This past year I started reading Robert Marzano’s The Art and Science of Teaching to guide my instruction. So many aspects of that book spoke to me. I love the idea of having students use a four (or five) level rubric to assess themselves before, during, and after their learning of a specific standard. You can read more about how I incorporated Student Data Tracking Binders into my classroom HERE.
In many of my posts, and in my creating of Common Core I Can/We Can statements, I emphasize the importance of learning targets. These learning targets are so important for all of your students because they convey to your students a destination for their learning- what to learn, how deeply to learn it, and exactly how to demonstrate their new learning.
Without these specific learning targets and a precise description of where they are headed, many of our students are left flying blind.
“Regardless of how important the content, how engaging the activity, how formative the assessment, or how differentiated the instruction, unless all students see, recognize, and understand the learning target from the very beginning of the lesson, one factor will remain constant: The teacher will always be the only one providing the direction, focusing on getting students to meet the instructional objectives.” (Zimmerman 2001).
With your instruction, you first communicate your learning goals to your students, plan a guided learning activity that takes place in the classroom, and then plan for assignments that are engaged learning experiences to extend classroom learning.
In between these learning goals, learning activities, and assignments, you plan time for formative assessments. Formative assessments are so important throughout the learning of a unit or standard. They provide students with feedback during instruction or as the student learns, versus providing students with feedback after learning with a test at the end of a standard or a unit. With these formative assessments comes Marzano’s scales and my Levels of Understanding Posters and Rubrics. By using a scale, the teacher and the students have a clear direction about instructional targets as well as descriptions of levels of understanding and performance for those targets.
One question I had from a reader was, how do you communicate what these levels actually mean (or look like) to your students and parents? That’s a great question! To answer this, I created this cupcake/baking analogy that you can grab HERE:
Below are the Levels of Understanding Rubrics and Posters found in my store. Click each link below to read more about each poster and rubric pack.