Archive for January, 2012

Administrators Learn From Others Through Google Forms

Superintendents and other central office people often need to find out information, collect real time data, opinions or interests of others.  Likewise, a building principal might want to survey the views of his/her staff. He/She may be looking for alternative ways of solving a possible school problem.  When  administrators receive suggestions, opinions, etc from others and have up-to-the-minute data, they can make wiser decisions. An easy way to quickly get information from others is through Google Forms.

One just needs a Google email and then they can create a Google Form.

Go to Documents on the Google menu bar.

Click on New

Click on Form.

Type in  the title  of the form such as Hall Problem.

Add in any directions.

Select from several type of questions. Can use as many different types, each in a different question.  Those questions that allow for a specific answer (multiple choice  Checkboxes, Choose from a lists, scale, and grid) can  automatically analyze the number of responses for each choice. If you include numerical or very short answers, people can answer these from their Smartphone.
Text – short phrases or a short sentence
Paragraph – longer answers such as multiple sentences
Multiple Choice (select one of the answers)
Checkboxes (select one or more of the answers)
Choose from a list
Scale Rate something on a scale of 1-5 or 1-1o
Grid Rate a series of items on a scale of 1-5

Remember to click on “Makes  this a required question” if the survey takers have to answer the question.

Move any question up and down by clicking on it, holding down on it, and moving it up or down.

Click on Save.

Go to Forms, Edit and copy the url (http://..). at the bottom of the page.  Email that url to the people you want to take the survey or  take that long URL and shorten it using bit.ly so that people can type  it directly in their Smartphone or tablet.  Be specific about when the closing date is for taking the survey.

To see the results, go to Forms – Show Summary of responses.  The numerical answers will be a graph form. The text answers for any question will be grouped together.

For those  administrators that want real time  data at a meeting,  get the URL of the form, shorten it using bit.ly, and display that shortened URL at a meeting so the people can take the form right then on their Smartphones or tablets.  Show them the results instantly.

Are you ready to learn from others? Are you ready to make better decisions based on real-time information from others.

I have Spanish spontaneous speaking activities at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Intensity of Learning

People enjoy  intensity such as the intensity of a ski run, an amusement ride, diving into a lake, a round of Jeopardy, or a Soduku puzzle.

Students enjoy and benefit from class when we provide them with intensity of learning  We can give them short  activities that  are highly focused on critical learning.  As we move our students from talking about learning to  using what they are learning, many opportunities exist for intense learning.

In my Spanish class, I have my students do many one to two minute speaking activities. Each activity focuses on a specific language function such as asking for information or  persuading.   For example, in groups of two, one student looks at a picture such as a people in a mall and asks his/her partner questions while the partner answers the questions.  They do not prepare for this activity, they just dive into it. They have to combine their already learned vocabulary and grammar from previous lessons to do this activity. After this intense activity, they debrief by going over what they could do better next time and then practicing to show that they can improve. This formative assessment activity provides a intense experience for students.

In my English comp0sition class, my student write essays but they write them intense part by intense  part.  After my students have selected a topic, narrowed it down, written a thesis, and generated ideas, they spend a few minutes in organizing the ideas into a graphic organizer.  They complete the graphic organizer if any parts are missing.  One student described this as putting together a giant puzzle with a clock ticking.  He also commented that sometimes he has to create a missing puzzle piece.  When the students finish, they feel a sense of satisfaction.  A writing partner looks over their graphic organizer for the logical flow of ideas and the support of those ideas in this formative writing activity.

These intense activities require the students to use higher level thinking and to perform on the spot. Students like a challenge and that   students can climb higher academically if we give  them the opportunity.

How do you provide intense higher level learning for your students?

I have Spanish spontaneous speaking activities at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Spontaneous Speaking in Foreign Language/Modern Language: Contrasting Spontaneous Speaking to Structured Speaking

There are two very different types of speaking in the modern language  or foreign language classroom.

Very structured speaking- mechanical speaking

…. Focuses more on the correctness of vocabulary and grammar than on the actual content. “What did you buy on Monday? I bought shoes. What did you buy on Tuesday? I bought a blouse.”

…. Uses the same vocabulary and grammar of the question in the answer. “Does she go to the store? Yes, she goes to the store.”

… Uses convergent questions (When? Where? Who?) which only have a few limited answers. Each answer is highly predictable.

… Often has different forms of the same verb in subsequent statements/questions. “I go to the store. My father goes to the store. My brothers go to the store.”

… Limits the questions/ statements to one topic such as places such as in the following fill-in-the-blank exercise. “I go to the store. I go to the mall. I go to the park.”

… Does not follow the logical order of a conversation in subsequent sentences/ questions but these sentences/ questions exist only to practice the indicated grammar or vocabulary. “Where is the bed? It is in the bedroom. Where is the stove. It is in the kitchen.”
… Is not interactive except in that the partner asks a predetermined question which the person answers.

