In teaching, nothing's written in stone. Our plans need to be adjusted for student needs. Creating solid standards-based units and lessons is a great way to prepare for the year, but we must be ready, willing, and able to change them.
Beginning the year with summative pretests will let you know what big shifts need to take place. These pretests should include skills from your grade and skills from the grade before. This will let you know if you need to cancel entire units or add remedial units. It can really rock a teacher's world, but it's better to know and adjust up front.
Individual data will help you form flexible groups*. When the school year begins, you can use last year's data to get a feel for each student's present level. That way, you can provide appropriate materials and activities right off the bat. Groups should be flexible! As you collect more data and get to know your class, students may be shifted from one group to another.
Continuing to monitor students' progress will allow you to adapt instruction so that each student can reach new heights! Just remember "Goldilocks and the Three Bears": not too easy, not too hard, but just right!
I hope these eight steps will help you "Hit the Road Running"!
- Step 1: Know Your Standards
- Step 2: Know Your Student Assessment Standards
- Step 3: Know Your Teacher Assessment Expectations
- Step 4: Create a Long-Range Plan
- Step 5: Select and/or Create Summative Assessments
- Step 6: Select and/or Create Student Activities
- Step 7: Step It Up
- Step 8: Change and Rearrange
*A group simply refers to students who are working at the same level. This does not imply that students should be meeting together; instead, it means that they receive the same differentiation.