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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

How Have You Bloomed This Year?

In North America, it is the end of one year. It will be the beginning of another school year before we know it. 

As teachers engage in ‘end of year’ activities, we reflect back and plan forward for next year. They are having students do the same. 
Celeste Krochak, when teaching Grade One students in Winnipeg, invited the students to consider how they had "bloomed." She began by reading Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus.
She asked them to reflect, How have you bloomed this year in Grade One? 

Students shared lots of ideas. 

Then Celeste had them collect the evidence that they had bloomed – "What is something you did when you first were in Grade One? How can you show that you have bloomed?"

Students thoughtfully examined their work from the year. 

'What did they used to read? What can they now read?'

'How have they grown as a writer?'

They selected the 'before' and 'after' evidence of their blooming in a few areas of their learning.

It was so wonderful to see how the students had bloomed!

Teachers get to bloom too! It is one of the best parts of being a teacher. We are also learners. That's why this is the time of year when teachers ask, “What did I do well? What would I do differently? What will I do next year?”

Teachers know the research evidence regarding the powerful impact of classroom assessment is vast. We know that when students are involved in the process of assessment they learn more. 

This means that while the work teachers do related to assessment and evaluation makes a difference, the largest gains result from the work teachers engage students in doing. It is easier to say than to do. That's why we celebrate the changes we've made to our practice and we plan to continue to improve.

When reflecting on the actions taken to involve students in classroom assessment during the past year, there are seven questions educators are asking themselves:

  1. Was each student involved in the assessment process?
  2. Did each student know the learning destination?
  3. Were there samples or models to help them understand quality and development?
  4. Did students participate in the co-construction of criteria?
  5. Were students supported to be involved in relevant and realistic self- and peer assessment?
  6. Were students collecting, selecting, reflecting, and projecting (setting goals) based on evidence of their learning?
  7. Did each student communicate his/her learning to others, both formally and informally?

As you reflect, consider using this simple frame: 

I bloomed! I know this because...
Next year I plan to bloom MORE! I plan to...

And, like Celeste’s students, challenge yourself to find the ‘before’ and ‘after’ proof of blooming. 

Then, celebrate the blooming you’ve done! And, put your reflection and the evidence of your blooming into your professional portfolio.

Congratulations on another GREAT year of making a difference!

All our best,

Anne, Sandra, and Brenda

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