a safe atmosphere. I like the first one, breaking the golden rule. Teaching the students through empathy to treat others the way that they would like to be treated. It’s an interesting process, one that I’m very disappointed has been short this year, to see where your students are as a group from the start of the year (I don’t want to work with her!) to the end of the year, when they look forward to group activities despite it’s random outcome.

  • Tricia Newton

    Member
    March 27, 2020 at 11:24 am

    I loved the statement to treat others the way they want to be treated. I teach middle school and that’s what it’s all about. My 6th grade team was having such a great year…we turned a group of students that had been negatively labeled into relatively productive members of our school. We are each keeping in contact with them through this period of remote learning, hoping that this won’t be a setback.

    Some days it seems that the whole day was dedicated to psychological safety and very little education took place. But, that’s what you sign up for in middle school. Slight Smile

    Thank you for a powerful session!

  • Holly stop

    Member
    April 9, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    Does anyone have recommendations for building trust and cultivating vulnerability early on in the year?

    This year, one of my four 6th grade classes ended up being a psychologically unsafe environment. It was nearly impossible to do cooperative activities with this group because they were so closed up around each other. I tried hard to model vulnerability, empathy, and curiosity for these students, but something about the combination of personalities in the room just shut down discussions and collaboration before it started.

    • Daniel Whittaker

      Member
      July 15, 2020 at 10:56 pm

      I started using Name Tents at the beginning of the school year with my classes a couple of years ago. Each day for the first 5 classes, the students respond to a simple prompt, then I respond to them that night. It takes a lot of extra time, but it helps me to know the students better and gives them a chance to know about me. One of my prompts is always a request for them to ask me a question and I typically then share this with the whole class.

      https://www.saravanderwerf.com/week-1-day-1-name-tents-with-feedback/

  • Dianne Brodie

    Member
    April 18, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    I loved the shift to the Golden Rule: Treat others the way they’d like to be treated. Very wise!

  • Amy Kopcznski

    Member
    April 27, 2020 at 10:44 am

    I found the five key outcomes to group work to be interesting as not one of the key outcomes states to look for people who have specific qualities. This, to me, means that any team can be successful given the proper tone and culture.

    I am wondering how you set the stage to beginning to have healthy debates in your classroom.

  • Maria Carmela Sanchez

    Member
    June 5, 2020 at 9:52 am

    This lesson is very informative.I had always encouraged collaboration or group work as long as each team member respects and trusts eadh other. But our supervisor who is more of an English teacher wouldnormally discourage me about this. This lesson has given me an assurance that I am in the right track. I can share this info with my colleagues in the next school year. Love the group random cards.

  • Daniel Whittaker

    Member
    July 15, 2020 at 11:01 pm

    I have those cards and use them occasionally, but I’ve actually moved away from them because it is much quicker and simpler to just distribute their name sticks (popsicle sticks that they write their name on at the beginning of the year) randomly at the desks instead.

    I’m nervous about this coming year post Covid as from what I’m seeing I think I have to have a set seating arrangement for the semester at least to minimize contact, and this will have to include social distancing, so no group work at the same table. I’m hoping that I’m reading things wrong.

    I do like the idea of using estimation 180 and WODB and the like to start math fights. I’ve never really gotten into a daily practice of these as I fear the amount of time they take out of the day. But, I think I’m going to make an effort this year. Especially since I’ll be removing my daily timed HW quiz.

    • Jon

      Administrator
      July 17, 2020 at 6:47 am

      I echo your concern here Daniel. I am also concerned about what group work will look like (if any). I too am hoping that I’m wrong. Great suggestion about the sticks!

  • Jennifer L’Arrivee

    Member
    October 30, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    After listening to the many podcasts, I spent much more time at the beginning of the semester building class culture. What a difference this has made!

  • Jaana Gray

    Member
    November 1, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    A safe classroom is so important.

  • Ryan Foley

    Member
    December 14, 2020 at 3:19 pm

    It shouldn’t surprise me but I always find it refreshing to hear that safety is at the top of the list for what can determine a functional team. It really sets the stage for everything else we do.

    • Kyle Pearce

      Administrator
      December 15, 2020 at 7:27 am

      Couldn’t agree more! So important, but often overlooked!

  • Salam Lotfi

    Member
    December 22, 2020 at 8:52 am

    Definitely phycological safety is related to assessment ; love the way it was presented. Moreover we have to admit how many negative psychological impacts math assessments do have on our students!

  • Carol Butel

    Member
    March 9, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    I really like the “Break the Golden rule”. For me that is my big takeaway and that what we think others will find helpful may not actually be so and we need to get to know our partners and their preferences well.

    • Kyle Pearce

      Administrator
      March 10, 2021 at 6:01 am

      So true. Building a trusting relationship is so key to ensure that there is no offence taken and that both sides are open to learning based on where they are currently in the journey!

