Archive for the 'learning' Category



No Real Destination No Real Learning

I enjoy “talking” with other teachers.  However, I am often amazed at how  they  describe the final learning destination.

A writing teacher may say, “We are doing contrast essays”, a modern language teacher says, “I want my students to speak the language”, a social studies teacher says “My students will be citizens of the world.”  What does each of these mean in a practical sense? How will these teachers know if their  students have reached the final destination  and how well they have done it?  Would another educator be able to identify the  same success?

I have been working in developing some foreign language assessments so that I can quantify the various types of speaking and how well students do on each.  I do not want to say “My students speak the language”  which is a vague concept but to specify what type speaking they do  and how well they do each. Once I can identify what the end learning looks like/sounds like, I can work backward to provide scaffolded  steps to help the students get there at a high level. In addition, I can build in formative assessment to monitor their upward process.

In order for athletes to win, they visualize exactly what they will do; they visualize their success.  Our students need to visualize exactly what they are to do.

How do you identify the end learning for the students so they can become successful at it?  How do they climb the ladder of success in that learning goal?

My  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book,  Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Aligning activities and end goal

When a  colleague was teaching a remedial English course, she was told to focus on the creative aspects of writing.   Those beginning college students needed to able to write academic  papers for college, not to write poetry and personal narratives.  They would  become good academic writers by focusing on the standard forms of academic writing  of writing such as contrast and argument papers.

Although this is an extreme example, I wonder how often teachers forget the real purpose of the students’  learning and have their students spend time doing something that does not directly lead to learning that goal.    A question to ask  is “How does this directly and efficiently lead students to being proficient in this skill?”  I remember watching a social studies class where  ninth grade students were coloring in the countries of South America, each country in different color.  The real purpose was to learn where each country was on the map but they spent about a third of the class on coloring.    Locating  countries on a map is a memorization activity so do memorization activities such as study a map with the names shown for  half the countries  and then , see a map without the names and put the names in.  Likewise, in a modern language class, students do not improve in their speaking ability by doing grammar drills. A student can be proficient in grammar but not  be a proficient speaker.  Students become more skillful in speaking as they speak more in class through structured activities.  Likewise, English students do not become better writers by just reading and answering questions about long literary essays.  When educators take students through the writing process with a focus on the specific type of writing, then these students become better writers.

So how does what your students do directly and efficiently lead them  to being proficient in a specific skill?

My  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book,  Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Assess students’ academic learning, not Web 2.0 technology

I thought that we have moved beyond focusing on the technology to focusing on student academic learning.  I thought that back in the 90s.  However, I find evidence even today that technology still has become the true focus rather than student academic learning.  Whenever I look at the rubrics for an Web 2.0 tool, I see that the vast majority of rubric items focus on the “mechanics” of the technology. They do not focus  on the students’  academic learning.

My writing teachers never graded me on the mechanics of a pencil. They wanted to see if I could write something worthwhile. As I went to college, no one graded me on the mechanics of word processing; they did grade me on how I could demonstrate my content learning. Yes, I do agree that we need basic word processing skills  but those technology skills must not be confused with academic learning.

What new academic skills are students learning through Web 2.0 tools?  What new ways of thinking are they developing and how do they demonstrate those ways of thinking?  Does each Web 2.0 tool add a different dimension of learning?

Let’s demystify Web 2.0 learning by focusing on student academic learning, not on the technology!

My new book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Build a real class learning community

Teachers can create a class community such as everyone knowing two things about everyone else in the class without having a learning community where students continually work together to better each other.   Likewise, teachers can have students work together (Student A does this/ student B does that….) without really collaborating (interacting and changing the individual or group’s ideas) .

I would propose using formative assessment to build a class learning community. When students continually help each other by peer-reviewing and offering new ideas to others, they  have a learning community.  For example, in pairs, the students have peer-reviewed each other’s brainstormed evidence for an English essay and the teacher has given the original authors time to make appropriate changes. Then they continue being formative by creating groups of three to four.  In turn, each author reads his/her thesis and his/her brainstormed evidence; the group has the responsibility of adding three to four new pieces of evidence to the original list. After they help the first person, they rotate through the group.  Each group has a single purpose: to help each author to have three to four new pieces of evidence.  Those groups are truly learning communities

What learning communities do you have in your class?

