Ritchhart mentioned that Formative Assessment is generally being used incorrectly in the classroom. He says it is not a task but a practice that we engage in. While I am not focusing on “correctness” when formatively assessing I am finding out about my student’s learning. Their process of acquiring new knowledge. I am wanting to find out about here development as thinkers and learners.
What I liked the best about what Ritchhart had to share in this session was that “knowledge needs to be connected to make it useful.” And the notion that knowledge is passive where understanding is active - no one can “give” us understanding, we need to synthesize that for ourselves.
The task that I liked the most from this session is “Making Meaning.” For me, this is a mind map on steroids. It takes mind mapping to that next level, the level that makes thinking visible. There are five different rounds to completing The Making Meaning routine. The first round involves just responding with a single word to the concept we are trying to build meaning around. Then, in the second round you add onto the initial words; a phrase or word that elaborates the thinking. Third, connections must be made, drawing arrows and writing on the arrows explaining the connections. Fourth, we then ask any questions that have arisen from the words on the page, these can be written anywhere in the white space. Round five has students writing their own definition. Ritchhart calls this a “walking around definition,” a definition that can’t be Googled, it is a personal and powerful definition that students can act upon.
I really like The Making Meaning routine for concepts that are abstract - I find that eleven year olds have difficulty with concepts that I have to teach such as democracy, equity, fairness, equality. I think that by completing all five rounds of The Making Meaning Routine my students will have not only made their learning visible on the chart paper, but they will also gain the understanding of the concept.
That's my view from the 86th Pew,