  • John Gaspari

    Member
    March 21, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    I feel that the safe classroom culture that I have instituted since the start of the year is really paying dividends now that we are in the latter part of the year. Students are always excited to see what random group they will be in each day. Student discussion is immediate when they get into their groups. They are respectful of each others’ thoughts and ideas. There is much to be learned about the importance of psychological safety in groups.

    • Kyle Pearce

      Administrator
      March 26, 2021 at 7:08 am

      This is fantastic to hear! Glad to know the hard work is paying off!!

  • Christopher Ernst

    Member
    March 25, 2021 at 6:29 pm

    My biggest takeaway was the last bit about how the change of one, either assessment practices/lessons, necessitated the other! I’m finding myself firmly in this camp. I am learning more and more to change my assessments, and am trying to follow along with my lessons.

    A question I have is, is there such a thing as too early to start this? I’m pumped about it now, but the school year is coming to an end, how do I start building these habits/skills now without “pulling the rug out” from my students that have gone all year with different practices/beliefs?

    • Kyle Pearce

      Administrator
      March 26, 2021 at 7:10 am

      I don’t think it is ever too late to start, but I do think that you could go too hard too fast. At this point in the year, you’ve got a solid understanding of who your students are. Maybe you just say from this point on, you will be assessing / evaluating like ______ and with that comes multiple opportunities for showing their growth. I don’t think any students would have any problems with that!

      • Christopher Ernst

        Member
        March 26, 2021 at 12:34 pm

        That’s a great idea and a conversation I’ll look to have with them post-spring break. Good point about good too hard too fast too.

  • Maryanna Biedermann

    Member
    May 28, 2021 at 2:49 pm

    Take away: What will I change first and remain focused on that will create a culture of trust and support which will allow for challenge? Set expectation of consistent regrouping from the start so that students are hearing from a variety of learners and spend time planning, facilitating and feedback to build my “trustworthiness”

    • Jon

      Administrator
      May 30, 2021 at 8:25 am

      Great plan! We’re convinced that consistent regrouping is a key to a safe classroom atmosphere.

  • Jennifer Gordon

    Member
    June 8, 2021 at 6:27 pm

    I appreciated what makes a team work well and concrete ways we can build that psychological safety! I can think about my own personal experiences and how feeling unsafe definitely creates risk-taking avoidance. I really like the card activities… handing students cards and have them partner up with students with the matching card. How do we help students who might have social conflicts outside of class feel safe with each other when in class? How do we overcome some of those situations that happen outside of our classrooms that we might not even know about?

    • Jon

      Administrator
      June 9, 2021 at 6:35 am

      Great wonders here @jennifer.gordon

      Knowing your students will be the key to this. We definitely want to be sensitive to anxiety and outside influences. Play the room and nudge when you can.

  • Anthony Waslaske

    Member
    June 16, 2021 at 4:12 pm

    Random grouping is my takeaway here because it will also keep that embarrassment of the last one picked from interfering with a students’ learning. This all makes sense to me and I’m glad to hear this message again.

    • Kyle Pearce

      Administrator
      June 17, 2021 at 7:29 am

      Glad to hear it!

  • Pamela Brock

    Member
    July 20, 2021 at 2:28 pm

    I, too, am excited about the random groupings and using the cards. I’m worried about a couple of students I will be getting this year. I’ve seen them in class and/or worked with them in labs for the past few years and I fear that I won’t be able to engage them. I’m worried about their buy-in. Otherwise, I’m excited to try! I keep telling myself “keep that growth mindset”!!

  • Jamie BALLARD

    Member
    July 21, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    Big Take Away: Every DAY change groups. I just need to do this… I already do random grouping and change every unit as it feels like it creates routine. However, a routine could be new groups everyday.

    I wonder how I can help my PLC team feel safe. I like to change things up and find I need to make adjustments based on students’ understanding. Many times I allow the struggle and this takes time, where others might jump into the rule. Therefore, we have a disconnect on how long it takes to teach learning targets.

    • Kyle Pearce

      Administrator
      July 22, 2021 at 7:15 am

      Sounds like a great conversation for your next plc ? What are the advantages / disadvantages of each approach?

  • Leslie Stevens

    Member
    July 30, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    I’m planning to implement the daily random groups this school year (also other recommendations from the Build Thinking Classrooms book). I’ve already been doing the vertical whiteboards with groups… but not in that exact manner as described in the book. I’m hopeful that the students will get to know each other better and be able to “break the Golden Rule” as you explained in the video.

  • Jeanette Jones

    Member
    August 3, 2021 at 7:56 pm

    Love the idea that we all want to be treated the way we want to be treated. And that is different for everyone. Personal relationships is SO important.

    How can I encourage my students to treat each other that way?

  • Alyse Olivieri

    Member
    September 3, 2021 at 10:50 pm

    My biggest take away is that changing assessment practices is linked to changing classroom routines.

