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Formative Assessment Design 1.0

As I was thinking of ideas for a formative assessment design, I was thinking about my previous blog post and the topic of introductions in the Spanish language.  Since this week’s assignment is to design a rough draft of a lesson plan for formative assessment, I thought I’d stick to the same topic and think of a different way I could assess my students’ understanding of simple introductions in the target language.

The purpose of this formative assessment is to provide students with direct feedback so that it will allow them the opportunity to learn from that experience and to provide me with a guage for what students are (and aren’t) understanding during this content unit.  It will also allow me to check students’ understanding of pronunciation in the target language as well.

The assessment would be called Los Introducciones Básicos en Español (Basic Introductions in Spanish) and would involve my students recording themselves using their devices on a FlipGrid I create for each class hour.  They would get an opportunity to introduce themselves and answer simple questions in the target language (prior to us re-introducing this information)

The Assessment Instructions:

Los Introducciones Básicos en Español

¡Hola Estudiantes! In order to find out what you introductions you remember from Spanish 100, I want you to introduce yourself on a FlipGrid and submit it to me by the end of the hour.

First, go to the following FlipGrid (either by downloading the application to your device or going to the website:


or enter the FlipCode: b3d140

Second, once you get to the FlipGrid, you are to record a short, 45 second to 1 minute video response to the board. In your video, I would like you to answer the following questions using complete thoughts in Spanish:

  1. ¿Cómo te llamas?
  2. ¿Cuántos años tienes?
  3. ¿De dónde eres?
  4. ¿Qué te gusta hacer?
  5. ¿Cómo eres?
Screen Shot 2018-09-09 at 10.21.15 PM
Source: Personal Screenshot from https://admin.flipgrid.com/manage/grids/696894/topics/1983293

Please submit this by the end of the class today.  Because you are recording a video, it may be best for you to first plan out what you want to say and practice before recording your finalized video.

After recording your video, take a “Selfie” and post to the FlipGrid with your first and last name for feedback.



Annotated Assessment Exemplar

For this week’s Module, I am taking a look at an assessment I have created and used with my Spanish students to introduce themselves.  Instead of assessing what they know through a multiple choice exam, I have my students create a presentation about themselves in Spanish.  It’s a solo-project, where students have the opportunity to examine what they already know from Spanish level 1 and write out their answers in the target language. Upon doing so, they partner with another student to swap their writing samples and get peer feedback on their work.  Their final assessment is to take the final written work and turn it into an oral presentation with a visual aide and introduce themselves to the class.

The following, on the left, are the written directions given to the students. On the right is the questionnaire that students fill out completely in Spanish and then get revised by a peer.  And the last photograph is the template I use for grading the presentation.


The purpose of this assessment is to find out what students understand from their previous level one Spanish class, as well as see how well they can communicate in both written and oral formal.

The assumptions I have made about this assessment are that I thought, upon creating it, that it would be a different way to test students’ understanding of previous material (assessing prior knowledge).  I also thought it’d be more interactive than doing a written examination and by allowing students an opportunity to get feedback from a peer, it would show students that they all make mistakes and allow them to practice their understanding by being the “teacher.”

Comparing this assessment to my previous post and what I believe in assessment, I think that this assessment goes along with the ideas that assessments should be:

  1. Relevant and engaging
  2. Provide feedback to get better.
  3. And that there is no “perfect” way to assess understanding.

I thought this form of assessment engaged my students and gave them a platform to share what they learned by presenting information about themselves to the class. It was laid out formally, but students had an opportunity to create a visual aide in a way that they wanted to and express themselves in the target language.  Giving students the opportunity to give each other feedback and in a timely manner was also addressed in this assessment.  And ultimately, I would’ve done another form of assessment, but this option allowed me to hear their oral skills as a Spanish speaker and see their written work as well — which shows a multifaceted learning approach.

Lorrie A. Shepard, in her article, “The Role of Assessment in a Learning Culture,” explained that historically assessment follows a behaviorist approach that teaching and testing and thus the learning behind it is sequenced and hierarchical, transfer is limited and motivation is external (Shepard, 2000. p. 5).  She also explained that “tests should be used frequently to ensure mastery before proceeding to the next objective.”

I think that my assessment has some limitations in that it specifically guided my students to answer specific questions that I was looking for, but I feel that the format was not necessarily strictly repetitive or hierarchical because it gave students an opportunity to answer in their own format. Also, as a part of this assessment, their visual aide was differentiated and students were allowed to create a poster board or a Powerpoint presentation/google slide show to go along with their oral presentation.  I also believe that this assessment gave students a “real world” scenario to work from where they had to orally introduce themselves to the class in the target language.

