Archive for January, 2008

Student Understanding of a Rubric – Not that easy!

Tonight in class I passed out an essay rubric and asked my students to circle any word or term that they did not understand. I said, “Imagine I gave this to you after you wrote an essay. I’ve circled some words that show you your learning gaps. Would you understand these words?” About 1/4 of the class circled items on the rubric that they did not understand or they wanted more clarification on. (I had revised the rubric from one from Rubistar) I will rewrite the rubric so that they can understand all the items on the rubric. One student mentioned he would like examples of each. A good thought but I have to consider how long the rubric will be. At present it is two sided. After I use it once with them, I will ask for them any more clarification on the rubric.

How well do your students understand your rubric? How beneficially is it for them?

Escuela- Hispanic School Pictures from Flickr

Share these with your Spanish teachers so they can promote language use through talking and writing about hispanic schools through flickr images.

Ninos a la salida de la escuela Punta Cana. Republica Dominicana
http://www.flickr.com/photos/burtonez/273321085/

la Escuela de Lenguaje en Las Palmas
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hortensia/186009195/

Escuela de Flamenco, Cordoba, Espana
http://www.flickr.com/photos/barthelomaus/129380157/

escuela de uros, Lake Titicaca ,Peru
http://www.flickr.com/photos/28148072@N00/73302011/

Escuela Rural, Republica Dominicana
http://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/74820634/

Estudiantes en la calle, San fermines, Espana
http://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/888581808/

escuela lic. “francisco aranda” Avenida Cedeño. San Juan de los Morros. Estado Guárico. Venezuela.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/xolkan/1294975980/

Escuela D190 12/2004, La Florida, Santiago, Chile
http://www.flickr.com/photos/monky/353105663/

Escuela D190 12/2004 La Florida, Santiago, Chile
http://www.flickr.com/photos/monky/353768937/

Educación autónoma y popular! Muro de la Escuela Autónoma Rebelde Zapatista en la comunidad de San Juan de la Libertad. Chiapas, Mexico
http://www.flickr.com/photos/joserevueltas/576088432/

Revista de Gimnasia Escuela N.o 3, Ovallito, Chile
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ovallito/45500626/

 

Time for Formative Assessment?

I have been trying to apply a formative assessment approach in my writing class. Based on the learning gaps that my students demonstrated on their diagnostic writing, I developed a checklist for proficient writing. We went over the list in class. Then I used that checklist to assess their next writing. Sixteen hours later I am still going over their papers with about five papers to go. I’m assessing about 64 papers. Most teachers do not have 16 hours+ to develop to assessing two sets of papers. I am not happy over all of the time I’m spending and I wonder how much students will actually improve based on the feedback.

My guess is that the students will be shocked at their 2 out of 4 (4= above proficiency) rating. Probably I gave them too much detailed feedback to be effectively; research shows that 2-3 salient points are best. If I use a more general writing rubric then the rubric will only serve a summative purpose and not a formative one since the rubric will not offer help to the reader on how to improve specifically.

Teachers are caught in a delicate balance between wanting to give formative assessment and yet not wanting to spend hours and hours on an assessment. I’m searching for a middle road where the students get formative assessment on their writing that helps them to improve and where I do not spend my life in giving them formative feedback.

Technology Rich Schools – Dream or Reality

I was talking with someone who is aware of the technologies in many schools in the area.  When I mentioned a technology, he usually would say “Well, a few districts have it.”  After we went through numerous technologies that I thought were common place, I came to realization that only a few schools are technology rich in having a variety of technology. Yet our educational technology gurus are talking about Web 2.0 (or is it Web 3.0 by now?) technologies. They are promoting  all manner of futuristic technology,when most schools do not even have Web 1.0 technologies.  I love to dream but I also have to deal with reality.  Let’s help schools use what technology they have to improve student learning. It is not what schools have but how they use it.  A word process is still a powerful learning tool!

Checking for Understanding Instead of Lecturing

We feel so good as we lecture. We know that we have prepared well. We know that we have good examples and visuals. We have interesting stories. We feel that the students are basking in our teaching. However, we do not know if the students are learning the goal. They may be able to parrot back to us the major points but can they paraphrase these points in their own words? Can they identify examples of it? Can they apply the learning in a mini-example? We can stop every 5-10 minutes and make sure that they can demonstrate their learning through the use of various technology. Each time we will raise the bar of what we want them to learn in terms of the higher level thinking skills for the learning. Each time we will have them demonstrate that can reach that new level. Then we can really feel good about their learning!

