Monday, 17 November 2014

What's an Assessment Blueprint? (and why you should use one)

After my third in-service with Jennifer Sparrow who's the director of teaching and learning at Singapore American School last weekend, I thought I'd share one of my big "take-aways" which an "assessment blueprint" which has been invaluable for designing assessments and learning activities around targeted standards.

What is an Assessment Blueprint?
An assessment blueprint is a document or spreadsheet which has the key verbs of the skills and knowledge that we want students to demonstrate after specific instruction. Although our curriculum is archived and housed in our Atlas Rubicon, the assessment blueprint helps me match up assessments with specific standards and learning activities to learning outcomes. Whereas Atlas Rubicon separates levels 1, 2, and 3 of the learning plan and separate sections for essential questions, skills and knowledge, an assessment blueprint makes lesson planning more streamlined.

In the example below, I've used Depth of Knowledge (DOK) verbs from level 1 to 4 to look for corollary verbs and skills that help me plan learning activities that scaffold up to more ingrained learning outcomes for a unit on simple machines. Blooms taxonomy also works well.

Add "Split Screen" for Helpfulness
What I find is a great web app for lesson planning is "split screen" that allows me to put an assessment blueprint alongside a lesson, assessment or DOK image as I'm developing it.

Comparing an assessment blueprint with DOK learning targets. 

Designing formative assessments with skills as outlined in an assessment blueprint 

Related Posts
Scaffolding Benchmarks with Blooms Taxonomy

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

3 Websites to Learn How Connected the World Really Is


I learned about tweetping at the first Vietnam Tech Conference two years ago, and it never fails to inspire me with a sense of awe. When you visit, you immediately see tweets from Twitter in real time by:

  • Continent
  • Hashtags
  • Mentions (@)

Over 7,000 tweets in a few minutes. Image courtesy of Tweetping

My awesome MS principal Molly introduced this to us at our last staff meeting. Hatnote gives a tone to all real time changes that are made on "wikipedia" with a melodious cacophony of sound. The differences of sounds are as follows:

  • "Bells" are when people add content and "stringed" sound are when editors take away content
  • Pitch is due to edits and the longer and deeper the tone, the more more grand the edit was
  • Purple circles to made by bots and green the undocumented users
You can select which countries' wikipedia amendments you want to listen to, and can select up to 33 different countries' wikipedia pages. It brought up many questions at our staff meeting such as "who is deciding what the bots should amend?" It's the sound of change, collaboration and crowdsourcing and yet makes one feel relaxed and inspired. 

Hatnote sounds and bubble in real time. Image courtesy of Hatnote

Flight 24 Radar

Flight 24 shows you what real time flight is like around the world complete with an airplane flight number, and location. Zoom in and out to identify traffic patterns, hubs and regions with high amounts of travellers.

Airplane locations during flights in real time. Image courtesy of Flight 24

Sunday, 2 November 2014

3 Literacy Activities for any Subject!

Our ESL department rocks. They led us on a whole morning of inservice back in early September and so many of their activities that they shared, I'm doing very systematically. What's best, most of these are pretty "short" so they're easy to use as a versatile warm-up and can be tailored to fit any discilipline and any age.

In this activity, students read a passage and then either in pairs or groups share 3 things they learned, 2 things they found interesting and 1 question they have.

Tell a Friend
For this, the teacher puts a quote or passage on the overhead but with some academic language underlined. With a partner, they "tell a friend" a translation of the passage using more friendly, easy-speak vocabulary that they would use to talk to a friend.

Vocabulary Slam
After finding a passage of text that fits your content for a particular lesson, paste it into the AWL highlighter website and then submit it to identify a list of academic word lists that students should practice using. Here is a sample google doc with spaces for class collaboration or small group discussion, feel free to steal!

Related posts
Supporting Reading Across any Subject with NewsELA and Diigo