40 Creative Ways to Assess without Being An Ass


Teachers. I beg of you. Don’t let them redefine education.

Here is the definition of the word “assessment”

assessment

See that. An evaluation of the nature, quality, or ability of someone. Example given is perfectly clear:  “a teacher’s assessment”.

But, look at today’s colleges … look at the new definition of assessment:

assessment 2

Assessment is the process of gathering data?

Says who?

Pearson?

Since when is an evaluation of someone’s nature or ability reduced to the gathering of data? Since when is that OK?

And, since when do we need to hire a company to score our children, especially a company making revenues off our children to the tune of 8.2 billion dollars?

Billions. Seriously?

Do we not trust our teachers? I know I do.

Granted, I am a teacher, so some might say that makes me biased, but fact is, like a cook in his own restaurant, I am actually more critical. I’ve been in the kitchen, you know?

But, I trust the teachers who commit their lives to teaching my children. And, if I don’t, I trust my administration to help me find a suitable match. And, if they don’t, I trust my school board to handle the situation and to offer me choices. And, if they don’t, I trust the public to vote in folks who will. You get the picture?

I trust the humans in my community to help me raise my children. I don’t trust Pearson. If I did, my children wouldn’t be in public schools, they would be in Pearson schools.

Get it?

I trust the system. I don’t trust Pearson.

Do you? I mean, seriously teachers … you’ve seen the tests.

So, why give data mongers and big billionaires like Pearson all the control?

We have other choices. Trust yourself. Speak Up.

Speak up in meetings. Speak up in PLC. Speak up at your school boards. Speak up in your media. Speak up.

PS – Here are the 40 Ways to Assess without Being An Ass. Can you add to the list? Comment below:

Via TeachHub: 

When people think of assessment, pencils and bubble sheets may be the first things that come to mind. Assessment does not always have to involve paper and pencil, but can instead be a project, an observation, or a task that shows a student has learned the material.

In the end, all we really want to know is that the skill was mastered, right?  Why not make it fun and engaging for students as well?

Many teachers shy away from alternative assessments because they take extra time and effort to create and to grade. On the other hand, once the assessment guidelines and grading rubric are created, it can be filed away and used year after year.

The project card and rubric can be run on card stock (one on each side of the page), laminated, and hole punched with other alternative assessment ideas.  Keep them all together in a binder or with an o-ring.  Assessment just became a snap!

Here are 40 alternative assessment ideas to get you started!

Alternative Assessments

 

1. Bookmark

Create a bookmark to match the theme of the last book read.

 

2. Time Capsule

Put together a group of 5 things from the story of the week.

 

3. Stuffed Animal

Students can make a stuffed animal that matches the theme of the story read.

 

4. Business Card

Summarize the story by designing a business card (this will be harder than it sounds).

 

5. Radio Show

Create a radio program that is set in the same time as the book.

 

6. Recipe

Make a recipe (or just the instructions) for something that a character in the story might make.

 

7. Paper Doll

More geared towards the younger set, this activity involves creating paper dolls and costume changes for the characters in the story.

 

8. Wanted Poster

Make a wanted poster for the antagonist in the book.

 

Alternative Writing Assessments

 

9. Eulogy

Write a eulogy for a word that is overused in the student’s own writing samples.

 

10. Infomercial

Students will tape a segment that uses persuasion.

 

11. Bumper Sticker

Design a bumper sticker with a catchy slogan for each of the writing genres.

 

12. PowerPoint

Pairs can create a slideshow about their writing process from start to finish.

 

13. Newscast

Students can form teams to create a news program about writing conventions (run-on sentences, spacing, punctuation, etc.)

 

14. Comic Strip

Draw a comic strip that shows examples of figurative language.

 

15. Brochure

Create a brochure that explains the steps involved when writing for different audiences.

 

16. Survey

Create a survey of students’ favorite writing styles or writing pet peeves.  Make a graph that explains the results.

 

Alternative Math Assessments

 

17. Acrostic Poem

Using one math term, such as geometry or algebra, make an acrostic poem.

 

18. Internet Resource List

Students will find a list of websites that explain the current math concepts correctly.

 

19. Readers’ Theater

Perform a readers’ theater that is all about the current topic.