My new book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Show your students their success

When students receive a “C” on an assignment and then an “B” on the next, they know that their grade went up but they do not usually know why. And they probably do not know what new skill or strategy they need to move up to an “A”.

An alternative approach is to use a learning goal based checklist so that students can see the subgoals that they have mastered as a concrete measure of their success. Likewise, they see the subgoals that they have yet to master.

For example, in English, a rubric can  be turned into a checklist such as this one for an introductory paragraph

___ Has an attention getter such as a quotation, question, startling statistic, or an anecdote

___ Bridges to the thesis (Makes a connection between the “bigger” attention getter down to the level of the thesis)

___ States the thesis (For a contrast paper,  includes the two items to be contrasted and uses a contrast word or phrase)

The teacher marks each item  with a plus (proficient)   or a minus (working on).  Students can easily see what they have been successful on and what they need to improve. Students or peers can assess each others’ work with these easily defined assessment items.

My new book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Let’s Hear it for the Power of Technology! LOL!

I know of a person who does not have any technology in his room accept for a 70s looking overhead.  One day he decided to walk around  his institute and see how the teachers who had technology in their room was using it.  9/10 rooms were using the “elmo” type device to show a handout, a passage from a book, etc.  They were using their fully Internet capable machine as a modern day opaque projector which would project the image of anything put inside it. The one other person was showing a DVD.  How much money has been invested in technology so that people can use technology from the past such as a DVD player or an opaque projector!   Educational institutes need to take a lead in helping their teachers to use the many educational resources that are available.  Perhaps at each faculty meeting there can be a five  minute demonstration  of various ways to use technology to improve student learning in powerful ways.

What does a walk around your school reveal about technology use and student learning?

My new book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Continuous Assessment

The British have used the term continuous assessment or assessment for learning for many years.  I like the term continuous assessment since it implies that students are continually being monitored and given feedback to improve. Continuous assessment differs from the “unit” test or “every five week” tests that do not provide feedback directly to the students and that do not occur on a daily or weekly basis  in the classroom. Continuous assessment changes our approach to the classroom; we spend more time observing students for their learning progress and giving them new strategies rather  than “teaching”.  We measure our success by how successful the students are as they learn  the essential goals of our course. We know that students will improve throughout the year and we reward that growth instead of counting their early attempts (such as the first essay of the year) equally with their final achievements. Their grades represent continuous improvement.  Continuous assessment returns us to our initial reason for being teachers; our students show that they now have the profound learning in our subject that we wanted to share with them.

My new book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Change to Assessment from Grading

Very often teachers use the terms grading and assessment interchangeable. However, they are very different.

When we grade, we give a “final” score to something such as a B and an 83. Usually when students receive a grade, they know that learning that material is over; they do not have to think about improving on materials in the unit. Also, they often receive one grade on their work during the unit.  Likewise, students will likely receive a holistic grade, one grade for all the various parts of the whole work. Grades stop the learning.

On the other hand, in assessment, particularly formative assessment, students do not receive a grade on their work; they do receive a few critical suggestions for improvement. Students know that they will use  this  formative feedback to improve. In addition, they know that they will receive many assessments on this topic.  Furthermore, if  teachers use a rubric, the teacher uses an analytic rubric where the students receive indicators for many major components for their strengths and specific comments on how to  bridge the learning gap.  Formative assessment moves the student forward in the learning.

Can a student receive just assessment up to the final grade? Yes.  I teach courses in which the students are assessed every class. They do not receive a grade each class. Do they know how they doing in their learning-both their strengths and their learning gaps. Yes! Do they constantly improve throughout the course? Yes.

Try assessing instead of grading to see how much more beneficial it is to the students and to you!

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Formative Assessment and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment by Harry Grover TuttleFormative Assessment and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment by Harry Grover Tuttle

My book. Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment will be available from Eye-on-Education in the Fall.

