Episode 94: Formative Assessment in the Classroom, Part 2

March 30, 2016


The riddle asks you what purposeful, not graded and used to adjust instruction have to do with 
American Idol…? 

Do you know?

Before we take a deep dive into the answer let's first revisit my definition of formative assessment ….

Formative assessment is the purposeful use of activities that will not be graded that will reveal to the teacher what the kids know and don’t know. The results of these activities will be used to adjust instruction to help the kids develop a better understanding, overcome confusion, or move on because they already get it. 


To understand formative assessment you must understand what it is. 

To know what formative assessment is you must know what purposeful, not graded, and used to adjust instruction mean. 

So do you? By the way, you can't use the terms to define themselves.

Hang on a second, I also want you to know what these words have in common with the television show American Idol....hmmm. What do you think the answer is?

Well, this is what we talk about today.

Take the understanding of the what to help you learn that it is important to find out what the kids know and don't know.

Forget that there might be someone telling you that you have to start using formative assessment...
and instead, know that formative assessment is one of those tools that every teacher should master to help to get to know what the kids know and don't know.

You should use it because you are trying to help all kids to achieve their dreams. The only way to do this is to learn as much about the child as possible, hence...ta-da! Formative assessment to the rescue.

At the conclusion of today's show, you should be ready to get some tools to put to use in your classroom to better know what your kids know and don't know. (Ha...How's that for using one word way too many times?)

Thanks for being here!

Next week I will share many different ways of knowing what your kids know and don't know.

See you!
Length: 15:05

Episode 93: Formative Assessment for the Classroom, part 1

March 22, 2016


What is formative assessment?

Let’s use a simplistic working definition

Formative assessment is the purposeful use of activities that will not be graded that will reveal to the teacher what the kids know and don’t know. The results of these activities will be used to adjust instruction to help the kids develop a better understanding, over-come confusion, or move on because they already get it. 


“Why you need to use formative assessment.”

Here is a short list of a few of the many characters who might remind you of some of the kids in your classes:

1.       Mr. or Ms.  Compliant- This is the kid who will do whatever you ask. Just tell him/her what to do.

2.       The Recluse- Leave me alone. Let me be. If you push to get me involved I will probably just ignore you and not really try.

3.       The Answerer- has all of the answers and is usually correct. Wants to answer every question.

4.       The Comedian- Looks for opportunities to make everyone laugh sometimes appropriate often times not.

5.       The Disruptor- Seeks to take advantage of keeping the teacher off task and trying to find out what buttons can be pushed and how far he can go before he is really in trouble.

6.       The Questioner-She/he usually has very high grades and wants to know more. This child always is ready with a question that will probably try your knowledge of the content. Has the greatest opportunity for driving you nuts because you know he/she will have a question.

7.       Love Struck- This child is off in neverland dreaming about holding hands and cuddly stuff. He/she is often doodling, writing letters and really not on this planet.


Kids are not machines or blocks of marble. Machines can have a bolt tightened or a chip inserted to improve performance. Marble can have a little chipped off here and a little there and suddenly voila! A masterpiece! They are living, thinking beings who can have bad and good days. They can get lost in daydreams and their own agendas. Therefore, it is important to plan for opportunities to see what they understand and what they are not getting.

This is why you need to use formative assessments. You have all of the characters I outlined plus so many more in your classes and they need you to break the code. They need you to figure out what they know and don't know. They need you to help them develop a better understanding of the content.

Are you using formative assessments?

If not, I will soon link you to some great techniques and support for getting started and continuing to use them.

Don't wait! Start now! 

Thanks for listening.

By the way, this is part one of three.

Stay tuned for the next chapter of Formative Assessment in the Classroom.

Length: 12:09

Episode 92: Ernie Lee - 2016 Georgia Teacher of the Year

March 14, 2016


Ernie is the 2016Georgia Teacher of the Year.


He is a history, civics, and government teacher at WindsorForest High School in Savannah, Georgia.

When Ernie turned 50 he left his world of law to become a public school teacher.

He always knew he would become a teacher but only after being a lawyer. Throughout his previous career, he kept thinking, “What have I done to make a difference in my community?”


This thought helped to push him make the change.

Ernie is fun to talk with and you will hear his energy and focus on kids, immediately.

One of the areas we talk about before we get into teaching is his experiences from substituting and its impact on his classroom mannerisms.


Listen for him to also mention the importance of building relationships with the kids.

One of Ernie’s strategies for connecting with the kids is standing at the door, greeting the kids with a smile and practicing active listening. (He explains this.)

Ernie describes the importance of learning and using the kids’ names.

We get into his favorite teaching strategies, how he hooks them into the lessons, and how he helps the kids to “get it.” We also talk about what his ideal classroom would like as well as what advice he would give to brand new teachers.

I hope that you will think about what has worked for Ernie and try some of his ideas in your classroom.

You can connect with Ernie through his email 2016TOTY@gmail.comor go to the WindsorForest High School website.


Thanks for listening.



Episode 91: Classroom Management - Self-reflection (Know You)

March 2, 2016

Classroom Management is almost always dependent upon you. After all, you are probably the greatest variable in the classroom next to the kids. It is in your best interest to figure out what behaviors you have that might create problems for you. Hence, if they are your issues then quite possibly you can address those issues to help you be able to better manage student behaviors.


In today's episode, I am focused on:
6 Questions to Ask Yourself About You
1. Do you know when you are losing it?
2. Do you ignore or address?
3. Do you plead and beg or is it my way or the highway?
4. Do you need help with organizational skills?
5. Are you consistent?
6. Do you learn their names?

Thanks for listening today. I hope that you will take the time to ask yourself these questions and then respond truthfully. 


Some of your issues of working with the kids could be you.

And only you can fix you.

Take care.


or Listen to my interview with Lisa first at Organize Your World

Other episodes about classroom management:

Episodes with Helpful Information:

TeacterTactics.com (Listen to the part about hooking students and advice to teachers)

Length: 17:17