Have you had a chance to look at the recently released PARCC online sample questions? I looked around at my colleagues after a recent staff meeting where these online questions had been shared. To be honest a lot of people looked overwhelmed and stressed. Sure, you already have to teach your content and a host of other things that aren’t directly written in your curriculum. Now, let’s add another piece to the already teetering pile.
This is an area that I feel I can work with my teachers to help lighten their load and lift the anxieties of the less-tech savvy. One of the most important things to remember is that all of these skills shouldn’t be in addition to your lesson, but incorporated into it. I have started collecting resources to share with the staff. I have been using a Google Doc to keep a running list of web sites and activities that will help expose students to the skills and experiences that will make them successful when navigating the PARCC assessments. The list includes simulations, types of online calculators, activities that allow students to drag/drop answers and manipulate data within graphs.
In addition to keeping the updated list of resources, I have been working with my curriculum director on some after school professional development sessions for our teachers. At the start of the session I share this list with them (Tech Skills List.) This tool from the University of Kentucky helps teachers determine the preparation level of their students prior to taking the assessment. It covers five areas—but one area is specific to a text-reader which may or may not be available to your students. These areas include: Basic Computer Skills, Keyboarding, Word Processing, Text-Reader/Screen Reader and Interaction with Online Assessment Skills. I found that this list was a great discussion starter for our professional development session. Can your students open multiple windows, choose multiple answers or highlight multiple items? Do they know how to scroll within a text box or click/drag items?
The East Region will be offering a PD session where I will be sharing more resources and Jeanne Steele will be discussing Infohio resources and The Third Grade Reading Guarantee. There is still time to sign up for PARCC and 3rd Grade Guarantee resource training being held: Feb 19th at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson Ohio from 4:30 to 6:30. Stop by to see how you can support your school.
Midwinter will also address these topics–don’t forget to register!