Archive for February, 2007

Examine Teacher Strategy Effectiveness for Student Standard Learning

How do you select the strategies that you will use to help your students achieve the standards? One technique is best on a quality matrix. You list several possible strategies that could be used to teach a particular key component of a standard. You then guesstimate what percentage of your students will be successful in learning the key component if you use each strategy. You look at your scores and select the strategy that has the highest possible score. You pre-test the students, teach them using that strategy, and then post-test. Next, you check your guesstimate against the reality of the post-test. You can use a spreadsheet to do the analysis. Then you can make a decision if that strategy was as effective as you had hoped. If it was not effective, you can think of modifying that strategy or using another strategy. If your colleagues teach the same key component, you can compare strategies and their effectiveness in helping students to be successful learners in a standards environment. If two of you used the same strategy and had drastically different results, you can discuss of how the strategy was implemented in each class.

Most effective teaching strategy for standard

Try out this quality matrix to help you determine which of your teaching strategies are effective in helping students achieve the standards.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007



Improving Student Achievement Through Small Wins: Introduction

Short Wins to Achievement

Schmoker promotes the idea of small educational wins instead of long range plans

The big advantage is that you can see the educational pay-off in weeks or a month.

Quotes Hamel ““Win small, win early, win often”

Quotes Collins “steady stream of successes”

He gives several examples of schools which have implemented such a strategy for improving student learning:


In one school, a powerful lesson plan resulted in 85/88 students being able to write effective ”descriptive setttings” up from 4/85 a month earlier.

In another school, teacher saw gains in math in monthly meetings and at the end of the year saw sizeable gains on the state assessment.

In a third school, a first grade team celebrated their successes at their once a month 25 minute meeting. They showed charts of their students’ success in writing.

Schmoker, M. R. (2005). Results Now: How We Can Achieve Unprecedented Improvements In Teaching and Learning. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Does having short-wins appeal to you? Do you want to see monthly results instead of waiting for finals or state-tests results? Are you already implementing short wins?


© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007




Teacher Expectations and Student Achievement (TESA): Feedback

TESA Feedback

Teacher Expectations and Student Achievement emphasizes that teachers are often unaware of how they interact with students, particularly low income and minorities.

Strand B (Feedback) includes these categories. You can have a team of teachers observe you on the presence of these or you can audio/video tape yourself and then do an analysis.

Affirm/Correct– Do you tell all students equally if they are correct when they answer a question or make a comment?

Praise – Do you praise all students equally if they are correct when they answer a question or make a comment?

Reason for Praise – Do you tell all students equally the standards-based reason that they are correct when they answer a question or make a comment?

Listening – Do you listen attentively to all students equally as they talk to you?

Accepting Feelings – Do you acknowledge the feelings equally to all students?

So how do you apply these in your classroom? How do you use technology to help you? How do you use technology to monitor you increase in these?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Teacher Expectations and Student Achievement (TESA): Giving Student Response Opportunities

TESA Response Opportunities

TESA has been around since 1973. Many school have it as a key professional development tool since it is classroom based. Its research base states that teachers expect less of certain students (low income and minority), treat them differently in class and therefore those students achieve less.

In TESA other teachers observe you for certain teaching traits that center around equity.

You can do your own self-assessing (or you can audio/video tape yourself):

Under Response Opportunities (Strand A):

Latency – Do you wait five seconds after asking each question and before calling on any student? Do you use wait time for all students equally?

Equitable Distribution – Do you call on all students equally?

Individual Help – Do you provide help to all students equally?

Paraphrasing/Prompting – Do you paraphrase and prompt the question to help student get the correct answer equally?

Higher Level Questions- Do you ask higher level questions equally to all students?

You could create a spreadsheet of the number of times you positively do each of the above in your class and then try to increase the number each week. If you increased by 20% each week, you would soon have high scores in each area. Graph your results and be proud of your students’ increased learning because of your new high expectations for every student.

If you have had experience with TESA, please share them.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Student Eportfolios as Formative Assessment

Eportfolio as formative assessment

Students’ eportfolios can become formative if your students work on the eportfolios throughout the semester or year. If students just put the eportfolio together the last week of class, then the eportfolio cannot serve as formative assessment.