Overall, I think that this assessment was a good introduction to my current ability to create assessment, but I think that with taking CEP 813, I will have the opportunity to explore new options and make my assessments more engaging, creative and learning focused.


Shepard, L. (2000). The role of assessment in a learning culture. Educational Researcher, 29(7), 4-14.

Beliefs on Assessment

It feels like it’s been awhile since I’ve updated my blog.  I am currently enrolled in an Online Assessment course toward earning my Certificate in Online Teaching and my Master’s of Arts in Educational Technology.

To begin, three things that I believe about assessment are that:

  1. Assessment should be relevant and engaging. Learners who are being assessed should not feel “surprised” or that they were misguided.  This reflects on the idea that the learner should not only understand content and expectations, but also that the assessment provides a clear understanding of those set learning expectations and assesses them accordingly.
  2. Assessment should provide learners with the necessary feedback to help them understand the material better and to give them a better scope on their learning outcome.  Through assessment, does the learner need to revise their understanding or thought process? Or do they have a good grasp of the content and are they able to show that understanding?
  3. Finally, I believe that there is no one “perfect” way to assess a learner’s understanding of content knowledge.  When you think of all of the types of assessments (formative, summative, work-integrated, dyanmic, diagnostic, synoptic, etc.) that can help assess a learner’s understanding, it is important to think about which type would provide you (the educator/teacher) with the most relevant results (going back to belief number one).

Finally, I believe that most learners think of assessments in a negatively — and oftentime that negativity can manipulate the way they respond or answer an assessment.  Through the process of understanding learning and assessment, as educators, we can help change the way we develop great assessment and ultimately change the way learners view assessments in the future.

A best “bad” solution for a Wicked Problem

The past seven weeks, my think tank team, consisting of Mick Haley, Regan Kwong and myself, have worked tirelessly on the wicked problem of Rethinking Teaching.  We began tackling our wicked problem with a brainstorm of all of the questions that we have surrounding rethinking teaching. After much deliberation we broke down the questions into what the top 10 questions from the brainstorm and dwindled it down to the top 5 questions:


After much research and conversation, we came down to the three questions that ultimatley together could help us find the best “bad” solution to our wicked problem..

  1. How can we prepare teachers to utilize student led-questioning and inquiry based questions in the classroom?
  2. How can legislators implement better policies to provide support and resources to all educational institutions?
  3. How could we use technology to assist teachers in innovative thinking?

After even more research, we decided to poll our Professional Learning Networks and created a Google Form Survey that was sent out and available for participants to respond for 1 week (from October 6, 2017 to October 13, 2017).  In total we had 68 responses (mostly all educators from a wide range of locations), check out the questions and responses HERE.

After gathering the data and analyzing it, the next step to the process was finally coming up with the construction of our three-tiered solution to Rethinking Teaching.  We decided to go with a PADLET to express our solutions to this wicked problem.

Made with Padlet

To see the full padlet, CLICK HERE.

Although we came up with an idea that would show our best “bad” solution to rethinking teaching, I think the beauty in the entire process of experiencing this problem, is the idea that there really is no best solution to rethinking teaching.  The question to all educators of How can we rethink teaching or more specifically, how can we rethink teaching to educate our 21st century students, doesn’t have a perfect solution.  In fact, “to quote David Cooperrider, a beautiful question never sleeps,” (Berger, 2014. p211).

If anything, this wicked problem project provides some basic insight into some of the steps all stakeholders in education can look at to help reshape the way we educate our future.



Berger, W. (2014). A more beautiful question: the power of inquiry to spark breakthrough ideas. New York: Bloomsbury.

How can I make an educational impact?

As I am nearing the end of CEP 812, I was asked to think about my own personal beautiful question, as brought on by the final chapter of A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger.

Berger asks us to think about what our life’s beautiful question would be, and although, I don’t think I have yet stumbled upon my overall life question, I will say that the book helped me think about several questions directly related to my career and to think about where I am personally headed in my career as an educator.  Ultimately, I want to be able to make an impact — so my beautiful question is “How can I make an educational impact?” — with the students that I teach at the high school level and the adult-learners I teach at Apple.

This past week we were introduced to Thomas L. Friedman’s idea that intelligence (or your IQ) eventually won’t be as important as someone’s curiosity (curiosity quotient or CQ) and passion (passion quotient or PQ) for creation.  In breaking down my infographic, I decided to talk about the differences between passion and curiosity and how I feel connected to those as a student and as an educator.  I thought about other beautiful questions that someone might ask as they learn more about PQ and CQ and connected it with my passion and curiosity for technology both in and outside of the classroom.

