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Episode #52 The Purpose of Assessment: A Math Mentoring Moment

Nov 25, 2019 | Podcast | 3 comments

LISTEN NOW…

Today we talk about a big concern from many teachers!! — Assessment in math class. More specifically we speak with Steven Sevel, a teacher from Vaughan Ontario and our online Make math Moments Academy who has joined us for a math mentoring moment episode. Like many of us in the Math Moment Maker Community, Steven is continually asking questions about the best way to assess his students.

Stay with us as we talk about the purpose of assessment, Standards based grading, feedback, assessment tools such as Freshgrade and mindset!

You’ll Learn

  • What’s the true purpose of assessment is;
  • How can I incorporate Standards based grading in my math class?
  • What’s the role of feedback; 
  • How can I use assessment tools such as Freshgrade;

FULL TRANSCRIPT

CLICK HERE TO VIEW TRANSCRIPT

Steven Sevel                

For the longest time, I’ve always struggled around in terms of assessment and evaluation, the level four component because percentage wise, we know in Ontario, it’s such a large range, 80% to 100%. And what does that look like in terms of the mastery piece? So if a kid has a mastery question [crosstalk 00:00:21].

Kyle Pearce:                 

Today, we talk about a big concern from many teachers, assessment in Math class. More specifically, we speak with Steven Sevel, a teacher from Vaughn Ontario and from our online Make Math Moments Academy. Steven has joined us for a Math mentoring moment episode and like many of us in the Math moment maker community, Steven is continually asking questions about the best way to assess his students. Stay with us as we talk about the purpose of assessment, standards based grading, feedback assessment tools such as fresh grade and mindset. Let’s hit it. Welcome to the making Math moments that Matter podcast. I’m Kyle Pearce from tapintoteenminds.com.

Jon Orr:                       

And I’m John or from mrorr-isageek.com. We are two Math teachers who together …

Kyle Pearce:                 

With you, the community of educators worldwide who want to build and deliver Math lessons that spark engagement, fuel learning and ignite teacher action. Welcome everyone to episode number 52, 52 full Weeks of Goodness. The purpose of assessment, another Math mentoring moment. John, I think we are about ready to do this.

Jon Orr:                       

Let’s do this. This is a another Math mentoring moment episode with many more to come where we have a conversation with a member of the making Math moments that matter community like you who is working through a challenge and together. We brainstorm ideas and next steps to help over come it. All right. Before we get into this episode, we want to take a quick shout out to Lisa K. Coach. Kyle, tell us what she has said, she’s left us a five star review on Apple podcasts.

Kyle Pearce:                 

Yes, thank you Lisa K Coach. She says making Math moments that matter is addictive. So glad I found this podcast. I discovered it just a few months ago and I have already listened to almost all of the episodes. It has been a lifesaver in my first year as a Math coach in a K-8 District. So many helpful resources.

Steven Sevel:               

Thank you Kyle and John. How awesome is that? Our hearts are full and John, what are we hoping people who are listening are going to do right now?

Jon Orr:                       

If you are listening, what we want you to do is we want you to go ahead and leave a five star review on iTunes. We want you to pause this podcast right now. We’ll wait. Go ahead, pause it.

Kyle Pearce:                 

Yeah, We’ll wait. Did they join? Did they go? [crosstalk 00:03:25]. You can do this. Pause it and go do that rating. We really appreciate it, it really helps us make sure that this message gets out to more educators from around the world. Thank you to all of you wonderful people who have taken the time to hit that five star as well as leaving us a review. So today, thank you to Lisa K coach and hopefully next episode, you will hear your review at the start of an episode. Awesome. Before we jump in, John, what else do we want people to know about?

Jon Orr:                       

We’ve had lots of questions through email and social media about spiraling and spiraling Math class, and maybe you’ve engaged in some of that learning already or you’ve seen the tweets or you’ve seen the messages on spiraling Math class and you’re a little bit interested in it or you even may have heard some of the episodes.

Jon Orr:                       

We’ve had two previous episodes specifically on planning your course around spiraling your Math class. Kyle, tell us a little bit about those episodes. I think it was with Michael Rubin, go ahead.

Kyle Pearce:                 

Yeah. Michael Rubin came on episode 40 and 42 and we took a deep dive into spiraling. So if you’re uncertain what spiraling is, make sure you head back to episode 40 and 42. As well, we’ve got a really cool resource that you can access right now by going to makemathmoments.com/spiral and that is open to anyone to go ahead and grab, it’s right on our blog. And also, there is a three day course that you can access. Again, wide open course, you just fire an email in there and over the next three days, you will get videos, three part video series for you to engage in some learning around spiraling. So again, check it out, it’s makemathmoments.com/spiral and I think it’s about time that we jumped into our conversation with Mr. Steven Sevel.

Jon Orr:                       

Hey there Steven, thanks for joining us for a chat today. How are you doing this lovely summer afternoon? We are still in summer as the time of this recording, but let’s get going here. How have you been?

Steven Sevel:               

Hey guys, I’m doing really well. I’ve had a great summer. For the month of July, I taught a Math course through ETF through the Union, so I taught Math, Primary Junior, Part 1. Then I’ve also taught that ELL, Part 1. By teaching them Math course was really interesting, lots of great questions and feedback and resources that myself and the candidates in the course were able to explore and share and learn from each other. So, it was a phenomenal course. Other than that, obviously all of us were counting down the weeks until we start school. A little bit of anxiety, nervousness, excitement, but looking forward to getting the ball rolling with Mathematics and jumping right in and getting started for the school year.

Jon Orr:                       

That’s super cool that you’re doing the at-fault for those listening outside of Ontario. That’s like our Elementary Teachers Union, so at full run some online summer … Oh and actually, I think they do face to face as well, but primarily online. And actually I spent some time with some colleagues from my district. We had teamed up with University of Windsor to do that same Math, Primary Junior Part one. So something that we can relate to for sure is some of the content from that course, and we had a lot of learning.

Jon Orr:                       

As the instructor, I think I probably learned the most because I get to engage in the planning and the delivery and seeing how it shapes up with those who are in the course. So, super cool. So we want to know a little bit more about yourself. Where are you coming to us from?

Steven Sevel:               

Sure.

Jon Orr:                       

How long have you been teaching and maybe a little bit about your teaching journey, just to set the [crosstalk 00:07:02]

Steven Sevel:               

Yeah, absolutely. So I live at Vaughn, which is just North of Toronto, I … teaching at a school in New York region district [inaudible 00:07:11] Richmond Hill, [inaudible 00:07:12] September, I’ll be teaching a grade seven and eight gifted class. So the gift of component is going to be new for me but teaching grade seven and eight, I’ve taught both grades for a number of years. I believe this is going to be my either 14th or 15th year of teaching. I’m sure with you guys, the years rolled together and all becomes one, but I’m almost positive that’s about 14 or 15 years. My journey has always been with the York Region District School Board, and the school that I started at, I was there for six years teaching intermediate, and then I had an opportunity to move to a new school that was built to open up a new school and I taught grade three, four class, which was very new for me.

