Mirror, Mirror…


Sherman Dorn: UTLA and “benchmark” or “periodic” testing had this great post on assessment where he argued for more formative (informal, observational, feedback) assessment. I’ve shared my opinion that formative assessment is better than summative, and portfolios are better than standardized tests. I also talked about how workers are assessed based on my experience, and my interview with my bil. Word now comes that businesses are rethinking “once a year” assessment, Companies Rethink Annual Performance Reviews : NPR. These may not be the same corporate types that have fallen in love with “school accountability” in the form of testing, but if businesses prefer what we would call formative assessment (referred to as feedback in this piece), why shouldn’t schools?

Another lovely piece, hyper(con)text: an allusion is a link, but a link is not an allusion at Higher Edison discusses both hypertext as allusion, but in the context of traditional teaching of classics to build a background to understand allusions in other works. Scott’s point? This older practice of teaching classics, to build a context to understand allusions in great works builds thinking in a way that handing an allusion to someone on a silver platter doesn’t. Then into my reader pops, Now That’s Leverage < Do I Dare Disturb the Universe? where another Scott argues for learning about books by doing a version of a jigsaw, where each student takes a part of the reading, then reports out to the group giving a summary. So you read your book, but not all the books, but everyone at least gets a summary of the other books they didn’t read. They use Google to share the summaries and information (that’s the new part). I had suggested in my comments to Higher Edison that I thought the method of studying classics,  is good, but I think it’s rapidly becoming harder and harder to read all the “classics”, and having someone else give you the summary, and point out the allusions, is fine, as long as you know how to do this yourself. You may not be able to do it for all the classics, but you do have a chance at doing some of them. To me, learning how to do the thinking and analysis, is more important that the knowledge of it all.

Okay, enough of the grown-up stuff, here’s what’s new with the kids. I’ve started using the “threaded” comments option on Edublogs, and BOY IS IT WORTH IT! Here is an example, from my first stab at this with sixth graders:

julie x.

What I think, is going right in Oak Park is at school.
At school, they have nice things, they treat people nicely, and all kind of things. The thing that needs my need is my family. My family can’t live without me because they need me. I would never let my family down. This is what I think about needs, and what is nice.

  • elizabethv Reply:
    i think you are right about what you have said.But it was very good and i would think about it sometimes.
  • Xian L. Reply:
    Great job Julie, but I think you should add more detail on your school.

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