Archive for November, 2007

A Speech Final/Portfolio

I’m doing a portfolio in my Speech/Oral Presentations class. The students are redoing three of the speeches from during the semester. I specify the categories (outcomes) and they select which ones speeches within those categories. For each of the major categories they have done two speeches such as two informational speeches. I did ask  students which of their persuasion speeches they would use and why.  Their reasoning demonstrated that they understand what makes a good speech and that they know how to improve.  They will give an improved version of each speech. They will print out the original speech, the revision speech, and reflect on their changes. It is my expectation that their speeches will be stellar.  They have noted their areas of self-improvements throughout the semester. We have done peer-review of the speeches and suggested techniques to improve them. The students  can add these speeches to their final portfolio for the college.  I plan  on recording some to use as exemplars next semester.

What type final are you giving in your course and how does it show the students’ depth of learning?


Portfolios Think Alouds

I was listening to my students as they decided what to put in their end of the semester portfolio. I had given them the outcomes (standards) and they could select from any of the work they had done within each outcome. I listened as one student thought through her five previously done “bad news” letters. She decided that one was too simple (That’s just an job refusal; I used the book’s pattern.) She explained that another was a letter that gave the results of overspending so it was a list of procedures to reduce costs. She settled on the letter that was the most challenging for her to write, a person giving the bad news that he could not speak at a certain event. She looked at her original letter that I had put plus signs (+) to indicate a part was done well and minus “–” or comments for improvements. She looked back at the book description of “bad news” letters. She carefully revised her letter to incorporate my feedback and to produce an exemplary letter. (I never said I won’t do it, I snuck around it.). While listening to her, I learned more about the learning experiences I had given and about her thinking.

Concept Maps – Yours or the Students’ Learning

Some high school teachers were sharing the success of using concept maps in their classes. These teachers had created their concept maps in Inspiration. They were proud that their students could complete the concept maps.

I wonder if they had their students create their own concept map from scratch. Do they allow students to select which type concept map they will use to display their learning? Do they allow their students the growth opportunity to decide what to include on the map? Do they allow students to work through the creation of the concept map as they learn information or concepts over time? Do they allow students to own their own learning instead of doing a “fill-in-the-blank” type of teacher given concept map?

What experiences have you had with your students creating their own concept maps?

Changing the student grade paradigm

I taught an English honors class in high school where the constant question was “What is my grade?” The students were much more focused on their grades than on their learning.

How do we help students to focus on their learning and not their grades?  Even if we give them their grades for each homework, test, and project as soon as possible though an online program such as Blackboard, they still are focused on the grade.  To change the paradigm, we can use standards or goals checklists with the “grades” of AP -advanced,  P-proficient, B-basic, and S-starting. We  word process the checklist and give them a copy either physically or digitally.  Students can check off their goals as they achieve them. They can see their progression. We can conference with them about their progress and what they need to close the learning gap. These students know their “grades”.

How do help students to see their progress in learning goals?

Transforming an Icebreaker into a Standards-Based Formative Pre-Assessment



I have modified the usual Find Someone icebreaker as a way of pre-assessing who knows what about the topic or has had experiences with various aspects of a course or a unit. For the course of Oral Presentations, I look at the course outcomes and then create a list of the major performance tasks that they will do in the class. These tasks become the who has… statements. Students interview each other to find someone who has….. Not only does the asking student write down the name of the person who has done the activity but the asker also writes down what she or he has specifically done. I collect the icebreakers as a quick class analysis. I begin to plan what specific activities or suggestions will help the students to close the gap between where they are and the desired outcome.

Mini-version of Oral Presentations Standards-Based Find-Someone

Persuaded/convinced another person to do something or think in a different way Taught a small group how to do something Presented new information to a small group of people (2-5)

Discussed an issue with a large group of people (10+) who disagreed with your point of view

Create a Find Someone Who for your next unit to canvass what your students know and what areas they need assistance with. By structuring it around your standard(s) for that unit, you can learn much about the present status of your students and begin to determine what you can do to help them grow in the standard.

Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007



Simulation Possibilities For Education


Someone I know is responsible for a weapons simulation that mimics the real life experience of shooting fire arms. The simulation gun fires virtual bullets; the simulation gun weighs the same as the real weapon and even has the exact kickback that the real weapon has. The shooters can find out if they are proficient in their weapon. Weapons people can practice their shooting regardless of the weather. They do not waste millions of dollars of ammunition.

How do we put our students in simulations that allow them to experience a real-life situation with all of its complex variables? How do have our students take on tasks that enable them to combine many skills to solve a problem? Or do we present them with simple stripped down problems that are not real-world? We can find a real simulation like those in Social Studies or we can begin to create ones based on real-life problems in our community, state, nation or world.

How do you engage students in powerful simulations that promote higher level thinking of many skills?

Using iGoogle


I’ve tried using many browser pages as my home page/starting page for when my browser opens.  They have been disappointing in their inflexibility.  iGoogle is very flexible and has a multitude of gadgets that you can use.

You can click on the “Add stuff” on the upper right side of the screen.  I would suggest that instead of scrolling through all the possible  gadgets, you do a search for your favorite topic such as calendar, maps, clock, etc. – see the upper right side.  Once you find something you want, you click on Add it now. When you go back to iGoogle home, you’ll see it in the upper left. You can click on the top bar of any  gadget to move it around- drag and drop. I’ve added a to-do list, calendar, timer, gmail (to mention a few) so that I can use this as my portal.  If you try out a gadget and it does not help you to be more efficient or productive, you can click on the X to remove it.  You can even add a theme to the top of your page. There are so many gadgets available that you can truly use iGoogle as your starting page.

If find any great educational gadgets, share them.

Do conferences and professional development model good learning with technology?

We know the importance of using exemplars in learning. They show students the high quality expected of them in their learning.

How many professional development and conference  sessions show exemplars of student technology-infused academic learning?   When we see stellar exemplars, we raise up to that level. How many professional development and conference sessions model technology in the same way that they want the teachers and students to use it? Or do conference sessions and professional development talk about technology and talk about the learn?

I am fascinated that many technology in education conferences and much professional development in schools focus on technology without concentrating  on the student academic learning. Students usually do not  realize the high level of learning expected of them  unless we clearly show it to them.  The same is true for teachers. Does each session start with exemplars of student academic learning? Does each session show how teachers and students help the students to arrive at that high level through  technology?  Or do the sessions focus on the mechanics of the technology?  What are these sessions really modeling?


Sharing Student Learning Successes Through Technology

My favorite question to ask educators is “What’s the good news in your (school or district)?” I rarely hear good news. I think that we have to celebrate more when our students learn a standard goal successfully through technology. We should shout with joy through posting to our classroom website/blog, emailing parents about the learning gains of the students, sharing the successes with department heads, principals, the Superintendent, Board of Education and the community through brochures, data tables, graphs of scores, etc.

What are some things to celebrate?
All students in your class have shown proficiency in a certain goal.
All students have shown improvement in their learning progress.
All students have done work at the analysis or higher level of thinking.

How can you show it?
Show the class average pre-assessment score and the post-assessment score as long as all students have been successful through a bar graph.
Show a checklist of the skills that students had entering the project and the same checklist with all the new skills that all of the class can demonstrate now.
Show a pre-assessment non-proficient writing and a post-assessment proficient writing (math problem, science lab, DBQ, etc.). side by side in a word processing document.
Post exemplary work in the classroom and explain what makes it an exemplar.

How else do you celebrate learning successes?

Assessing How School’s Academic Priorities are Achieved Through Technology Use

By Harry Grover Tuttle, Ed. D.
harry.g.tuttle at


NYSCATE Conference

Purpose: To improve students’ achievement of the school’s academic priorities through technology use by carefully analyzing how teachers and students use technology and improving those conditions to promote greater student learning.