Formative Checklists- Useful or Not

I created a writing checklist (For narrative writing – start with a startling statement.  Use time transition words to move your story along)  for my students’ writing. We went over it.  We used it to evaluate a piece of writing. Then I asked the students to self-evaluate themselves using the checklist before they handed in their own writing.  Every student self-assessed that they had done all of the items on the checklist when they had not.  They could not discriminate between the reality and their perception.

A key question is how can I help them to better understand the checklist so that it becomes an effective tool to help them.  They cannot better their own writing unless they can analyze it critically.  I will probably ask them to paraphrase each of the items on the checklist, pair-share, and then we will evaluate more writing against it.

Does anyone else have any suggestions on increasing their ability to use a checklist, rubric, or rating scale?

Simple yet powerful technology

I believe that when a technology is simple to use, then teachers will use it.  Witness the Smartboard and the Document camera.  Simple technologies can be powerful technologies.  They do not require thousands of hours of professional development. They do not require long learning curves.  Teachers “get it” and can use them.   They can involve their students in that technology with minimal prep.  I think that often we over look simple technologies like word processing, digital camera, document  cameras, and smartboards. Let’s promote technologies that teachers can and will use instead of complex technologies that often require someone else to set things up like videoconferencing.  Let’s focus on what teachers have in their classrooms!

Formative Assessment – Student Responses and Observations of Learning

My article Formative Assessment: Student Responses and Observation of Learning was published at Grant Wiggins’ Big Ideas An Authentic Education website http://tinyurl.com/yqxz42

Full address http://www.authenticeducation.org/bigideas/article.lasso?artId=59

Class Blogs – Create a New One or Build On to Previous One?

This year I am using blogs in all my classes. One of the classes is another section of a class I taught last semester. I had to make a decision whether to start with a new class blog or whether to keep the old one.

Some advantageous of having a new blog are: the students can create their own work; they can feel a complete sense of ownership; they have a clean slate, not a slate already created by others;

Some disadvantages of having a new blog are: not learning what others have done; not building on what others have done; and having to re-invent the wheel/materials.; and my not having to enter the old essential material.

I’ve decided to build on the previous course’s blog. Students can read the previous class’ chapter summaries and add new material. They are adding new material to the blog that go beyond where last semester’s students went. For example, this semester’s class is adding business letter examples from the web so that we have real examples to react to. Since I do not have to recopy all the essential material I had in the old blog to recreate a new one, I can add new sections for the students. I can create more sections that provide more scaffolding.

Do you create new blogs or build on the old ones for the same class?

Learning goals curriculum or textbook illogic

I’ve been examining a writing/grammar textbook and I’ve noticed that there seems to be no logical learning flow in the writing patterns that students do.   When we show students that one type of writing is similar to another type, they can more easily make the transition.  For example, if students have done a narrative writing, they can easily transition to process writing.  Both types require a time line or sequence of events. Both types usually have the events in a chronological order.

How do you arrange your learning goals so that students transition from one type of learning to a similar type of learning?

Useful Textbook or Too Bloated and Non-Useful

A growing trend in textbooks is to add more visuals and  add cute stories. However, with all these additions, I think it is harder to find the real critical information in the text.  Some textbook go into such minute detail that the students have to be miners in a maze of dark caves. Students can read the textbook and miss the critical points.  One textbook takes over 60 pages to describe the pre-writing, composing and revising phrases of writing.  Unfortunately the book is not rich in student practice exercises that focus on the students using these major components of the writing process.

Some questions about your textbook and student learning/
Can the students easily find the critical standards-based information in the textbook?
Does the book provide crystal clear examples of students doing these learning goals? (Are these exemplars?)
Does the book provide step-by-step instructions for being successful in these learning goals?
(If the students did just what the book said, would they be able to be successful in this learning goal at the highest level of thinking?)
Does the textbook warn students  how to avoid possible mis-steps in the learning process?

Creating writing handouts that help students think

As I have been preparing for my writing courses, I have realized that the textbook is not a practical book on how to write. It repeats the same ideas in different sections without giving a clear process for actually writing.  I’ve created a short worksheet on the various forms of writing.

For example for descriptive writing, I ask the students to go through the following steps:
Identify what you want to describe: ______________
Identify your attitude or opinion about the person, place, or thing:_____________________________
Pre-write: Organizing your description by direction (top to bottom, left to right, etc.). My organization is ____________
Pre-write: Identifying the sense words about your person, place, or thing: (sounds, sights, texture, smells, tastes): ______________________________________________________________________________________
I’ve given them several graphic organizers to help them.
Pre-write: Make sure all of your sense words support your attidude
Add in your direction transition words and phrases.
Write out your passage.

When we give students scaffolding, they can be successful in their writing.

