Post #2: Where to Start…?

1) Assessment: You are going to need to know what  your students reading levels are, reading behaviours, strengths and stretches.  You can use the NLPS assessments we learned, reading records, and any another assessments that will help draw any useful information about your students as readers.
2) Making your groups: By your assessment, Group 3-5 students at the same reading level and similar reading behaviours together. You are wanting students to work on strategies that will help them develop as independent readers while also able to comprehend the story. By grouping students with students at the same level, they have the opportunity to build from their skill level while working with other students to deepen understanding and have conversations about the stories and problem solving strategies.
3) Finding the right fit: Pick a book that would be of interest to the students and is at their reading level. (Librarians can help you). Make sure each student has a copy of the book.  Every student will need a copy of the book so they can independently reading quietly to self as the rest of the group is doing the same.
4) Skill Focus: For each group of students, identify a skill(s) to introduce as a focal point of the lesson. Students are to practice this skill while they are reading the story for purpose.
5)Purpose of readingTeachers must set a purpose for reading. This helps build the meaning and comprehension of reading stories.  (i.e. what is the problem in the story? why is the character sad? Etc.) What are students to be looking for in the story? afterwards in the closing of the lesson, students are going to have a conversation about these questions and re-telling of story. 
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Peer Assessment in the Classroom

Peer assessment is great because it allows for collaboration and connection between students. In order for this type of assessment to be a positive experience in the classroom, it is very important that the classroom environment is very safe and open for all learners. Some students may have some anxieties about showing their peers their work so having the classroom be a space where everyone understands that we are learners and mistakes are welcomed helps to alleviate some of those insecurities. Educators can also help with this by choosing the partners ahead of time for the first bit as students get more comfortable with it.

Like many things it is very important for peer assessment to be explicitly taught to students and practiced often for them to really get a grasp on how to do it effectively. They will need to a good understanding of what language to use when assessing other’s work, reminders to check that their feedback connects to the success criteria and help going over what is supportive feedback and what is not. It is also extremely important for teachers to take ample time out of their schedules to allow for students to revise and edit after they have received their feedback. This revision period is where students are able to take the information they’ve gotten and use it to improve their work.

I have attached a video here that shows some student and teacher perspective on peer assessment and how it has impacted them. This video also offers some guidance around how to offer this to students, this is geared more towards intermediate students. They also touch on the use of “The Ladder of Feedback.”. This seems to offer a great structure for teachers and students who are new to peer assessment and breaks it down in a way that makes it seem easier to try out!

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