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Volume 3 Number 3

Harry & Rosemary Wong ask, "Is it possible that a school district would have no openings at a time of worldwide teacher shortages? But more importantly, why were there no openings in the Medford School District?"...
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman
The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
Around the Block by Cheryl Ristow
Ask the Literacy Teacher by Leigh Hall
Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers by Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber
Every Day is Read Across America Day!
Music is...
Ten Pennies and Ten Dimes
Swinging on the Education Pendulum
Literature Circles
Internet Based Interaction in the Classroom
How to Create A Bad Acceptable Use Policy Document (And Have It Survive)!
Safety on College Campuses
The Montessori Mystery
Playing Baseball in the Classroom - A Flexible, Adaptable Game to Motivate Your Students
Whither Not Social Studies!
When Bright Kids Say, "I'm Bored!"
Book Review: Comprehension Instruction
Teacher Social Groups
Retaining Principals
Today I Learned
Things You NEVER Thought You'd Have to Say…or Hear
What Was Your Most Unforgettable Show and Tell?
How Do You Deal With Middle School Students' Apathy?
Why Reading Scores Across the Nation Have Declined
Apple Seeds
Special Days This Month
Poem - Searching for the Gold
The Lighter Side of Teaching
  • YENDOR'S Top Ten
  • A Challenging Foot Feat
  • Schoolies
  • Woodhead
  • Handy Teacher Recipes
    Classroom Crafts
    Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
    Featured Lesson from the Lesson Bank
  • Here Comes the Train
  • Upcoming Ed Conferences
    Letters to the Editor
    Chatboard Poll, What changes has your district made in an effort to raise test scores?
    Action Against Hunger Project
    Explore Costa Rica's Monteverde Cloud Forest
    Third Annual Music Education Survey Gets Underway
    Gazette Home Delivery:

    About Ginny Hoover...
    Ginny Hoover took an early retirement after 31 years of teaching in Kansas public schools. Her experience spans the 5th through 8th grades, although she does admit to teaching 2nd grade once for summer school. During the last ten years she has functioned as a trainer of teachers in a variety of areas in her district, surrounding districts, professional organizations, and teacher service centers. At the state level Ginny is a state trainer and a writing assessment grader for the KS State Writing Assessment (based on the Six Traits Writing Model), a member of the Kansas Social Studies Committee for writing the social studies standards, benchmarks, and indicators, and the lead trainer for the state in government and civics.

    Recently, Teacher TimeSavers has published a variety teaching units and tutoring hookups that Ginny wrote and designed. These include a literary unit for Taming the Star Runner, Hookups for Language Arts, Transcripts of Trials for Goldilocks, The Wolf, and Mr. Dad, and Tactile/Kinesthetic Activity Patterns.

    The Gifts of Children by Hoover and Carroll Killingsworth, a book about recognizing, acknowledging, and refining the gifts of children, is scheduled to be published some time this year. Visit Teachers Helping Children--The Gifts Project for additional information.

    Ginny was selected by personnel to develop their middle school site for teachers who wish to be published. On this site, teachers can publish articles expressing their ideas and opinions on education. In addition, is a print on demand site that will publish books for teachers.

    Ginny's Eclectic Middle School pages

    Best Sellers

    The Gifts of All Children
    by Carroll Killingsworth and Ginny Hoover

    More information


    The Eclectic Teacher
    by Ginny Hoover
    Benchmarks, Assessments, Rubrics, and Instruction

    Click the image for a larger view.

    My next in-service concerns curriculum, and as I prepared for this presentation I figured there just might be some information here that would be helpful to fellow Teachers.Net Gazette readers.

    Key Thoughts

    • Instruction, assessments, and rubrics must align with standards.
    • Teach to mastery---even if for an introductory skill or knowledge.
    • Assessment must assess knowledge defined by the benchmark---to the correct level defined by the verb.
    • Rubric must align with both the assessment and the benchmark.
    • Logical organizational tool for tracking results? Portfolio

    Combine and Conquer---We have often heard the saying, "divide and conquer" but I say with curriculum the right point of view is to "combine and conquer."

    • Look for benchmarks that belong together naturally---must not be a forced connection. Be selective.
    • Look for benchmarks in other subjects that align, again naturally.
    • Don't get too many benchmarks in one assessment (too many?---think of difficulty and grade level).
    • Consider writing the rubric as a matrix and then individual scores per benchmarks could be recorded.

    Preparation for Teaching

    • Once benchmarks have been clustered into like topics, create a teaching unit.
    • Doesn't have to be original material, but it doesn't have to be tied to a text. Pick and choose your resources.
    • Be willing to let go of "fun units" you have taught in the past if they do not align with the standards. If you want fun units, create units that are standards focused. Don't try to "jam" benchmarks into a unit already prepared when there isn't a natural alignment.
    • Consider learning styles and multiple intelligences when developing the unit. Once the knowledge is acquired then assess. Remember, there are many paths from point A to B…it doesn't have to be a straight line.
    • Students can be challenged to learn more, but not less than the knowledge/skills defined by the benchmark.

    Teaching to Mastery

    • When teaching a benchmark, teach to mastery of that skill or knowledge.
    • Less than mastery leave behind a feeling of confusion and the next time the students are called upon to learn the material the one thing they are sure to recall is that they did not understand.
    • Students are not good resources to find out what they know---ask them if they remember doing something and they'll often not recall. But if they didn't understand, they'll remember that right away!


    • When designing a performance assessment, the benchmark is to be the ultimate source for making decisions.
    • The verb indicates the level of knowledge to be tested. It tells the action that should be used in testing (Bloom's Taxonomy).
    • The depth of mastery will also be defined rubric using the benchmarks as guide.


    • To write a rubric, look at the assessment. Think of the minimum you would accept and still say the student had sufficient mastery. That should be your 3.
    • A 1 should indicate that the work meets little or none of the criteria of the assessment. Consider using a 0 for no effort/no work handed in.
    • 5 is not perfect, but shows complete mastery of the skill/knowledge (minor errors acceptable).
    • Check your rubric against your benchmark. Does it reflect the benchmark? Do all bullets directly relate to benchmark (no additions for assessment purposes)?
    • Using the matrix design, several benchmarks may be scored with the same tool.

    Portfolios---may be simple

    • Portfolio in an accordion folder and into the files box to house assessments (one accordion folder per subject---consider color coding for different subjects).
    • Stickers may be used to identify the assignment.
    • Have a master list of work to be housed in the portfolio (can be on a card housed inside the front of the portfolio).
    • Can upgrade using 3 ring binder, reflection sheets, and plastic sleeves.

    If your district requires performance assessments, then I hope this guide will be helpful in developing an assessment program that fits your testable benchmarks.

    Visit Ginny's Educational WebPages!

    Ginny Hoover is a frequent contributor to the Teachers.Net Gazette. Other articles written by her are;