Instructional Planning

Instructional Planning

Ashford University: ESE 601

Informal assessments are very important to educators. The in-class assessments help provide beneficial information about the characteristics of our students. We as teachers can do our own assessments through observations and strategies of our own to better educate our students, and create a curriculum based on the individual needs as a student or as a group. I have chosen to rationalize how will meet the needs of the students in your class are Observation, Guided Reciprocal Peer Questioning and Journal-Reflective Learning will meet the needs of the students in my diverse class.

Observation has proven one of the most important assessments used. Observation starts the immediate second the first student walks into your classroom. To observe is not to stare, but to watch with the intent of learning for purposes of gaining knowledge to help. Through observation, many teachers have caught learning disabilities early on and were able to speak with the parents to get the student help, or vice versa, the parents asked for help and the teacher observed and was able to give the parents answers. In Herman, Newcomer, & Reinke’s (2016) study of 896 students were observed on how teachers interacted with students within a 5-min window at the start of the school year entering the classroom. From that study Herman, Newcomer, & Reinke’s (2016) states, “Findings indicate that students who received more negative feedback than positive feedback from their teacher were rated at the end of the year as having a significant increase in problems with emotion regulation, concentration problems, and observed disruptive behavior, whereas students who received more positive feedback demonstrated significant increases in prosocial behaviors” (para. 6).

As the special education teacher, I have shown Mr. Franklin how he can observe certain behaviors of SLDs and in specific students. It is not always about the disability as Herman, Newcomer, & Reinke have shown us. Observation is a key component to look into many perspectives of our student’s behaviors, learning styles, and more. Somedays our students are feeling down, sad, overly excited, and just not understanding the material. With a reminder that there are thirty children and two teachers in one room, we as educators need to pay attention so that we are ready to help. More often, a teacher will notice an issue good or bad that a student does not speak up about. There have been times where a student has a bad day, they have lost a loved one, missed their medication, or just did not get enough sleep or food to eat. Other times a student is overly excited due to a special event, a fun assignment, or just a good day. It is our job to notice these behaviors in our students in order to know if they need our help.

Reflective learning journals are used and written as an important learning tool in promoting active learning among students. Essentially, teachers encourage students to think about experiences, daily situations, on hand topics and expected outcomes of their actions so that they can explain what they do and why. During journal writing, almost every student and person will write more than than will say aloud. The journals used in the classroom can have an option to be anonymous at times and named at other times. The students do not have to worry about anyone reading their journals other than the teacher, and there will be separate journals that no one will read. The reason to write journals is to have the students reflect on one self, what they have learned or want to learn. Shy students will have the opportunity to speak as much as they please on topics with unlimited power. Journal writing increases critical thinking skill and helps prepare or retain information on an assignment. Journals can also be written separately as an at home, stay home reflective writing tool.

Guided Reciprocal Peer Questioning is a strategy used by teachers to create a discussion, social interaction, and creative thinking that prompts the students to think. The strategy is using open-ended questions, in the classroom; we can socialize our students in groups to help each other comprehend a subject. In elementary school, storytelling is an important skill, and telling stories as a group makes for a fun activity. According to Ainsworth, Gelmini-Hornsby, & O’Malley (2011), “Developing shared understanding is essential to productive collaboration where a product is jointly constructed. This is especially true when the different collaborators’ contributions need to build coherently on one another, as, for example, when making a story together”. When the students are asking each other the questions from the board about the story such as “explain how…”, “what if…?”, “how does ____ affect ___?” We as teachers can walk around the groups observing to see who understands the story. The group questions will lead the students to ask more questions, and from there Mr. Franklin and I will be able to assist if the students need help. The point of the assessment is for the least amount of teacher interaction as possible. The students should be able to figure out the story question answers as a team. When the students need help we will assist with an open-ended question and redirect the student back to the story where they need to be. The answers are there, and they know them as teachers we will guide them back to their thoughts as individuals and as a team.

There are many types of informal assessments. The choices and strategies in this paper fit the diversity of the classroom in which Mr. Franklin and I teach. There are more Informal Assessments that I would use, however, I chose the three most important starting points for the group of students and the co-teaching classroom at hand.


Gelmini-Hornsby, G., Ainsworth, S., & O’Malley, C. (2011). Guided reciprocal questioning to

Support children’s collaborative storytelling. International Journal of Computer- Supported Collaborative Learning, 6(4), 577. Retrieved from

Henley, M., Ramsey, R. S., & Algozzine, R. (2009). Characteristics of and strategies for teaching students with mild disabilities. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson

Moersch, C. (2008). Informal assessment strategies: A-Z for the math classroom (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Booklet]. Retrieved from

Reinke, W. M., Herman, K. C., & Newcomer, L. (2016). The Brief Student–Teacher Classroom Interaction Observation. Assessment for Effective Intervention42(1), 32. Retrieved from

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