Help! I Lost All of My Students!

Help! I Lost All of My Students!
#5 | Over the next 3 weeks, we will deconstruct our master resource rubric and break down all of the components of an authentic Common Core lesson. Check out parts 1234567, and 8 of the series.

Engaging lessons are not a dime a dozen. If your students can’t follow with understanding, you might as well be getting your lesson plans off the back of a cereal box. Great teaching consists of guiding students into deeper learning, wherein each step is strategic. This is why assessments are imperative for any top-notch Common Core lesson. Sure, you can be the brightest, most creative educator out there, but if your students can’t keep up, you’re running this marathon alone. You’re talking, but you’re no longer teaching.

Include formative checks for understanding throughout all parts of the lesson as well as an attached formative and summative assessment

When it comes to gauging student understanding, there are three tools to keep in your back pocket: formative checks, formative assessments, and summative assessments. Checks for understanding (CFU’s) are quick evaluations woven intermittently throughout a lesson that communicate to the teacher a general consensus of which direction to steer the remainder of the instruction. If you are lost for creative CFU ideas, here are just a few:

      • Faces – read your students’ expression students to gauge if they follow
      • Bubble Wrap – students write what they want to know about a topic on dot stickers, which they stick onto bubble wrap; they then pop bubbles when a topic has been covered.
      • Four Corners – students move around the room to areas that indicate answers to a question
      • Personal White Boards – hold em up, only the teacher can see
      • Quick Manipulative Build or writing to solve a problem

The purpose of formative assessments, on the other hand, is to provide a more thorough analysis of understanding from each student midway through a lesson. From there, teachers can decide which groups of students need extra support or challenge. Formative assessments can look like:

      • Observational Checklists- kids do a task, teacher records what they see
      • Practice Worksheets
      • Quiz
      • Pre-writing or Thinking for a Project

Finally, summative assessments at the end of a lesson or unit require students to synthesize all of the skills that they have learned and complete a task independently. This assessment guides lesson construction for the subsequent topic. Summative assessments often take the shape of:

      • Essays
      • Projects
      • Tests
      • Exit Slips
      • Rubrics

Assessment steps provide a vital opportunity for educators to gauge learning progress and offer opportunities to differentiate instruction, which is precisely why we package them in every UClass lesson plan. Common Core curricula calls for thorough instruction, paving the path for deeper learning. We know that teachers walk a winding, narrow road, and we’re right here to walk it with you.


Follow us over the next weeks as we reveal more from our Common Core resource rubric! Read our entire series of posts:

1: Our beef with the Common Core
2: Holy moly! Teachers aren’t teaching Common Core standards
3: How to not be a bad teacher
4: Get your lessons diving deep in cognitive rigor
5. Help! I Lost All of My Students!
6. How to Give Students a Voice
7. How To Be Your Students’ Favorite
8. 4 Differentiation Tips You Need to Know