 

20. Crossword Puzzle

Use the vocabulary from the assessed chapter to create a crossword puzzle, including the design and matching clues.

 

21. Scrapbook Page

Each student makes a page that describes a certain vocabulary word. Combine them to provide a future review tool for students.

 

22. Paint By Number

More artistically-inclined students may want to create a paint by number portrait that includes math terms and examples. They can also write and solve problems that match the paint-by-number answers.

 

23. Pattern

Find a pattern in the current math unit that can be explained.

 

24. Collage

Using magazines, students can cut up and paste math strand examples.

 

Alternative Science Assessments

 

25. Help Wanted Ad

Write an ad to find a “professor” who can help to explain the subject at hand.

 

26. Singing Telegram

More musically-inclined students may love to create a song about the latest chapter.

 

27. Calendar

Mark on a calendar (paper or electronic copy) the time frame for how long it takes to see changes in a scientific event (such as erosion or plants growing).

 

28. Diary

Pen a diary entry from a famous scientist.

 

29. Advice Column

Students write advice to an “anonymous friend” who has a scientific problem that needs solved.

 

30. Trivia Game

Students create the questions (and answers) that will be used in a review game.

 

31. T-shirt

Design a t-shirt that matches the current science concepts.

 

32. Experiment

No explanation needed for this one.

 

Alternative Social Studies Assessments

 

33. Cheer

Compose a cheer for someone in history who has struggled through something in your latest unit.

 

34. Fashion Sketch

Draw an example of what a person would wear from the era being studied.

 

35. Toy

Create a drawing (or a prototype) of a toy that might have been used from the children of that specific time period.

 

36. Documentary

Recreate an important historical event.

 

37. Family Tree

Research the family tree of a famous historical person.

 

38. Time Line

Students create a class timeline as they study different eras.  Post the master time line up in the classroom and add as new eras are learned.

 

39. Speech

Memorize and recite an important historical speech.

 

40. Museum Exhibit

Students each create a museum “artifact” and set them up in the classroom as a museum, where they will stand next to their artifact to explain and answer questions from visitors.  Invite other classes or parents to come do a walkthrough of your museum.

 

Woops. Did I say ass?

ass

I meant to say boycott.

#MyBad

—-

For more GatorBonBC Snark – Check out GrassRoots Mom Podcast

 

 

 

The Real Reason You Don’t Want President Obama to Pick the Next Supreme Court Justice


OK. Let me just put this out there. I’m guessing since I’ve been a card carrying, blue dog democrat, for decades, I have earned the right to say it. So here goes.

I hope the Republicans do block President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination.

Yup. I don’t trust him. I did once.

I definitely don’t anymore.

Go ahead. Attack away at me for saying it. But, tell me this.

Do you trust a man who gave you Rahm Emmanuel, Arne Duncan, The Race to the Top, and John King?

Nope. Neither do I.

rahm

#JustCountingDownTheDays

For more snark by GatorbonBC, check out my podcast: GrassRoots Mom

Are You Kidding Me? Here’s Where You Can Put Those Test Scores …


Listen. The tests are a joke. We all know it. Our children are suffering. Our schools are falling apart. Our teachers are quitting in droves. It is time to do something. Will you?

Here is my state: The Florida Standards Assessment test questions were rented from Utah for 5.4 million after Utah realized the test was so bad, they threw it out. Then, Florida computer systems crashed for weeks making testing a complete joke. You remember the posts. Now, 11 months later and 2 weeks before the kids start testing again, they finally release scores … and people care what grade their school got?

Are you kidding me?

Listen.

Wherever you live, do this instead … call every news station, every news paper, and every politician running their mouth about school testing grades, and give them the hell. Flood their emails. Tie up their networks and media pages with opposition until they stop or step up.

That’s how.

Here are some contacts to get you started:

For all elected officials, go here.