My goal as an educator is to continually ask those Why, What if and How questions in and outside of the classroom. I want to be able to provide my students with an opportunity to ask questions, use technology and collaborate with each other. And through TPACK, I plan to continue creating innovative and engaging lesson plans and collaborate with my Professional Learning Network while also continuing to expand who I follow within my own filter bubble so as to stay open-minded.

Finally, as I was working on this, I started thinking about how the role of an educator is changing.  Especially since it’s common for those outside of the school setting to think that technology will wipe away (or replace) educators.  So I decided to ask one last question — Are teachers obsolete?

It honestly feels like we (in the education system) are in the midst of a major change in the way we educate and become educated in the 21st century. Eventually the role of teachers will no longer be direct instructional practices as they once were famous for.  No longer will the classroom look like one teacher in front asking questions, while students sitting in rows are answering those said questions. Teachers will be required to facilitate and mentor students to ask their own questions, discuss and collaborate with their peers and come up with their own solutions.

And with that, here’s my infographic:




Berger, W. (2014). A more beautiful question: the power of inquiry to spark breakthrough ideas. New York: Bloomsbury.

Friedman, T. L. (2013, January 29). It’s P.Q. and C.Q. as Much as I.Q. Retrieved October 17, 2017, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/opinion/friedman-its-pq-and-cq-as-much-as-iq.html

The Creative I: Defining Creativity

Creativity: such a subjective term that  causes quite a problem of definition.  Reading through Punya Mishra, Danah Henriksen & the Deep-Play Research Group’s article entitled “A NEW approach to defining and measuring creativity: Rethinking Technology & Creativity in the 21st century,” had me questioning and wondering why it is so difficult to define what is “creativity” or what being creative actually looks like. “A creative solution is NEW, i.e. it is Novel, Effective and Whole or creativity is a goal driven process of developing solutions that are Novel, Effective and Whole,” (Mishra, et. al., 2013, p. 11).

Shane Konte at his Art Show on 6/3/17 at BrassWorks Gallery in Portland, OR. Source:Facebook

To further understand and define creativity, I interviewed my friend Shane Konte who is an artist (and in my opinion, all around creative person) who currently resides in Portland, OR, a major hub for creativity, art and talent. Through our conversation I found out that Shane has always had a knack for being creative and that he felt that it was something that was innate, passed on through genetics.  His mother, to this day, is “crafty,” and does a lot of sewing.  During his high school career, he won several Scholastic Art competitions and as a young adult he has been drawing, tattooing and now currently painting as part of his income.


I asked Shane how he would define creativity and he said this: “I think creativity is being able to come up with ideas that aren’t the mainstream and apply it in ways that are unique and captivating to other people.”  And when I asked him what inspires him to be creative he said, “I like doing things that other people haven’t done and I like finding ways to do things that other people have done but do them in a different way. I like the fact that I am able to create things because it makes people happy. When I do my paintings it’s very rewarding to know that I made something that was unique and one of a kind, and that someone smiles when they see it — they really cherish it.”

Shane also states that to be creative, you should be open to every idea you come up with. “I would even say in an entrepreneur type-approach, just seek new ideas. Even if the first idea out of your mouth is not something that would be successful or be turned into something – that idea could always spark and grow into another idea that could be the success or solution to something that you’re looking for.  So, I think creativity comes down to not necessarily questioning yourself, but also being confident. In order to express yourself in a creative manner you have to be confident because you’re probably pushing the norms in a lot of ways,”he said. “You have to be ready for people to judge you and say ‘no, I’m not okay with that.’  That can be a real personal thing. So just having the confidence and encouraging your students (for example) to speak up and have new ideas and be open-minded to those ideas, because everyone has good ideas and they come from somewhere.”

His final tips or advice to people who feel like they lack creativity, such as myself was to: “basically allow yourself to be open, allow yourself to be confident, and encourage others to do the same.” He also said, “take a risk and don’t second guess yourself. Keep it simple. Take the dive and try something out because that’s the only way something is going to change and things will go anywhere.”

I normally don’t ask Shane about his creativity or what inspires him, I usually just look at his work in awe and tell him that “I wish I could do that!” This assignment inspired me to think about my classroom and how I can take his advice to heart.  His points about brainstorming ideas and being more open-minded to them is something I’d like to incorporate.  

In my professional life, I think that I normally second-guess my initial thought process and I don’t have a lot of confidence in the ideas that I come up with. I want to turn that mentality around and push myself to take on a new idea for my class and test it out.  The worst thing that can happen is that it flops and we are back to ground-zero and I have to re-teach the topic (or unit).