… Is not personal. Usually a student does not express his/ her own opinion but follows the prescribed format.

… Most like a textbook/ workbook exercise

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Spontaneous speaking / free speaking

… Focuses on the actual meaning/content of the answer, not on the form (grammar or vocabulary). “Do you like winter? No, I hate it.”

… Uses different words in the answer or subsequent statements. “How was class? I took a test.”

…Uses divergent questions (Why? How? which leads to a huge array of possible answers. The answers probably are unpredictable. “Why do you think the team will win”?
… Moves the conversation/ monologue forward through subsequent statements/questions “After I left school, I went to my favorite restaurant. I had two hamburgers with fries.”

… Guides the conversation /monologue through many related topics. Students may start talking about school, then talk about sports, and then talk about things they will do this weekend.

… Requires the partner to react with the conversation. There is give and take during the conversation. “I thinking of going to a horror movie. How does that sound to you?”

… Is very personal. The speaker offers his/her opinions and views and tells how he/she does something. “ I never order onions on my pizza. I do have double cheese.”

… Most like a real conversation.

Do your  modern language/ foreign language students do more spontaneous speaking or structured speaking?

I have Spanish activities that lead to spontaneous speaking at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Use any Web 2.0 tool at any Level of Bloom’s Taxonomy, Don’t be Limited by Listings

I have been teaching for many years.  In fact, one of my earliest presentations was on “Using Print Shop at All Levels of Bloom” (the original Print Shop).  Therefore, whenever I see the listings that supposedly say what Web 2.0 tools works at what level of Bloom’s taxonomy, I become very confused. A few of the many such listings are http://www.usi.edu/distance/bloom%20pyramid.jpg, http://tsheko.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/visualblooms1.jpg?w=500&h=359, http://www.bcps.org/offices/lis/Reference/images/web_2_Bloom.jpg, and http://edtech2.boisestate.edu/candacemcenespy/Images/vectormap.gif There is only a very slight overlap among the listing, each usually puts the same Web 2.0 tools at different thinking levels.

Let’s look at Google docs which a few sites place at the lowest level of Bloom, Remember/Knowledge. Google docs can be used to help students recall information. However, it can just as easily be used to paraphrase the information (from the original Shakespeare to modern day texting messages), to apply/use information (How does Pareto’s 20/80 rule apply to this story? ), to analyzing/contrasting (How are these two poems the same? Different?), to evaluating (Which literature that we have read this year best expresses man’s inhumanity to man? Why?), and synthesize/creating (Write a short story in which you mock some modern day thinking or organization.)

Teachers determine how any Web 2.0 tool is used. They determine at what Bloom’s level they will use the Web 2.0 tool. If they want their students to be bigger thinkers, they will use the higher levels of Bloom. If the teachers want their students to remain in small thinking, they will use the lower levels.

The choice of what level to use any Web 2.0 is up to the teacher. At what level do you use each Web 2.0 tools? Do you consciously build up Bloom’s taxonomy with each different technology you use during a unit?

Tuttle’s formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Teachers as Producers, Not Consumers, at Faculty Meetings

Many teachers  consider  faculty or department meetings a waste  of time. They often complain that a memo could have given the critical information, that a person talked to long about nothing, or that they had better things to do that would  help their students. An administrator can transform meetings so that teachers move from being passive consumers to active producers.

Instead of having someone talk about ways to improve student learning, have the teachers group together by subject area and go to a designated room.  Each subject area group can think of the students’ major learning blocks in their curriculum and have the team suggest specific strategies that students can use to overcome those blocks.  The principal, curriculum leader, librarian,  or technology integration specialist would have set up a private  subject area curriculum wiki such as pbworks (pbworks.com) for this group.  Someone  in the group will word process in the wiki each learning block and the strategies that the teacher suggests.  For example, a teacher may identify that students often have trouble in finding evidence to support a position such as in a Social Studies Document Based Question (DBQ) in which students have to find references from historical documents to prove a certain statement. A teacher may offer that she has students identify the key word in the original statement in a red highlighter and then has students highlight in red that word or any synonym each time it appears in the document. Usually the highlighted words become the key to the students finding sentence that provides the necessary evidence.   If any  teacher has a video, website, podcast, etc that he/she uses, he/she  can give that link to the recorder.  The recorder lists the learning block and all the strategies that directly help students overcome that block.   At the end of the faculty meeting, the teachers end up  with a large variety of strategies that can help students as  they encounter difficulties in their learning.

Furthermore, the teachers can check the subject area wiki anytime to remind themselves of the new strategies that their students can use. The teachers can add more as they counter additional learning blocks and figure out effective strategies to help their students.  The  wiki becomes a living document that offers teachers useful student learning strategies.

Tuttle’s formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook


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