During the first Eportfolio Review Day which may be at the end of five weeks or ten weeks of school, students select which assignment (evidence, artifact) they will use in their eportfolio. As they share their choice with you, you can assess how well they understand the standard and how well their select assignments demonstrate the standard. You can offer assistance if they demonstrate a need.

During the subsequent Eportfolio Review Days, the students compare the most recent assignments that they have done to the ones they have already selected for the eportfolio. They self-assess their own work in terms of the standard. They begin to think of how they can do better future work to be more completely or more in depth demonstrations of their progress in the standard. As they share their decisions with you, you can assess how their understanding of the standard has increased and how much more discriminating they are in selecting good evidence for their eportfolio.

As students develop their reflection on the standard using the what “I learned previously, what I learned in the course, and what I still want to learn” about the standard model, they share it with you. You can help them develop in-depth reflections that truly illustrates their higher-level thinking about the standard.

When students do peer-evaluations of each other’s eportfolio based on the rubric, their formative assessments allows each student to grow

So how else do you use eportfolios as formative assessment?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Black’s Formative Assessment Research: How much do you know about your students?

Formative to Successful Summative Assessment

Black’s meta-analysis of research on formative assessment asserts the critical importance of formative assessment. He found that formative assessment has an “effect size of .4 to .7. These effect sizes are larger than most of those found for educational interventions. An effect gain of .7 in recent international comparative studies in math would have raised the score of a nation in the middle of the pack of 41 countries (i.e. the U.S.) to one of the top five.”

Implementing formative assessment involves these issues:

– It will require a significant change in classroom practice (more focus on formative assessments based on the standards)

– Students have to be actively involved in their learning and their own assessment.

– The results of formative assessment will be used to adjust teaching and learning.

“Do I really know enough about the understanding of my pupils to be able to help each of them?”

Do you? How do you use technology to guide you in collecting and analyzing formative assessment?





Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2), 139-148.



© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007



Podcasts: Let Students Question and Let Listeners Learn

Podcast Questions

Most podcasts do not invite the listener to think about the topic. The listener is passive. The podcast seems more like a lecture than a dialogue.

The students can start off the podcast with an essential question about the topic or a critical problem such as “What impact is global warming having on you?”and then pause for about five seconds for the listener to think about the topic.

Your students can use a Question and Answer format about this higher level thinking topic. “Were you hotter than usual last summer?” “Was it due to a weather pattern or global warming?” Then they can give some possibilities about why it might be global warming. They can ask another question and offer some possible answers. They can frame their answers in the form of questions such as “Could it be….?” or “What does this image show you about the effects of global warming?”

You will have to model this format for the students and have them practice it. A good starting point is for them to identify what questions they have the topic and its impact on their lives.

Let’s change podcasts from boring mini-lectures to engaging thought provoking learning.This way not only do the students producing it learn the content to a high level of thinking but the listener also does. Share some examples of how your students cause others to think and question.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Three Steps to Improving Students’ Learning: From Formative to Summative Success

Pretest Refocus Formative and High Quality Learning

Three simple steps to improving student learning.

Give them a pretest or pre-assessment based on the standard. Analyze the results using a spreadsheet or online tool.
Refocus your instruction for the upcoming lesson to focus on the components of the standard in which the students have shown the greatest weakness. Use a word process to modify the lesson and your proposed activities.

Give frequent formative assessments that inform students of their progress and allows them to improve. Provide alternate strategies so they can drive their car of learning to success instead of their crashing in misunderstanding.

Celebrate in the high achievement of your students on your standards-base summative “test”.

Share your success stories about using these three steps and technology.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Pretest Coverage: From Year Long to Small Part of Unit Student Learning

Pretest coverage

Pretest (pre-assessment) can cover many different aspects:

1-All the year’s key concepts. A Science teacher has developed two questions for each of the key points that she covers during the year. She gives this pretest at the beginning of the year to have a base-line for all her students.

2- Content on the state -test. A Spanish teacher may give the students the previous year’s regents at the beginning of the school year to see what skills and knowledge the students have based on the state-test required content.

3- Overarching skills or concepts. An English teacher take a reading comprehension pretest at the beginning of the year to determine how well they comprehend reading materials. The English teacher realizes that if students do not have a high degree of reading comprehension, they will not do well in the course.

