Evaluate 1.1.1 Formative Assessment Quest



Formative assessments help teachers and students plot a course…literally.  A teacher can ascertain how proficient the students are with the recently explored content.  Students can determine what are their strengths and possible weaknesses.  Grades do not apply in formative assessments, in fact, grading these assessments could have a negative effect.

Teachers need to plan how to “plot” the next portion of the course.  Have the students grasped the content, have only a few grasped it?  With data in hand the teacher can plan the next steps of instruction.  Perhaps a group needs to review, and the rest can move on.  This is where differentiation becomes a determiner of how to proceed.

The choices of tools for this type of assessment is beyond count.  In the virtual setting, some of those are not practical.  So, we choose from the long list what will be effective in our venue.

Some include digital games, discussions, surveys in synchronous meetings, Wordle, Lino (sticky note cork board), Socrative (smart student response system), Padlet, and Open activities on established sites.  The activity, in my opinion, should have as little resemblance to a quiz or test as possible.  Students need to develop the attitude that this is not work for a major grade.  The less they look at it like a graded assessment, the more genuine and active their involvement will be.

The following formative assessment is during the study of colors and the agreement in gender and number with nouns modified by colors.  The first part is a short review with audio, then the formative assessment follows.  Please be sure that you are in the course with the student view (upper right hand of screen let’s you choose that ) Go to the assignment by clicking on Les couleurs.  The username is babell13 and the password is cknhppp13.



Evaluate 1.1.3 The Summative Assessment Quest


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The best summative feedback in a World Language usually includes reading, writing, listening and speaking.  This assessment does not include reading, because the primary skills being addressed here are writing and speaking.  When the student give the oral presentation, the teacher will ask some questions, so listening is touched upon.

This assessment has the following directions for the students.  Please click on the link below to see the rubric being used.


Mademoiselle Delacroix has just received a dividend on some stock she owns.  She intends to spend it on “un nouveau look”…a sort of clothes closet make-over.  Use you vocabulary on clothing, colors and styles to design a new look for her.  It may be casual or dressy, your choice.  Choose at least 10 items of clothing and at least 4 colors.  She may not be wearing all of the new items at the same time, but she has them close by.  Write in complete sentences about what she is wearing and what she has.  Watch for agreement.

After you write your account of her look, draw an image using all of the items she bought.  You know that I am the queen of stick figures, so if that is what you can do, that is fine.  She draw a representation that matches your written description.

Tomorrow we are having a virtual fashion show during our live class.  This will be the speaking section of this assessment.  If you have any questions about pronunciation, please email me, and I’ll help you.

Please place a copy of your written description and your image in the dropbox.  PLEASE, make a copy of both so that you can keep a copy to study for the speaking.


summative pdf



Evaluate 2.1.1 Data Driven Instruction, Analytics, Reporting Tools Quest


data analytics

Every LMS contains some mechanism for tracking analytics for stakeholders.  The D2L system I am now using gives information within the class list for logins to the system and course logins on a day to day basis.  We check each day on students and record course login information in the Attendance window.  It would be much easier for teachers with multiple classes to have the daily login to the course updated automatically so that the teacher does not have to do that first thing every morning based on attendance the day before.  At least the course log-in gives a quick picture of that data.  Login to the course information can become critical when assessing the progress of a student.  The LMS keeps up to date grades as the teacher enters them.  If a student’s grades start dropping, the course logins is one of the first places to look.  Almost always, there is a direct correlation between decreased logins and decreased grades.

As the chart showed in the TOOL, a teacher needs as much information on a student at the beginning of the course as possible.  If somehow the student has managed to start without having completed the orientation, there is a whole bag of potential problems.  The teacher needs to know and needs to address these in an email and the first live session.  Students often will not volunteer the information that they are confused and don’t know what to do until they are in a hole.  Then, when they tell you or you figure it out, diving out of the hole can be difficult.

