Category Archives: standards

Notable Books, Notable Lessons: Finding ways to put social studies back into K-8

notable-books-lesson-coverFull confession.

Elementary kids freak me out. They’re sticky. They smell funny. And they throw up. All the time. Seriously. All the time. Every day.

My wife teaches elementary kids. She. Is. A. Saint.

And she tells me that her kids don’t throw up every day. I want to believe her but I’m not convinced.

The point? I could never teach elementary kids. So I feel a little weird saying this but . . . Continue reading Notable Books, Notable Lessons: Finding ways to put social studies back into K-8

Getting The State Assessment Out Of The Box: Part 4 – “The Classroom Based State Assessment”

gifford

Today’s guest post is from Don Gifford. Don is the Education Program Consultant for History/Government, Social Studies, and Career Standards and Assessment Services for the Kansas State Department of Education.

(This is the final installment of a four part series. Get Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.)


Commissioner Randy Watson has approved a project to bring the History, Government, and Social Studies state assessment out of the box and to embed the state assessment into what good teachers are doing in their classrooms every day.  

This is an ambitious undertaking and a bit frightful but in the KSDE spirit of redesign and the moon shot goal of “leading the world in the success of each student,” we’re moving forward. We have already enlisted more than 30 educators to help us through this difficult work. (If you are interested in helping with this process, e-mail me.)  

We’ve been working on performance level descriptions (PLDs) which describe what a student should know and be able to do at the end of elementary, middle, and high school. We have just started to work on rigorous task rubrics for the assessment and will begin soon to write sample tasks. The goal will be to pilot the sample tasks this semester so that we will have examples, student work, and exemplars for scoring available for teachers.  

What will the assessment work?  Continue reading Getting The State Assessment Out Of The Box: Part 4 – “The Classroom Based State Assessment”

Getting The State Assessment Out Of The Box: Part 2 – “The Use of Classroom Based State Assessment”

gifford

Today’s guest post is from Don Gifford. Don is the Education Program Consultant for History/Government, Social Studies, and Career Standards and Assessment Services for the Kansas State Department of Education.


So in Part One, we suggested that the current HGSS assessment is different than anything that good teachers do in the classroom.  We implied that in many cases learning stops for two days while we take the assessment, and that schools, teachers, or students gain little from the assessment or its results. Also we imagined a different kind of state assessment, one based in the classroom where teachers and student could collaborate on what the assessment looks like.

In Part Two, we will be talking about how a classroom based state assessment might be used. Continue reading Getting The State Assessment Out Of The Box: Part 2 – “The Use of Classroom Based State Assessment”

Getting The State Assessment Out Of The Box: Part One

gifford

Today’s guest post is from Don Gifford. Don is the Education Program Consultant for History/Government, Social Studies, and Career Standards and Assessment Services for the Kansas State Department of Education.


I just left a meeting where one of the frustrated participants complained that the state Kansas-Can-blue_white-gold-starassessments “exist in a box.”  She meant that the assessment isn’t really like anything else that a good teacher does in their classroom.  I think most educators would agree. It is more often true that teaching and learning stop as we prepare for the assessment and that neither teaching nor learning is affected in a positive way by the state assessment.

What if that was different?  Continue reading Getting The State Assessment Out Of The Box: Part One

Winning the RACE of writing

It’s been that kind of school year for all of us, so here’s a great post on writing from last October by KCSS board member Adam Topliff. Happy parent-teacher conference season everyone!

Doing Social Studies

student-at-computerStudents + writing = frustration . . . sound like familiar?

The growing expectation of integrating writing  in our Social Studies classroom makes us as anxious about the process as our students. Why does this happen? There are a variety of factors that contribute to this fear and frustration but the most common that I hear from other teachers is

I don’t have a solid system to assist my kids with writing.

We teach a topic and then assess students by asking them to write a response or reaction. What do we get back?

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