21st Century Skills Learning and Web 2.0

I’ve noticed that many “Web 2.0″-based learning experiences are not 21st century skills-based.  For example, students can twitter about a novel but if their comments are simply plot summaries then they are not showing critical thinking. Likewise, many 21st century skills are not Web 2.0 based.  Students can create a video reacting to a novel  but if no one reacts to it or builds on it than it really is not Web 2.0 read-write based.

I think that we have to move from isolated thinking to more global thinking. We want to see 21st century skills developed through Web 2.0.

I share this preliminary draft of a grid in which we can look at both 21st century skills and Web 2.0 characteristics at the same time to see if we really have an intersection of the two.

Tuttle's 21st Century Skills and Web 2.0 Grid

Tuttle's 21st Century Skills and Web 2.0 Grid

Harry Grover Tuttle's Formative Assessment Books (Overview and Writing)

Woeful Book Wiki Turned to Wow Book Wiki

As I prepare for my NECC presentation on assessing Web 2.0 tools, I have visited many schools’ wikis, websites, etc.

I’m feeling more and more discouraged.  I’ve noticed that most wikis are simply an online collection of student work. For example, all students in a class may do a book report and these book reports are posted to the class wiki.  The students post their book report and the project is done when the last book report is posted. There has been no interaction among students or other adults.  They have only worked in one learning style, linguistics.  Likewise, the students have paraphrased  (summarized) their book; they have not analyzed it.

Let’s look at another version of a book wiki.  The teacher asks all students to select a book that has friendship as a theme. They read their book and post an explanation of  how the book demonstrates friendship (analysis level of thinking). They create a drawing or a concept map that shows the specific  friendship in their book and post that to the wiki.  Then the students select at least three other book reviews to read. After they read each review, they comment on how their own book’s theme of friendship  is similar or different to this student’s review. They come up with an example of that book’s friendship from their lives and post it. Then the class has a discussion on various types of friendship.

Let’s change wikis from just a collection place to an interactive high-level thinking learning place.

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Spoiling our Students Through Formative Assessment

My wife and I spent the week taking care of our 15 month old grandson, Rowan. We now understand what it means to spoil a grandchild.  Like other grandparents, we did not buy special toys or clothing; we did not keep him up past his bedtime; and we did not take him to special places.  We did spoil him by devoting our complete attention to him. We did not focus on working, taking care of the house, etc; we only focused on him.

Every teacher should spoil the students in their classroom.  The teachers should be so prepared for class that when class starts the teachers can focus their complete attention on the students. How are the students responding to the instruction? Which students are “getting it” and which are not?  What learning problems are emerging?  What instant strategy can be implemented right now to help the students overcome their learning gap? We need to change our perspective from what we teach to what the students are learning. We need to  become  attentive parents/guardians who constantly look for clues of learning strengths and learning gaps.  We need to be nurturing parents/guardians who can treat  any “illness” as soon as we see it.  We do not want any student to bleed out while they wait overnight for us to figure out a solution to their illness.

Let’s spoil our students so that they achieve more in-depth learning!

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Formative Assessment and RTI

According to Response Through Intervention (RTI), the most critical part of the interventions is Tier One where 80-90 percent of the students are in the regular classroom. The teacher uses baseline data, instruction, monitoring, diagnosing, and feedback with more assessments to see if students are showing growth in critical skills. Tier One is an excellent time for formative assessment.  Teachers can observe if the new strategy or modification of a strategy is making a difference in the students’ learning. The constant cycle of instruction, monitor, diagnosis, feedback and assessment in RTI is also the cycle for Formative Assessment. Tier One teachers who use formative assessment have more interventions on a regular basis in the classroom.

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Formative Assessment Avoids One-Size-Fits-All Solutions

Grant Wiggins’ Big Ideas website published my latest article,  Formative Assessment: Not One-Size-Fits-All- Feedback.

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Frequent Formative Assessment: Road Trip Metaphor

Recently I’ve been thinking of learning as a road trip.  Our students start out on the trip but soon they may take a road that does not lead to the  destination. In many classes, the instructors do not find out that the students have been on the wrong road until the weekly quiz or even the unit exam. Formative assessment helps to monitor students as they drive. Students do not have to take the same road (differentiation) but they do need to end up at the same destination. Formative assessments helps  identify students who have wandered off on dead-ends, have  being caught going around traffic circles, or have taken roads that lead in the opposite directions from the destination. Formative Assessment shows them how to get back on a road that leads to the destination and then monitors that they are continuing on that road. Formative Assessment can monitor when students have stopped for an extended break. Formative Assessment celebrates their success as they arrive at the destination.

