Archive for September, 2007

Online Grading Program Misses Being Formative


I talked to an educator whose school implemented a new online program that keeps track of the attendance and puts the homework assignments and quiz dates online for students and parents. After the work has been graded or a test scored, the grades can be released online. I applaud this program for making students and parents aware of what topical information is going to be covered and then providing the grading on these. This creates a grading accountability.

However, I think that the program is typical of a summative approach to learning. There is no learning accountability. If the program had a comment box where teachers could put in a comment or two about specific ways for the students to improve then the students would know how to be successful in the course. They could do better academically in the class. Such an online program would be formative and not grade-this-quiz summative. Likewise if each homework or quiz was labeled with a specific standard such as 1.1 or 2.3, then the program could report on standard learning accountability. If the program could group all quizzes and homeworks by the standard, such as all 1.1 work, then the online program could report out standard learning success. Parents and students would know more than just grades, they would know how far their child had progressed in each of the standards.

What does your online grading program do?

Multiple Assessments from the Same Authentic Task

A business teacher was telling me that she used one task as the pre-test for her course. She had the students word process a a business application business letter and email it to her. She checked whether they could 1) use business email procedures, 2) do attachments, 3) use the proper format for a business letter, 4) write in a business style, 5) do an application letter, and 6) write well. She scored each skill on a scale of 4 (above proficiency) to 1(does not demonstrate proficiency). The students took about 25 minutes of class time to do the task and she took about 1 hour to rate each student’s work and record the information. However, with only 1 1/2 hours of time, she knew how to change the course to best fit the needs of the students. She could modify her plans so that students would be successful. She could skip those skill areas that all students had demonstrated. She had used just one task to get a richness of information (6 different skills) about the students.

What authentic task do you have your students do that enables you to analyze how well students can demonstrate the many critical skills for your course (or unit)?

Spanish Language Transportes (Transportations) From Various Hispanic Countries

As a Spanish teacher you can use the following Flickr images to show your students the variety of transportation in Spanish speaking countries. These images also provide great speaking and writing opportunities. If you do not teach Spanish, please share with your Spanish teacher. Gracias.

El tranvia -Buenos Aires, Argentina

Transporte popular – Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala

Transporte publico 2 Tijuana, Mexico

Transporte ecologista-Malecón, Centro Habana, Cuba

Transporte – aeropuerto, Madrid, Espana

Transporte – Parque Tezozomoc, Azcapotzalco. Mexico

Transporte publico taxco-Mexico

Transporte publico -Monterrey, Mexico

Servicio de bicicletas – Sevilla, Espana

El transporte -Habana, Cuba

Medio de transporte-izabal, Guatemala

Imagen -transporte Valparaiso, Chile

What other flickr images have you found for Hispanic transportation?

Other Spanish (Hispanic images) for conversations or writing

Spanish streets – Calle

Spanish sports –Deporte

Spanish restaurant Restaurante


Spanish Language Menu




Shiny Bright Student Fomative Learning: Paint Metaphor


I did some painting this weekend. I had to scrap off the old chipped paint, apply a primer, and then paint. I wonder how we preparing students for their learning?

Do we pretest them and report the information back to them so they know how to improve. For the first day of class, I had them do a task which is one of the two tasks on the final. I assessed it according to the writing rubric (analytic assessment with no total) and then returned it to them. In a spreadsheet, I kept track of their analytic scores as well as a running record of their common errors and misconceptions so that I can focus on helping them be successful.

Do we let them know the standards and the specific parts of the standards for which they are responsible? Do we let them know how they will be assessed in the course? “What’s the purpose of this course?” is my favorite question to my students, followed by “How will you show it?”

Do we break the information into section that can be assessed for feedback? I had the students learn the format for a business letter without the content. I assessed their letter format and returned with comments for improvement. Then we practiced the structure of the introduction, body, and conclusion parts of the letter.  I assessed their “body paragraphs” and returned with comments for improvement. Then we learned different types of letters (the actual content) and how to modify each structural part for that type of letter. Each time they do a letter of a certain type, they hand it in and I identify their strengthens and areas for improvements with specific prompts.

How do you help prepare your students to be shiny bright in your subject’s standards?

My front porch is shiny white due to my scrapping, priming, and painting. Hopefully, my students will be shiny bright in their proficiency in the standards.

