Archive for the 'Agenda' Category

Providing Classroom Variation

My wife and I like to go to productions of  the musical Godspell to see how the director will vary the setting, costumes, and dialogue and yet keep the central message of the play. Godspell is a musical that encourages variation.

I wonder how much most classroom teacher encourage variations on the central learning. One English teacher has all of his students write on the same topic for a contrast essay. Another English teacher lets her students select their own topic from a very long list or come up with their own topic for a contrast essay. One   social studies teacher has his students answer the questions from the text book chapter. Another teacher has her students find news articles about the topic and react to the news articles. One science teacher hands out a description of “the” project.  Another teacher provides a tic-tac-toe board with various projects  arranged by learning style.

When we allow students choice, they are more invested in their learning. They have more opportunity to engage themselves through their own interests in their  central learning. They think more and they learn more.

How do you encourage variation?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Meaningful Learning for Students

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?

A New Class Schedule Format – Standards Based

calendar

This year I am using a different format for the class calendar/schedule that I give to the students. At the top I list the major outcome/standard/proficiency for whole course. I list each class. I no longer list the day’s topic for each class. Instead I list what they will “be able to…” and what they will “understand” by the end of each class. I list a major assessment for the day. Then I list the homework for the next class. I have found that students usually first look at the assessment so that they know what they are responsible for. Then they look back at the “be able to”and “understand” column. They know how they will be assessed and they know what they are to learn or be able to do. They have a global view of the class and a specific view of the class. I can assess if they have been successful and they can assess if they have been successful.

Calendar for learning

What does your class calendar look like?

Standards-Based Sponge Activities

sponge

We use sponge activities to fill in time between activities or at the end of the period. How different would the students’ learning be if we used standards-based sponge activities? In an English Language Arts (ELA) class, the teacher could have a list of standards-based activities (similar to the state exam or covering district specified parts of the standards that are not covered on the state exam). She might:

Have students listen to a digitally recorded brief debate, take a side, and list their reasons to support it (New York State ELA Standard 1 Information).

Have students list their ten most common activities during their vacation, one per line, and then add an adverb to each line to create a poem (New York State ELA Standard 2 Personal Expression).

Have students list all the literature that they have read so far that has a certain theme such as love, man’s inhumanity to man, being true to one’s self, etc. (New York State ELA Standard 3 Theme Critical Analysis of Literature ).

Have a student pick a topic and list different people in the family and community (young children, same age, parent, grandparent, and civic leader) and students tell something about the topic to each different person in a way in which he/she would understand it ( (New York State ELA Standard Four Social Interactions-Various Audiences).

We can have these activities in a word processed document of sponge activities that we call up and pick the one to fit the time. When we project these activities for the students to see, they have all the structure they need to do them successfully. Not only do we fill up time but more important, we advance their learning in the standards!

How do you support the standards through sponge activities with technology?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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From Daily Agenda to Daily Standards Performance Tasks for Improved Student Learning

Daily Agenda  Activity or Performance Task

Do you have a daily agenda posted on your chalkboard, class blog or class website to give an overview of the class? Is that daily agenda an activity list of what the students will do such as “read chapter two and answer questions”, “work on the Power Point presentation”, and “discuss the problem”, etc.? Or is it a list of the performance tasks that students need to do to be successful in the standard such as “contrast pre-Revolutionary life to post-Revolutionary life”, “decide whether So-Journer Truth or Harriet Tubman contributed more to the Underground Railroad”, and “analyze the pros and cons of the issue”.

“Read chapter two” tells the students nothing about what you expect them to learn. It is an activity. They will only know when they are done reading but not what they are to learn from the experience.

“Contrast pre-Revolutionary life to post-Revolutionary life” adds a specific purpose that helps students work toward achieving a Social Studies standard. Students know what they are get out of reading the text. As they read, they will be thinking of the post-Revolutionary life and trying to identify differences with the pre-Revolutionary life.

When you change your daily agenda to be a standards performance task listing, your students will have a clearer idea of what you want them to learn. They will be aware of the high expectations you have for the learning. You will be able to monitor their progress in their learning since each performance task is measurable.

Please share a sample of your daily standards performance task listing.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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RSS Education with Technology

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    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 […]
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    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 […]
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      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 […]
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  • 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 […]
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  • 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 […]
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  • 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. […]
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  • 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 […]
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  • 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 […]
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