3- Several standards components found in a unit. A Math teacher may pull out four questions that are the most difficult and that represent the different standards components from the unit and ask students to solve them.

4- A specific component within a unit. Within a big Government/Civics unit, a Social Studies teacher creates several pretest each one focused on different aspects such as purpose of the constitution, the three branches of government, and Bills of Rights in daily life. As the students finish a section of the unit, they have a pretest for the next section.

So which type of pretest do you use? Do you use your word processor to take your existing standards-based unit exam and slightly modify problems to create a pretest? Do you have a subject area database of possible test qustions? Do you have old state-exams in digital format that you can take questions from?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Reteach instead of Teach for Greater Student Learning

Teach Reteach

You go to visit a specialist, Dr. Cuchil, for the first time. As soon as she walks in the room, she says “Surgery.” You go to another specialist, Dr. Tened. He asks you some questions, has some X-rays taken, and moves your hand in various positions. He then suggests a treatment. Dr. Tened has vast knowledge about your condition but bases his comments directly on your condition as he has diagnosed it. One teaches without any knowledge about you. The other one re-teaches based on your information.

I think that reteaching is the key to student learning, not teaching. Reteaching implies that the teachers have made an assessment of student’s learning needs and these educators have come up with a different strategy or strategies to help those learners be successful. In a classroom the teachers pretest the students either in paper or, hopefully, electronic means; they analyze the results or look at the electronic results. They become aware of the academic strengthens and weaknesses of their students; they know where learning problems are. Then the teachers use their word processor to modify/change the unit to better help the students; the teachers reteach what the students do not know or cannot do yet. They do not teach what the students already know. They regularly check the students’ progress.

Do you teach or reteach? How do you use technology to help you reteach?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Transform a “Paper” Nation Simulation Using Technology: Part 1


Mr. Webster looks at many fully developed online nation simulations and finds out that they do not meet his subject’s academic standards, do not fit in his time constraints, and are primarily war focused. He creates his own “paper and pencil” classroom simulation and incorporates various technologies to help his simulation come alive.

Setting up the simulation:

As Mr. Webster sets up a classroom situation in which the present day world has been destroyed, he can show a video clip in which a flood or a volcano destroys an area. Students can sense the destruction and realize that they have to rebuild the nation from the bottom up. Can they figure out what is needed to create a new nation?

Scaffolding the experience:

Mr. Webster can give students documents to use as they create their own nation. Students may have an electronic copy of the US constitution (or a brief outline of it) that they modify in their word processor as they create the constitution of their own nation. Will they include the same major components or will they drastically change the type of government? Will their government withstand the daily challenges?

Students can do a quick search of Google images for flags of various nations before they create their own nation flag. As they look at each online flag, they can think about the symbolism of that flag and what they want their new nation’s flag to represent. They can create their own flag using any digital drawing program and print it out to proudly fly over their new nation. What do they consider important in their new nation? If the class is large, each group can create a flag and then the class can select the best aspect (which most clearly shows the goals of the nation) from each group to create a common flag.

Likewise, they can use a drawing program or even Word to create their own money once they have figured out their government’s monetary system. Students use this money to buy and sell and even to pay taxes in their new nation. Can the government get enough in taxes and other revenue to support itself? Will the citizen protest the tax rates?

How do you give your students the simulated feeling of “living” a historical, scientific, mathematical, language, artistic, etc. event? How do you help them to “live” it instead of learn about it?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Develop Visual Literacy Skill of Picture Interpretation (English example)

As an English teacher, I had my students do many visual literacy skill activities.

One of the most powerful one was in comparing the images of the same character from different productions of the same play. For example, I would ask them to compare Titania, the queen of the fairies, from A Midsummer Night Dream using these two images ( titania.jpg and

2 Versions of Titania

I would ask the students to tell me what the director’s interpretation of each character was.
Usually students would have blank stares.

I would ask them for the differences between the two pictures. I would make a chart as they spoke with the characteristic on the left, the 1st Titania in the middle, and the 2nd Titania on the right so the first few entries might be

Characteristics…………….. 1st Titania…………………… 2nd Titania
clothing………………………….color pink,light…………….. black and dark green
wings……………………………. pink…………………………….. none

After they had listened many characteristics, I would ask them “As you look at all the characteristics for the first Titania, what one word, phrase, or image of Titania summarizes those characteristics?

