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Looping Preparation

Found in: back to school; routines & procedures

I looped for several years with seventh- and eighth-graders. One thing I learned is that no matter how well you know your students at the end of one year, much growth occurs during the summer months.

First, I give the students a general survey to find out what changes occurred in their lives since I last worked with them.

Second, I give several pre-tests at the beginning of the year to find out what they retained from the previous year. (I'm always surprised at who remembers what!)

Third, I ask students to set academic, extra-curricular and personal goals for the year. They pass these goals in to me, and each grading period I pass them back and have the students check on their progress.

Fourth, I keep all writing samples from the previous year. At the beginning of the year, I ask them to evaluate each of their pieces based on the skills emphasized the previous year. I think self-assessment improves with time and distance, not only for children, but for adults too.

Finally, I offer them the opportunity to rewrite one assignment from the previous year.

These are a few techniques that have helped me. From the get-go, this information tells me quite a bit about their investment in the new year, whether they are interested in starting the new year differently than they ended the previous year, what strengths and weaknesses they can point out in their own work, and if anything significant has happened over the summer that might affect their learning.


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