School Technology and Learning Profile -Analysis:
Meta-Impressions from many schools visits based on collecting factual information, not stories.

How does your local school support its academic priorities through technology use?

How do state assessment and state standards become translated into classroom technology-infused activities? How do you know?

What are some learning and technology issues that may not contribute to the school’s academic priorities?

How can you do make-overs to dramatically improve student standards-based technology-infused learning?

How can you support alternative standards (i.e. Visual literacy) through technology? How can you assess their success?

Tuttle, H. G. (2007). Standards-Based Learning: Helping Students Achieve. Classroom Connect Connected Newsletter 14(4), 4-6.
Tuttle, H. G. (2007). Digital-Age Assessment. TechLearning. 27 (7), 22-24.
Tuttle, H. G. (2006). Creating a Tech-Infused Culture. TechLearning. 26 (11), 12-16.
Tuttle, H. G. (2005). Assessing How Schools’ Academic Priorities Are Achieved through Technology Use.
Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education Proceedings, 5, 2860-2864.
Tuttle, H. G. (2004). Learning and Technology Assessments for Administrators. Ithaca, NY: Epilog Visions. (book of 54 ways of assessing learning and technology in school)

How do you support your school’s academic priorities through technology?

Standards and Formative Assessments: Keys to Improving Student Learning

Standards and Formative Assessments: Keys to Improving Student Learning

By Harry Grover Tuttle, Ed. D.Consultant
harry.g.tuttle at gmail


NYSCATE Conference, Nov. 18, 2007

Purpose: To improve students’ achievement through the combination of standards-based learning and formative assessment approach.

How standards-based is your school?

What evidence do you have? How are standards evident in your classroom?

What evidence do your students have?

What are some non-standards-based learning that can be transformed by technology?

How does your school or you use formative assessments?

How do you monitor and adjust?

How does your feedback directly help the students to improve in the learning goal?

How can you use technology to aid in implementing formative assessment in your classroom?

What are your thoughts?

Alternative Grading To Reflect Student Growth (Formative View)

I mentioned in a previous blog how I felt that my grading did not represent the true height of student learning but it did penalize the students for their early low scores.

Here are two possibilities:

1. Assign different grades different weight. Grades from the beginning of the project get 10% weight, middle get 30% and the ending ones get 60%. That way a grade of 60 (beginning), 70 (middle), and 100 (ending) results in a 90, rather than the average of 76. This can also work for lower-level thinking getting 10%, Application-Analysis getting 30%,and Synthesis-Evaluation getting 60%

2. Do not assign grades until the ending of the learning. Only give comments. If you use the same checklist/rubric, scale to assess the students, they can see their progress from time to time.

Grades with Little Meaning (Formative vs Traditional)

I’m looking at the grades for my students in our speech class. They did very poorly on the first few speeches as I assessed them against the speech rubric. For each speech we’ve self-assessed, peer-assessed and I’ve given them suggestions for improvements. Their speeches have been getting progressively (and drastically) better. But their grades are quite low- think of the average of low scores, middle scores and now high scores. Should I give them a grade based on their average (all scores divided by the number of scores) or do I grade them based on their now high achievement? Traditional grading goes for the average while a standards-based formative focus would go for their final height of learning.

How do yougrade to represent student growth in their standards-based learning?

Teacher Oral Formative Feedback

I have been observing one of my classes to try to determine how much oral formative feedback I give before the students in my class can be successful in their standards-based learning. I have found that I can give the whole class feedback on their general successes, the general areas for improvement, and give or ask students for strategies for improving. So far about 80% of the class can be successful in the standard-goal by receiving oral feedback. The students practice what they have now learned and then take a formative assessment. With those students who are not successful, I try small group feedback. I group together those students whose work has revealed the same major misunderstandings. After I give more structured feedback to them, they are usually successful. Again, the students practice what they have now learned and then take a formative assessment. Therefore, I spend only about 5% of my time, one-on-one with specific students who needed additional support.

