Sunday, January 16, 2022

Assessment and Rubrics

Utah Education Network

Instructionally sound assessment requires more than implementing meaningful tasks and standards. Teachers must develop the capacity to analyze student work, as well as the leadership ability to train students to do this analysis. The Rubistar website with you where you can create your own rubrics.

An assessment is an appraisal of the learner developed by the teacher observing a student and his or her work. An effective lesson plan should contain several opportunities for assessment throughout the plan. It can consist of pretests for determining what students already know, questioning intermittently throughout a lesson and quizzes. An evaluation is static and represented by a grade, a rank, or a score, that a student earns. Assessment is more dynamic, with reflective observation, whereas evaluation is static.  

Formative assessments that monitor progress are given more frequently than summative assessments (or evaluation), which usually occur at the end of a "learning cycle" to measure. Finally, learning outcomes affect your assessment and vice versa.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Banning Critical Race Theory Undermines Educating Students Honestly

For the past several decades, talking honestly about equality is how many educators have responded to Critical Race Theory or CRT in the classroom and beyond. The future, however, with respect to the issue being taught honestly in public classrooms  is in doubt as Republicans in many states work to cancel any mention of  it, along with the associated  atrocities that have occurred throughout history.  Demonization of the ambiguous term will certainly make future news; however, in the meantime, it's vital for teachers to cover the topics associated with it.

As a professor perched into a position that advocates for concepts associated with CRT such as diversity, social justice and equality, I’ve come to introduce to graduate students in teacher education many aspects of  the misinterpreted term, which has become a hot topic also addressed by broadcasters of every persuasion and one that is being censored in schools by some state and local governments. CRT has evolved into a wedge issue that will prevent teachers from honestly guiding students  to comprehend the various points of view about the lessons the past has taught us, so that they can decide for themselves what they want for the future.

CRT, in part, has to do with the implied meanings of words. For years, new teachers have been indoctrinated to race theory by analyzing their own backgrounds and those of their students, including race/culture and all language associated with it. All teachers are required to examine how race/culture has affected them and their belief system, along with undergoing a rigorous study of sociolinguistics, which teaches how humans have used language, verbal and nonverbal, to communicate and influence each other throughout time. Using language effectively is required in teaching, both to get students’ attention and to think critically about the world.


The media has hammered the term "critical race theory" into the public psyche relentlessly without defining it clearly, so that they can manipulate the public. Teachers do not operate in the same way as several media outlets depict them. Unlike many broadcasters, teachers are cognizant that terms and concepts need to be clearly defined using a variety of methods for students to understand their meaning. Politicians know how to manipulate some media outlets by using loaded terms that antagonize public perceptions of race and culture. They use phrases and slogans filled with implicit racism without defining them, so that the terms can be molded into any shape and form that churns the public into a frenzy by advocating for laws that put restraints on teachers, never regarding their professional training.


The validity of CRT is being argued by broadcasters on right-leaning cable networks without proper scaffolding for their viewers to understand the issue. These arguments have failed to explain just what CRT is. Critical Race Theory has been taught for decades since the 1960s, the time Paulo Freire wrote the book "Pedagogy of the Oppressed," which describes how the oppressors in society needed to recognize what they have done in the past and that those oppressed understood what has happened to their ancestors. Parts of the book would be considered a radical treatise about education. However, in the classroom when race issues come up, they often are associated with topics in the history curriculum that cover events such as the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. Teachers work together to carefully plan lessons and units that span across many subjects across the curriculum to provide an equitable education to all students by including multicultural integration, so that they can be taught to make the world a better place through research of historical and contemporary issues from a wide range of publications with varying views about past oppression.


The teachings of CRT include problem solving and critical thinking skills so that students can compare, contrast and seek solutions to social problems by reading reputable sources about local, state and national issues.  Common Core standards for speaking and writing can be met by having students discuss and write about them.


By studying current events and the history behind them, students can develop solutions to contemporary issues by evaluating their thoughts about how humanity has engaged in irrational thought and acts during different periods of history, along with how they solved the problems that confronted them.  Students can also determine actions of the dominant culture, along with discovering oppression and how people have organized to fight it. CRT topics include studies of race, power and privilege that have existed in both Eastern and Western civilizations throughout history. Make no mistake about it, open discussions of these issues are a vital part of all levels of education because no academic program can function honestly without them.


Matthew Bamberg is an adjunct professor of education at National University in San Diego.