While the student always has access to grades, and the parents have a portal to check grades, it is almost always the teacher who sees the correlation first.  This is when a phone call is necessary.  Ideally, the teacher speaks to the student and the parent.  Too often a situation arises where the parent expresses surprise and dismay upon learning how a student’s grade has dropped.  We really cannot rely on the student to relay this information.  On a practical level, so many parents have work and other family responsibilities that they simply do not check their student’s grades every day or even every week.  In my experience, sometimes when I have called there has been some exigency which has taken the attention off the course and, possibly, school.  I have encountered death in the family, an injury to the student,  onset of depression in the student, illness in a family member out of town, and other issues which so dominated the student’s or family’s attention that they did not think or take time to notify the teachers.  We can never assume what the problem is.  We must find out and take steps to assist the student in getting back on track.

It is one thing for a student to drop behind in an A or B 20 week course.  It is quite another if it is an AB or shorter termed course.  Students in the latter group face the exigencies of time, which cannot be overcome if they drop too far behind.  We must use every tool at hand to help the students be successful and to keep parents informed.  A phone call should always be followed with a brief email and reported in the communication log.  This log serves a couple of purposes.  It is a record for stakeholders to see and it is evidence of the action taken by the teacher.

If one student is at risk, the teacher can differentiate for that student.  If more are involved, they can be grouped.  In these cases the teacher often needs to create a revised checklist or pacing guide to help the student(s) catch up.  A student can easily be overwhelmed and not be able to see a way through.  A day by day pacing guide incorporating missed work can often be the answer.  If the parents are brought in on this plan, student’s can receive the encouragement they need at home to succeed.

If the teacher has the tool, as shown in the TOOL, to monitor access to content, this is important data to be examined on a regular basis.  When students are not accessing content, they are on a slippery slope. If this behavior is not caught soon enough, the student may run out of options for completing the course.

Feedback on assignments is a critical means for students to receive the information necessary to succeed.  If a student does not know why she received a particular grade, then the grade is relatively meaningless.  Feedback is one of the powerful teaching  tools we have.  Imagine taking a driving test for your license.  If the officer just stamps failed on the evaluation form, you have no idea what to do to improve.  Was it my steering, my turn signals, the way I brake, the way I make turns, my speed or lack of speed?  Our students feel just that lost if they do not receive specific and helpful feedback.  What will help this student improve?

Feedback can be positive.  Almost every week I use the email tool on the grades page and send a “good work” type email to the students who are doing well and an encouraging one to those who are trying.  For those falling behind, I send an email noting their work with a request that they email or call me for help.  I also offer a live session if they need that.

What can all of this data and analytics do for the teacher when planning for the future?  Sometimes you see that the order of the assignments is not working well.  Perhaps a particular assignment needs a little more time to complete.  Conversely, you might be able to combine two assignments on the same day if the students finish them quickly.  It is a little like working on a new recipe.  In the process you find you may need a little more of one ingredient or a little less of another.  Perhaps the order in which you put the ingredients together needs adjusting.  The completion time was not long enough or was a bit too long.  It is all about fine-tuning.  I did not use a car analogy because they are all run by computers now, and I do not know how to describe it anymore.  Fine-tuning still remains an apt term for what we do in a course.



Evaluate 2.1.2 Rubrics and Competencies Quest


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This unit covers the competencies of using colors to describe articles of clothing in French.  This includes shopping and buying articles.  The clothing is broken into groups, so the student could study them in any order.  The first assignment if a formative assessment for all students.  Until the summative assessment, students could choose the resources in the order they prefer.  All of the assignments, however, must be completed for the acquisition of vocabulary needed.  World Languages are like math in a number of ways.  For instance. in algebra you cannot solve and equation without the ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide.  In World Languages certain competencies are requisite in a set order to build an acquisition of a certain language.  It is scaffolding in its most basic form.

Rubric for:    Mademoiselle a un nouveau look WP


Evaluate 3.1.1 Differentiation Quest



differentiation cell cell differentiation


Grade sheet.

