Category

Documentation

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This month, I’ll be celebrating the second birthday of Make Writing, the little book that could. When I wrote it, I never imagined that I would get to meet and learn from so many of you who I’ve come to call my colleagues and friends over the last two years. This has been a rewarding journey, and each bend in the road has surfaced new and important questions about making and writing and the relationship…

Schools have become increasingly skilled at gathering data about learners–particularly quantitative data in the form of standardized and local test scores. But these data often fail to communicate the most essential information that teachers need in order to serve students well. These data help us develop hunches about what students struggle with. They don’t really help us understand why, though. This is why story matters. More than tools to engage listeners, story teaches all of us…

Jackie James Creedon shares a map of future soil testing sites in western New York State. Jackie James Creedon is the founder of Citizens Science Community Resources, an organization that is committed to promoting science-based activism and empowering grass-roots environmental justice and health campaigns. In 2014, Jackie received an award from the Environmental Protection Agency for her courageous efforts to lead an investigation in our community that took down Tonawanda Coke, a local factory…

More and more often, I’m invited to work not only with school districts, but with other organizations that are interested in telling their stories. Stories matter. They center us. They propel us forward. They change the trajectories of our work and our lives and the lives of the people we serve. They’re bigger than branding, and they’re far more than marketing tools. That’s why it’s important to value the story writing process as much as…

Nearly ten years into my career as an independent education consultant, I can say with confidence that a large portion of my time has been devoted to supporting teachers with assessment design. If you’ve walked a similar path, then you know how hard and humbling this work is. Perhaps, like me, you stand on the shoulders of assessment giants like Douglas Reeves, Rick Stiggins, Dylan Wiliam, Susan Brookhart, or James Popham. Perhaps you still define yourself as…

This spring, I had the opportunity to work with teachers from southern Erie and Cattaraugus Counties. Our initial sessions challenged teachers to define writers’ craft, the process, and the values and habits of masterful writers. Then, we considered how the progression of these skills and dispositions builds and evolves as experience is gained. Teachers returned to their classrooms with new ideas to consider and test. As I prepared to see them again last week, I hoped that…

This morning, I had the pleasure of speaking with local friends and teachers at the Niagara Frontier Reading Council’s Spring Brunch. Theresa Andrews invited me to chat about the importance of creating a culture of readers inside of our schools and how we might resolve some of the data dilemmas that seem to be preventing this. This two hour session was interactive, but I’ve captured the abbreviated version in this podcast. This is my first…

On Friday, I’ll be working with students in the D’Youville School of Pharmacy, who are just beginning to develop habits of documentation, reflection, and qualitative data analysis. The document below will guide our initial conversations. I thought I would share it here, as it provides a quick introduction for those who are doing similar work in a variety of contexts, including K-12 classrooms. The questions and tools below will support our initial conversations. You can grab…

Love is blind, and far too often, our relationships with quantitative data remain unhealthy. Despite evidence to the contrary, too many of us still believe that grades provide insight and that standardized test scores suggest solutions. Going gradeless isn’t easy, though. Numbers are far more efficient to work with. They seem to create quick and false certainty during trying times, too. Using data in healthy ways is difficult work. It keeps us on the move, and it reminds us, over and…

Interviews provide some of the best data we can gather about learners and learning, but planning and executing a high quality interview is often challenging. Whether interviews happen during writing conferences, at the end of unit of mathematics study, or on the heels of a lab experience, I find it important to consider four different elements: Structure, purpose, those questions that elicit helpful responses, and those questions that can deepen the respondent’s thinking. I recently shared…