Today’s Contributor: Nic Ryan
Nic Ryan is the fifth-grade ESL ELA teacher at Pleasant Hill Elementary. Nic enjoys running with his seven-year-old goldendoodle and is looking forward to welcoming his first child in January.
Teachers are constantly wanting to assess how their students are progressing in their class in order to modify lessons to best serve the student. This year, I knew I would be giving students an assessment every Friday on the TEK of the week and quickly discovered that it is a daunting task. Beyond just getting copies ready and choosing a fair assessment, there are the grading and accommodations to be considered. With a class where almost 50% of the students require oral accommodations. I found myself feeling overwhelmed. I tried reading the questions in a small group, but it was not a small group with that many students, and I also ran into the issue of pacing. Reading each question to each child was not feasible, as there is only one of me and so many of them.
I figured out a way to have students submit their assessment answers online and also provide recorded questions and answer choices for those students requiring accommodations. I use Google Classroom to push out a Google Form for the students to submit their answers, which all students receive. The form is set to instantly grade, which students can use to see and make corrections, and I can conference with them as well. This is also incredibly helpful to me, because if there is a question that has been missed by the class as a whole, it lets me know I need to review that skill. Google Classroom then allows me to select certain students that I can add other items to the recorded questions. I use the voice recorder on my phone to record the questions and answer choices, upload them to the Google Drive, and then link the recorded questions to the specific students.
I know you’re thinking this sounds like even more work, but it has completely changed my classroom dynamic. The most important thing it has allowed for is student individualization. No longer are the students being pulled and feeling the social stigma that they aren’t as smart because they have to have questions read to them to be successful. For me, it has freed up time in the grading process, as well as while the assessment is going on. I’m able to monitor students better, help all students who might have a question, and review with students as they are submitting their assignment for corrections. My next goal with this process is to start using BLEND, as it does have a built-in recorder and allows for a more diverse delivery of question options.