Monday, July 12, 2021

Essay Structure Made Easy

A thesis statement should be one or two sentences long. It should explain what your essay is about.  It can be in parts, so that it corresponds to the body paragraphs of your essay. It helps to outline your essay before you begin to write it.

The outline might be as follows:

I. Introduction and Thesis--Include the title of the work, the author's name and the year of publication in your introduction. Outline the main ideas of the article. Add a thesis that highlights one or more of the topics in the article that you reacted to. This aspect of the essay should be one paragraph long.

II. Body Paragraphs--Write three body paragraphs, each containing a topic sentence with details that support it. The topic sentence should relate to each part of the thesis. Include quotes from sources to support your claims.

III. Conclusion--Restate your thesis about the issue you are writing about in new words. Summarize the main ideas of the issue you are writing about.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Webliography for Science and Math

Adobe Spark allows educators to create engaging digital media products.

5 E Model is for students to engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate when solving science and engineering problems.

OER commons dot Org is an article reading website, that enhances CALP (academic learning) by extending a topic into several related sub-topics for in-depth learning.

Phet Colorado dot Edu provides interactive simulations for math and science.

Flipgrid dot Com is a platform where students can create their own videos of math problems being solved and of science experiments being performed.

Monday, August 10, 2020

The Four Parts of a Critical Response Essay

Critical Response essays stump many students. Consider writing it step by step in four parts.  This type of essay is usually  based upon a reaction you have to a source.

The outline might be as follows:

I. Introduction and Thesis--Include the title of the work, the author's name and the year of publication in your introduction. Outline the main ideas of the article. Add a thesis that highlights one or more of the topics  in the article that you reacted to. This aspect of the essay should be one paragraph long.

II. Summary--Include a summary of the article, along with  the who, what, where, why and how. of it. Consider creating an argument about something mentioned in the essay.  Transition into writing about the article to writing your reaction to a topic discussed in it.  This part of the essay can be one or two paragraphs long.

III. Analysis--Clearly state the  issue that that you are reacting to, so that you can identify what you are writing about in the remainder of the paper. Use quotes from the article and an outside source in order to argue about the issue. This portion can be several paragraphs long.

IV. Conclusion--Restate your thesis about the issue you are writing about in new words. Summarize the main ideas of the issue you are writing about. Synthesize new revelations you can think of about the article.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Literature Reviews for Grants and/or Proposals

Literature review structure. 
Many students write literature reviews in their university courses. Literature reviews are a view of the literature that aligns with a selected topic you are writing about.

For example, if you are writing a grant or study proposal to buy Chromebooks for a class in order to create dialog journals (journals where teacher and EL communicate informally) that assist English Learners (ELs) to both acquire and learn English, you would have to describe how this type of communication benefits ELs acquisition and learning of English.

In addition, you would have have to use the literature (sources) you find in a library database to verifying claims for your research study and/or the purchasing of materials for a grant.

Professionals such as Grant Prose Inc and are in business online. Their webpage is very useful if you have any interest in converting a study proposal into a grant.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

5 Great Free Resources for Online Learning in the Arts

Google Arts and Culture has virtual field trips.

Library of Congress contains films and video of historical events.

PBS Learning Media  brings you standards-aligned videos, interactives, lesson plans, and more.  

New York Times Learning Multimedia to find out what's going on in pictures and graphs. 

Smithsonian Learning Lab includes ways to develop your own interactive learning experiences-or adopt exemplars made by teachers and Smithsonian experts.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Six Challenges for English Learners (ELs)

Here are some challenges for English Learners (ELLs) with links for ideas about how to resolve them:

1. Academic language--for some of the best ideas look to Ana Chamot, as she developed CALLA, which is the Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach. 
2. Idioms and figurative language--The Amelia Bedelia books are great for teaching idioms and figurative language. 

3. Sound/letter correspondence--Phonics is a great subject for teaching sound/letter correspondence. 
4. Sequence of events--Teach the sequence of events using lesson plan for the Very Hungry Caterpillar

5. Cause and effect--Use a multi-flow graphic organizer/thinking map  for cause and effect. 
6. Inferences--Check out good videos about teaching inferences

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

World Cultures are the focus of the National Endowment for the Humanities Lesson Plans

Angkor Wat Buddhist monument photo by Matthew Bamberg
A good set of world history lesson plans is available from the NEH. The plans include multicultural topics that cover Asian history and culture.

The Angkor Wat lesson is particularly noteworthy in that these ruins in Cambodia is the largest religious monument in the world.