formative assessment

The Virtues of Non Fiction Reading and Writing – Part 2

Our Journey We began by identifying the books in our book bags as fiction or nonfiction.  The students justified how they knew if a book was fiction or nonfiction.  In small groups the students compiled lists of nonfiction text features that they noticed in their stack of chosen books.  As a class we went through the […]

Shifting to Assessment As Learning

Mike Beetham

How did I do teacher? Did I do it right? Is this what I am supposed to do?  These are the questions that I have heard over and over my entire career. I began to wonder why is it that my students always need to have me tell them how they are doing. As my […]

But Why? Part 2

Mike Beetham

Why I have chosen a video? Why I have allowed them to work in groups? Why am I allowing my students to have choice in their learning?  Why have I assigned homework? This is the question I start with for every instructional unit (and in practice, every classroom decision that I make). Why am I […]

Le passé c’est brassé – Bring the Passé Composé to Life (Part 2)


               An important lesson that I’ve learned this year is have the students write in a concise manner. In the following assignment, La journée de …, students must basically incorporate most of the major things we covered in approximately 10 sentences (passé composé with avoir/être, singulier/pluriel, compound sentences and adverbs). Originally in past years, I […]

Time To Smell The Roses

Mike Beetham

As the year now shifts to the final months of academia, it is important to take the time and reflect on the growth of yourself as a teacher, the academic gains that your students have made and the endless best efforts that took place in your learning community. We often start to stress or feel […]

The Unit Plan: The Timeless Form of the Pyramid


This may seem redundant, but I found that unit planning comes up frequently as a topic of interest during workshops for beginning teachers. This is probably due to the overwhelming nature of the job and all of the simultaneous demands coming at you. Consequently, a weekly (let alone a daily) plan is as forward thinking […]

Success Criteria: Let’s Accomplish Our Learning Goal


I remember sitting in a workshop last year where we were challenged to look deeper at the learning goals we set for our students and how we should co-create the success criteria in order to ensure that students understand how to achieve the goal or expectations set out for a particular unit/strand.  I also remember […]

An Integrated Unit- A Chair for Baby Bear


  The culminating task for our unit on strong and stable structures was the highlight of my first four months back in the classroom.   My colleague and friend, Catherine Little, who is currently teaching science at York University at the Faculty of Education, generously offered her time and expertise by facilitating the launch of this […]

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