Tuesday, 30 January 2018

The Joy of Giving

I have been experiencing the joy of giving in a heightened way these past few months and it is about more than Christmas. It is our practice at connect2learning to offer a gift, most often a book, as a way of expressing our deepest appreciation for the opportunity to work alongside teachers, schools, and systems. Since November 22nd, I’ve been giving  Making Physical Education Instruction and Assessment Work, the book I co-authored with my friend and colleague, Karen Cross. On two occasions (so far!), I’ve actually been able to place it in the hands of a physical educator and say, “We wrote this for you.”

The joy is about more than sharing a new book I’m very proud of.  It’s about shouting from the rooftops that assessment is a topic that connects us - classroom teacher and specialist - and we have much to learn from each other. All too often, the perception, and sometimes the reality, has been that whole staff professional learning does not pertain to the physical educators in the building. With this book, in which we apply the big ideas, structures, and strategies of assessment in the service of learning to the teaching of physical education, we show that a focus on quality classroom assessment is an inclusionary professional learning practice that recognizes that  “We are all teaching children and adolescents to be responsible, contributing citizens. We are all interested in developing self-determining, lifelong learners.” (Augusta & Cross, p. 41) 

Together we can talk about:
·         identifying clear and meaningful learning destinations for students,
·         collecting evidence of learning from observations, conversations, and products,
·         describing quality through the gradual release of responsibility, using samples, and co-constructing criteria,
·         giving feedback that moves learning forward, and
·         involving students in self- and peer assessment.

While we’re at it, let’s include the music specialists, the visual arts teachers, the industrial arts educators, the drama teachers…