Tool 3.1.1 grades

This French 1 class is shown on a .xlsx so that it could be color coded.  It was originally a .csv file so that it could be uploaded directly into the import grades function of D2L.  The first thing to note is that I would change the L1 Speaking assignment to the “green” slot after L3 Pronunciation.  The students across the board needed more time to absorb the material and practice in Pronunciation activities before they were asked to speak.  For some students in WL we find the same thing as ELL, the silent period, when they are simply not ready to speak in front of others.  They are still absorbing and assimilating.  Even the students who excelled in other areas of the course had difficulties here.

I would have asked for an intervention sooner with Student N.  I had made contact, but this student obviously needed multiple people working with him.  Student G had special needs.  The course needs additional assignments prepared for students with these issues.  Students E and F just disappeared, and I learned they had withdrawn from all classes.  It did not seem to be an issue with this class, rather something altogether other.

E and F show how important it is to stay in touch with the students who are doing well.  I do not know if I could have done anything more to keep them in the class, but we should never stop trying.  For the others who struggled, I reiterate that the course needs some alternative assignments available.  Ideally they should be prepared and held in waiting so that the teacher does not have to do that mid-semester.

G had some special live class tutoring times, but struggled with the content.  N just stopped responding to all communications and stopped being accessible by phone.  I believe, with other colleagues, that some students just do not answer when they see a teacher’s phone number come up on their phones.

The bottom line is to examine grades on a weekly basis and find trends that require intervention, whether it is in the content or with the students.  Keeping parents informed is critical throughout the course.  Whether or not the student is satisfied with a course and the school often hinges on how satisfied the parents are.  Parents are important stakeholders in the decision about continuing in virtual learning or not.


Evaluate 3.1.2 Self-Reflection on Teaching Abilities Quest



This is a portfolio of my experience.  Please click on full screen when the PowerPoint comes up.

ba-ppt-portfolio 5-26

More PowerPoint presentations from Barbara Abell


This is my most recent evaluation.

Individualized Professional Development Plan

When I started working for an online school, the courses did not exist.  I developed about two weeks ahead of the students.  Somehow, we made it.  Then, there were more courses to be developed and more students.  It was heady because virtual education was in its infancy, and we were pulling all of our tools to the limit to create courses with solid content and differentiation.  In Georgia we all knew everyone who was involved in online learning because we were a relatively small group and all collaborating to create what exists today.  Some of us even had been working together in ground schools as we moved into virtual education.  While the number of virtual schools, teachers and administrators have proliferated, I am working today with educators who were part of that first year of Georgia Virtual.  So, while it is a large and growing world, it still has small world qualities.

While the courses have undergone many changes, I am still proud of those Georgia Virtual Courses I developed and co-developed, French 1, French 2, Spanish 1, Spanish 2, German 1, and Japanese 1.   They are a kind of legacy to those of us who started developing with very few tools compared to what is available today.  They are some of my artifacts, although they no longer exist in their original form.

This past year I had an experience that was quite different from my early course development.  The University of California must approve every course for which a high school graduate earns credit if he is to enroll in a college or university in the system.  The guidelines were stringent and demanded intense work under a short deadline.  As Coordinator of World Languages for a charter school in California, I worked on this project and saw our courses approved by UC.  I also developed ELL course for the California charter school for students in K – 8.  At the time I was also teaching French 1, 2 and 3; Spanish for middle school and K – 5 Spanish.  When specific needs arose, I was able to offer the coursework and teach the students.  I am now certified in California, Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, Colorado and, of course, Georgia.  In addition students in those states, I also taught students in India and Mexico.  I would like to offer one artifact for teaching in four US time zones and one in India.  This meant using D2L’s sections and groups to offer diverse checklists, news, discussions and assessments by restrictions.

I have presented on virtual learning at FLAG and at the regional Desire 2 Learn Conference.  During professional learning sessions I have presented on World Languages, Blackboard/Collaborate, working with ELL students and special uses of PowerPoint.  As  Coordinator of World Languages for the charter schools I trained, worked with and evaluated the teachers of French, Spanish, German and Latin.

Here is the way I look at working online…it changes often, and without notice, but it is never boring.  I look at the virtual world of education with anticipation every day.  I am genuinely enthusiastic about virtual education and working with students.