I consider the oral feedback time as critical time to my students’ success. I also believe that a teacher’s time in the classroom is limited so that she/he has to use techniques that reach the greatest number of students for the greatest impact.

Percentage of Oral Formative Feedback

What percentages have you found for oral formative feedback?

EPortfolios as Signs of Student Growth in the Standards

As my college students are focusing on end of the course (a month away), I’m reminding them of their end of the semester portfolio.

The growth portfolio is based on the major goals we have covered in the course. It is based on work that the students have already done. The students will select, for each of the major goals, their own evidence from what they have done in the class.  For example, under the goal of  direct request letters, they have written six different letters; they will select which one best shows their success in writing a direct request letter. They will show me the original assignment, how they improved the letter after receiving feedback (teacher, peer or self), and explain their growth in each major goal through a reflection. They will use the same rubric/checklist that we used in class to assess each of their own evidence (chosen letters) and I will use the same rubric/checklist.

The portfolio is the final in the course.

I look forward to seeing their growth in the portfolio.

Student Improvement in the Standard Through Technology

So how do you know that you students are progressing in their standards-based learning within this unit?

If you gave your students a forced choice (TF, multiple choice, matching, etc.) pre-test, you can give them a post test. Blackboard and other online services (Zoomerang, ProProfs) allow you to test students and instantly see the results.

However, you probably do not want to wait until the post-test to see how well they are doing so you can give them short quizzes on specific aspects of their standards-based learning. You will test at the highest level of thinking. Again, online test programs give the students and you the results instantly (or when you release the grades). You may decide that these are practice tests that do not count for a grade but do count for allowing students to see their progress and understanding their learning gaps.

Students can graph their own progress on peer- or self-assessed checklists or  rubrics. Students can see the dramatic difference between a starting rubric (or checklist) score of 15, a midpoint one of 22, a third one of 25, and a fourth one of 27 out of 30.

If you have students produce work like a concept map, then you will want to have a student’s “at the start of the unit” concept map,, “in the middle of the unit”,  and at “at the end of the unit” concept map on the same topic. You can see new categories, and critical links.  They can see their maps growing with their new knowledge. When students do these maps digitally, they can save the original. Then they add more as they go through the unit. They can print out the easy-to-read concept maps.

Digital Divide-The Reality

I have changed where I teach from an four year to a community college; the grant dried up. I am amazed at how few of my present students have a computer at home (less than 60%). Most do not have a printer (70%) and only small number have the Internet.

I get tired of hearing the educational technology gurus talk about all the technology available to students. Web 1.0 is not a reality for my students. PDAs are not a reality. Digital cameras are not a reality. Internet is not a reality. Even a computer is not a reality. One of my student rented a computer since she does not have one. She had to decide what to cut from her small budget so that she could manage the rental for this semester.

When will the gurus realize that the Digital Divide exists! When will we realize that the digital divide is wide in the USA! When will federal and state governments try to reduce the Digital Divide so that students who are trying to better their lives can have technology?

Homework Feedback Using Models/Exemplars

We spent numerous classes going over the outcome of writing a persuasion letter. I had my students write (“word process”) several persuasion letters for homework. When they came into the class with their homework, I gave them a model/exemplar written answer for each of the homework letters. I asked them to compare their own letters with the model letters. They wrote in the margin of their letters what they now would do to improve their letters. I gave them the option of redoing their letters before they handed them in.

Their students offered great self-reflections. “I realize by their listing the items, they are easier to read.” “They started off by really getting their attention. I just made a general statement.” “The letter made me really want to buy the product. They showed how my life would be so much safer with it. I had listed some advantages but did not emphasize the emotional appeal of these advantages.”

How do give your students feedback on their homework through models?

Formative Assessment and PowerPoint

When you respond to student work (oral or written) with feedback that helps them to improve academically, you are using formative assessment.

I’ll share some ways to use PowerPoint for implementing formative assessment in your classroom.