Steven Sevel:               

It was challenging, lots of learning, but I was there for two years and then I moved to Aurora, Ontario and I taught at French Immersion School. So, that was the first year where Math was taught in English for students from grades four to eight. So, that was a very interesting experience for me, I was there for about six years and then actually moved back to the original school that I started my career at for last September, which I’m going to be back in September. [crosstalk 00:08:19] bounced around to a few different schools, different teaching experiences, but all within the York Region District School.

Jon Orr:                       

Awesome. Something that interests me Steven always, is how and why we became teachers. But most likely, it’s like how did you get into this? What are the steps that led you to getting into the education field? You might filling us in a little bit about that background.

Steven Sevel:               

When I was certainly in high school, I had a phenomenal Health and Physical Education teacher and he really inspired me to want to teach. His delivery method, the way that he engaged us was just phenomenal and I thought, “This is just such a good person and a great teacher.” That was something that I wanted to do. So, I went to York University, I did my undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and I minored in History, as I wanted to teach at the high school level. And then I did my consecutive program at York as well. And then when I finished the program, when it was time to apply for a job, there were no jobs. It was very difficult. So, I went, I applied at the elementary level and that’s where I started my career.

Steven Sevel:               

And as I was taking my Phys Ed specialist, I ended up being with the same teacher who I had as a high school student. He was the instructor. So it was amazing to reconnect with him again, certainly on a different level. But still, he brought that same passion, that same excitement, that same energy to teaching and then engagement piece that I remember as a student myself. It was great to meet him again and get back into it.

Jon Orr:                        Fantastic. That’s so awesome to hear. And what a cool way to reconnect to you. It comes full circle, so-

Steven Sevel:                Exactly.

Kyle Pearce:                 

… very cool. We want to go back, so it sounds like this teacher in particular had sparked something in you about teaching and wanting to inspire children and almost following his footsteps and as you went into the elementary panel, you started teaching all subjects I’m assuming, but also there was a little bit of a focus in Math, especially in that school in Aurora.

Kyle Pearce:                 

Wondering, could you go back to your experience as a student and being that this is the Math moments or making Math [crosstalk 00:10:26] matter podcast. Is there a moment from Math class that sticks out to you? It could be good or bad, but one that pops into your mind when you think about Math class. What could that be?

Steven Sevel:               

Sure. I can tell you just a little bit about my background. My family immigrated to Canada in 1989 from South Africa. So, I came in August of ’89 and started school September of … excuse me, of ’89. So, I didn’t actually finish grade three. I started in grade four, I came together and I missed quite a bit of learning there. So for me in Math, I always struggled as a student. I was that student that never wanted to be called upon, I didn’t grasp concepts quickly, it took me a long time to feel confident with Math.

Steven Sevel:               

I struggled through it all through elementary school and certainly in high school as well. When I got to high school, I was also a little bit of the class clown, wanted to make everyone laugh and hide behind the fact that I didn’t really understand what I was doing. So my Math already ended in grade 11 and didn’t take grade 12 Math or the OACs. And when I became a teacher, I was very nervous about teaching Mathematics because my insecurities with Math always thought that those would come out through my teaching. Looking back at my elementary experience. So unfortunately the negative that really stuck out for me was, when the teachers would do that, the Math baseball game with the flashcards and you would go around and compete against the partner in multiplication or addition.

Steven Sevel:               

But [inaudible 00:11:58], and I remember the anxiety that that caused for me, knowing that I would pretend to try to answer the question when I knew I could. And I never got to move on to face the next kid or things like that. So, I promised myself that when I did become a teacher teaching Math, I wouldn’t want my students to have that experience. I know other teachers like those games and they create a little bit of competition with some people may like, but I always found for me that pressure, that anxiety, especially for the kids that are struggling or who may have a learning disability is not for them. So I’ve taken that through with me as I’ve gone through my year as a teacher.

Jon Orr:                       

It’s such a common experience that have you said that you were on the podcast before that. We’ve asked people that remember those Math moments and so often, it’s that game that has put people in front of the class to show their skills in a competition head to head format. That game takes a variety of different names like you said baseball, but it’s around the world or even some mad minutes type of game. That keeps popping out when we ask people their Math moment, there’s something that like you said, sparked anxiety and caused a lot of emotional … for some reason, that’s what stands out for people. That it sums up a lot of the issues that people have had in Math before they became teachers. So, thanks for sharing that memory. Let’s move into some of your teaching right now. Do you mind sharing, think back to your classroom right now or the last year or two or even before, but do you mind sharing a success you’ve had in class and what that looked like?

Steven Sevel:               

Sure. So, there was around this time last summer, we were invited to hear … is it Peter [Little Dol 00:13:33]? I’m probably pronouncing his last [inaudible 00:13:35].

Jon Orr:                        Little Dol.

Steven Sevel:                Little Dol.

Jon Orr:                        Yeah.

Steven Sevel:               

And his work blew my mind. The non-permanent vertical learning on this was amazing . And that’s something that the first week of September I jumped right into all the way to the end of the school year. And that was a real aha moment for me in my learning and my teaching because I could see the engagement with my students and I could see how it fostered a sense of them working together as opposed to relying on me as the teacher for the answers. And I guess it really is taking ownership of their learning in Math. So, that was something that I love doing it. I still have a lot of questions that I would like to ask Peter and go attend maybe if there’s more of his seminars as well, especially around assessment and evaluation.

Steven Sevel:               

But that whole dynamic of shifting the way that the students learn the Mathematics and the structure of the classroom was really important as a big learning experience for me, that come September of this year, I will definitely be doing all the time.

Jon Orr:                       

Awesome. Super cool. We had the pleasure of bringing Peter onto the podcast back on episode 21. So, that’s something we’ll stuff into the show notes for everyone who’s listening. If they haven’t listened, it’s one of the most frequently listened to episodes, and we actually get a lot of feedback from people about wanting to learn more his research and much like you’re saying, we found such a quick change. It was like, it’s such a low hanging fruit, right?

Steven Sevel:                Right.

Jon Orr:                       

It’s like once it’s up and working, it’s like night and day, where [crosstalk 00:15:07] other things we do in the Math classrooms. Sometimes it takes time for us to work out the protocols and make that process and procedure with our students a regular thing. But that was something that was super quick for us. So it sounds like that’s something that you’re going to continue diving into, which is [crosstalk 00:15:25].

Kyle Pearce:                 

I’m wondering, how about any struggle or challenges? We just recorded an episode recently and it was awesome because the guest, his name was [inaudible 00:15:34], he said … I only have about a million struggles or challenges, but we’ll focus on one for today. So John and I feel the same, what about you? Is there any struggles or challenges or just something that’s on your mind lately that you want to chat about?

Steven Sevel:               

Absolutely. I posted in the community around mastery assessment and that’s something that I started, I dabbled a little bit within May and June of last school year and also really amazing learning about how does that look like in the classroom, how do you do that, how does that work with assessment and evaluation? And I know John your website, there was some links to Google sheets that were created to report assessment practices.

