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Tools for making a good start in

A tool for many uses
Critical incident technique. Ways to gain maximum learning from stories about classroom activity.


Managing classes
[Several ways to explore these tools]
Tool: Establishing and teaching rules for a classroom learning community
Tool: Defining and teaching routines that save time and focus attention
Tool: Restrained use of options for dealing with inattention and misbehavior
Tool: Balanced strategies for forming relationships with students
Tool: Balanced strategies for forming relationships among students
Tool: Balanced strategies for motivating students to learn
Tool: Critical Incident Technique


Engaging communities
[Several ways to explore these tools]

For knowing about families

For communicating with families

For supporting volunteers

For providing support for parenting

For supporting learning at home


Planning student activities
[Several ways to explore these tools]
Yearly plan: Across content areas
Yearly Plan: One Prep/Content Area
Unit Plan: Across Content Areas
Unit Plan: One Content Area
Unit Plan: For Multiple Intelligences
Unit Plan: Exploring Content Expectations
Lesson plan: Lesson Plan Ideas
Lesson planning: Questions to Ask
Activities: Choosing Challenging Activities
Activities: Observation Form for Challenging Activities
Activities: Choosing Activities for Groups

Activities: Evaluating Learning Styles of Activities


Leading discussions
[Several ways to explore these tools]

Discussion sketch form. Make brief structured notes on a class discussion, live or on tape. Then analyze the sketch

  • Tool: Students' mental tasks. What tasks do your questions set for students, and what tasks do they actually perform?
  • Tool: Object- and response-based questions. Are the questions about the object of discussion or about the students' responses to it? What difference might that make?
  • Tool: Responding to students. How are you responding to students' comments, as compared with a list of your options?
  • Tool: Forks in the road. Where might the discussion have taken different directions, with different results?
  • Tool: Student leadership in discussions. Do students ever help to lead the discussion, and how might you induce them to do so?
  • Tool: Skills students need. What skills do students need
  • Tool: Student learning. What student comments might indicate their learning? What are they learning, as indicated by these comments?
Leading substantial discussions - an inventory. A quick, broad look at a discussion, focusing on questioning, wait time, encouragement, and paraphrasing.
Recording classroom interactions. Another quick look, at the quality of interactions, pacing, speaking, and rapport.
Drive-time. Audiotape and analyze discussions while commuting.


Assessing learning...
[several ways to explore these tools]

1... to improve instruction:

Tool: Pre-assessment data
Tool: Questionnaire for older students
Tool: Questionnaire for younger stud'ts
Tool: Asking open-ended questions
Tool: Checking for understanding
Tool: Planning adjustments
Tool: Mentor observation for adjustment
Tool: On-going literacy planning
Tool: Assess social participation
Tool: Analyze student work samples
Tool: Performance task analysis
Tool: Analysis of authenticity
Tool: Analysis of credibility
Tool: Analysis of usability


2... to gather information and provide feedback.

Tool: Standard diagrams
Tool: Essential and unit questions
Tool: Curriculum mapping
Tool: Teachable moments observation form
Tool: Potential performance tasks
Tool: Performance descriptors
Tool: Rubric design considerations
Tool: Types of criteria
Tool: Indicators
Tool: Defining quality
Tool: Multiple source checklist and analysis
Tool: Portfolios
Tool: Purpose of portfolios
Tool: Portfolio decisions
Tool: Portfolio categories, criteria and products
Tool: Assessment portfolios
Tool: Work analysis
Tool: Defining expectations
Tool: Report preparation
Tool: What do you want to communicate?
Tool: Preparing student-led conferences