Share your daily learning goals with your students as the first screen of your lesson PowerPoint. A business teacher might write “Write a direct request order letter.” Make sure it is a language that they can understand it.

Share your assessments with your students. Make sure they understand the checklist or rubric. Make sure that the checklist or rubric really tells them what is expected so that they will specifically know what to do to improve.

Give them a pre-test with a few questions. Select two or three critical questions or those which usually show student confusion about the topic.

Show them the answer to a homework problem with an exemplar.

Give them a structured scaffolded way to think through a problem or activity. You can go step-by-step (screen by screen) through the process that takes them from the lowest level of thinking (Knowledge) up to the highest levels (Synthesis and Evaluation).

Provide them with a short peer or self-assessment to monitor their own progress.

How else do you implement formative assessment through PowerPoint? – A Free early literacy Wiki  for early reading

A new and exciting first grade reading workbook/Wiki,, is up for adoption by Florida, one of the to five textbook market according to”Free Online materials could save school billions”(Greg Toppo, USA Today, Nov. 7, 2007 12D).

The site states: “Free-Reading is an ‘open source’ instructional program that helps teachers teach early reading. Because it’s open source, it represents the collective wisdom of a wide community of teachers and researchers. It’s designed to contain a scope and sequence of activities that can support and supplement a typical “core” or “basal” program

This site allows teachers to download, copy and share lessons with colleagues. In true wiki fashion, teachers can also add materials to the site. Also, the site has videos that demonstrate techniques.

Try it and contribute to it.

Feed Forward From Student Learning Gaps to Student Success

Student Present Learning Status to Success in Standard Fishbone

How do you identify the student’s present standard condition (strengths and areas for improvement /”learning gaps”)  through the use of technology?
How do you help provide scaffolding so that the student moves forward in the standard through the use of technology?
How do you assess that the student has been successful in the standard through technology?

Wiki as Presentation Tool

PBwiki site

If your students have worked collaboratively to create a learning product through a small group wiki, then why not have them present their product via the same wiki? They already have the information from all of its stages -from brainstorms through various drafts. They can copy the information to a clean wiki page and organize it. They can either link to other presentation pages or they can move all information to one long scrolling page (put in about 12 blank lines between each aspect so that each aspect shows up by itself on the screen). They do not have to go to PowerPoint to do their presentation.

This type of presentation is especially good to demonstrate changes in thinking, growth in the project, and increasing levels of complexity. Students can show parts of their early brainstorm and then show their final product. They can show the various decisions that the group went through. Group members can add their feedback to each other and any teacher feedback and show how that feedback was incorporated to create a better product.

Have your students used a wiki for presentation?

Teacher Sharing and Technology WikiSharing: APA Reference List Practice

I talked with my son who was lamenting the fact that he could not find a worksheet on certain Spanish verbs as he searched the web. I shared that I had searched for APA style practice for a class that I am teaching and I could not find any. (By the way, I have a twenty minute rule for searching. If I cannot find it in 20 minutes, then I create it myself usually in less time than if I continued to search.) We both were amazed that with the thousands of teachers who teach and have taught the same subject for many years, teachers have not developed an Internet pool of resources. Imagine if all the high school English teachers pooled their resources (if each teacher contributed even one of her/his best worksheets), we could have a fantastic resource pool. We could build on what others have done instead of having to individually recreate materials. Instead we tend to keep our resources to ourselves so others cannot benefit. Maybe some educator should set up a wiki for specific subjects and then have parts of the wiki devoted to special areas of each subject. The wiki can be the sharing resource pool.

In the spirit of sharing, here is some mini-practice on developing an APA reference list for research papers.

Last Name:
In APA format,
last name, first initial (period) second initial (period)
so Maria Santiago
would be
Santiago, M.

Robert Jones
Linda Tami Antone
Eileen Judy Tedun

If there is more than one author, an “&” goes between the next-to-last name and the last name
such as Smith, R.J. & Jones, E. I.