Steven Sevel:               

I opened those up and I looked at it, first of all blown away by the detail in these documents that Kyle, you and John have created, which are phenomenal. Then I thought to myself, “This is something I want to use, but I have no idea how.” And then I started to ask myself, “Well, how did you guys get there? What is mastery assessment and mastery days look like in your classrooms? How do you capture that data and then turn it into a mark? How do you communicate that with your students and with the parents of your students? And really what does that look like in your classroom?” I certainly see a lot of benefits, just not quite sure where to start and how to unfold, bring that into my classroom, into my teaching.

Steven Sevel:               

So, that’s a really big focus for me that I’m hopeful through your guys’ experiences, it’ll help me out and certainly everybody else who was interested in the Academy.

Jon Orr:                       

Right. We were just talking to somebody last night about this on the live Q&A from the Academy and they had brought the same thing up and I had mentioned that next on our docket is to create a mini course around mastery days portfolios and how we’re assessing in Math class. We’re glad you brought this up too is that it’s on our front so far. So, it’ll be one of the many courses in the Academy [crosstalk 00:17:26] but soon. But let’s chat about it here today. So you haven’t started with any of the resources yet. You’re still looking for how to get started or … dabbled a little bit.

Steven Sevel:               

Like I said, so I had a one day PD session within my school and where it started with one of our basket solves, it said you take those specific expectations for that specific strand that you’re teaching and turn them into, I can statements, basically your learning goals. And then from there, break it down into a beginner, intermediate, or expert level type of question where you would want your students to assess or to start with.

Steven Sevel:               

And part of what they were saying was what’s unique about the tiered assessment is that it gives students ownership as to where they are in their learning and it gives them opportunities if they want to become a master in that particular strand or topic or expectation. So, I tried it with my class when I introduced the … I started with patterning, I found some patterns that I thought were more of a beginner type of patterns or really just meeting the expectation and then an intermediate was a bit more challenging that they’re looking at an expert type of question where it’s still the same grade level curriculum expectation but more in depth, and presented these three questions to my students and had them decide where they wanted to start their understanding of this particular expectation.

Steven Sevel:               

We used the Vertical Math to look at some of the problems as well, and then it came time for me to assess them. I shared with you guys a sample. I’d given them a one sheet quiz where there was a beginner, intermediate and expert question. And I said, “Okay, you guys choose the one question that you want to answer.” While I was doing that, I was thinking to myself, “How am I going to mark this?” So, I was so used to using a rubric where on my assessments, I would break them down based on the achievement chart. And from there I was told, “Okay, when you’re doing this mastery assessment, you don’t necessarily use a rubric anymore.” So then I was thinking, “Well, do kids get perfect? Does that mean they’re at level four if they get the mastery correct? What happens if they choose the expert question and they make a calculation error? Does that mean they’re not at the expert level? Do they go then do that intermediate question?”

Steven Sevel:               

So, I had lots of questions running through my head as my students were answering these types of questions. So, what I ended up doing is as you can see on this assessment here, for example I had said. For the expert question there, the highest they can earn as the level four. So, if they did everything correctly, I would give them a level four. Then I looked at still using the rubric because that’s what I was very comfortable with in terms of my assessment, giving them the level four for the expert type of question. But if they made a mistake on the expert question, I would hit it back to them and say, “You need to go do the intermediate question and then mark that one.”

Steven Sevel:               

And then if they got everything correct on that question, then I would give them the level three. But I found that … I don’t know even if I did that correctly, I don’t know in terms of mastery assessment if that’s even right, but I found my students were definitely engaged in this kind of assessment. But like I said, I don’t know even know if this is the correct way.

Jon Orr:                        Let me ask you this question, it’s even. What do you view the purpose of assessment to be?

Steven Sevel:               

For me as a teacher to know where my kids are, their learning and understanding of the expectation, and certainly for them to know, okay, these are my strengths, this is what I have to learn, this is what I’m good at, this is what I need to work on. So, looking at that assessment for as and of learning, I certainly know that as learning piece is not evident in this particular assessment, but for them to know, okay, I’m an intermediate level, I’ve met the expectation, what do I need to do to become an expert in this particular assessment?

Jon Orr:                        And I think-

Steven Sevel:               

… four to it. But like I said, I don’t know if this is right because I was told we’re supposed to record all these different types of check marks. The expectation to get a check mark. They made a calculation there, but they understand the concept. They get a check minus. You’re supposed to have these series of circles and dots and checks, but I don’t know how that all comes together at the end.

Kyle Pearce:                 

And it’s so common … John and I feel like we have this discussion very often with different educators because we certainly as Math teachers in particular, we feel like there’s a right or a wrong, and I don’t think there is a wrong, the only thing is there’s a different perspective, there’s different approaches and there’s different beliefs. John’s question about what you believe the purpose of the assessment to be, I think what John was getting at there is if we think about what is it that I want this assessment to do, and then once I’ve done that, I essentially set myself a learning goal for myself around like, am I hitting that learning goal with this assessment?

Kyle Pearce:                 

And I wonder if … and this is a wonder, I’m not suggesting it to be true or not, but I wonder if maybe the way you’re doing it, something about it isn’t matching up or isn’t aligning with what you just said to be the purpose of your assessment, and maybe that’s why you’re feeling like it’s wrong. Maybe it’s wrong for you. I’m not going to say it’s wrong for everyone but for you, I think that is the key, is coming out. I heard part about all of this, and I really loved what you said earlier. I jotted some notes down about the workshop that you went to the one day PD session.

Kyle Pearce:                  First of all, one day PD sessions are really hard because like it’s almost like a little appetizer, right?

Steven Sevel:                Right.

Kyle Pearce:                 

Here’s some of the big ideas. Like try this out, think about it clearly, it had an impact on you because you have been thinking about it, which is great. And then, you had mentioned some of the suggestions from that consultant too who suggested taking specific expectations, turning them into, I can statements. Now, I’m starting to think … I can’t remember who I heard say this, but switching that from, I can to, I will statements is nice no more growth mindset. [crosstalk 00:23:31] not like I can buy it tomorrow, but it’s like we’ll get there, and then breaking them down into beginner intermediate expertize type assessments. I think that’s a really cool approach and I think that can be one way to approach it.

Kyle Pearce:                 

But I think one of the key pieces we want to make sure that we don’t miss here in this conversation is that there are so many different ways. And for John and I, I know for us, every year we’ve done this sort of grading, it’s evolved. So, that’s the other piece too, is that obviously constantly reflecting, constantly massaging what this looks like and sounds like I think is a really good thing. But trying not to put that pressure on yourself like it’s got to be perfect first [crosstalk 00:24:14] try it, I think as long as you’re constantly coming back and reflect being on that learning goal for yourself, that goal of what assessment is like for John and I like assessment for us is to help kids learn. So, we look at it and we think … I just want to get kids to this idea of mastery.

Kyle Pearce:                 

And even the idea of mastery for me is starting to shift a little bit. I had a great conversation with a gentleman named Phil Daro, he was one of the leaders of the common core in the U.S and he put this idea in my mind that I really liked that he said, “using the term mastery might not even be a really great idea for Mathematics because there’s no such thing. He said it’s like an apprenticeship. You’re constantly getting better and by even giving this idea that you’ve mastered something, maybe we’re telling kids as if like there is this end goal, and I’m going to argue that this process your in right now might be very similar. I don’t know if you’ll ever master assessment, but I bet your expertise in assessment or in your practice of assessment will continually grow until that last year of your career, right?

