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Legendary Lessons I Wish I’d Known My First Year of Teaching

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I recently spent time with my parents for our weekly lunch date. Amid our customary conversations about the state of our nation’s political system and where the best senior citizen lunch discounts can be found, we began to muse about life lessons that I had learned during my formative years. After much time had passed, these lessons (and the resulting consequences) are now looked back upon with some measure of fondness. But during the time they occurred, these lessons and consequences evoked the same emotional reaction as losing my favorite George Brett baseball card. Read more

Tips for Avoiding Mistakes Via Assessment Rigor

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Team-developed common formative assessments are the instrument utilized to make sure our students arrive at the destination they should. Formative assessments help us identify by the student, by . . . Read more

Three Reasons Your Team Needs Common Summative Assessments

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A hallmark feature of a PLC-based school is that everything is focused on learning. The three big ideas of a PLC—(1) focus on learning; (2) build a collaborative culture; and (3) create a . . . Read more

Using PLC Organization to Align CCSS, Instructional Frameworks, and Teacher Evaluation

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Recently, a frustrated teacher sat with me and shared her overwhelming feelings of inadequacy. Her school district had recently adopted an instructional framework for teaching and modified the . . . Read more

The Next Generation Assessments: How Will They Change Assessment Practices?

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Collaborative teams of teachers across the country are engaged in a process to deeply understand the new standards. They are unwrapping, prioritizing, and determining the depth of knowledge . . . Read more

Don’t Forget the Most Important People in a PLC

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The teacher sitting in front of me at a recent workshop looked crestfallen! I empathized with her right away because I had felt her pain when I was teaching elementary students. I knew exactly what . . . Read more

Data-Informed Versus Data-Driven PLC Teams

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One of the three big ideas of a professional learning community calls for us to be data driven. A recent blog raised an interesting perspective when it was suggested that we should be more . . . Read more

PLC Teams Discussing the Common Core

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A number of collaborative teams in PLC schools across the country are waging quality conversations as they begin to feel the implications and mandates of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) on . . . Read more

New Twists on the Old Exam Week

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Over the past few years, our district and our school staff have been working to improve our assessment practices. Most of this has been centered around AFL: Assessment for Learning. In our high . . . Read more

Q&A: Rick DuFour’s Response to a Question on Formative Assessment

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Last week, educate4life posted the following comment on Grading Formative and Summative Assessments by Rick DuFour: I am new to this forum but stumbled upon this thread. I am a high school mathematics teacher... Read more

Our State Adopted the Common Core Standards—Now What?

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Many schools and districts that have been implementing the PLC process are now wondering how to respond to the new Common Core Standards that their states have adopted. They’ve worked hard to . . . Read more

Moving School Improvement Into the Classroom With SMART Goals

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School districts across the United States are faced with improving achievement for all students. The complexity of this issue has resulted in the expansion of organized walkthroughs taking place . . . Read more

Are Your Assessments Good, Not So Good, or . . . Great?

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“What does a good formative assessment look like?” “Can you please show us some examples?” These are the types of questions that often surface as collaborative teams in PLC schools delve into the work of... Read more

Teaching vs. Learning: How Assessment Informs Instruction

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One of the most overlooked and understated aspects of the common formative assessment process and the role these assessments play in a professional learning community has to be the degree to which . . . Read more

Eliminating Bias in Grading: Teachers Collaborate on Student Assessments

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The work of a professional learning community team is never done. Instead, teachers continuously navigate the world of standards, assessments, interventions, and extensions, using inquiry in an informed way to improve student learning. They begin a journey that becomes… Read more