Monday, March 15, 2010

Standard Snapshots of Student Work

At Chets Creek, our central focus has always been on students' academic performance. The work students produce lets us know whether our targeted instruction has worked or whether we need to reassess our path. When you stroll through our hallways, you see student work aligned with standards on each teacher's bulletin board. We post the work so our colleagues can compare work across grade levels or content areas, parents can see work that meets the standard, and students are exposed to the level of work they are expected to produce. The student work makes our classroom instruction more transparent and visible.

In addition, at weekly Teacher Meetings, it is not uncommon for teachers to bring student work to analyze. Their collegial conversation about the instruction that led to the students' products often has them exchanging valuable instructional ideas.

Years ago, in an effort to educate all of our parents, even those that are unable to stroll through our halls, we decided to package our standards-based bulletin board in a handout to be sent home with each student. The Standard Snapshot, as we called it, would be produced by each grade level and content area to go home with our students. In addition, to the selected grade level piece that is copied on the back of the handout, we also staple their own child's work on the assignment.
To prepare for a Standard Snapshot, each grade level / content area team meets to discuss work that is currently being produced. They agree upon a common assignment and they collect all students' work from the task. The teachers meet to review, compare, and select the student sample. They select work that meets the standard rather than work that exceeds the standard, because we want to educate parents about what their child's work is expected to look like. After the Snapshots are written, teachers turn them in to me with the original piece of student work; I edit / revise them, and turn them in for copies. After copies are made, the teacher attaches each child's work to the Standard Snapshot, and sends them home with students.

Creating a Standard Snapshot has been a parent communication piece for the past eight years, and is a powerful venue for collegial dialogue about student work among our teachers. It is a collegial practice that focuses on students' work products as they relate to the standards and is a practice I continue to find valuable and informative.

Second Grade Science Standard Snapshot

(To enlarge, click on the picture.)

Second Grade Student Work Sample Printed on the Back of the Snapshot

My Child's Work That Was Attached to the Snapshot

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