Then student make their own charts as they analyze the different images of the same play characters. They find their own images for other characters (or the staging or the setting) from different play versions, analyze them, and identify the director’s interpretation. They move from looking at a visual to evaluating it for its message.

How do you help your students to become more visually literate in your subject area through technology?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Similarities and Differences: Avoid Circle Venn Diagrams

When students are asked to compare and contrast, they open their mind to more firmly defining each topic. They come to understand what the topic is and is not in comparison or contrast with another topic. They engage in higher level thinking.

I watched students list the similarities and differences between two stories they had just read. By looking at their circles I could not see the corresponding differences. When there are two overlapping circles such as for butterfly/moth, students do not identify what is the topic of each difference. I would suggest that students do not use circle Venn diagrams.

I prefer that students use block Venn Diagrams in which differences are clearly contrasted. You can easily make this in Word or Inspiration.

Similarities Differences

You might even want add a final line on the chart that says “Conclusion or Interpretation.”

Do you have another form of a compare and contrast chart that clearly helps learners to develop in-depth learning?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Techniques to Record Classroom Observation of Students

Observation checklist

The more we know about our students’ learning, the more we can help them. We have students for at least thirty some minutes each day. We can gather much information during that time.

Some techniques for observing standards-based student learning:

* Write the student observation on a sticky-note, and, after class, stick the note to each student’s page in a class binder.

* Write directly on the student’s page in the class binder.

* Complete a short checklist and physically add that checklist to the student’s section in the class binder.

* Use a computer, PDA, or tablet to record your observation in a word processor, database, or spreadsheet. With any of these technology tools, you can sort or search for patterns. You can let your fingers do the walking and your brain do the analysis. One observation on the student’s lack of measurement skills may be a quirk or abnormality. However, several observations showing a student’s measurement errors can pinpoint an academic problem; you can guide the student in overcoming those errors. You can print out information for meetings with the student, parents, team, or school guidance counselor.

How do you observe your students and record this information using technology? How does your technology use allow you to see the big picture about the student’s learning?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Effective Vocabulary Learning and Technology

Vocabulary Definition or Understanding

Marzano in Building Background Knowledge for Academic Achievement (2004) identifies six steps that have been proven to be effective in helping students learn vocabulary terms. He quotes much research for this method.

1. The teacher provides a explanation, description or example of the term. He does not define it.

2. Students restate the explanation of the new term in their own words.

3. Students create a non-linguistic representation of the term such as graphic organizer or pictures. This can be done on paper or electronically.

4. Students periodically do activities that help them to add to their knowledge of the vocabulary terms. Some activities are compare, classify, generate metaphors, generate analogies, revise the initial description or non-linguistic representation. The teacher can present these activities through a Power Point devoted to the term.

5. Periodically students discuss the terms with one another such as issues and questions about the term. Their issues and questions can be done in a program such as Inspiration.

6. Periodically students engage in games that allow them to play with the term in sponge activities like free associate, most other synonyms, and related topics. You can have these available in a PowerPoint to display quickly during any free moments at the end of class.

Students record the term in their notebook which has three columns- description, representation, and insight.

So how do you improve your students’ vocabulary learning through technology?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Videoconference- Not very Distant and Not very Educational

Videoconference global range

A friend emailed me about a “humorous” situation with the videoconferencing machines in his district. He can dial any school within the district since those addressed have been pre-installed in the videoconference machines. He can only dial out to another non-district school when another teacher gives him her IP address. He cannot have other classes dial in. He has been told it will take hours to enable the dial-in feature. Apparently he is only to videoconference within the district, he should forget “distance learning”. Furthermore, he was told that he should only attempt a videoconference when a technician is there.

The question is who has the “control” in this situation? The teacher? The technician? The teacher probably will not want to pursue videoconferencing if it is such a hassle. On the other hand, the district is screaming because these expensive videoconferencing carts are not being used by the teachers.

