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As discussed in the video “Educating the Whole Child”, meeting the needs of students goes beyond just preparing them to be college and career ready. It is just as important to prepare them “to be better human beings, better citizens”. We must meet the needs of the whole child. They discuss the fact that the needs of the student may prevent them from accessing all that educators are trying to give them. Their needs for health, safety, to belong, and to feel supported must be met first. We have to create a climate in our schools where students can come to learn. As stated in the video, “It’s not just about educating in the classroom, it is about educating for a lifetime.” Our schools need to provide a strong academic program, but we also need to address the social and emotional development of our students in order to prepare them to have a positive impact in their communities.

As stated in “Guidance for Developing and Selecting Quality Assessments in the Elementary Classroom,” “various assessments administered at multiple times during the year allow for monitoring and measuring progress.” It is important for teachers to use various types of assessments to monitor the progress of their students and to analyze the effectiveness of their teaching. Traditional paper and pencil assessments do not give you a adequate look at the student’s abilities. Using varied formative assessments such as checklists, anecdotal notes, running records and portfolios provide a much more in depth view of a child’s progress. It is especially powerful when students are responsible for creating their own portfolio of work. This gives them a greater sense of ownership of their work and a better idea of how they are doing. In addition to paper and pencil assessments and high stakes tests, teachers’ summative assessments can be more creative and allow students to showcase their knowledge in different ways. Teachers can use performance assessments or capstone projects in addition to or in lieu of paper/pencil assessments. These assessment types allow the students to show their knowledge about the unit while integrating skills and content learned in other units or other subject areas. Many teachers at my school are currently taking PBL (project based learning) courses. They are discovering that not only are the students highly engaged in their PBL units, but they are also able to showcase a lot of knowledge when creating their projects and when communicating with their small groups about the projects.

In thinking about educating the whole child, it is important that we also think about assessing our students in varied ways throughout the year so we have a better picture of their learning. Assessing on one day doesn’t give a true picture of a child’s abilities. Varied assessment types can also help foster the development of good citizenship skills that all students need to know. Much can be learned about interacting with others and handling difficult situations through projects that allow interaction with others. Teaching the students the standards is important, but including a focus on developing the whole person is essential.

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