In my personal life, I’d like to try picking up a new artistic hobby — maybe drawing or painting and just push myself to create the first thing that comes to mind and not second-guess it. Just let it flow and be open to others’ opinions after creation rather than be my harshest critic and scrap the creative process entirely.

Check out Shane’s work here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/HairyMonkeyBoy

Mishra, P., Henriksen, D., & the Deep-Play Research Group (2013) A NEW approach to defining and measuring creativity. Tech Trends (57) 5, p. 5-13.

Pattern Activity: Recognizing the pattern of Human Struggle in Latin Art

Recognizing and forming patterns through the topic of Latin Art this week was a challenge as I was considering what the true definition of patterning means.  To me, patterning is the development of similar ideas or guidelines in a specific construct, based on previously created schemas or biases.  According to Robert and Michèle Root-Bernstein’s “Sparks of Genius: The 13 Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People,” a pattern is “…a repetitive form or plan,” and that to “…perceive a pattern means that we have already formed an idea of what’s next,” (Root-Bernstein, 1999. p. 92).

Prior to this class, recognizing patterns within Latin art was not an element (or “spark,”) that I focused much on with my students when finding connections (or discussing) pieces of artwork. Because Latin Art is a sizeable topic, I can say that finding a patterns within this topic can be quite the feat to conquer.  Previously to this course, I have introduced my students to some Andean traditional art (specifically art created by Indigenous people of Ecuador, Peru or Chile) and show them the intricacies and elaborate color schemes of these pieces. I’d have students point out things that they recognized in the work and then we’d talk about them as a group and eventually I’d give my students an opportunity to create their own similar art but in drawing form.  Students usually point out the pattern formations that they noticed – both in color and in shape.  For example, in the following Peruvian woven textile, here is a dualistic pattern of two serpents:


In the above piece, students would point out the double pattern on each side (both top and bottom, as well as side to side), which is specific to dualistic art.

Or here’s a Peruvian Wari Tunic, again showing us a continual pattern both in color and geometric shape:

Source: https://www.ancient.eu/image/3959/

I think there is a point in discussing Andean art in the class, because it allows students to see the consistency of pattern creation across a traditional culture in South America.  When my students get that opportunity to create their own (or mimic) traditional Andean art, they enjoy the simplicity of setting up a very visible pattern and then providing a pattern of color in it as well.  

Although I show my students traditional art, I personally find more modern Latin art to be more entertaining and interesting for the fact that it is more communicative and represents something much larger than the paintings/drawings themselves.  It communicates to the viewer information about the time period of when it was created and also emotes the feelings and sentiments of the artist and/or the Latin people portrayed in the art.

As I was thinking about finding and forming patterns in this module and doing my research on modern Latin art work, I noticed a recurring theme or rather a pattern for viewers to be able to feel and understand the human struggle during the 20th and 21st centuries for Latinos. This same pattern continues to present day Latin art, which even rolls over to Mexican-American (or Chicano) artists today who portray the modern day struggle through their art work (including graffiti murals and paintings).

The pattern of portraying human struggle in latin art isn’t as obvious as the patterns in color and shapes, like that of the Andean traditional art.  In fact, it wasn’t until I was doing research on different Latin artists that I came across this pattern.  I noticed that many pieces of art were portraits of people using darker-toned colors (blacks, browns, deep reds, navy, etc.) and showed a story.

Tasking my students to identify patterns, I would show them something like this ThingLink I created with different pieces of Latin artwork:


With my students, I would keep this pattern of the human struggle in the back of my mind, but I wouldn’t mention it to them at first. I would show them different pieces of Latin art (by different artists) and ask them to describe what they see in each painting.  From there, I would task them to get in small groups and use their senses to first perceive (use all of their senses) the painting and write that down.  Then I’d ask for them to find a pattern – I’d ask them:

  1. What similarities do you see in each of these paintings?
  2. What differences do you see in each of these paintings?
  3. Is there a notable pattern that you have found?
  4. Do you see any emotional connection to these paintings?

After working in small groups, we would get together as a large group and discuss the recognizable patterns that are easier to find (such as color similarities), and then through that discussion, I’d hope eventually someone would turn out a response about the human struggle pattern. If not, I would allude to it or ask probing questions to get to that response.  From there, I’d give my students an opportunity to relook at those paintings and see if they can find that pattern and denote what elements clue into the pattern of human struggle; what colors, what expressions, what shapes or what images within entire painting as a whole allude to that pattern? This way they can not only interact on a deeper level with the painting but also grasp a historical perspective of Latinos at the time in which those paintings were created.


Root-Bernstein, R. S., & Root-Bernstein, M. (1999). Sparks of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.