Published July 28, 2008
Accountability , Achievement , Agenda , assessment for learning , Authentic , Class , Classroom , Concept , Curriculum , essential , Essential question , learning , Lesson , Student , Understanding by Design , Unit
Tags: Big Ideas, Curriculum, essential, Essential question, Hook, Life, Purpose, Rationale, Standard, Student, Understanding by Design, Unit
A squirrel got in our basement. He is hiding and will not come out.
I wonder how often students get trapped in our classes. They attend and they do the mandatory work. They eat away at all the homework. I wonder how often they get motivated by the learning to come out of their “do not bother me” hiding place. Do they see the classroom learning as critical to the lives? “When am I ever going to use this in my life?” How do we constantly show them the big picture of their learning so that they see how it does relate to their lives? One high school teacher I know teaches themes (reality/illusion; fantasy love/real love; work/ideas) that are important to his students through literature. Each piece of literature helps his students to deal with their current and future lives. I’ve heard of a science teacher who incorporates his class science into household science so that the students see science as part of their daily lives.
How do you relate your course to your students’ lives in a real way, not a “someday you’ll need it” way? Do they want to learn your subject because it means something to them now?
Published July 20, 2008
Academic , Accountability , Assessment , assessment for learning , Curriculum , learning , Standard , Student , Teach , Teaching , Understanding by Design , Unit
Tags: Activity, Big Ideas, concepts, Curriculum, engage, Focus, Formative assessment, Learn, Plan, Purpose, standards, Teach, Understanding by Design, Unit
As I was packing the car yesterday, I realized that I was following the way my father packed the car He always packed the big things first and then worked the little things around the big things.
I wonder how often we pack the big ideas, the major concepts in the standard, first with students. Do we lead off the unit with telling them about the standard? Do we instruct them directly on the big ideas? Do we give them activities that clearly focus on the big ideas? Do we assess them on the big ideas?
I remember watching a teacher who did a half period introductory activity to the unit. The activity was engaging. However, it did not deal with the big ideas of the unit but with a very minor point.
Do you pack the big ideas first with your students?
Published July 19, 2008
Academic , Accountability , Achievement , Assess , Assessment , assessment for learning , Course , Empowerment , Engagement , Exam , Final , Formative , learning , Standard , Student , student engagement
Tags: choice, Empowerment, Evidence, Exam, Final, Graduation, Oral Presenation, Outcomes, Portfolio, Speech, Standard
In my speech class, I have given my students a choice of which of the nine speeches that they have already done that they wanted on their final. I told them that the final had to consist of three of the speeches that they had given;during the final they would drastically improve on the already given speeches.
I listened as they talked about which speeches they thought would most benefit them. They talked about the portfolio that they have to create as a requirement of the college. They thought of which speeches would most impress a future employer. They all agreed that the “Tell Me About Yourself” interview question speech was absolutely critical. They next agreed on the Persuasion speech since it shows how they can convince others of their ideas. Finally, they decided that they would do an Information speech since often in work, they give information to others. Most of them had already done these speeches on areas in their future career.
Their discussion revealed much about their understanding of their future careers, their showcasing themselves during an interview, and their analyzing the various speeches we had done.
Do you have your students have input into their final? What criteria is used to select material for the final? Does it serve a “greater purpose”?
Published July 14, 2008
21st Century Skills , Accountability , Achievement , Assess , Community , Formative , Formative assessment , formative feedback , learning , public , response , Student
Tags: 21st Century, Assess, Audience, Community, Feedback, Formative, learning, outside of school, Performance, Real life, response, skills, students, Town
I watched a seven year who played his violin at a Farmers’ Market. About 100 people listened as he did two songs. When I asked his father about this performance, he stated that his son’s violin teacher insisted that all of his students play in public. These students are to watch the audience as they play to determine what moves the audience. So the son plays out once a week.
I wonder how often we have our students play outside the school to demonstrate their skills to the public and to listen to their response. How do our social studies students demonstrate their skills to the community? What do our math students do to showcase their learning and get reactions from the people in their town?
Published July 8, 2008
Accountability , Achievement , Assess , Assessment , assessment for learning , Formative , Formative assessment , formative feedback , Forward , learning , Student
Tags: Assessment, Feedback, Formative assessment, Forward, Learn, Lecture, Move forward, Presentation, Teach
I recently talked with several teachers. They had wonderful techniques to present a concept. However, after they taught the concept, they did not know how to monitor, diagnose, and give feedback.They did not record what they observed about the students’ learning. They did not think about what possible learning problems the students might display in order to begin to think of where the learners were and what was needed to help move the students forward. They did not have already prepared materials to help the students as part of the scaffolding feedback of moving the students forward.
Do you focus more on teaching a concept or more on helping the students to move forward in their learning after your initial teaching?