Does the technology and technicians in your district support your educational learning experiences or do they serve as roadblocks? Can you quickly and easily set up and use your school’s videoconferencing unit or is it kept under lock and key? Can you videoconference with a school any place in the world or are you forced into videoconferencingly only within your own district?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Diagnostic Pre-test With Technology Before Teaching the Standard

Teach or Pretest

I’ve noticed that teachers start off a new lesson with the topic, maybe why it is important, and some motivation/hook. I have not seen, in the last few years, any teacher pre-testing students at the start of the topic. I understand the reason not to pre-test students. If we know what students do not know, then we have a responsibility to fill in the gaps. If we do not pre-test, then we do not know anything about learning gaps and we can proceed with our already-planned lesson even it does not fit the needs of the students.

If we pre-test and quickly analyze the results, we have an obligation to modify instruction. We can not simply say that the students need to do more math problems or they need to write more to do better in the standard. We have to discern how to help them travel from where they are to where we want them to be in terms of the standard.

I suggest giving a pre-test the day the students finish the previous unit. Then you have a day to analyze the results and modify your unit according to the new data you have. Some teachers who do not have a district online quiz or test program use survey sites such as Zoomerang and SurveyMonkey that allow them to give 10 question pre-test (multiple choice, True False, ratings, and open-ended) “survey” for up to 100 students. They can set up a quiz quickly. If they write the pretest in a word processor, then they can copy and paste it into the online survey taker program and they will have it for the future. However, the teacher has to copy the survey results since the results will disappear after ten days. Teachers save pretest correction time and basic analysis time when they use these sites.

Do you use another online survey program for pretests? Do you have another way to give online pretests and have them analyzed? Share your information so that we all can have new tools to help us improve our students’ learning.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Don’t can student learning: Start with the Standard

Two bad models and one good one

I went to visit a teacher recently and she already had a project which was very defined. She wanted me to help her “add technology” to it. I certainly could suggest several technologies. However, none of the technologies were not going to benefit the project because the project was defined so narrowly. None of the wonderful advantages of technology such as collaboration, global dimension, archiving over time, etc. would be used in this project. At best, it would help students make their work be neater in this “canned” project.

I visited another teacher who said that he knew how to do PowerPoint so he wanted to created a project using it. He had learned how to create bullets and build in transitions. He wanted his students’ PowerPoint to follow his format. This time I was asked to fit the learning into a specific “canned” technology format without thinking of the purpose of student learning.

A much better approach is to examine the standard for which component a teacher wants to use, decide on an assessment, and then select an appropriate technology resource to help students demonstrate that standard to the high level expressed in the assessment. A standards-based lesson pre-determines the end purpose while opening up many possible ways of helping the students to get there.

Which approach do you use to incorporating technology into students’ learning?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Classroom Grades Don’t Reflect Student Learning

Grading ? or Standard

Notes from Douglas Reeves‘ The Learning Leader (2006)

A letter grade does not mean the same thing among grade level teachers. Does an “A” in Mrs. Brown’s 7th grade English class in Roxo Middle School equal an “A” in Mr. Cooper’s 7th grade English class in Roxo Middle School? Does a middle school “A” mean the student is prepared for the rigors of high school?

A 100 point scale uses a ten point range such as 90-100 is A, 80-89 is B, 70- 79 is C, and 60-69 is a D, therefore an F is really 50-59. If an F is put in as a O, then the students are penalized 50 points which is not proportional to the rest of their ten point range grades. An F paper of 0 has “a penalty that is six times greater than work that is done wretchedly and worthy of a grade of D”. (p. 121)

Teachers can use a 0-4 grading scale in which each interval is equal.

Classroom letter grades are poor indicators of the students’ scores on high school state graduation tests since the classroom grades are not standards-based. “A” and “B” students do fail the state graduation tests.

Classes and schools should switch from the bell curve to a mountain (mastery) curve where all students succeed.

Most public school grading systems do not reflect standards. An “A” is a summative statement since no areas are indicated for improvement (formative statement).

Whether you do your grades in a spreadsheet or in an online grading program, how do your classroom grades reflect the students’ progress toward the standards?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Higher Level Thinking Team Competitive Learning Using PowerPoint

Team Learning and PowerPoint

Students, in small groups, put together their information about an aspect of the major topic such as the Spanish Empire in a cumulative PowerPoint activity.

