Published May 31, 2008
Achievement , Curriculum , Formative , Formative assessment , Learn , learning , Lesson , Plan , Student
Tags: Backward planning, Formative, Formative assessment, Learn, learning, Student, Success, Teacher, UBD
Recently I had to put out a church sign. I had to write out the sign so I knew what I wanted, find each letter for the words, put the letters in the correct order to spell each word, and then put the letters in backward order (last letter, next to last letter, etc.) for each word on the sign.I constantly checked to make sure that the backward planning was resulting in the words being spelled correctly.
I realized that that is how good teachers teach. They figure out what they want their students to do, they make sure of all the skills involved, and they plan backward so that the students will learn letter by letter so they can be successful. They use formative assessment to verify the students learning
What learning sign have you put out this week?
Published May 17, 2008
Camera , Digital , digital camera , Image , Interactive , learning , Student , technology , technology integration
Tags: Camera, Education, Image, Instruction, integration, Interactive, Power Point, technology
I have been taking some pictures of the class textbook so that I can project the image and then mark it up. I copy a speech and then we go through and identify how the speaker has introduced, given evidence, and concluded. Yesterday we went through an information speech and the students focused on every mention of an expert (person, book, or professional organization) to show that the speech has been built on facts. It took me about three minutes to take the pictures, move them over to my computer, do a simply crop, and save as a .gif file to put into the PowerPoint. It is a simple technique if you do not have a document camera, if you do not have a scanner, and if you are too lazy to retype the whole three page entry.
Published May 13, 2008
Achievement , Learn , learning , Student , student learning , Teacher , Time , Time on task
Tags: Achievement, Learn, learning, practice, Student, Teach, Teacher, Teaching, Time, Time on task
I was talking with another educator who teaches the same course I am now teaching. He spends the first half of the course in teaching about how to give a speech and then, in the second half of the semester, he has the students do speeches. I have my students give speeches after the third class. I think that I have scaffolded their speeches so that they can be successful in including all of the elements of good speaking. The proof will be tomorrow when they give their first speech.
Do you spend much time in teaching the material and then give the students a little time to practice it or do you present the material quickly and then give the students much time to practice?
Published May 12, 2008
Composition , ELA , English , learning , pressure , Stress , Student , write , Writing
Tags: Composition, English, Homework, pressure, Stress, Student, Think, Thinking, work, write
This semester I’m trying a new strategy which is to reduce the pressure to be “perfect” on assignments. Recently, I told students to do their best at this given stage but that doing the essay was not a life threatening event. I then added that once they hand the essay in, I’ll give them feedback and then they can make those changes. Furthermore, I told them that what I wanted to see is improvement through the semester so their beginning papers would be baby steps in doing the essay. I could see many faces changed from pure panic to less stress. Some students even leaned back instead of being so far forward I thought they were going to fall. My hope is that if they can feel less stress, they will work more from thinking than from fear. I’ll let you know if this less stress and more thinking strategy pays off.
Do you build in stress or take out stress in your students’ work?
Published May 8, 2008
Critical , DeBono , Learn , learning , scaffold , Student , Think , Thinking
Tags: Critical thinking, DeBono, hats, higher level thinking, Student, Think
This semester I have introduced and constantly use DeBono’s thinking hats in my class. I ask students to put on their black critical analysis hat or to put on their green alternatives hat. When a student asks a question, I identify which hat the student is using. Ive found that using the 6 hats (white-data/facts; red- emotion; black- critical/negative; yellow -positive’s; green – alternatives; and blue – overview/process/reflection) creates a structured approach to their thinking about something. I can say “We think of other ways of doing this” so use your green hat. Therefore, there can be no negativity, no emotion, no facts, no positive, only alternative thinking. Students feel uncomfortable at first in compartmentalizing their thinking but they do become better thinkers.
How do you help your students to think more critically?
Published May 7, 2008
Accountability , Achievement , Assess , Assessment , assessment for learning , Formative , Formative assessment , formative feedback , Learn , learning , learning gap , Student
Tags: Achievement, Assess, Assessment, assessment for learning, Formative, formative feedback, Goal, learning gap, Report, Standard, Success
This semester I am trying to celebrate student successes more frequently. I let students know when they have successfully demonstrated a task, a goal or even the standard. I emphasize what they are doing well. So far, students have had a very favorable response. Many seemed shocked that I point out some many successes. I am trying to build in them a feeling that they are successful learners. Also, when I do give them formative feedback on a learning gap, I focus on how they can improve. They see that they can transform this into a success based on their past successes.
Do you build on students’ successes or failures?
Published May 5, 2008
Achievement , Assess , Assessment , assessment for learning , Formative , Formative assessment , Learn , learning , Pattern , Student
Tags: Assess, assessment for learning, Formative, Formative assessment, Learn, monitor, observe, Pattern, Student
I was sitting in a boring meeting look at the shirt of the man in front of me. I came to realize that his shirt had a subtle pattern in it. It took me a few minutes to notice it.
I wonder how good we are in our classroom about detecting student learning patterns. Do we grade standards so that we can look at our gradebook/spreadsheet and see how the student is progressing in the standards. Is the student increasing, staying the same, or decreasing in the standard? What about all the students in the class as a whole? Do we see students who need small-group direct instruction and students who need one-on-one assistance before they will be successful? As we have a class discussion, do we carefully note the responses of each student to see which ones add new information, which ones frequently need clarification, etc. As students do activities, do we monitor them so that we can see a pattern in their learning? Does Juan need more structure than the activity provides? Does Connie lack writing skills to be successful in our social studies DBQ?
What patterns do you see in your students? How do you use those patterns to help you better assist them in their standard-based learning?