How do you use Formative Assessment to help your students reach their destination?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Creating Imaginary Worlds in the Class

Some educators feel strongly that schools should use virtual worlds to engage today’s youth. I remember a distant time when teachers had the power to create imaginary worlds in the class. A Social Studies would tell about the Civil War from the viewpoint of a teenager as his middle school students enter in that teenager’s struggles.  An English teacher used A Midsummer’s Nights Dream to explore young love for high school students. They understand the world of crazy love, mistaken love, and true love. The play becomes a vehicle for them to explore an important issue in their lives.  A science teacher had the students adopt a local stream; they tell the stream’s story throughout the school year. They write as if they were the living stream.  Teachers have the power to create wonderful worlds in the classroom.  Students can be transported to other places, times, and events and see through the eyes of others. They learn more in-depth and more comprehensively.

Can you create imaginary worlds in your class so that students enter into a different world? Do you transport them to a different realm of seeing and thinking?  Get your Merlin’s wand out!

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Quality Learning in Education

Long ago when I began a new job, my superintendent suggested I go to TQM training which was being done via videoconferencing. I learned much and changed my department into one that applied TQM to increase our effectiveness while providing high quality service. Then the TQM movement was criticized for being too business like and it quietly disappeared from education.  Ironically, many of the TQM ideas and tools have been renamed into more “acceptable” terms such as “continuous quality improvement” (CQI) or “data driven”. The premise in TQM is that you identify the quality that you want and you constantly measure to see if you are obtaining that quality. If not, you change your actions to achieve that quality.  TQM builds in success structures (many graphic organizers came out of TQM).  Movements such as formative assessment can be seen as TQM applied to student success.

How have  you identify the quality of learning you want in your students? How do you build in success measures so that students reach that level of quality in their learning?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

New article for Wiggins’ Big Ideas Website

I have had another article, Distributed Practice for Success, published at Grant Wiggins’ Big Idea website: Exploring the Essential Questions of Education.

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Messy papers are best: Continual Improvement through Formative Assessment

I like messy papers. I like papers with all sorts of colors over them and all sorts of comments. My students enjoy them too.

The messy papers are my students’ peer reviewed papers .  The pupils color code the writer’s paper with the thesis and topic sentences in red, evidence in yellow and details in green.  They draw triangles for transition words. They put in many other marks to indicate various aspects of writing that they found.

The more colors and the more marks, the better the student has written the paper. When students get back their papers, their faces light up when they see all the colors and all the positive comments. When they are missing a color in a paragraph, they can instantly notice the lack of color. They know we are a “green” classroom; we want to have plenty of “green” in their writing.

After a quick verbal peer conferencing, they revise their papers as soon as they are made aware of their learning gaps.They want more “color” in their life!

How do you help your students to give formative feedback to other students? How do add “color” to their work?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

High Expectations For Our Students: Our Responsibility

Robyn Jackson in Never Worker Harder than Your Students differentiates between standards and expectations.

The standards specify what high level content or process learning we want of the students. Expectations refer to our belief that we can help the students  to get there. If we have high expectations, then we believe that we can help the pupils to be successful. If we have low expectations, then we do not feel that we can help them learn. If we truly have high expectations, then we will figure out what we can do to help the students to  grow in the standard to the point of achievement. We do not focus on what they cannot do, we focus on what we can help them be able to do. We do not focus on what they do not know, we focus on how to help them obtain the prerequisite knowledge or skills in the context of the course. If we have high expectations, we do not ask students to learn the missing material or skills on their own, we build knowledge or skill development into our class into mini-lessons targeted to help them. If we have high expectations, we take responsibility for their growth; we work on the solution, not cursing the problem. If we have high expectations for our students, we promise ourselves that they will be successful in our class due to our efforts.

Do you have high expectations for your students? How do your students know?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Break your class now!

