Leadership magazine March/April 2017 V46 No. 4 - Page 21

been mastered . The wait for official data means missed opportunities to teach and adjust instruction appropriately , ensuring that everyone is learning . If teachers know during class time how their students are comprehending and applying the instruction , they can make instructional moves in accordance to this information .
I empower teacher leaders and coaches to train teachers in simple , yet transformative instructional strategies that check for student understanding . The goal is to help teachers consistently gauge how much each student has previously retained and how much they are currently learning so that they make decisions that instantly meet the needs of our students . There are three strategies we use to help transform classrooms into data-driven , rigorous and high-achieving environments :
1 . Do nows
These are daily , formative assessments given to students immediately upon the start of a class in either an electronic or paper format . These assessments typically feature two to three questions taking students anywhere from three to ten minutes to complete . This is different than traditional “ bell work ,” basic class work given as a management routine at the start of a day . These assessments are strategically created to give teachers two immediate sources of data . First , by asking a question that was from material students learned the day before , teachers can ascertain what was retained from the previous lesson . If the majority of the students get this question wrong , the teacher can then re-teach it to the entire class , or provide a refresher for a small group of students . Mastery is imperative , especially if the previous day ’ s objective is the foundation for today ’ s learning . Second , by asking a “ new ” question that addresses the objective for that day ’ s lesson , a teacher can determine what the class already knows about the topic .
To gain in-the-moment data from Do Nows , the teacher must continuously scan and document while students are completing the task . I have seen teachers do this effectively by keeping a checklist on a clipboard where they quickly document students ’ accuracy on the “ review question ” and “ new question .“ The teacher is able to quickly gauge the understanding of the class before charging ahead .
As a new concept to teachers , they are often alarmed if a preliminary check shows 50 % of their students unable to correctly answer the review question . I remind them that they cannot solve a problem if they don ’ t know it exists , and with this data , they can make the necessary adjustments .
2 . 60-second check-ins
Another efficient and effective way to know if teachers are “ on the right path ” is to engage students in quick , 60-second checkins . By scanning student responses in real time , teachers can use these benchmarks to determine if they need to re-teach a concept or clarify any misconceptions .
Strategically , these check-ins must be purposely planned and aligned to the objective that was just covered . A teacher may ask March | April 2017 21