Orlando Sentinel
633 N Orange Ave
Orlando, FL 32801-1325
407-420-5000 – Telephone
407-420-5350 – Fax
Facebook Fan Page (Here)
Twitter Feed (Here)
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Instagram (Here)

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Magazines

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Statewide  Fabulous Florida
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Statewide  Florida Law Journal (F) (V)
Statewide  Florida Monthly Magazine (T)
Statewide  Florida Sportsman (F) (T) (V)
Statewide  Florida Travel and Life (F) (T)
Statewide  Southern Boating (F)
Statewide  The Beachside Resident (F) (T)
Statewide  WebCoast

College Newspapers

Embry-Riddle  Avion (F)
Florida A&M Univ  The Famuan Online (F) (T) (V)
Florida Atlantic Univ  University Press (F) (T) (V)
Florida Colleges  Between Classes Magazine (F) (T) (V)
Florida State Univ  FSView (F) (T) (V)
Florida Tech  The Crimson (F) (T)
Univ of Central Florida  Central Florida Future (F) (T)
Univ of FL – Gainsville  Independent Alligator (F) (T)
Univ of Miami  Miami Hurricane (F) (T)
Univ of South Florida  The Oracle (F) (T) (V)
Univ of Tampa  The Minaret (F) (T)
University of North Florida  Spinnaker (F) (T) (V)

Make that call.
stupid
The Best Link On This Page? Here it is … United Opt Out. Know Your Options. 
Fan of Snark? Catch more GatorBonBC on her podcast: GrassRoots Mom

Terrible Teacher Thoughts. Can I Tweet That?


You know the story.

Room full of teachers. Data abound.

One teacher seems to take charge. The enthusiasm is nauseating.

A few teachers are sneaking glances at their phone. A few are watching … waiting.

The directions continue:

“Use the testing printouts to identify students who have not made gains, highlight the standards that show a need for “aggressive intervention” then test those students by …”

Here it comes. That one teacher, you know the one, interrupts …

“But, what if we are not sure the data is correct? Have you read some of those test questions … I just don’t think …”

The interruption is cut short:

“Well, we are supposed to go over the data. It’s not our problem. Plus, it’s not up to us, they said they wanted us to …”

Again, with that one teacher:

“Who is they?”

Back and forth, the buck gets passed.

Fortunately for the cellphone crew, the clock strikes done. Folks start packing up to go.

But, that one teacher persists …

“What if we create a way to show proof for the standard. For example, what if I have a student write a paper analyzing the novel we are reading. If the student cites the text correctly, and analyzes the text effectively, I can say the student met the standard. Right? Why does it have to be a multiple choice test?”

Everyone stops packing and looks up in unison. For a second, joined in hope …

“Because that’s not data. How will we prove they learned without the data?”

There. It. Is. Data. Of course. Somehow, schools have been reduced to spreadsheets.

Hope gone. Folks start packing up again. Nothing clears a room of teachers like data.

lies

Long live the test …

#TerribleTeacherThoughts

#BeThatOneTeacher

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Things That Make You Say Meh. #TestingFUps by GatorBonBC


Some of my favorites …

Oh Your data wall is so pretty! The high level kids are butterflies and the low level kids are worms. How cute! Oh? Those are caterpillars? Oh, Of course …

 

Spreadsheets are my life. Ask me for a benchmark, I will print you a pile of proficiency before you can say jebs a jerk 5 times fast …

 

Today, kids, we will practice three important lockdowns that could save our lives … tornado lockdown, intruder lockdown, and testing lockdown.

 

But, I don’t understand? How do you show the kid met the benchmark without data?

 

This test is transformative, I tell ya… It will teach me how to be a better teacher. I just know it will.

 

I’m concerned. You’re 1st grader is not college and career ready. We recommend tutoring and soon …

 

You don’t have a choice.

 

No choice? Meh. I bet I do ….

For more GatorbonBC ranting, follow me at Grassroots Mom Podcast

feet

Eat a biscuit. It’ll be OK… 

The article on the unions and opt out that they wouldn’t print.


As always Fred, perfect.

Fred Klonsky

The editors of the journal Monthly Review requested the following article and then decided not to print it. I reprinted their raggedy explanation letter in the previous post.

The balancing act between defending the Common Core State Standards and supporting  member concerns about the amount of standardized assessments and national testing we and our students have had to endure has been a difficult trick for both the American Federation of Teachers and the larger National Education Association.

It is difficult because curriculum and assessment are not fundamentally divisible. It helps to understand the process if you conceptualize curriculum, instruction and assessment as a spiral rather than linear. The conceptual difference between a spiral and a straight line is the kind of thing that is more likely to be discussed in a university seminar than at a union convention.

