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Assessment is a common aspect of each and every classroom.  In the twenty-first century classroom, assessment for learning is essential to ensure that students are mastering key skills. The video, Assessment for Learning (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., points out key strategies that can be employed in the classroom in order to ensure student success.  After watching the video, share your thoughts on the structures and strategies a teacher needs to put into place in order to ensure that an effective classroom environment is created to foster twenty first century learning.

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Choose one of the following digital tools to enhance your written response (Smore (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., Prezi (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., PowToon (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., Sliderocket (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., Screencast-O-matic (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., or other presentation software).  Utilizing technology in this discussion will further prepare you for the Final Project in Week 6.

Address and include the following:

  • Key strategies from the      video
  • Your own ideas about      both formative and summative assessments
  • How both sets of ideas      could be implemented to create an effective classroom environment
  • Be sure to include      examples to illustrate and support your ideas.

Professor: We speak a great deal about assessment and accountability and how each has an integral role in student achievement. Yet, many are still left with the feeling our current level of testing is too rigid, too demanding, not differentiated………basically a whole bunch of phrases which leaves many with the feeling the current assessments used in schools do not provide the “whole picture”. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2007) suggests, “While the current assessment landscape is replete with assessments that measure knowledge of core content areas such as language arts, mathematics, science and social studies, there are a comparative lack of assessments and analyses focused on 21st century skills” (p. 1).

Using either the article or your own thoughts and reflections, how should teachers assess 21st Century Learning Skills?
21st Century Skills Assessment (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

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Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2007). 21st century skills assessment. Retrieved by http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/21st_Century_Skills_Assessment_e-paper.pdf

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Designing effective lessons
Without question, one of the key points that make a class successful is having lessons that are engaging and effective. Creating these types of lessons does not happen overnight; planning requires time, focus and a careful eye to ensuring that the needs of each student are met. So, how does a teacher create a rigorous curriculum plan that leads to improved student performance and yet allows them to balance other teacher responsibilities? Where should a teacher begin when thinking about all the parts of a successful instructional plan?
Newman (2013) discussed various pitfalls teachers face when developing plans. One is referred to “accidental learning” where emphasis is placed on the activity itself, and less on the concept and/or purpose behind the activity: “students may be fully engaged in and enjoy these activities, but learning occurs only accidentally because the activity focuses on the engagement rather than the meaning” (Newman, 2013, “Accidental Learning”). Another issue that occurs to the best of us is the need to cover a breadth of information, as opposed to focusing on the key concepts students will need to know. Putting in long hours of planning does not equate or always result in solid lesson plans.
We organized a table of Kizlik’s (2017) article, “Six Common Mistakes in Writing Lesson Plans (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.” to include common mistakes and how to address them.

A few mistakes to avoid when lesson planning

  • Accidental learning –      don’t get caught focusing your energies on “cool” activities.      Just because students are engaged does not mean they are learning. Don;t      mistake the two!
  • Breadth of coverage –      often times teachers focus on covering the entire unit or textbook. In the      rush to coverage everything the breadth of material is covered often with      little depth.
  • Poor planning and      management – putting in long hours of planning does not always equate with      solid plans. Remember, to focus on quality of the time planning and not      the quantity of time.

Five Common Mistakes in Writing Lesson Plans

1. The objective of the lesson does not specify what the student will actually do that can be observed. Remember, an objective is a description of what a student does that forms the basis for making an inference about learning. Poorly written objectives lead to faulty inferences.

2. The lesson assessment is disconnected from the behavior indicated in the objective. An assessment in a lesson plan is simply a description of how the teacher will determine whether the objective has been accomplished. It must be based on the same behavior that is incorporated in the objective. Anything else is flawed.
3. The materials specified in the lesson are extraneous to the actual described learning activities. This means keep the list of materials in line with what you actually plan to do. Overkilling with materials is not a virtue!
4. The instruction in which the teacher will engage is not efficient for the level of intended student learning. Efficiency is a measure that means getting more done with the same amount of effort or the same amount with less effort. With so much to be learned, it should be obvious that instructional efficiency is paramount.