Steven Sevel:                Right.

Jon Orr:                       

I’m wondering like when you think about … When you’re thinking about whether you’re doing it right or wrong, is there anything that maybe pops into your mind about your beliefs about assessment? And then maybe this doing or going to do for you that maybe isn’t jiving? Is there anything like that, that you might [crosstalk 00:25:42] thinking?

Steven Sevel:               

Yeah. For the longest time, I’ve always struggled around in terms of assessment and evaluation, the level four component. Because percentage wise, we know in Ontario, it’s such a large range. So, 80% to 100%. And what does that look like in terms of the mastery piece? Right. So if a kid has a mastery question, they get all of it right, is that 100%? But I’ve always really looked at in terms of my assessments, how it’s set up a unit test or this [Corbett’s 00:26:14] task because I tried to break down the questions based on the achievement chart because I felt like in order for me to justify giving a student a level four, they have to demonstrate those level four across the achievement chart.

Steven Sevel:               

Simply getting 20 out of 20 on a knowledge understanding type of question doesn’t show me that you have strong understanding across each. So, the achievement chart has really played an integral role of my assessment piece. But when looking at this mastery part, I didn’t see where the achievement chart came in, so maybe I still have a lot to learn about mastering where maybe it does play, I don’t know, maybe you guys could help me with that.

Steven Sevel:               

But that’s why I have the sample question here, I thought to myself, “I don’t know how to mark this properly, I don’t feel competent. If a kid got an expert question correctly, there are 100%.” That’s why I said, “You know what? I still feel comfortable using a rubric type and relating it to the achievement chart to help me justify my market. Does that make sense?

Jon Orr:                       

Yeah, it sense. Let me ask you this. When you mark that, and like you said, you did this and let’s say you put a mark down on that page, what came next? What would you do with that number?

Steven Sevel:               

What I would do is … and because it was such a short assessment, I would call each individual student up and show them the mark. And I’ll say, “Okay …” So for example, if they didn’t get it correct, if they attempted, the mastery question, they made a mistake. I didn’t prompt them, I just said, “You need to go do the intermediate one, and then come back and show me what, and I’ll mark it again. If they only had done the intermediate or the beginner and they had made some mistakes, I would give them oral feedback and prompt them to where they may have made their errors to help them work [inaudible 00:27:51].

Jon Orr:                       

Now when you wrote the number down on the page though, or you checked it off and your rubric, I guess what I’m asking is how did you record that?

Steven Sevel:                You know Google sheets? I’ve got my mark book there and I would record it as a percentage.

Jon Orr:                       

Okay. So then you would record it as a percentage on a Google sheet, where in the Google sheet? Can you give me a picture of what that overall, how-

Steven Sevel:                Yeah, so what I’m going to do is-

Jon Orr:                       

… this fits together for you currently? And I think knowing that for us and you verbally saying that, I think we can start to see where we can start filling in some of the gaps for you.

Steven Sevel:               

Right. So, having now watched the videos on spiraling, I wasn’t sponsored, went through curriculum and I was teaching it at individual units. So my pattern unit, I would have a Google spreadsheet and at the time, down to side would be all my students’ names, at the top would be the specific expectation that I was teaching.

Jon Orr:                        Okay.

Steven Sevel:               

Within that expectation, I would have the sales broken down into knowledge and understanding, application, thinking and communication. And then, whenever level the students earn on that particular assessment, I would record each individual level. And then at the very end, I would have a series of percentages for that particular unit. And then whenever the most consistent level was, that’s what they earned at that particular unit or stray.

Jon Orr:                        Got you.

Steven Sevel:                So, that’s how I would.

Jon Orr:                        Okay, good.

Steven Sevel:                Does that make sense?

Jon Orr:                       

Yeah, it gives us a snapshot of what that looks like, and I think for me, I would use to put that in my MacBook and I would average all those out or look at your most consistent. I think most consistent is something that is harder to think about because it’s like, well what do I give that student? I’ve adopted to think like we’ve talked about what does assessment’s purpose.

Jon Orr:                       

We do have to turn this into a number at some point. And I think we get hung up on the idea that I have to get a number for a kid and that number has to stay in there. There’s so many moving pieces to write down this number. And I think we’ve talked about this idea of being right all the time, and I think for us being right is using our professional judgment to come up with a number that we feel represents that student’s current learning on those learning goals. And even merging all of those learning goals together has to happen somehow. And if it happens with this weighting over here, or if it happens with this weighting over here or that teacher weights them different, so much variety is happening across Ontario and even in the United States on that.

Jon Orr:                       

It’s like we’ve talked about this being right. I think if you’ve got the kid’s best interest in mind about how to push the learning forward after the 15 years I’ve teaching just like you, I’ve put less of a weight on the actual number because I just want the kid to learn at a deeper level on those concepts. So, we have to put the number together somewhere. But at that point, it’s so all over the place, it’s everywhere. Anyway, it’s hard to say, which one’s right? And I don’t think … we’ve talked about it, I don’t think there is this right way to do it. I think the right way to do it is as long as we’re pushing that kid’s learning forward and that they’ve taken that information that you’re communicating to them and they’ve used it to help their learning.

Jon Orr:                       

And again, that number is mostly for parents right too. And it’s like, how does that help them communicate how that kid’s learning is on, and push their learning forward? So, I think it’s important to come up with that number and it’s important to think about how you come up with that number. But I don’t think as long as you feel confident in that student’s abilities and you feel confident communicating that to parents. I think you can’t be wrong. So it’s like, I think you can get run into trouble if you don’t know how you calculated it or you’re relying on someone else’s process. They’re like, “Okay …” The teacher across the hall, I was like, “I do this, this and this and this,” and that’s pumps out a number. And if you were just relying on that but not taking into account the students’ learning, you could run into trouble there. And that’s where I think parents will be like, “Well you wrote this number down here, why?”

Jon Orr:                       

And then if you [crosstalk 00:31:48] actually think about the kid’s learning, you might stumble and you might feel not confident about what you’re doing. But if you have the kid’s best interests in mind, you know exactly where that kid stands on their learning goals. I don’t think you’re going to run into trouble because your confidence will show that, even when parents questioned you on these ideas like, “Well, I think they have an 80 but you wrote a 75 like what’s the difference?”

Jon Orr:                       

And if you can bring up this record of you know what they’ve demonstrated this multiple times on this learning goal, they’ve demonstrated this multiple times on this learning goal, I would gladly give them this if they can continually consistently show that skill. But I don’t feel that they have done yet, how you can talk to parents. We’ve talked about that a few times, like Kyle about this idea of using assessment to understand what your students know and how to push them forward, and I think that’s the important goal here and the number is hard to calculate but almost not as meaningful as the other information.

Kyle Pearce:                 

I like what you’ve said there John and when I come back, I’m just popping back up on the screen. I had the achievement chart up for those who are watching this in the Academy. And those who are listening to the podcast, you can actually see the visuals here. Also, I just popped back to the quiz that you had in this rubric and something that I think is really hard for us as teachers is trying to balance, what do we do for our own organization and how much of that do we need to show with students?