Student Talk or Assessments To Verify Standards-Based Learning

Student Hand up

A Social Studies friend complained that he showed his students the important geography of a country via pictures, maps and movies and his students, as a class, could orally say the geography. They could talk about the impact on the country. However, when he gave the students a map and asked them to label the geography and comment on its impact on the country, they could they not do it (average score of 45). He said that he realized his students could verbally talk their way through content but still not be able to really do it. He became aware that each student may be able to answer a single question but still may not understand the answers to several questions. He decided that to build frequent “reality” checks (assessments) into his class so that they students would have to demonstrate the learning. He began to use maps, outlines, charts, drawings, concept maps, etc. instead of relying on the verbal answers of his students. He found out that he could quickly assess the students’ learning in a comprehensive and in-depth manner. He could verify their actual learning instead of their verbal footwork. He created these assessments from the unit final.

What do you rely on- student talk or assessments?

Modeling- Telling or Showing

I have my students doing a WIKI to better understand the concepts in the class.  I explained what they were to do it and how to do it. When I looked at their first WIKI standards-based assignment, I discovered that they had not done it as I wanted. I realized that my error was in my not showing them what I wanted. Spoken words can easily be envisioned in many ways. However, when students see the actual model then they “see” how to do it. I made up a model and showed them how to format it. The students did the next assignment to a much higher quality due to the modeling. I knew that they were learning the information in a comprehensive and in-depth manner due to the modeling.

How do you model the end goal that you want for the students?

Giving Students a Scaffold for the Course

Scaffold steps

Often we may go through a course, teaching topic after topic. The students do not see the connection between the topics. However, if we could give them an over arching scaffold, then they could fit things into it. For example, an English teacher may teacher a standard format for writing within the writing process (introduction; body with paragraphs to supply the examples; and conclusion). Students can use this format whenever they have to write in class. They learn that they only have to slightly vary the body organization and content to achieve the specific purpose of any writing. Therefore, each writing task does not seem like a completely different type of writing. One teacher had the full writing steps printed out on business cards so the students could always have the scaffold with them.

What do you have in your course that provides an over arching scaffold to the students? What serves as “the great connector” for all the learning in your course?

RSS Education with Technology

  • Tech Integration Teacher, What time is it? August 23, 2016
    When someone asks what time it is, that person wants to know the time, not the history of the clock, not how a clock works, and not what other types of clocks there are. Classroom teachers want to help their students improve their academic learning through technology. Sometimes they need help with technology so they go […]
  • Curriculum Focus, Not Technology Focus July 28, 2016
    In my public school career I have been a classroom teacher, a technology integration specialist and a technology administrator. In my technology role, I served under the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction. She had a simple mission: Improve students’ academic learning. My mission was equally simple: Improve students’ academic learning through technology […]
  • Students React to Digital Badges: Pros, Cons and Interesting June 22, 2016
      ISTE 2016 By Harry Grover Tuttle, Ed. D. College World Language Students’ Preferences Digital Badges – 52%        Paper Certificates – 48% World Language: Can-Do Digital Badges Digital Badges Pro- – Breaks down proficiency more – Shows all badges at once – Is more attractive – Is more appropriate since we use […]
  • Digital Badges: Naming the Badge October 29, 2015
    Once teachers have selected what learning and what digital badges (individual or category badges; see previous blog), the teachers encounter another decision. What will they name each badge? Will they use the full name of the Common Core Standard or the national proficiency? For English, under “Speaking and Listening,”will they write out SL.2 “Integrate and […]
  • Digital Badges: Better Than Grades? October 19, 2015
    Teachers understand that the grade in a course consists of many different factors such as homework, participation , projects, tests, etc. Blodget observes that sometimes grades reflect attitude, effort, ability and behavior ( Equally important, a letter […]
  • World Language Students Use of Mobile Devices in the Classroom October 5, 2015
    Do world language students use technology n the classroom? Do their  teachers go beyond having their students use technology simply for the drill and practice in vocabulary and grammar? Students can use laptops and mobile devices to hear authentic language, read authentic texts, read tweets about famous performers, see up-to-the-moment culture,  watch video […]
  • Digital Badges: Individual or Categorized Learning Badges? September 12, 2015
    The idea of digital badges sounds appealing for the digital children in classes. As teachers start thinking about digital badges, they have to figure out what badges will be awarded. The teachers can award social or academic badges. If teachers decide to use academic badges, then the teachers may base their badges on the Common […]
  • 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. […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]

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