How do you scaffold your students’ writing in your subject area so that they can be successful?

Does our diagnostic assessment give valuable writing and grammar information?

I spoke of a teacher who gives a three hour grammar diagnostic test.  I tried a different route.  I gave an essay writing diagnostic and I recorded each grammar and  writing errors or proficiencies on a chart as I read each student’s paper. When I finished, I looked for patterns.  Their diagnostic assessment took 45 minutes for them to do and about 30 minutes for me to read and record.  I found that out of all of my students that there was only one “grammar”learning gap that three students shared and that was spelling.  There were a few learning gaps that two students shared.  The writing diagnostic revealed that they could use grammar fairly well; it did not interfere withe the comprehension of what they wrote. Their biggest learning gap was not in grammar but in their actual writing.  About 80% of the class lacked specific examples to prove their points. I  will focus on writing and teach grammar when I see specific needs.

What powerful diagnostics do you give?

Diagnostic Testing for Vocabulary

I’m teaching two writing courses and I’m giving a diagnostic writing in each.  They write an sample essay.  However, I found out a tremendous amount about my student’s vocabulary with a simple vocabulary activity that I did in class. I gave them various vocabulary lines like   scorching……. freezing in which I asked them to add words in between or at the ends such as scorching…boiling…hot…cool…frosty…icy…freezing.  I gave them four other opposite  lines to do.  I could quickly tell who had an indepth vocabulary and who will probably have difficulties in expressing themselves. I walked around as they were doing the vocabulary sheets and recorded my observation.  Next class, I will have to do activities to help them enlarge their vocabulary so they can be expressive writer

What quick diagnostic tests do you do in your class that give you powerful results

Diagnostic testing Questions

I was sharing college teaching stories with another instructor who also teaches a course similar to mine. She has her students do a three hour online diagnostic test and then the students do the grammar drills for each part that they did poorly on.  I was shocked  to hear that they spent three hours on the  diagnostic and then about 1/3 of each class on grammar drills and quizzes.  She shared her course outcomes with me and grammar in one of several items in only the first of  the seven outcomes.  When do our students spend more time  being tested rather than being instructed? When do we know so much about our students through diagnostic tests but do not have time to change how we teach them? When do our diagnostic tests not really measure our true goal such as writing? I took a grammar term practice test and missed a few questions although I considered myself a fairly good writer!

Reading Speed and Comprehension Online Test

Have you every wondering about the reading comprehension of your students?

The following are some sites designed for high school or above to test both reading speed and comprehension. Most of these have about ten paragraphs to read

http://www.readingsoft.com/ – a reading of about 8 paragraphs. Times and then has comprehension questions

Rocket Reader of http://www.rocketreader.com/cgi-bin/portal/fun_tests/perception has a reading test that includes specific vocabulary

ExecuRead of http://www.execuread.com/speedtest.htm has reading test timed and comprehension

Unless we give the students diagnostic reading tests such as these, we may never know their entry level of  reading. Is it really far to assign ten pages of reading to a student who reads less than 100 reads more minute (If a  textbook page has 400 words, it will that that student four minutes per page or a total of 40 minutes to read ten textbook pages.)?

What other reading diagnostics do you give your students?

Free or Inexpensive Grading Books

I’m looking for a free or inexpensive online grading book since my institution does not have any class management system.

Engrade is a free online grade book (gradebook and notifies parents/students). Likewise, HotChalk is also free; it is a grade book and notifies parents/students.

There are a few inexpensive  grading book programs such as Class Builder $39.99 (grade book, quiz maker, and class web page) and Quia $49.00 (has grade book, quizzes, and learning activities like cloze activity).  Even if  I were to pay $49.00 a year, it is a cheap price to pay to have quizzes  graded, have grades calculated, and give students access to their grades.

What free or inexpensive grade book type program do you use?

TeacherTube Not Grown Up

I had looked at TeacherTube.com many months ago. The premise of TeacherTube.com is that teachers and students will put up educational videos other educators and their students When I went to it recently, I found that it has not grown up very much.

When I searched for paragraph writing, I found 0 entries. When I used “essay writing, I found 9 entries of which 7 were commercial. When I widened the search to “writing”, I found 9 entries that actually dealt with the writing process (5 of them were commercial).

On the other hand, when I searched in YouTube.com for “paragraph writing”, I found 5 entries. When I searched for essay writing of the reported 300, about 50 actual deal with real writing (not making fun of it). I tried using “essay writing” -funny as a search term to get rid of some of the non-instructional ones. The search for writing revealed about 5,500 entries; I did not have the time to count those that actually were instructional.

I had great hopes for TeacherTube but they have not come true.