For the two national teacher unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the…

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State of the Union in Schools #SOTU 2016


State of the Union in Schools?

We are still testing, and we still don’t know why.

We left the children behind as we raced to the top, just to land on ESSA, which is really just ASSE backwards…

Too many educators have lost their will to want better. Too many parents have lost the desire.

Our unions look more like cheer clubs, our Boards look more like boardrooms, and It is hard to tell Congress from a corporation.

State of the Union in Schools?

We have traded creative for common …
autonomy for accountability …
and dignity for data.

rodney respect

Stand up. ‪#‎SOTU2016‬

To listen in to my State of the Union in Schools Podcast, check out my Grassroots Mom Channel .

 

Get on the Bus? I’ll Pass – Why I Am NOT Attending Florida Teacher Union Rally in Tally Next Week.


Enough is enough, they claim. Florida’s state teacher union, FEA, is hosting a rally against high stakes testing next week in Tallahassee, Florida. I guess holding up signs against testing in front of the Capitol is their idea of action. Get on the bus, their signs declare.

I’ll pass.

Yea. Yea. I know I will take a heap of crap for this post, but meh. It is what it is.

Why am I not jumping on the bus? Um. Been there, done that. Need more.

Honestly, FEA could have hosted this rally 3 years ago and I would have made sure to fill their buses with my teacher and parent friends. I would have made the signs and MC’d the rally. Those days are over.

My opinion? FEA elected leadership is bringing too little, too late to this game. We are past that. We don’t want a rally. We want action. We want to see our union leadership speaking, vehemently, against the overtesting, class size violations, loss of workplace autonomy, scripted curriculum and stagnant salaries.

Enough is enough. Your members have spoken. Think twice about ignoring our passed NBI’s calling for robocalls to parents instructing them of their rights to opt out. Think twice about endorsing candidates like Charlie Crist and Hillary Clinton, without giving a rat’s ass about members.

Enough of playing politics with local elections. Enough of acting like the corporate sell outs we fight.

Come on back down to grassroots. Enough truly is enough.

 

bruh button

More here. #TakeBackYourUnions

https://www.wevideo.com/view/486252345

https://gatorbonbc.wordpress.com/2015/10/14/how-bout-dem-apples-whose-union-is-it-teachers-ours/

Bruh. End the Insanity — Book 2 of Seeking Ms. Sandy Series. COMING SOON !


I have started part 2 of my book series, the sequel to ‘Meh. When A Teacher Shrugs’. My second novel will be entitled, ‘Bruh. End the Insanity’.

Why bruh?

‘Bruh’ is an idiom that teens use when frustrated. For instance, when someone says something ridiculous, these days, a teenager will often respond with a simple one liner,  ‘bruh’.

From the Urban Dictionary:

BRUH

Term used to describe something unbelievable or unjust. Also used to describe reaction to something ridiculously crazy.

Another way of saying really, or seriously.
Teen 1: What’s Obama’s last name?
Teen 2: Bruh.

 

Bruh is the perfect idiom for my second novel. In this sequel, our two teen heroes will take their fight against high stakes testing to their local school board, hitting a wall of resistance (sound familiar?) …

bruh button

‘Bruh.  End The Insanity’ is their story, my story, our story. 

#ComingSoon – join my mailing list for sneak previews and free offers! Also, find me as Margo Lynne Facebook on Facebook.

Margolynne.com

 

Florida: This Child Says the Tests Are Pointless


My kid made Ravitch’s blog. Opting Out Out Loud! #SpeakUp

Diane Ravitch's blog

Bonnie Cunard Margolin is a blogger and parent activist in Florida. Her daughter did not take the state and local tests, and her mom is very proud of her.

Margolin writes:

This year, I have opted my 6th grade daughter out of all district and state testing. So, yesterday and today, while her classmates were taking the district test/ practice FSA writing assessment, she wrote an essay, on her own, instead. Here it is.
Julianne M. Cunard

ELA 6 ADV
18 September 2015
Testing: I Can Do the Math.
Learning is not just about taking a test. It is about understanding a lesson, not about sitting at a desk for hours, failing as you go. If you wanted to educate children, why is there an FSA, FCAT, FAIR, PARCC, LSAT, MCAT? What do all of these words mean to you? Is standardized testing effective in education? I can tell you…

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