Robert Jones Marzini and Louis Samuel Lewis
Bonnie Pauline Frazer and Nancy Louise Davis
Connie Harriet Buly, Kevin Burke, and Alan Robert Potter


Year of Publication goes next in parentheses ( ) followed by a period.
a book published in 2004 will become
(2004) followed by a period such as Jones, R. J. (2004).

a book published in the year 2000 by Jack Eugene Cooper and Albert Edward Stinson
Samuel Tobins and Grant Wigham published a book in the year 2006


The book title follows the parentheses.
It is in italics. It is followed by a period.
For example, Everyday Candle Making becomes Everyday Candle Making as in Jones, R. J. (2004). Everyday Candle Making.

A book, Country Schools, published in 1999 by William James Pophill
Kevin Patrick Connor’s book, Science Today, was published in 2006.

Location and Publisher
Following the book is the the location (city, comma, state abbreviation), a colon, the publisher (do not include words like publishing company) and a period. For example,
Berkely, CA: McThought.
Upper Sadle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice-Hall.

Charlotte May Fish had her book, Ontario History, published in 2005 by History Heralds that is located in Shortsville, Vermont.

The Association for Supervisors which is based in Alexandria, Virginia published in 2004 Daniel Avery Tompson’s book, School Playgrounds

Follows the basic format for a book.
Author (individual, group, or organization) + period
Date in parentheses + period. If there is no date, use (n.d.)
Webpage title + period
Retrieved Month, Day, Year, from web address + period.
(If there is no author, start with the title of the webpage)

Williams, J. (2007). Creating New Images. Retrieved November, 12, 2007, from

You want to refer to the article Data Power by Huan L. Long that you found at on the fifth of May, 2007.

You want to refer to Vernon Nicholas Shafer’s website, Read On that you found today on the website http://www.readingpower/read.html

If you know of any sites that have shared quality teacher handouts, please share.

Observing Students as Part of Formative Assessment

Varying Structure

How do you observe your students as they demonstrate a standards-based process or skill? How do you record that information so that you can compare that observation with another? How do you use that observation and subsequent ones to help the student close any learning gaps they have in the standard?

Your observations are to be factual and non-judgmental. They are to be consistent across all the observations.

These observations can be
1. Completely open ended:What did you notice about the students performing the standard-based task? Example: You observe your science students as they set up a lab.

2. Semi-structured: You base your observation on a part of a subgoal. Example: You observe if your students ask questions during small group Social Social discussion.

3. Very structured: You observe in detail for numerous very specific standards-tasks. Example: You observe if students include elements of setting, character, problem, and solution as they retell a story. You may even rate each element on a proficient to non-proficient scale.

You facilitate this observation process when you use a computer (PDA, table, laptop or even desktop) as you enter your information. Your word processed (database or spreadsheet) comments are legible. By using the “find and replace” command you can replace your codes with full statements. These records do not get lost as paper can. You can easily compare your standard-based observation on a specific student over time.

How do you facilitate the observation of students through technology?

Student Response Metaphors

For the past few days, I have been reflecting on how important student classroom responses are to the teaching/learning process. I’ve created some metaphors to help us realize how important it is for us to elicit their responses and for us to dig deeply into their thinking about the standard. Here are some ideas:

Student Response Essential to Teaching

What other metaphors can you think of?

Student Response Through Technology for Our Formative Feedback

Unless students respond in some way, we can not assess what they are thinking or learning.

A question is “How do we get students to respond  to a standards-based prompt with technology?”

Some possible ways:
Responding to completing an analogy such as  with Personal Response systems or clickers
Reacting to “How is today’s immigration similar or different to previous immigration” through a blog.
Creating a multimedia documentary about lost of animal habitats in your area
Selecting  visuals  such as “Which are pictures of the summer season?” which depict  science standards-based learning
Creating a class wiki “textbook” about the topic of art and its  influence on  history

What other ways do you to explore your students standards-based thinking?

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