Each team gets to create two thought-provoking questions about the topic. These questions are not factual questions such as “When did it happen?”, “Who was the leader?” or “Where did it take place?” The questions are essential questions such as “How is Spain’s decline similar or different to the decline of other Empires?”, “How does Spain’s rule still have an impact on the modern world?” or”How does Spain’s rule compare to the USA’s role in the world today?” After the teacher Oks the questions, the teams post their questions so all the teams can read them. Then each team gets to select a question. A team gets first choice on one of its own question but a team may reject its own questions and then those questions are available for others. All of the question focus on slightly different aspects of the main topic.

Each team prepares its PowerPoint report. They are to include at least four historical detailed examples to prove their answer. They include at least one map, one other visual, and maybe a chart. The teams know they will receive points on how well they prove their viewpoint according to a provided rubric. In addition, they know that after each presentation, any other team can offer additional supportive evidence or contradictory evidence and that team will receive an extra point for each additional valid evidence. The teams realize that if they want to prevent any other team from getting points from their presentation that they have to have an abundance of information. They may even include a contradictory viewpoint and disprove it. Their team grade is their own presentation plus the additional points they gain from other’s presentations. Each presentation has a five minute limit.

During the presentations, the teams listen very closely to each other. They are seeking to find ways to agree or disagree with the presenters. They know that after the presentation their team will be given a minute to prepare any additional or contradictory evidence in a factual and persuasive manner. If they are successful in their challenge, the teacher will say “Point” and will add a point to their team’s cumulative score.

So how do your students engage in higher level thinking and in collaborative and competitive teams through PowerPoint?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


From Daily Agenda to Daily Standards Performance Tasks for Improved Student Learning

Daily Agenda  Activity or Performance Task

Do you have a daily agenda posted on your chalkboard, class blog or class website to give an overview of the class? Is that daily agenda an activity list of what the students will do such as “read chapter two and answer questions”, “work on the Power Point presentation”, and “discuss the problem”, etc.? Or is it a list of the performance tasks that students need to do to be successful in the standard such as “contrast pre-Revolutionary life to post-Revolutionary life”, “decide whether So-Journer Truth or Harriet Tubman contributed more to the Underground Railroad”, and “analyze the pros and cons of the issue”.

“Read chapter two” tells the students nothing about what you expect them to learn. It is an activity. They will only know when they are done reading but not what they are to learn from the experience.

“Contrast pre-Revolutionary life to post-Revolutionary life” adds a specific purpose that helps students work toward achieving a Social Studies standard. Students know what they are get out of reading the text. As they read, they will be thinking of the post-Revolutionary life and trying to identify differences with the pre-Revolutionary life.

When you change your daily agenda to be a standards performance task listing, your students will have a clearer idea of what you want them to learn. They will be aware of the high expectations you have for the learning. You will be able to monitor their progress in their learning since each performance task is measurable.

Please share a sample of your daily standards performance task listing.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Student Podcasts to Support the Standards

Podcast Categories

Here is a beginning list of some different educational uses of podcasting in P12 settings that have a direct focus on academic standards:

Demonstrations such as students’ drawing and explaining the differences in geometric shapes
Sharing students’ misconceptions/errors
Stories/Book Reports that analyze a book instead of just tell what happen
Poetry Reading/ Slams about a certain topic or theme
Interpreting Historical Documents such as Federalist Papers
Debates to show two perspectives on a topic
Role Playing the conflict between two sides
How Tos such as how to write a persuasive paragraph or to build a housing using math formulas
Biographies such as the lives of Kansas people
Music/songs that teach different aspects of a topic
State National Test prep
School events such as a local Shakespeare play
Lecture/Telling factual information about a topic
Language lessons (such as learn Spanish) or learn English vocabulary
Reading tests to students with IEPs

What other examples of podcasts have your students produced that directly support an academic standard?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Blog as Eportfolio: Part 3-Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantage Disadvantage of Blog as Eportfolio

The advantage of a blog eportfolio is that it is easy to put up a blog. Most students have their own email so they can set up a blog quickly. They can individualize the appearance by selecting from many existing templates. A blog is a good tool for an eportfolio with much text.

There ae some disadvantages. The eportfolio can contain images. However, often those images are limited. Many blog programs do not allow video. Some allow audio with special programming. The student has to be shown how to set up the blog to limit access to it if it is a school eportfolio.

