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This is the fourth edition of the A.C.C.E.S.S. newsletter. You can access all past editions on the Educator Evaluation homepage . Have an idea for topics we should feature? Email us! Do you find this newsletter helpful? Please forward to colleagues and encourage them to subscribe.
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DPAS-II Advisory Committee Meeting
Cabinet Room at the Townsend Building in Dover

04/13/18 9:30am - 04/13/18 12:30pm

Let your voice be heard! Join us for the next DPAS-II Committee meeting and share your thoughts.
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Digging Deeper
Strategies and Resources for Engaging Students in Learning
Last month , we took a close look at criterion 3a in the Delaware Framework for Teaching: Engaging Students in Learning. In the framework, “engagement” does not just mean that students are busy, but that they are cognitively active in the learning and content of the lesson. Students are doing the majority of the thinking in the lesson, and the teacher structures activities, assignments, student groupings, materials and pace to foster this engagement.

Great teachers have a toolbox of strategies and resources to support student engagement in learning. Below we feature a few favorites. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, nor is this a list of the only acceptable strategies. Instead, this list is meant to serve as a starting point to support teachers as they aim to increase student engagement in their lessons.

  • Bloom’s Taxonomy is a framework for categorizing instructional goals. It can also be useful in planning instruction to deeply engage students in content. As students are asked to participate in activities with objectives higher on the taxonomy, they are required to engage in more rigorous thinking that pushes their learning beyond simple recall and understanding to evaluation and creation. Teachers can use Bloom’s to spark ideas for planning for deeper engagement.
  • KWL (adapted from The Danielson Group). At the beginning of the lesson, students are given a three column poster. They note in the first two columns what they know about a topic and what they want to know. At the end of the lesson, they note on the poster what they’ve learned about the topic of the lesson. This strategy helps students to activate their thinking on a topic in preparation for learning.
  • Pivot A/B (also adapted from The Danielson Group). Students sit in pairs and are asked to “pivot” so that each student is knee to knee and eye to eye with their partner. Pairs decide who is “A” and who is “B.” The teacher tells A to go first, and the students begins by telling B how much they know or remember about the prompt given by the teacher. Then, partners switch and B fills in anything A may have missed.
  • Cold Calling (from Teach Like a Champion). Cold calling occurs when a teacher calls on a student to respond to a question or to contribute to discussion, whether or not the student has actually raised their hand. This makes engaged participation the expectation in the classroom and creates accountability for students to be engaged.
  • Ratio (also from Teach Like a Champion) is a technique to ensure that students do as much of the cognitive work of the lesson as possible. There are several strategies to increase ratio like: breaking questions into smaller parts, expressing half an idea and asking students to finish it, asking what’s next about a process, and more.

Do you see these strategies in lessons you observe? What other strategies have you seen teachers use to deeply engage students in the content of the lesson? Tell us about it!
Share this with your teachers!
Click the links below to access resources and information about the strategies outlined in this newsletter and more. Remember, these are not the only strategies teachers can use, but instead are a starting point for you to use to support teachers in growing their practice.

Practice Perfect: Collect Evidence
Last month we described the four core steps of the observation process. This month, we’re examining the first step of the process: Collect Evidence.

Supporting teacher development and growth begins with establishing an accurate picture of current teacher performance. To gain the most accurate understanding of a teacher’s strengths and growth areas, observers first need to collect strong evidence to align to the rubric.  Evidence is an objective description of something observed. It makes no suggestion of quality; it is not interpretation. Evidence is non-judgmental. It does not assess for quality or draw conclusions. Evidence is also specific. It describes exactly what was observed. The best way for observers to ensure evidence is non-judgmental and specific is to focus on collecting evidence in the classroom and wait to interpret the evidence until after the observation is complete . Non-judgmental and specific evidence makes it easier for observers to communicate with teachers about what they saw happening in the classroom, and what may need to improve.
Strong evidence allows the observer to nearly recreate the lesson he or she observed, and to use that recreation to rate instruction using the framework. Strong evidence is also difficult to refute. When an observer shares evidence to defend a particular rating, the less subjective and more specific that evidence is, the easier it will be for observers to support the ratings assigned to teachers. Judgmental or non-specific evidence can make it easier for teachers to refute ratings, and harder for observers to coach teachers to improve.

Last month we shared several strategies for collecting evidence. What strategies do you use to collect evidence? What has worked for you in the past? Share them with us!

Next month we’ll discuss interpreting that evidence, and strategies for using evidence to assign ratings aligned with the DPAS-II framework.
What's on the agenda?
What should be on your DPAS-II to-do list this month:

  • Complete all Experienced Educator observations
  • Complete Novice Educator observations #3 or #4
  • Begin spring conferences and summative evaluations
  • Group 1 Teachers complete roster verification in RVS. RVS Closes for Group 1 teachers on April 13, 2018
  • Find relevant resources and information you need at the Educator Evaluation homepage on the DDOE website.
Calibration One-Hour Webinar
PDMS Course #25969
April 12-May 10
DPAS-II Boot Camp Training for Teacher/Specialist System
PDMS Course #25968
Government Support Services Building, Dover
April 16-19
Delaware School Leader Academy
The Instructional Imperative
PDMS Course #26491
Dover High School Sentrum
April 25
Using Assessment in Instruction
PDMS Course # 25970
Government Support Services Building, Dover
April 26
Providing Quality Recommendations and Developing and Implementing Expectations and Improvement Plans
PDMS Course #25977
Government Support Services Building, Dover
May 10