For many years a favorite book of mine was If it is not broken, then break it by George Morrison. The author stresses that the time to improve something is when it is working, not when it is broken. If you fix something when it is broken, you usually only restore it to its original condition but not an improved one.

If you spend time in reflecting on the lesson or unit and breaking the present level, you improve it to a higher level. Your students learn better.

When do you stop and break your class? Do you consciously say “What can I improve the next time I do this?” Do you rewrite your lesson plans? Redo your PowerPoint? Find different websites? Think about wording things differently on your handouts? Do you ask your students what worked for them such as rating each part of the unit on a 4-very helpful for learning the goal 3- somewhat helpful 2- a little helpful 1- not helpful at all” scale and do you ask them “What would have helped me better learn this goal?” Do you honestly consider their suggestions?

Break your class to help your students better succeed!

One way to break your class is through formative assessment.

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Don’t Leave Improvement to Chance

I offered my college writing students the opportunity for a one-on-one so that I could help them with their papers.

About three students in each class wanted a one-on-one. I was trying to give them a choice. I realize that I should have made their  improvement a requirement. A mandatory one-on-one would have allowed me one last chance to see their graphic organizers before they began to write; I could have helped them improve.  Although the students  had peer reviewed the graphic organizers, many students at the early stages of writing (and other learning) need the most feedback.

How often do you allow students choices when, in fact, their continual improvement, should be a requirement?  How often do you build “mandatory”  formative assessment into  their learning?  Do you just hope they will get it right or do you carefully monitor them and redirect them so that they will be successful?

10 Standards-Based Formative Feedback Techniques for Your Class

Part of the handout for the conference session

  1. Verify the purpose.

  2. Be specific in the feedback.

  3. Limit it.

  4. Use an exemplar.

  5. Use a formative rubric.

  6. Have peer feedback.

  7. Have students develop their own feedback.

  8. Inform the class of progress and ask for strategies

  9. Put the resources on YouTube.

  10. Build in multiple checkpoints.

  11. Provide graphic scaffolding.

  12. Your ideas?

For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book,
Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

Two Observations, Two Different Approaches

I was talking to two teachers from the same school. Both teachers were going to be observed. One supervisor not only did a pre-conference a week before the observation but also gave the teacher the evaluation rubric. This supervisor asked about any special conditions in the class or if the classroom teacher wanted the supervisor to look for anything in particular. As soon as the class observation was over, the supervisor gave some positives and some suggestions for change. Then within a week, the supervisor sent out the formal evaluation.

The other supervisor showed up two minutes before the class for the pre-conference. He looked over the lesson plan. After about two weeks after the class, the teacher received the formal evaluation.

I’m wondering which technique we use when we observe our students?

For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

How Many Academic Firsts Do You Celebrate?

My wife and I went to see our son, daughter-in-law and our grandson. These parents proudly talked about each first success of the baby- the first time he rolled over, the first time he had cereal, the first time he made something move…

I wonder how proudly we talk with our students about their successes. Do you acknowledge each of the students’ firsts? Do you let your students know on a daily or weekly basis their successes? Do you break your curriculum down so that they can celebrate small successes instead of waiting until the end unit test to be able to show a success? Do you celebrate each success to motivate them in their learning? Do you celebrate each success to show them that they are moving forward? Do you celebrate each success so that when they find a task especially difficult they can look back to their previous successes and know that they can achieve this task? Do you scaffold the curriculum so that they can easily move from success to success or do you have a sink-or-swim approach to student learning? Do your students look forward to the next challenge so that they can show how well they are doing or do they dread the exercise that they know they will fail at?

How do you make your curriculum a success one for students so that they constantly have new learning firsts?

If you are interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

Less in a Course For Greater Learning

The first semester that I taught a Composition and Research course, I followed the syllabus given me. I had the students do an essay a week. I did have high attrition and low grades. I felt like students were just doing essays without truly understanding how to do each one More importantly, they showed minimal or no improvement from essay to essay.

