Formative Assessment: An Introduction

There’s a term that has been floating among educators for some time, and it’s called formative assessment. I’ve been asked by many teachers about formative assessment and how it can be used in their classrooms to improve their students’ writing. In my next blog series, I’d like to share with you the what, why, and how of formative assessment. Let’s start off with the basics first to get our feet wet. I’ll dive into the nitty gritty for you in three more follow-up blog posts.

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4 Tips to Prepare Students for On-Demand Writing

Have you ever worked hard at teaching your class something only to discover that they don’t apply that learning on the test? I’ve noticed many students seem to struggle with on-demand writing during test taking.

On-demand writing: a situation in which students are presented with a prompt (question or scenario) and are given a specific time limit to complete it.

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3 Secrets to Great Conferences with Young Writers

Conferencing with the teacher is a time of personalized coaching and encouragement for students practicing Common Core Standard writing skills. Conferencing individualizes instruction and reinforces new skills, ultimately helping K-5 students discover their power as writers.

“Teaching writing must become more like coaching a sport and less like presenting information. You have to do more than call out the errors.”

~Lucy Calkins

Conferencing lies at the heart of effective writing instruction. Why?

Because writing, unlike other subjects, offers no single correct answer. In some ways, writing is like playing a sport. You have to put a variety of skills together to hit the target. As teachers, we demonstrate the rules of the game and guide our students in strengthening their performance. Like the coach who offers personalized advice to help each athlete improve, we give individualized feedback that accelerates learning. Continue reading “3 Secrets to Great Conferences with Young Writers”