Kyle Pearce:                 

For example, up here I’m seeing you have, I can solve a beginner question, I can solve an intermediate question, I can solve an expert question. While I would argue that it’s good for you to have an idea in mind of I picture it as like a trajectory of this idea. So if it’s solving multi-step linear equations, I have this trajectory in my mind of typically we start with these types of problems, then we move on to these types that are a little bit more in depth and then more challenging problems at the end. Do I necessarily want students to see that and have them see that this one’s a beginner and this one’s an intermediate or is that something that can be for your own organization?

Steven Sevel:                Right, I see.

Kyle Pearce:                 

I know what I tended to do with this type of assessment is … last night we had a spiraling conversation with one of our Academy members and the spiraling discussion links so nicely with this idea of standards based grading. They go hand in hand because it’s really hard to spiral a course without breaking your assessment process down into smaller pieces, unlike what I used to do, which was assessing by an entire unit, I would spit out this mark, I wouldn’t have any idea of what kids are struggling with. I would just say like, “Oh if you got a 70, well 30% of the stuff you didn’t get.” But I had no idea what it was. I didn’t know what the concepts were. So for me, standards-based grading and working towards building the expertise of our students over time.

Kyle Pearce:                 

One of the huge benefits is to help them focus in only the areas that they’re actually struggling with, so that we can have that discussion as John had mentioned. But on the other hand, when I’m giving the assessment, maybe what I can start doing is, I’m looking at your beginner, your intermediate, your expert questions that you’ve categorized and maybe those happen throughout the year. Maybe earlier in the year, it’s like beginner stuff and it’s not saying you can’t … A student’s ahead of the group and you want to challenge them, so individually you can differentiate by allowing them to work on some more challenging problems now.

Kyle Pearce:                 

But as a class, maybe that’s a great way, the fact that you’ve organized your content this way or you’re planning to do this way, is that maybe it’s you try to focus on beginner everything early in the year, and then we go deeper as the year goes on. So, it’s almost like kids gradually work their way from beginner to intermediate instead of really quickly, that’s the way a unit based organization of a course would work.

Kyle Pearce:                 

Like day one to three of a unit is pretty beginner ish. And then the middle of the unit is like, okay, it’s getting a little harder, you’re going deeper, and then the end of the unit is where a lot of students start to fall off the wagon, or at least they did in my classes. So now, it’s I have this opportunity to get everybody really confident with beginner type stuff or the intro stuff. And then as we spiral back, we can then go deeper and then we go deeper and deeper. And then next thing, you know it’s near the end of the school year and now the whole end of the school year is dealing with more of these higher expertise type problems because that’s where we’re at. And we don’t have to proceduralize that.

Kyle Pearce:                 

You don’t have to plan it like, well, from this month to this month, we’re only going to do this type of problem. I don’t want anyone to walk away thinking no one will ever work on anything challenging in the first two months of school. But it’s just in general of this idea of, how do I ensure that everyone has a deep understanding, at least with this intro of all the concepts in my course? Something that a lot of teachers struggle with as well as time, they don’t make it to the last unit or even the last two units of the curriculum because they’ve run out of time. Well, doing the spiraling idea allows you to ensure that you’ve actually hit everything in the curriculum at least at some surface level, and then you can dig a little bit deeper there.

Kyle Pearce:                 

So, I look at those two things as pretty tightly connected. And the only real purpose for assessment for us is this idea of ensuring that students know where they’re at. Like you had said, it sounds a lawful lot like your beliefs. So they know what they’re doing well with and then they know what they need to work on and it gives them something more targeted so that they can continue diving deeper. So, I don’t know if you have any thoughts on that or any take aways from that little conversation before we dig a little deeper here.

Steven Sevel:               

Yeah, I do, absolutely. I completely understand what you guys are saying. As you were talking about John as well, I was thinking about we have the triangulation of our data and what does that look like and how to bring that all together. And just bringing it, like I said, how do you now start to capture that learning? That’s also been a big question for me. As teachers, we’re setting our conversations and our observations and our products. And I’m not sure if you guys have experienced this in your careers, but John, when you had mentioned parents as teachers where when they say, “Well you know Mr. Sevel, how did you come up with this mark?” That nervousness can sometimes tend us to lean more towards the product piece because you can pull out the test and say, “Here’s this test, this is a big part of their mark.”

Steven Sevel:               

Whereas the conversation on the observation piece is a bit more subjective. So, how do we now show parents or communicate that piece of the conversation and the observation component to parents? And how does that now influence our overall assessment piece? How do we capture that? So that was to be leading into the next component for the questions I have for you guys is, if it’s more of a tools piece, what does that look like in your classroom? How do you capture that data? How do you share that with your students, your parents and so forth.

Jon Orr:                       

I get you. So for keeping … The purpose of assessment in mind here and having that triangulation of data is so important. And I think you’re right, we as math educators in particular, have placed a very high importance on the product and not the other two things. And I think for me for many years, it was only product like the quiz or the project or an assignment comes in after the learning has happened. And I’ve placed all the grades on that one thing instead of the other two things. What have you done so far, Steven, to include observations in conversations?

Steven Sevel:               

It’s just really been conferencing with students and taking down notes based on what they’ve said. I’ve done it more in my language class and I’m trying to bring it more into my Math, where I have my success criteria and as the kids are explaining things to me, I’m checking them off. I try when they’re doing their Vertical Math to listening in other conversations and using that checklist to record and check off who said what. But again, it’s that … when I come back to assess it, it’s a bit messy because I don’t know how much do they truly understand of that particular question when we’re doing the Vertical Math. Is it more of their partner who’s leading the discussion? So, it’s hard to put it all together, but that’s what I tried to do at least is more of those individual conferences with my students to really understand where they are, their learning of that expectation.

Jon Orr:                       

You said at an important point here about listening and the Vertical non-permanent services has been like you’ve alluded to and I experienced that listening to your students work through problems is valuable information. I think we have to have good memories because sometimes, it’s like we don’t have time to write this down or do the checklist or … and I think we get caught up to that that we have to, that we have to have this evidence to show everybody, and I think, after a few years of doing this now is that I come into the realization … My other realization is that we don’t always have to have this proof and over to somebody. I think having a conversation with a parent about a child’s learning, why don’t you have that positive conversation and the parent gets a sense that have that kid’s best interest in mind for their learning?

Jon Orr:                       

They’re not going to be like, “Okay, show me this exact moment where …” You can say, “Well, …” We had this conversation, I remember it and Kyle’s said this before in the podcast that, “If you want to bring your son or daughter back in and we can do it right now to prove consistently that they do know these things that we’re talking about, then well let’s do this because I want them to learn. I want them to show me or I want them to have that conversation and pull that from them.” So, I think that listening is important and obviously seeing the work done vertically is helpful. In terms of tools, Kyle’s right now on the screen showing that blog post about a way to track information from the students. I’ve evolved a little bit past that since we wrote that a few years ago. Kyle what year was that post where we created this spreadsheet? I think 2014-

Kyle Pearce:                  2014. [crosstalk 00:42:20].