This semester I have reduced the essays by half. I am spending more time in helping students to be successful. We examine other previous students’ work and analyze how they developed their paper. We develop essays as a class. I build in check points along each major decision in the writing process. For example,the students have to show me their thesis before they can continue, they show me their categories and topic sentences before they can continue, they show me a detailed completed graphic organizer before they do their draft. They frequently peer review each other’s work. So far the first essay that I received from the students is already at the same or higher quality than the final essays of the students from last semester. I am looking forward to their second essay to see how they have improved.

Do you focus more on coverage or on student learning? How to build in high success with your students?

If you are interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

Faking Personal Response Systems

I do realize how important it is to get feedback from students during the class. The more feedback I get the more I can modify instruction so that they can be successful learners. However, my institution does not have an electronic personal response systems.

Here are some ways I or others fake a personal response system:

Have students vote using their hands. I have my vote A, B, C, D starting with their index finger for A They hold their hands in front of their chest so that no one else can see their answer.

Give students a 3 x5 card, have them fold it horizontal and then write a big A on the left side and B on the right; they turn over the card and write C and D. They hold up their response to their chest.

Have students write on small white boards and hold their answer up to you. The whiteboards work well for short answers or drawings. By the way, often “dollar store” type of stores often carry whiteboards. You can also have students draw on their own paper.

Have students point such as when a Spanish teacher says “la puerta”, the students point to the door.

Have students do an action. When a science teacher says “endothermic”, students can pretend to be cold.

Use whatever form of personal response system you want to learn where your students are in their learning journey and make appropriate changes to help them successful navigate their journey.

If you are interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

Visual Learning in All Subjects- Scaffold and Self-Assessment

In my English class I was reviewing basic paragraph writing. I found that of 66 students (3 classes), only two students had had a visual way to remember what goes in a paragraph. One had a snowman analogy and one had a hamburger analogy. When I introduced them to the hand analogy, one student commented that her teachers did not give her visuals of writing.

The visual act as a scaffold to guide the students as they write. In addition, they can self-check themselves by using the visual.

How do you visualize the critical information in your course in a visual only (no-text) manner to help all students to learn?

Passion: Use it in Your in Teaching

I knew that I had to revise a course (Critical Thinking) that I was teaching. The course bored me. I realized that I was not excited about the content of the course in the form I had it last year and the students were not excited either. The course did not seem to fit together. I realized that I had nothing to “hang” the course around. So I’ve decided to “hang” it around passages from Don Quixote, my favorite novel. As I look at the novel more, I realize that I can cover all the course standards by using the book. Furthermore, the students will learn more since the ideas are in a context and the book uses humor to teach value thinking skills. Yes, I will still use the textbook but the text will be the jumping off point for reading the ideas in Don Quixote.

I was delighted to find that in Wiske’s Teaching for Understanding with Technology, she has as one aspect of a generative topic that the topic has to be “fascinating and compelling” for the teacher. She gives the example of an elementary teacher who uses bird names for the different parts of the writing process since she enjoys watching birds. Another instructor uses his passion for bridges as the overarching theme for his course.

What is your passion? How do you connect that passion with the course standards? How does your passion make the course more meaningful for the students and allow them to better learn the standards?

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Paragraph Writing Ideas Pre-Assessment: Formative Assessment

I am starting my composition course with a self-assessment of the students’ ideas about writing. I ask them to list all the things that make a “good” paragraph.  They do  this individually on their own paper.  Then I ask them to draw a line after the last item.  Next they get in groups and each person reads their lists.  If they have the same item on the top of their list, they check it off. If they do not have the item and they think it is a good idea, then they write it under the line.

By looking at their papers, I begin to get an idea of what they  originally thought  about paragraph writing and what ideas they added.  This short in class activity (about 4 minutes) provides a good starting point for my understanding of their ideas about paragraph writing. It only takes me a few minutes to go through their papers.

I will keep their sheets to compare their actual paragraph writing against their ideas as soon as they do their first inclass writing.

How do you pre-assess the ability of your students so that you can modify future lessons?

Meaningful Learning for Students

A squirrel got in our basement. He is hiding and will not come out.