  • Traci Lynott

    Member
    September 6, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    I really didn’t think about how much classroom routines are attached to assessments. I have been using different types of grouping but have found that in one class I have to be careful if I want to cultivate an atmosphere of trust. A couple of students are very uncomfortable with other classmates and rarely talk or share. I have let this class choose their partner and it is working very well. The 2 girls that are super shy to share are talking to each other and sharing strategies that they would have NEVER shared with me or others. They are finding success and gaining confidence in their own abilities. I guess my point is that because I broke the golden rule and didn’t treat each class the same, some students are finding success that did not the previous year I had them. (This is the first year that I have been committed to teaching through curiosity and less “traditional”.)

    • Jon

      Administrator
      September 7, 2021 at 6:00 am

      Thanks for sharing Traci. It’s great to see you making adjustments to fit your comfort level as well as “listening” to the students.

  • Callie Smith

    Member
    September 6, 2021 at 5:49 pm

    Biggest takeaway on this one: changing groups os good. I find this reassuring. I like changing things around. That was the hardest part of last year, with COVID and all, was that we were told to keep them in the same places …. This year, we’ve at least been able to say that we can change at the beginning of each week. I haven’t even taken advantage of this yet, but it’s coming…. I like to change it around to keep them on their toes and help them learn to work with all types of people.

    Wondering…. I love handing out playing cards that I’ve previously paired and shuffled. They have to figure out the pattern….

  • AJ Ellison

    Member
    November 7, 2021 at 2:06 pm

    I find that this key points in this lesson ebbs and flows in my classes depending on how comfortable the students are feeling with the content. On days where the content is difficult and students are struggling to find a path, my students have a more difficult time being vulnerable with each other and handling conflict. Those days require much more of me reassuring, praising progress, helping students find the next step on the path, and helping students manage their conflicts and insecurities. Those are difficult days but I am always super proud of the persistence students show in moving forward in constructing their math thinking. We often end those days with a quick consolidation of amazing strategies that were used and a round of applause for all the hard work.

    • Kyle Pearce

      Administrator
      November 8, 2021 at 6:37 am

      Great reflections here. I wonder if – even on days where content is more complex – There is a way to lower the floor to help more students enter into these tasks?

  • Sandhya Raman

    Member
    January 17, 2022 at 2:39 pm

    I love the highlight on collaboration. I recently read the book by Peter Ljedalh and I have brought some aspects of those into my classroom. I have seen a tremendous change in. enthusiasm, excitement, and overall curiosity- when the tasks are open-ended, when the “outcomes” are the same for different paths, and when the groups are visibly random.

    I am eager to bring in more feedback from the students as a daily routine- I am presently doing it on a weekly basis, and it feels good when they tell me what I can improve on.

    • Kyle Pearce

      Administrator
      January 22, 2022 at 7:31 am

      So fantastic to hear. Are you seeing any changes in sense making? Are students doing more of the thinking?

    • Sandhya Raman

      Member
      February 5, 2022 at 11:18 am

      Absolutely…..It is acumen-changing….I see deepeer conversations, more vocaublarly and most importantly, more questions….”what is that “thingy” called when we do this…..”…they are eager to make the connections.

      • Kyle Pearce

        Administrator
        February 7, 2022 at 6:40 am

        So amazing to hear. Keep it up my friend!

      • Virginia Hagman

        Member
        February 9, 2022 at 6:27 pm

        Sandhya, I’m noticing the same things. We utilized one of Ljedalh’s books to implement Thinking classrooms at my site, and I too am seeing a lot more enthusiasm and excitement. Further, I’m seeing a lot better engagement among special education students which is exciting. Even students with lower skills are able to engage in collaborative learning.

  • Virginia Hagman

    Member
    February 9, 2022 at 6:24 pm

    My big take away is that the collaborative learning is very effective for students. We have been utilizing collaborative learning this year in the math and science classes and I have noticed an increase of understanding and engagement. Utilizing the random grouping and hands on activities really helps students to increase depth of understanding.

  • Jeremy Sarzana

    Member
    March 12, 2022 at 1:55 pm

    My big takeaway is to build trust with students and build a community of psychological safety.

  • Philip Pittelli

    Member
    May 31, 2022 at 1:25 pm

    I feel like I do a good job of building a relationship with my students where they feel comfortable with me when they get something wrong. However, I’m not doing a good enough job of getting them to feel comfortable with each other. I do random groupings daily with google sheets, and when they are not with people they like they tend to just stare at the problem and do it by themselves rather than with the group. I need to work on building that trust within the class.

    • Jon

      Administrator
      June 1, 2022 at 6:59 am

      This takes time for sure. Sometimes doing short non-curricular group tasks or games at the board can help with building trust.

  • Terry Hill

    Member
    June 10, 2022 at 11:49 am

    I have looked at the sites you mentioned (and others which were linked to them) and have gotten some really great ideas on things to do to build a positive classroom culture.

  • Stephanie Pritchett

    Member
    July 1, 2022 at 3:46 pm

    I think all of those steps make sense to building good math teams. I read Peter Liljedahl’s book last year and used playing cards to adjust groups. I also used that to determine seating chart. I like the idea of sticks, especially because I teach resource math and my classes are not typically bigger than 15 students. Do you think the cards would work with small classes?