5. The student activities described in the lesson plan do not contribute in a direct and effective way to the lesson objective. Don’t have your students engaged in activities just to keep them busy. Whatever you have your students do should contribute in a direct way to their accomplishing the lesson objective.
This article further details the Five Common Mistakes in Writing Lesson Plans (and how to avoid them). http://www.educationoasis.com/instruction/bt/five_common_mistakes.htm (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Understanding how students organize knowledge

As you think about how teaching and learning SHOULD best occur consider the following questions?

* What is the role of the teacher in the classroom?

* Should the teacher be the “expert” in the classroom?

* What does it mean for students to be actively engaged in the classroom?

* How should a teacher reconcile their own values with different teaching philosophies?

The answers to these questions will certainly help guide how your classroom runs and the way in which teaching and learning occurs.

Constructivism is a theory that helps us connect the dots between how students learn, and what strategies a teacher might employ in the classroom to engage and access their students’ current and prior knowledge.
Check out the video (see Video Section) on constructivism.

Building on students’ prior knowledge
Students enter the classroom with a range of experiences and knowledge. Being able to access this information is critical to engaging students and connecting learning to their real lives.
Check out this article; “ Are You Tapping into Prior Knowledge Often Enough in Your Classroom?” for excellent advice on tapping into the prior knowledge of your students:
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/prior-knowledge-tapping-into-often-classroom-rebecca-alber (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Reference: Kizlik, B. (2017). Six common mistakes in writing lesson plans (and what to do about them). Adprima. Retrieved from http://www.adprima.com/mistakes.htm
Newman, R. (2013). Teaching and learning in the 21st century: Connecting the dots. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Required Resources


Newman, R. (2013). Teaching and learning in the 21st century: Connecting the dots (2nd ed.). Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/

  • Chapter 9: Designing      Effective Lessons
    • This chapter focuses on       the specific ways to design and plan effective lesson plans.  It       introduces the understanding by design lesson planning strategy and       examines how a teacher can craft an instructional plan using the backward       mapping approach.
  • Chapter 10: Engaging and      Connecting Students to the Learning
    • This chapter examines       how individuals organize information in their brains and how they make       meaning of situations and events.  It also focuses on the theory of       learning called constructivism and looks at the works of Vygotsky and       Piaget.


Michael Pershan.  (2012, July 6).  What if Khan Academy was made in Japan? (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Video file].  Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHoXRvGTtAQ

Rystad, M.  (2013, April 7).  Assessment for learning (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Video file].  Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcLMlY6R7RM

  • This video explains      multiple strategies for assessment for learning, or formative      assessments, to inform instructional decisions.

TED Talks.  (2011, March).  Salman Khan: Let’s use video to reinvent education (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Video file].  Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/salman_khan_let_s_use_video_to_reinvent_education.html


Common Core State Standards Initiative (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (http://www.corestandards.org/)

  • Official Common Core      State Standards website.

Recommended Resources


Darling-Hammond, L., & Adamson, F. (2010).  Beyond basic skills: The role of performance assessment in achieving 21st century standards of learning (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..  Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education.  Retrieved from https://scale.stanford.edu/system/files/beyond-basic-skills-role-performance-assessment-achieving-21st-century-standards-learning.pdf

  • This article discusses      the key role of accountability measures in education and the role of      performance  assessments in twenty-first century learning.

International Society for Technology in Education.  ISTE Standards Teachers. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/docs/pdfs/20-14_ISTE_Standards-T_PDF.pdf


Popham, W. J.  (2010). Classroom assessment: What teachers need to know (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

  • This text discusses the      range of topics teachers need to know about assessment.


Jing (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html)

Khan Academy (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (http://www.khanacademy.org)

PowToon (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (http://www.powtoon.com)

Prezi (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (http://prezi.com)

Screencast-o-matic (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (http://www.screencast-o-matic.com)

Sliderocket (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (http://www.sliderocket.com)

Smore (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (https://www.smore.com)

YouTube (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (http://www.youtube.com)

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