The student has to be more creative in showing improvements in their work such as their growth in their comparison writing. One way is for the student to write notes in parentheses such as ( ) to show the changes. For example,

Don Quixote’s love for Dulcinea is a fantasy love. He devotes all of his actions to her even though there is no real woman with the name of Dulcinea. (I added the “even though…” part to prove the fantasy concept). When he tells people he has saved to go to her town and praise her, he gives them the name of a town. El Toboso, that does exist. He describes her great beauty to others although the woman on whom he bases Dulcinea is not beautiful. (I decide to use the same pattern in each sentence to help the reader see the difference between the fantasy and reality.)

Most blogs do not allow for double column entries with one column being the original document and the other column being the students’ comments on their growth.

If the eportfolio blog is a private blog with limited access to invited people, the teachers can make comments on the students eportfolio.

What other advantages or disadvantages do you see in using blogs for academic eportfolios?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Student Produced Educational Podcasts: Label the Standard

Podcast Thinking Level

In getting ready to help a teacher develop Social Studies podcasts, I’ve listened to many student podcasts.

I’ve heard factual reports (the history of ….), role playing/dramatic reenactments such as the tax act, etc.

In none of them did I hear the education reason for the podcast. Students jump right into the topic. It seems that facts are the most important thing in students’ podcasts. However, state benchmarks require higher level thinking about the standards. They require compare and contrast, inference level thinking.

So how can we transform podcasts from reporting of facts to be higher level? Let’s use Social Studies with the topic of the US American Revolution:

Instead of focusing just on the American Revolution, students can focus on the general causes for a revolution and then give world wide examples of revolutions. (NYS Standard 2: examine the broad sweep of history from a variety of perspectives)

They explain the critical vocabulary used to describe revolutions and give examples of these words or phrases from multiple revolutions.

Students compare the various “wars” that have taken place on USA soil as to the purpose of each side, how the wars were fought, and how each war reshaped the USA.

Those podcasts directly focus on a standard and involve higher level thinking. Please share the podcasts that your students have done that are standards-based and higher level thinking based.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Formative Assessments For Students Growth: Four Techniques

Formative Assessment Variety

There are several ways to give students feedback on their progress in specific crticial parts of a standard:

1. Grade all applicable assignments on the state rubric for that standard. For example, grade all ELA writing with the state writing rubric. When you record the score in your grade program using the ELA score, you can see the students progress.

2. When you return the assignment, write this standards-based score and the previous score on it. Students can see if they are growing in the standard and remaining stagnant.

3. Have students keep a record of their assignments and their grades. Ask them to write down one thing they can do to improve in that standard. Some teachers have a daily reflection time for learning and this would be an excellent way for students to crystalize their thoughts for improvements. They submit these cumulative learning logs so that they can see which of their strategies were effective for a specific critical apsect of the standard.

4. Convert all grading to be standards based and use the subcategories under each standard to represent the critical aspects of a standard. Do not enter anything as a test but enter it under the appropriate critical aspect. Therefore, a persuasive essay based on a graph, would not be entered not as an ELA test but as part of Standard 1. You can use your grading program to print out the students’ standard based progress.

How else do you give formative assessment to students? How do you use technology to facilitate the process?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Become Bilingual, Not Monolingual, To Become Global by Using Technology

World of languages

I met an elder woman who spoken “broken” English. I found out that she had lived in one country; married a man from another country, moved there, and learned that language; moved to a third country where they learned its language and raised their children; and then moved to the USA and learned English.

I was on a bus in rural Peru. A young boy who was about five years old spoke to me but I did not understand him. His mother told him to speak to me in Spanish, he changed languages, and then he and I talked. This five year from a rural area could speak two languages and his Spanish was much better than mine!

How can we be global citizens if we only speak one language? English is not the most widely spoken language in the world. Chinese is. If our students are monolingual, then they will not be students of the 21st century.

Today’s technology can help us learn another language. With satellite TV, shows can be found from many language groups. DVDs are in multi-language format. There are many language sites on line. With Skype and other videoconferencing resources, we can talk to people of that language area. If you once learned French, Spanish, German, Italian, or a non-European language, you can refresh your skills. Try out your skills whenever you have a chance. Encourage your children to learn another language so that they can speak with others!

Let’s make it a resolution to become at least bilingual! Let’s really become global!

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


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