One of the things I have come to love about Marzano aligned teaching and planning is that as I have gotten more and more comfortable with it, my students have gotten better and better at assessments and I have gotten better and better evaluations. This blog post will give you some tips and tricks to get a good evaluation using Marzano!
To get a great evaluation, it's a really good idea to begin by understanding the tool your evaluator will be rating you with (see, that's Marzano right there - identify your learning targets and rate your progress toward them!). It's like knowing the strike zone in baseball.
If your school is a "Marzano school" it is probably using the teacher evaluation tool created by Marzano. If not, effectively using Marzano strategies will still help you get better evaluations because you will be using best practices and creating great lesson plans when you go through the steps I laid out in a previous post called Lesson Planning With Marzano.
If you are a "Marzano school" that uses the Marzano evaluation tool, this is where things start to get really easy!
The thing an evaluator wants to see more than anything is that you know what you are doing, why you are doing it and that your students are learning and engaged. Using the strategies on the Marzano placemat ensure that you are using best practices and highlighting those practices should ensure a very positive evaluation!
As I mentioned in my last post about lesson planning with Marzano, the first step in effective instruction is providing clear goals and to monitor student progress toward those goals. But how?
With scales! Marzano scales are based on the concept of "Mastery". According to Marzano, mastery is being able to answer at least 80% of questions about a topic correctly. A Marzano scale goes from 0-4 with each level as follows:
You might be thinking, "Great, but how can I make the scale they rate themselves on?" You begin with the standard. Most standards (at least in Social Studies) are large and complicated things that seem cobbled together like Frankenstein's monster. The first step is to break the monster standard into smaller chunks. These chunks become your daily lessons.
Next, take a chunk and ask yourself, "What would a student need to be able to do to demonstrate mastery of this chunk?" Once you have your answer, that is both your daily learning target and the level 3 on your scale! Level 4 is something beyond that, so ask yourself, "How could my students apply this knowledge another way?"
Level 0 is always the same - "Even with help, I still don't get it."
This leaves level 1 and 2 to worry about. The easiest way to fill these is to go back to what you came up with for level 3 and try to think of three or four things students would need to be able to do to call themselves a 3. Once you have these, put the simpler one(s) in level 1 and the simpler and more difficult ones in level 2. Once you've done that, you have a Marzano aligned scale for your lesson!
A few final thoughts.
Okay, so you've seen the Marzano placemat and know how it's organized. Now what? The chart and language used can be very overwhelming, especially if your school or district basically says, "Here, use this," without any high quality training. But don't worry. In fact, there's nothing new on it!
So, if it's just old stuff (or new names for old stuff), why bother, right? It's just a fad that will go away.
First, it's not a fad. It's an organized list of best practices. And second, it actually saves time and makes lesson planning easier.
So, maybe you just found out your district is transitioning to Marzano, or maybe you just had Marzano training and your head is spinning, or maybe you've heard of it and are just curious to learn what it's all about. Whichever is true for you, the Marzano placemat is a great place to start. Here is a modified version of it:
The placemat breaks best teaching practices into three general categories. I call the first category "Things To Do Every Day". The most important things in this category are deciding what you want students to learn and how you will measure what they learn. I use a daily scale in conjunction with a daily learning log students rate themselves on at the beginning and end of class. CLICK HERE FOR A FREE DIGITAL COPY OF MY DAILY LEARNING LOG.
I call the second part "Planned Activities". This section more or less lists a lot of best practice strategies you can implement. This is my favorite part because it helps you think about you want students to learn (what you identified in the first category), and select which strategy or activities will best help your students learn it.
I call the last part "Off the Cuff" strategies, but, really, some of them are things that can (and should) be planned for that just look like they are off the top of your head - things like playing quick games. Others are just things good teachers do like "Maintain a Lively Pace" or "Engage Low Expectancy Students."
I really think the way Dr. Marzano categorized and presented things on his placemat make it much easier to understand how all these best practices can go together to get the best results possible, and am excited to share with you what I have learned about Marzano goals, scales and best practices!
Roll that Die!, Histopardy!, Vocabo, Vocab Spoons, etc., etc. is a partial list of the group-based games I've become known for in my classroom over the years. They are all great, all get kids excited, competitive, and focused on content. Best of all, all of them produce results. The vast majority of my students tend to score in the 80's or 90's on my assessments!
Another thing they all have in common is that in my "COVID Classroom" I can't play any of them without significant modification.
Fortunately, I have found or created new games to fill the gap! Below are some of my favorites:
I'm an 18 year veteran teacher that loves teaching, coaching, writing, and my family.