Tips for Teaching for Understanding: Ongoing Assessment

How do we navigate an open-ended classroom, with students working collaboratively while at the same time accurately assessing individual understanding? This is one of the primary challenges teachers face when making changes to their practice and adopting new techniques.

We want students to be driven by their innate curiosity and interests, but how can we chart this evenly across the entire roster of our class?

This simple question forces us to look into our philosophy on assessment. What is the purpose of assessment and how is it being used in our classes? With a shift towards understanding, over coverage, our assessments need to chart understanding and not simply give an evaluative snapshot. Let’s take a look at ongoing assessment. Continue reading “Tips for Teaching for Understanding: Ongoing Assessment”

Looking to Learn: The Panes and Perspective of Mark Rothko – Teachers Teaching Teachers 2017

Once again, I will be presenting at Pine Crest’s Teachers Teaching Teachers but this time, I will be modeling what it feels like to be in an AP Art History class of mine. The subject? None other than Mark Rothko and his work.

Abstract art is not a whole lot of fun for most audiences, and abstract expressionism seems to be a challenge for those choosing to take on the course of study, let alone to audiences that may pass through that part of the gallery or museum. Considering Mark Rothko’s color-field style, most will turn heel muttering words of frustration or even the infamous “I could do that” mantra.

It will be no small task to introduce an audience to, and hopefully walk away with, a deeper appreciation for Rothko and his work as well as the field of art history. I would be delusional to think that everyone will emerge experts of Rothko after a 45 minute introduction as well because, honestly, is anyone really an expert on Rothko anyway?

If you are around and interested, stop on by room 205 at 1:00pm this Tuesday to see what I am up to. I will be trying out some of the latest approaches I picked up at Project Zero this summer and hopefully gaining converts to both PZ as well as art history!

Tips for Teaching For Understanding: Understanding Performances

Previously, we summarized what Understanding Goals are and their placement within the Teaching for Understanding framework. Let’s take a look at Understanding Performances to see how they relate.

The major difference between understanding goals (UGs) and understanding performances (UPs) is UGs state what students should understand while UPs are what students do to demonstrate their understanding. Continue reading “Tips for Teaching For Understanding: Understanding Performances”

Tips for Teaching For Understanding: Understanding Goals

According to The Teaching for Understanding Guide, there are four components to the framework:

  • Generative Topics
  • Understanding Goals
  • Performances of Understanding
  • Ongoing Assessment

We looked at Generative Topics here and that would be a great place to start if you are considering retooling your practice. Here, we are going to take a look at Understanding Goals and how they can be implemented. Continue reading “Tips for Teaching For Understanding: Understanding Goals”

Tips for Teaching with Generative Topics

One aspect of developing a practice of teaching that focuses on understanding is using what is called “generative topics”. These are topics that are both interesting to students and to teachers and often reach across curricula. Because of their open-ended nature, they are accessible to students of various abilities and also can yield a wide range of resources.

Yet, with so much open about generative topics, how can we as teachers use them to bridge our students towards thinking, learning, and ultimately understanding? Continue reading “Tips for Teaching with Generative Topics”