Quickly Find Power Points for a Learning Topic

I do like to visually guide my students through a learning goal by creating Power Points but it takes me a long time to create them.  I’ve been using another method, finding an existing Power Point on that learning goal and then adding my own Power Point  for any missing points or things I want to emphasize.  An easy way to find Power Points is to put the category such as narrative writing in quotations “narrative writing” and add .ppt (the ending for Power Point files) so the search would look like “narrative writing” +.ptt.  A search for a Civil War Power Point would look like “Civil War” +.ppt while a search for a Power Point on the Three Little Pigs would appear as “The Three Little Pigs” +.ppt.

I found that within a few minutes of searching I can usually find a Power Point that captures much of what I want the students to learn. Then I create a mini-Power Point to add any additional information and I call it the topic plus “more” such as “NarrativeMore”.  I have cut my creation down drastically and often have a learning tool that is much better than I had thought of.

Where are Multiple Concept Maps For Paragraph Writing?

Maybe I am forgetting my good web research skills but I cannot find a website that lists the various types of writing and the concept maps that support each type of writing. I can find general concept map sites and I can find a lesson plan for a particular concept map for a specific type of writing. I’m trying to give my students two different concept maps for each type of writing. For example, for narrative writing I have a time line concept map and a  downward sequencing concept map.   For compare and contrast  I have similarities/differences boxes and  a point by point /topic analysis chart. My hope is that one of these two will appeal to my students so that they will be better able to organize their ideas and, therefore, write better.

What sites do you know that offering various concept maps for each type of paragraph writing?

Making learning about writing interactive

A colleague gave me access to a writing site. I was impressed that the site had a student’s written example for each paragraph pattern. Different sentences were in different colors  for topic sentence, example, and detail.  More importantly, when I moused over each sentence, the computer  identified each as topic sentence, example, and detail.  The website visually presents the information in an exciting way both with color and the interactive nature of the mousing. I felt that my students could easily learn how to the critical parts of each pattern through this website.

What website do you use to make your subject area learning interactive? Does it focus exclusively on the students’ learning

Identifying Student Learning Success for Them

Do  you have an attitude of “I know quality when I see it” for assessing student work  or do you have an attitude of “I insure that my students know what quality looks like” when assessing student work?

Have you posted exemplars to the class wiki/blog?  Have you  had students rework the rubric (or whatever  assessment tool) so that it is completely understandable to them? (A great wiki collaboration learning experience). Have your class created a rubric or assessment tool to assess student work through using the Smartboard?

How do you use technology to help students understand the quality that is expected of them in their standards-based learning?

Non Formative Writing Checklists

I’ve been reading a textbook’s writing checklists for each paragraph pattern. Usually the checklists only differ by one or two sentences.  If the textbook  authors cannot better identify the critical parts of each paragraph pattern, how do they think that students will be able to write in that pattern?  Their checklists are not formative. They are vague such as   “Do all of my supporting sentences relate to the topic sentence?” If the students write a  poorly written paragraph, they may  think that all of their supporting sentences relate to the topic.  How do we transform writing from an art to more of science?

I know of a teacher who gives her students a precise very structured format to use in their writing. Her format may not be beautiful but it enables each of her students to score 5 or 6/6 on the writing rubric. How to we move from a super structured format to empowering the students to write on their own?

Reporting back to students on their standards progress

How often do you report back to the students on their standards-based progress? I’m not referring to their grades which probably have little to do with standards learning.  How often do you let them know which standards’ goals they have achieved and which they have yet to achieve?  How often do you inform them of what they specifically can do to be more successful in the standard’s goals?

Technology even as simple as a digital spreadsheet can be a great tool for keeping track of students’ progress through the goals of a standard and keeping the students informed.

Writing Rubrics Too General To Be Helpful

I have been searching online for writing rubrics for the different types of writing such as classification and argument.  I am amazed to find out that most writing rubrics are generic.  Since these rubrics are so general, they do not specifically assess how well students can do a certain type of writing.  For example an argument paper is very different from a narrative.  Each type of writing has unique characteristics and therefore, the same rubric cannot be used to assess them both. I wonder if we understand the writing process enough or whether we have simply glossed over the unique differences.

What type of writing rubric do you use – a general one or one specific to that type of writing?  If it general, then you probably are not assessing that particular learning goal.  You certainly are not using formative assessment.


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 […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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 […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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 […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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 […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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 (http://www.academia.edu/9074119/Grading_and_Whether_or_not_Grades_Accurately_Reflect_Student_Achievement). Equally important, a letter […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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 […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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 […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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

Blog Stats

  • 786,968 hits