Steven Sevel:               

I have it on my task bar at the top here. Over the last couple of days, I’ve been really going through it and trying to understand it and first of all guys, it’s amazing work. Your expertise in Excel and using those formulas are phenomenal. But what I did definitely-

Kyle Pearce:                  All came from Alice [Keeler- 00:42:38].

Steven Sevel:                Yeah, and I went on to her-

Kyle Pearce:                 

She linked up in here, and John saw it right away and it was like all of a sudden, light bulbs went off and it was one of the first big projects John and I worked on-

Jon Orr:                        That’s true.

Kyle Pearce:                 

… together, like, “How can we take that and how can we make it work for our …” What we were trying to do at that time is essentially what you’re discussing. Essentially you mentioned earlier in the discussion about, so what was the process like? And I’ll tell you by doing this project, I’m not suggesting you go try to create this crazy spreadsheet. I think there are [inaudible 00:43:15] ways, and I let John talk about that shortly since he’s been using it in the classroom consistently. But this process really helped us solidify what it was that we wanted to try to achieve in the classroom. It forced us to be more reflective, it’s great to reflect on your own, but I find when I do things, that’s why on my Site Math is visual.

Kyle Pearce:                 

I have all these Math visuals that I create. Most of the time, the reason I’m creating those is because I’m trying to solidify my own understanding of the concept. So, I’m going and I’m playing with these ideas and as I’m building these animations, I realize some of my current conceptions aren’t quite accurate or they’re not as accurate or as clear as I thought they were. So, it’s like some of the issues pop up through doing some of this work. So, I think that’s where you, Steven will probably do most of your learning as you continue taking your curriculum and your content, the actual tasks that you’re doing and what it is you’re trying to assess.

Kyle Pearce:                 

And I always say you’ve got the big idea, these are the big things I want kids to leave my classroom with. And then you have these granular ideas. And I think understanding as the teacher the granular ideas is really important, but then trying to group them in this something that puts … It’s the happy medium between the big idea and these granular ideas, is where you want the kids hanging out so that it’s not too overwhelming. If it’s granular, it might be too overwhelming for them, but it might be essential for you to organize like, “How am I going to teach this?”

Kyle Pearce:                 

And maybe by the end of the course, the more granular pieces start to make more sense to the students. But imagine how hard it is for us as the educator trying to just organize the content and we already have our degrees, we already [crosstalk 00:45:03] the University.

Steven Sevel:                Exactly.

Kyle Pearce:                 

So imagine how hard that must be for kids. If we go [inaudible 00:45:08] idea and we stay big idea for the kids, then it’s like that probably isn’t clear to them [crosstalk 00:45:14] granular, then it’s like, “Whoa, that’s overwhelming.” So, how do I find that middle ground here where the assessment process helps the students? So, that’s where I was talking earlier about like that front facing part, what the kids need to see and maybe that changes throughout the school year as well. Maybe earlier in the year it’s a little more general and as the year goes on, it starts to get a little bit more specific as you go, like [inaudible 00:45:40] criteria is growing as you go.

Steven Sevel:               

If you guys don’t mind me asking, in terms of your own personal assessments, do you use the rubric? Are you an out of 20 type of … in terms of your assessment piece or do you learn both together? What does that look like for you guys in your classrooms?

Jon Orr:                       

I’m more of the rubric kind of end of things. So, that’s when you’re looking at that blog post and the numbers that we were putting into that spreadsheet was like a guideline or a place there for a kid’s current learning on that learning goal. So, we would give our weekly quizzes on our mastery days, or our portfolio days is now, we’ll usually what I call them, and I would look more holistically at the problem. And I tried to choose problems that are approachable to multiple ways of tackling it. And I think when I do that, I’m looking for a particular learning goal. So I might have like your learning goal that you had up on the screen there, maybe like solving multi-step linear equations, but I might choose one that could show that but also show different ways of doing it. It’s also possible you solve it by inspection or solve it by other versions of dev techniques.

Jon Orr:                       

And I’ve been big at that with communicating to my students that if you could solve problems in various ways or … not various ways, but I mean in different ways, then say what we’ve talked about exactly in class, I’m going to take that into account. So when I go to grade them, I’m grading them for how can I help my students get to where they’re supposed to be on that learning goal or where we want to move. So I have to think about where they currently were and then I’m usually writing feedback. So, it’s a quick sentence or two to that student on that question. My questions are like yours, it’s only maybe three, maybe four questions per week. And I’m going to write feedback on how to make the move forward. We’ve talked about this last night and we talked about this with John Hattie on episode 35, I mentioned that I don’t write a number on that to the student right then.

Jon Orr:                       

I record that and I would have wrote that down on that spreadsheet that you saw. But what the student then sees first is just the feedback and I think Kyle is showing you one of those kinds of quizzes-

Steven Sevel:                Yeah, I was going to ask you that.

Jon Orr:                       

So the feedback spot right there is for me to help them move forward. And then on those days, those portfolio or … I call them portfolio days, growth days, we hand that to them and say like, “Let’s fix this.” And that’s where their spots for corrections. I don’t want them to erase anything, I want them to see the growth, I want them to value the growth. And then I take that into account. It’s mandatory that they work towards fixing it and do they get it right the very next time? No. It’s an ongoing thing.

Steven Sevel:                So Kyle, if you just scroll up for a second, I just have a question because I saw this as it’s FreshGrade.

Jon Orr:                        Right.

Steven Sevel:                So that’s an online tool that you use.

Jon Orr:                       

Yeah. I can show you what that looks like and that’s how we’ve evolved from the spreadsheet. What we found with the spreadsheet, I think you are experiencing some of this from some of the comments you’ve asked in the Academy, is clanky. And you can easily wreck it by copying a wrong slide or sorry, not slide, sell to the wrong cell and everything just mucks up. So-

Steven Sevel:                So, John-

Jon Orr:                        Yeah, go ahead.

Steven Sevel:                Sorry to interrupt. Down below, you give the kids a pencil and paper task.

Jon Orr:                        Yeah.

Steven Sevel:                They do this assessment number one here, then you give them the feedback and then you record their work in this FreshGrade.

Jon Orr:                        Yeah.

Steven Sevel:                And then you hand them back this particular sheet.

Jon Orr:                       

Right. And they also record the work in their FreshGrade. I’ll share with you my screen in a moment here on how that looks because these pictures don’t have a lot of info from this when we first tried this. But yeah, that whole idea, it’s like FreshGrade has been a way for us to capture learning and students do a lot of that self-reflection for them and I think that’s been helpful for them to see like, “Where am I on my learning journey on this particular learning goal.” So you’ll see all that.

Steven Sevel:                So John, do they do that self reflection piece right there when they’re in class with you or do they do that at home?