I wonder how often students get trapped in our classes. They attend and they do the mandatory work. They eat away at all the homework.  I wonder how often they get motivated by the learning to come out of their “do not bother me” hiding place.  Do they see the classroom learning as critical to the lives?  “When am I ever going to use this in my life?” How do we constantly show them the big picture of their learning so that they see how it does relate to their lives?   One high school teacher I know teaches themes (reality/illusion; fantasy love/real love; work/ideas) that are important to his students through literature. Each piece of literature helps his students to deal with their current and future lives.  I’ve heard of a  science teacher who  incorporates his class science into household science so that the students see science as part of their daily lives.

How do you relate your course to your students’ lives in a real way, not a “someday you’ll need it” way? Do they want to learn your subject because it means something to them now?


RSS Education with Technology

  • English +Common Core +Mobile = Success (ISTE2014 Poster -details) June 30, 2014
    Here are the ten examples I showed at my English + Common Core  + Mobile ISTE 2014 Poster Session: Based on CCSS Anchor Statements: L.2 Take a Conventions Mobile Online Quiz  to pick the  incorrect sentence from four choices (capitalization) SL.2  Evaluate audio recording of a  book chapter on mobile and predict for next chapter. […]
    hgtuttle
  • Global Cultural Learning Using Mobile Devices (ISTE Mobile MegaShare Presentation) June 28, 2014
    Based on my presentation at ISTE 2014 Mobile Megashare Why teach about other countries? Location: Large view to small on maps. Culture or culture. Find six similarities in a  mobile picture from another culture (“Wars are caused by differences, not similarities.”-Tuttle.) Tell one piece of information from each different Internet visual from a place in that […]
    hgtuttle
  • English + Common Core + Mobile = Success in Learning Poster Session at ISTE 2014 June 25, 2014
    In my ISTE Sunday 8-10 am poster session, I demonstrate many diverse mobile activities to help students achieve the English Language Arts Common Core Anchor Statements through mobile devices. The mobile activities focus on free common tool apps that are available on both the Android and the iPad. The students use the apps as a seamless […]
    hgtuttle
  • English Common Core Mobile Activities ebook June 18, 2014
    I recently published English Common Core Mobile Activities ebook. Use these 150+ different mobile activities to guide your students in learning and demonstrating the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Anchor Statements in Language, Speaking and Listening, Reading, and Writing. The activities, organized by Anchor Statements, actively eng […]
    hgtuttle
  • Giving Students a Voice in App Selection January 8, 2014
    Traditionally, teachers research apps for their class. They assign apps to students.  The teachers assign a specific app or give students a choice of several pre-selected apps.  As a Modern Language teacher, I suggested apps to my students in the early part of the year. However, in January, I let my students select which apps […]
    hgtuttle
  • Considering Home Learning When Doing Mobile December 14, 2013
    Many schools are going mobile or one-to-one.  Schools sometimes make decisions without thinking about the full consequences such as mobile and home learning. If schools supply mobile devices to the students, do the students take the mobile devices home?   If students do not take the mobile device home, then mobile is only considered an […]
    hgtuttle
  • Good Apps vs Very Good Apps November 5, 2013
    Good mobile learning practice apps  facilitate and transform learning. Mobile learning activities can  increase students’ time on task.  In a classroom, a teacher calls on one student  after another but no student is active all the time; only those who are called on are active. Students remain  off task for much of the time since […]
    hgtuttle
  • Group Texting Programs: The Next Big Wave? October 10, 2013
    Group texting programs fall into two categories.  The first category consists of teacher- to-student text programs such as Reminder 101, . In these programs, the teacher sends out  text reminders, announcements, notes, etc. to the whole class with just a click of button. These programs are teacher -centered since the teacher pushes out information but […] […]
    hgtuttle
  • Assessment and Mobile Learning Questions September 10, 2013
    Technology can play a critical role in the learning process.  Here are some questions about assessment and mobile learning to think about as you plan for your mobile learning. Who/ What  will assess the students’ mobile learning? A) the same mobile app that the student worked on B) a  different mobile app C)  the teacher […]
    hgtuttle
  • How will students’ mobile device be used for learning? September 2, 2013
    How will the  students’ mobile device primarily be used? What other ways can teachers have students use mobile devices to engage in  learning? to introduce the learning goal to the students  before the teacher does in class  such as in a flipped classroom to introduce the learning goal during the class presentation to present alternative […]
    hgtuttle

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