Saturday, February 1, 2020

Spotlight Speakers: Garfield Gini-Newman and Laura Gini-Newman



Garfield and Laura Gini-Newman began the day by sharing new thinking from their paper, Powerful Instruction and Powerful Assessment: The Double-Helix of Learningbased on ideas shaped by their experiences working with teachers and students around the world.  

What started as a Tweet was meant to become a short article for CSLJ, which evolved into this paper.

Central to this paper is the distinction between assessment, "to sit alongside a learner," and evaluation, "to judge a learner."  The thinking is about how we move from sitting in judgement to sitting alongside, and how feedback can become guidance.

Garfield and Laura use a double helix analogy - the strands of instruction and assessment are seamlessly intertwined and are held together at the core by relationships.  How do we use tools and instructional strategies to make this a reality? 

They suggest starting with thinking as the foundation. Through iterative learning, the story grows as we learn.  Encourage students at important moments in their learning process to stop, pause, and reflect.  Rather than reflecting back, have students reflect forward and consider how what they've learned will move them forward.




The speakers highlighted four innovations to use as metacognitive tools for students:

  • Launches to initiate thinking
  • Cascading challenges - what is the natural sequence of thinking students will have to go through in order to be able to solve this problem? 
  • Thoughtbooks - a safe place for students to park ideas
  • Guides to Success - an alternative to traditional rubrics

Now, Garfield and Laura want to hear from you - what should next steps for this thinking look like?  

Read the paper: Powerful Instruction and Powerful Assessment: The Double-Helix of Learning by Garfield Gini-Newman and Laura Gini-Newman 

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