Jon Orr:                       

They can do it either, it’s online. So FreshGrade is an online kind of portfolio tool. That’s a free account for anybody. And actually the time of this recording, they’re just about getting ready to launch their next version. I think they even called it Next, which has a lot of improvements. I’ve been in communication with the tech team and some of the sales team about what’s changing and they’ve taken a lot of feedback in over the last few years and especially being able to multiple assessments on different learning goals. I’m calling them learning goals, but they’ve made this tool very general so that anyone can use it any way they like and it fit with what Kyle and I were mostly doing with our spreadsheets. So, it allowed us to build our spreadsheet in the FreshGrade with more tools and easier tools and you can’t mess anything up [crosstalk 00:50:45].

Jon Orr:                       

So we moved there. It doesn’t have all the functionality that we really liked from our spreadsheet. Our spreadsheet was pretty powerful, especially with some of the automations that we had with a student demonstrating consistently that they’re level three or a 75 on that learning goal would automatically show them what they can do next, which is different than somebody who is consistently showing a 65 or a level two. And [crosstalk 00:51:12] show them. So, there was a lot of automations that we built into that spreadsheet. FreshGrade doesn’t have that yet, but does have a lot more easier tools to capture observations, like making use of the camera tool, which has been amazing in FreshGrade.

Jon Orr:                       

I can show you my screen, but that’s where the basics of that comes from and it’s been great for students thinking about their growth on those learning goals. So if you can see my screen here, here’s the grade book. So, you can see these are learning goals across the top. So right now, I’m looking at … for everyone listening here, I’m looking at mostly it looks like a charge that has columns and rows and the rows are names in the columns are titles and the titles are the learning goals. So very much what somebody’s grade page might look like already.

Jon Orr:                       

But the power is when you go to look at a student’s portfolio. The portfolio is here and if I highlight a student’s portfolio, well let’s just pick this one here. So, this is what the student would see and they would see these pods, which are like boxes, and these boxes, I’ve titled them learning goals. They call them activities, but FreshGrade built it to be very … you can use it in any subject. But we’ve built our spreadsheet here. And then what I love about that is you can assign a grade value to that learning goal, which is that student’s current learning goal grade. It’s like, “This is where I am currently on my journey on that particular learning goal.” I like that students can upload images of their current work on that to help showcase their learning on that learning goal.

Jon Orr:                       

And so each learning goal is like a collection of evidence. I can comment on that, we can have a conversation about those things, they take pictures of anything they do in class and add that or video or audio, sometimes you can just record a conversation with a student just on your phone and then boom, you just tag them and it goes right in there. So as I said, it’s a lot more functionality and not all the functionality but a lot more functionality. And it’s easy to pull up in the parent teacher interview. It’s-

Steven Sevel:                I like it.

Jon Orr:                       

… like, “Here, let’s talk about all of this stuff that we’ve seen from our students.” And then if you go to the grade book, it looks like a grade book and you can weight things as the way you want to weight things if you need to weight. Like some districts, you have to weight certain things, certain things. So you can make that functionality happen here, and you can categorize different things together. So, it has been great for a classroom experience and students get access to their portfolio whenever they want and they can continually add to it whenever they want. And so on our growth days, that’s what they’re doing. They’re looking at their portfolio and they’re seeing their current growth on those learning goals, and then they’re instructed to choose like what we did with our spreadsheet was their instruct …

Jon Orr:                       

We want you to spend a one period week working on what you need to work on. So go and choose a learning goal that might show currently three stars or color and work on the tasks that are in there. So if you look at say this task, because I’m pulling up what an activity looks like in FreshGrade, what we do in there is we can preload it with some tasks and give them some instructions. Like if you’re at this current understanding, our current level, you can move towards this one by completing some of these tests and taking pictures of your work and uploading them.

Jon Orr:                       

So, it’s like an ongoing thing that students can self choose where they need the most work. And we talked last night too that you can load it with help videos if you want on a learning [crosstalk 00:54:56]. So, it’s all customized to the learning goal but also to the student on those specific days because everybody in that classroom on that day can be working on something different. So, it’s been a nice tool to do all that. It takes some setting up, but it’s been a great tool to help do the things that you’re asking about.

Steven Sevel:                So, you can take a picture of the student’s assessment and upload it to their portal-

Jon Orr:                        Yes, so-

Steven Sevel:                So you have a record of their assessment piece. Oh, that’s amazing.

Jon Orr:                        Yeah. And sometimes when I see … When I’m marking those quizzes that come in and it’s like, “Yes, this is another consistently done well.” Probably you could take a picture of it, put it in there. You’ve got that recorded to help you-

Steven Sevel:                Oh, that’s amazing.

Jon Orr:                        To help you think about when you go to make the mark, right? So it’s-

Steven Sevel:                Right.

Jon Orr:                        … I don’t like to say, the kids got this Mark on this day because it’s like we want to think when I have to give a mark … because I want my students to think, where am I on the learning goals? I don’t want to be like, what do I have in the course?

Steven Sevel:                Right. It’s an assessment as piece as learning, right?

Jon Orr:                       

Right. So it’s like I want you to think about where if you’re on the Pythagorean theorem and you want to work towards improving your understanding and skill level on solving problems with the Pythagorean theorem, then I want you to think about that, not think about other things. So let’s work towards doing that right now on today while somebody else’s doing something else. Kyle, you want to jump in?

Kyle Pearce:                 

Yeah. I was just going to say … That was awesome, I’m so happy we had the visual there so everyone can see it and get that glimpse. That’s the key for us, is that the entire purpose of assessment is to get kids to want to continually get better instead of, like in my experience, I remember being in school, it was like I get done mentality. Did I get it done? And that’s where really trying to set it up for students not to ever think that it’s like, “Oh, I’m now done,” it’s like, “No, now you’re ready for your next challenge.” But let’s focus on the things that make the most sense to focus on. So let’s focus on those weak link ideas, let’s really dive into those, let’s continuously get that grade reflective of what you know now, not what you knew last week or what you knew three months ago, and let’s just continue pushing to get better and better because that’s really what we’re after, right?

Steven Sevel:                Right.

Kyle Pearce:                  We want to be lifelong learners-

Steven Sevel:                Absolutely.

Kyle Pearce:                 

We want them to realize that, hey, things aren’t going to always come easily. Some students are lucky to have that sort of, it seems to come easily to them. But typically when we see those types of students, they’re like John and I. If my teachers would have pressed me more in school in the way that John showing with FreshGrade or whether you’re using it or even just the paper tracking running record, that would have pushed me to realize that I actually didn’t know as much as I thought, I was just really good at answer getting.

Kyle Pearce:                 

And we don’t want kids to just rest on that, that they got the answers right, even for challenging problems. When they do get a challenging problem, I want to ask you questions about that. I want to ask you some focusing questions that will really give me an understanding as to whether they understand how they got to the answer they got to, can they show it in different ways, can they model it?

Kyle Pearce:                 

So, these are different things that pull in parts of that achievement chart that you had referenced earlier, but they’re also just like the mathematical processes that tend to come up a lot when we’re chatting. In the U.S, the Math practices is what they would typically call those. So with this, this is a lot going on here, hopefully you don’t find this conversation overwhelming. Hopefully you’d-

Steven Sevel:                No, not at all,

Kyle Pearce:                 

… a little bit of maybe helping you aim your focus a little bit. You’ve got to start somewhere, so I’m wondering before we wrap up, are there any big takeaways here in terms of what’s your focus over the next couple of weeks going to be as you get ready for this new school come September?

