12 June 2015

5 Tips on How to Write Narratives for the NC ASW

I never got my Analysis of Student Work results back from the pilot last year, but I think my National Boards experience prepared me well for exactly this sort of thing. So while I can't tell you for sure that I'm going to get a "Distinguished" or even a "Proficient" on anything, I can say with some confidence that they'll allow me to continue working in the state of North Carolina, whether or not the Race to the Top funding runs out...

CONNECT your examples to the objectives you selected.
Alas, it is too late to pick new objectives. Hopefully, you have a solid stockpile of evidence for your selected students that you can actually connect to the objectives you picked. If not, this year you may have to make do. If so, make sure your interpersonals are interpersonal (that's ANY objective with a 1.something), your interpretives are interpretive (2.somethings), your presentationals are presentational (3.somethings) and your culturals are cultural (4.somethings).


In your narrative, make sure the evaluators see that you have matched the communication mode of the objective to what you're showing them. Use language from the objective itself, e.g. "phrases and short sentences" or "main idea and supporting details."

No really. The 'splainin' is what they
really want anyway. [Image]
GIVE the background and time frame for your assignments.
You might be able to squeeze everything the evaluators need to know in your Supporting Documents, especially if they happen to include due dates. Just be sure they know what they're looking at and what kind of time went into it.

If it only took your young ones a week to get better, then all the better! If we're talking one end of the semester to the next, that's important too so the growth is, well, believable. If there should perhaps be more growth in the designated amount of time, you might have some 'splainin' to do, but that's why the narratives exist FOR 'splainin'. Just, you know, hint at all the other cool stuff you did in between.

Which brings me to the next tip.

ADD relevant stuff that makes your class look more rounded.
I was careful to throw in all the countries that were represented in the ruletas activities and to allude to gamification successes and all the other authentic resources students tapped in their previous Genius Hour steps to build up their interpretive skills. Don't spend TOO much time or energy on this part, as it is not what is specifically required, but I bet it might help nudge an evaluator who is on the fence about whether you "meet" or "exceed" growth.

If you can exceed growth,
always exceed growth.
EXPLAIN the problems each student demonstrates in Point 1.
The whole point of the portfolio is to show that you made a kid better. Well, three kids better. Nine if you're counting the kids from all of your objectives this year. Fifteen next year, presumably.

This means they can't be perfect from the start. Now I've found three ways to approach this:

  1. I set this task up so they all they did was something very basic, or 
  2. Check out this individual kid's problem areas, or
  3. All of the above
Whenever possible, go with All of the above simply because you can make a more solid case for something actually changing because of something you did.

But you need to show that they got better in the objectives you selected. If you MUST you can include how they went from present to past tense, or their spelling is much better, but that's icing.

HINT: you want to pick something that is no longer or a problem--or is less of a problem--by Point 2.

INCLUDE strategies you used between Point 1 and Point 2 to fix the problems given in Point 1.
Come on, credit where credit's due, amigos! Think of every little thing you did in class that could account for those problems cited in Point 1 having gone away--or at least decreased in some way. Ideally, you would have carefully analyzed each sample of student work throughout the semester and carefully selected activities designed to remedy each and every linguistic ailment each or your precious angels demonstrated.

Yeah, me neither.

But you DID do things that helped. Point out what got better and connect it to something you did, whether it was daily conversation practice, peer editing and revising writing samples, or singing a pop song chorus now and then.

Like our students, we have the capacity
to get better too.

If you got this far, you're probably a pretty decent teacher, or at the very least have the potential to become one. If for some reason your evidence does not lend itself to 'splainin' or even very well aligned this year, remember we've got two more years to "meet growth" and consider this the "before" in your "before and after" progression and start bulking up for next year.

May I suggest LangCamp for your workout plan?

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