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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hit the Road Running: Step 3

The next step in planning for your school year is knowing your teacher assessment expectations. Educator evaluations many times contain criteria for planning.

In my state, the planning portion of the teacher effectiveness rubric makes up 10% of the total. That doesn't seem like much, but planning has a big impact on instruction, which carries a weight of 75%.

Five planning competencies are spelled out in my state rubric. Let's take a look at them and consider how this will affect the steps I take this summer:

  1. Utilize assessment data to plan
  2. Set ambitious and measurable goals
  3. Develop standards-based unit plans and assessments
  4. Create objective-driven lesson plans and assessments
  5. Track student data and analyze progress
Competencies 1, 2, and 5 deal with data for the specific students I will teach. Since I don't have a class list or data for my 2014-2015 class, the only competencies I'll need to consider this summer are 2 and 3.

Competency 3 asks me to use backward planning* to develop unit plans. I need to start with a standard, find or develop a summative assessment, and consider the student activities that I'll use to teach the concepts. In my state, teachers may achieve an "effective" rating by using ready-made units, but to be classified as "highly effective," they must create their own.

Competency 4 deals with creating plans for each individual lesson. For a "highly effective" rating, I'll need to include differentiation and formative assessment.

Teachers may ask, "Does this mean that I need to develop formal lesson plans for every lesson of every unit I teach?" No. You can use units written by others and/or textbook units. It's your job, however, to make sure the assessment reflects the standards and that each lesson prepares students for that assessment. To work toward a "highly effective" rating, start with one unit, develop it well, and then move on to the next one. You know that Rome wasn't built in a day, and creating unit plans is a time-consuming endeavor.

Checking my teacher assessment expectations steers me toward some important planning this summer. I need to look over the unit plans I already teach, think about what needs to be changed . . . and, if I'm ambitious, create one or two complete unit plans of my own.

There's no time like the present! Take a peek at the expectations for your evaluation, and make a plan!

*Backward planning is a term used in Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. Briefly, it means creating the assessment first then writing the unit plans.