NC Teacher Evaluation Artifacts

For those of you NOT in the know, NC adopted a teacher evaluation tool last year developed by McREL. We used to have one that was a few pages long in a 10-12 pt font. Teachers were marked on a five point scale from unsatisfactory to excellent. Most of it was things that could easily be observed in any lesson when the observer walked into your classroom – not all, but most.

Enter the NEW evaluation tool.

So now we have an instrument that is 11 pages in an 8 pt font. There are five standards with multiple sub standards which seem straight forward enough on the surface. To make things murky, however, the instrument has separated out things like Global Awareness, 21st Century learning, collaboration and technology. Those (in my poor feeble mind) should be lumped together because they are so intertwined. There are also leadership and PD things that could have been combined. Needless to say, I would have streamlined it more (oh so much more).

The graded categories are:

  • Developing
  • Proficient
  • Accomplished
  • Distinguished
  • and the dreaded Not Demonstrated

You must meet all the criteria for developing to be proficient. You must meet all the criteria for developing and proficient to be accomplished . . . Fine, except two strands in a single sub standard might not always go together. For instance, global awareness is in the same sub standard as demonstrating knowledge of your content. Really? I know what they want. They want us to make sure that our content is seen in the big picture of how it can be used in the world, but sometimes we just have to practice the algorithm. Doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme if they can’t do the math first.  Another one is on assessment – the use of formative and summative, but in the same category is assessment of 21st century skills. Math isn’t a 21st century skill on it’s own? Now, I’ve got to develop assessments that distinctly measure 21st century skills. *whew*

I’ve had one artifact presentation meeting and I learned a few things.

  1. Don’t just throw all your stuff in a box and sort through it the weekend before your first artifact meeting.
  2. Know the standards and sub-standards backwards and forwards. Since there are some gray areas and overlaps, this will help tremendously in deciding which artifacts or evidences work best where.
  3. Use a list similar to this one so you can see examples of what kinds of things can be used under the different standards.
  4. Make a table of contents. There are so many overlaps on the instrument that you may not be able to remember in which section you put a particular evidence. Also, I’m planning on notating it so questions may be able to be answered without the time consuming location of the item. Even with a TofC – we are talking tons of items.
  5. Focus on your weaknesses. Purposely place those items into your lesson plans to use and then purposely gather some evidence.  Evidences for your areas of strength are going to come easily.
  6. If an agenda is not provided, keep a handwritten one for every meeting, PD, etc. Do it right in your calendar and it’s all in one place.
  7. Don’t try to do it alone. If there was ever a time for collaboration, this is it. I felt a bit rushed and didn’t utilize this as much as I would have liked. But as we talked, one teacher would mention an item and it would make me think of something I’d done that I could use. Then we’d brainstorm and come up with others. Also, other teachers remembered things I’d done that I had forgotten.

I really wanted to display mine in some kind of unique way: a powerpoint, a website, a blog. I just waited to late this year for that. It was too big a bear when I sat down to organize, but in searching for ways to present, I came across this site:

NC Teacher Evaluation System of Cataloging and Collaborating

I didn’t get a chance to use it, but I did scan through it and it looks good even if it doesn’t appear too many are using it. Something to think about if you don’t wait until the last minute like I did!

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Ten Top Tips for Teaching with New Media

On Edutopia, I downloaded the Ten Top Tips for Teaching with New Media. I haven’t gotten a chance to look through the whole thing yet, but they sent me an email with this to share:

I just downloaded Edutopia‘s Ten Top Tips for Teaching with New Media, and thought you might find this resource useful, too. Edutopia exists to provide people like us with the information and inspiration needed to create schools for the 21st century, and this resource provides succinct tips on how you can use the latest technologies to prepare your students for success – from tips that will “Break the Digital Ice,” to how to start “Working Better, Together.” Download your copy today at edutopia.org/ten-top-tips.

Technology and education

Reading the comments on Nick’s post about Technology and Church, made me think about the various technologies at schools. Actually, it was Brian’s mention of the overhead until the bulb blew . . .

When I was interviewing, I found that overheads are not what they used to be in the field of education.

When I was first asked to describe a class, I mentioned that I like to have the lesson points projected from an LCD projector and then use the overhead on which to work problems. I was laughed at. Overheads are passee. Document readers are in. I’d not even heard of a document reader so I had to go home from that first embarrassing interview and look one up. AND I knew that wasn’t quite true. I’d just had to ask for a new projector the year before and I had dozens in multiple catalogs from which to chose.

From school after school, I received the same information. Every room has a work station with a laptop, a document reader and a LCD projector. One principal suggested that if I came to work at her school, my professional development plan should include up-to-date technology training. That seemed funny to me because I’ve always been the first to embrace technology at places I’ve been in the past.

Well, I still haven’t gotten to use a document reader because the school I ended up at has overhead projectors! I did find a room with a couple of smart boards in it, so I’m going to ask about giving one of them a try.