Steven Sevel:               

Yeah. Guys, thank you. So definitely really trying to always keep it in my mind, what is the purpose of the assessment? And that should be driving the assessment pieces that I give my students. And looking at the mastery, Kyle like you said, it’s just not necessarily like a one off, here are three questions you pick and go, it’s trying to really build in starting at maybe that beginner/intermediate level and then slowly working towards it, building those skills with my students and then attempting to start looking at those expert or those mastery type of questions. And then translating that. John, I love that FreshGrade, it looks amazing. You’re really being able to capture that and building the students, bringing them into that piece of they can upload their work and like you said in the slide that you showed where they’re picking their learning goals. I really like that piece as well.

Steven Sevel:               

And they can say, “Okay, you know what? This learning goal here, I’m struggling a bit, that’s what I want to work on it.” But ask Mr. Sevel how I could work on that learning goal. And probablby self providing them with different ways to achieve that particular learning goal. So, that really stood out to me as well.

Steven Sevel:               

And again, just really understanding, I like how you had said John, I think it was you had said, “We want to always put a marker on it to show somebody this is what they’ve got.” We do as teachers face that pressure of [maiden 01:00:02] parents and we’ve got this provincial report card at least at the elementary level where we’ve got to report on each strand twice and everything is so broken down into specific strand.

Steven Sevel:               

I wish they would change that, make it a general mark overall at the end of the year, like the expectation says by the end of grade [seventy 01:00:18]. Not in January or February but lots of learning guys so that’s amazing definitely. Thank you, that’s a bit a huge help. So certainly for my takeaway, I’m going to look a lot more at that FreshGrade, continue on through the Academy and completing the courses and learning a lot more from you guys and everyone else and the Academy and [inaudible 01:00:38] my learning as well.

Jon Orr:                       

Awesome stuff. Like we said earlier, we will be putting more information about these days and the ideas about assessment as a mini course that we’ll be working on that, that will keep us busy for a little bit [crosstalk 01:00:52]

Steven Sevel:                As you guys [crosstalk 01:00:53], you’re teaching in September, right?

Jon Orr:                        Yeah.

Kyle Pearce:                 

Yeah. And actually too John, I don’t know if it’s a bit early to talk about it, but we actually were chatting with the folks from FreshGrade and they had some really cool things that they wanted to share with folks in the Academy. And then also we’re trying to work on something for those who are listening to the podcast. So in the bumper, after the episode, which we typically record later, hopefully we’ll have something to share with you from FreshGrade so that folks who are listening to the podcast, they can dive in, they can try it out. It is a free tool. So keeping that in mind, but they also have some other premium options.

Kyle Pearce:                 

So, we’re really trying to find ways that we can offer the biggest bang for everybody’s buck. So we’ll try to find a way to offer something that gets folks a little bit of the up and up on the freemium version.

Steven Sevel:                Of FreshGrade.

Kyle Pearce:                  Yeah. Awesome. Thanks so much Steven for joining us here-

Steven Sevel:               

Thank you for your time gentlemen. I really appreciate everything that you’re doing on your Websites and the tap into teen minds is awesome. All those questions I’ve done so many other with my students. They love it. So guys, thank you so much for the work that you’re doing to support us. Really much appreciate it, your taking your time on a summer vacation to chat has been really, really helpful. So thank you very much.

Kyle Pearce:                 

Thank you Stephen. Thank you. It just makes it worthwhile for us to talk to great teachers like yourself. One last thing, would you mind coming back on and having a conversation in a few months after we start-

Steven Sevel:                Absolutely.

Kyle Pearce:                  .

.. the school year and getting your feet wet with some of the changes that you’re going to try to implement? We’d love to have a conversation and follow up.

Steven Sevel:                Absolutely I’d love to, thank you.

Kyle Pearce:                  … and talk about how that’s going for you.

Steven Sevel:               

Yeah. And I hope my questions weren’t all over the place and I hope people were able to follow along and if they’ve had you don’t think you the same way, it’s going to help them out as well.

Kyle Pearce:                 

You know what? Your questions, we’ve heard them so many times, that’s why we said, “Hey, let’s hop on a call here, and …” You know what I mean? This is teaching, good reflective teaching ends up where you have all these questions. It seems like never ending questions. So, I’m so happy that you brought them to the forefront here, you put yourself in a vulnerable position, which I think is key in order to do any sort of collaborative work and any sort of learning beyond what we’re capable of doing independently, which … that’s why John and I do this together. We learn so much from each other just by throwing out an idea. It’s like I think I’m stumped on something, and then John comes at it from a completely different perspective and then I go, “Yeah, why didn’t I think of that?”

Kyle Pearce:                 

So that’s what this is all about and I’m so happy that folks like you are taking advantage of that and … Let us know how we can help along the way and we can’t wait to do that check in call with you-

Steven Sevel:                100%.

Kyle Pearce:                  … and see how things are progressing along.

Steven Sevel:                Great. Looking forward to gentleman. Thank you so much.

Jon Orr:                        Awesome.

Steven Sevel:                All right, take care for the day, the summer and a great start in September.

Jon Orr:                        Awesome, you too. Take care.

Kyle Pearce:                  Take care, we’ll see you later. Have a good one.

Steven Sevel:                Bye. Chap.

Kyle Pearce:                 

As always, both John and I learned so much from these Math mentoring moment episodes, but as always, in order to ensure we hang on to that new learning instead of letting it a race like footprints in the sand, we must reflect on what we’ve learned. An excellent way to do this and make sure the learning sticks is to reflect and create a plan for yourself to take action on something that you’ve learned from this episode.

Jon Orr:                       

A great way to hold yourself accountable is to write it down or even better share it with someone, your partner or colleagues or another member of the Make Math Moments community or comment on the show notes page or tag us on social media @makemathmoments or you can reach out to us in our free private Facebook group, Mathmomentmakers, K-12.

Kyle Pearce:                 

Awesome stuff. And again, make sure you check out that spiraling guide by going to makemathmoments.com/spiral, you’ve got a lot of reading content there and also an optional three day video series that you can check out so that you can take a deep dive into spiraling.

Jon Orr:                       

Are you interested in joining us for an upcoming Math mentoring moment episode where you can share a big Math class struggle? Apply over @makemathmoments.com/mentor, that’s makemathsmoments.com/mentor.

Kyle Pearce:                 

And in order to ensure you don’t miss out on any new episodes as they come out each week, be sure to hit that subscribe button on your favorite podcast platform. Ratings and reviews are appreciated and will help the message get out to more people.

Jon Orr:                       

Show notes and links to resources from this episode can be found @makemathmoments.com/episode 52. Again, that is makemathmoments.com/episode52.

Kyle Pearce:                  Well, I think you all know what that means. Until next time, I’m Kyle Pearce …

Jon Orr:                        And I’m John Orr.

Kyle Pearce:                  High fives for us.

Jon Orr:                        And high fives for you.

 

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3 Comments

  1. Tara

    Could you share a PDF of the achievement chart you talked about in this episode?

    Reply
  2. Ruba

    Making Math Fun

    Reply

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