2019 Goals – Speaking & Listening

Another goal for 2019 is to locate and develop resources strategies around our Speaking and Listening standards. This is urgent for three main reasons. First and foremost, we know that speaking and listening are key literacy and life pieces. To produce the citizens of tomorrow, it is imperative that we teach them to be effective speakers and active listeners. In looking at the 2020 Top 10 Job Skills prediction, it would seem that consistent instruction and application of listening and speaking would greatly benefit our students.

Second, our new report card includes a grade area for listening and speaking. So, our teachers are actively seeking support and professional development to help them assess these standards.

Last, our test scores indicate that there is a need for better understanding about the listening standards. While I feel the need to make it clear – summative test scores are a snapshot and absolutely do not solely define the child – I do think they are valuable to use in making programmatic decisions. It would be unfortunate for our students to have low scores simply because we didn’t analyze the situation and identify causal factors.

As a result, a group of coaches and I are planning an optional, introductory PD to these standards. Although the idea of listening and speaking is not new – consider our EL supports and PD over the past several years – we recognize the need give sharper focus to these standards. After a solid brainstorming session today we realize that even two hours doesn’t seem like enough. How do we include information about SBAC, ELPAC, the CCSS, prior ELD strategies that could be brought back, resources that are available, resources that we have created, our new report card, and of course the classroom management challenges that speaking and listening can bring?

We are particularly inspired by three Teaching Channel videos:

  • Listening & Speaking: Formative Assessment – in this video, the teacher uses a checklist during an academic conversation in order to record who is meeting the learning targets of the conversation. Simple, low prep activity with high engagement, that is rooted in the standards.
  • Evidence Based Academic Discussion – this is the “prequel” to the prior video, showing how the teacher set up the conversation so that students came to the circle prepared for discussion. In the “exit ticket” there is space at the bottom for students to reflect after the conversation – a great way to look for evidence of listening (since a look on the face can be deceiving!)
  • Formative Assessment: Collaborative Discussions – we were hooked in this video by the use of the poster to help students organize their thinking during their discussions.

We continue to look for formative assessment ideas around the speaking and listening standards that are easy to use and provide good feedback for next steps in instruction. Any suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

2019 Goals – Intervention

I’m not sure this blog post is appropriately titled! These may still be wishes at this point, or maybe better termed focus areas for 2019. The plan is in process.

Response to Intervention

I started to title this “Intervention” but I can’t make that a focus. Because high quality first instruction is so critical, that I can’t think about intervention without making sure that I’m supporting high quality first instruction. Any time intervention comes up, I need to remind myself and others that first we teach and teach well.

So with that said, assuming excellent high quality first instruction, we can reasonably expect RTI to look like this pyramid. I like this one because it looks at academic and behavioral instruction, even though the focus of my work is generally academic. The MTSS model as explained in PBIS.org.

We cannot throw around interventions like spaghetti, hoping they stick to the wall. So my plan for 2019 is to investigate assessments that will best target our goals. In the DuFour PLC model, this would revolve around the question, “How will we know if they’ve learned it?”

Assessments we currently have in place universally in our district for K-6 ELA include:

  • Spelling Inventory
  • Fluency
  • K1 Phonemic Awareness
  • K1 Phonics

We also have a decision making tree to help decide what other assessments might help us target need. The plan for 2019 is to continue to guide thinking around these assessments, and coach teachers in understanding the results of these assessments, as well as planning for intervention based on the results.

Assessments we have in place universally in our district for K-6 Math include:

  • <This space intentionally left blank.>

So there is clearly a need to understand math assessment and intervention. The plan for 2019 then is to understand the first two PLC questions, “What do we want them to learn?” and “How do we know if they’ve learned it?” My first step in understanding is to look at two common statements I hear from teachers – “They don’t know their math facts.” and “They can’t do our work because they are low.”

For the first question, we want them to know their facts, but we don’t know if they’ve learned them. So I’m going to investigate Math Running Records in more depth, with a couple of specific classes. We will do running records for the entire class, and look at trends as well as possible interventions.

For the second question, I’m curious about how we define “low” as well as how we can have student access grade level math despite any areas of need. One of the projects I’m looking into was something Graham Fletcher brought up last summer at the Virtual Math Institute called the Georgia Numeracy Project. I’m going to adopt a couple of classes with this as well, to see how we might use the materials to specifically identify areas of intervention and thus maximize our intervention results.

Phew…and I’m just getting started on 2019 Goals. 🙂 It’s going to be a great year! Any advice on high quality first instruction or targeted intervention is welcomed in the comments!