Archive for the 'Difference' Category

21st Century Skills: Making a Difference

We can have our students develop many 21st century skills but they may not use any of these skills for anything other than their own academic improvement.  We can help them to use their skills to make a difference in our community, state, nation, or world.

For example, students examine a traffic problem at their local school,  come up with a viable solution, and present  that solution to the Board of Education.

Students create a video documentary  that shows a  historical perspective on a current problem.  They explore similar problems. They analyze what past solutions seemed to work and why  and which ones did not work and why.   They send their short documentary to their state legislators as these officials consider new legislation.

Students select a national problem such as literacy.  They then figure out how they can begin to work on the problem locally. For example, they may write and illustrate their own books,  digitally record the reading of the books, and create CDs to be passed out at the local food banks.

Students, collectively, select an area of the world and then read the various profiles of people requesting microloans on Kiva. The students decide which person/group they will fund after they decide on a criteria for selection.  Each student contributes one dollar so the class can loan a $25.  They looked at the map of where the other funders come from to see the international dimension of this project.  They monitor the repayment and then reloan the money.

To what local, state, national or world problem do your students apply their 21st century skills to make a difference?

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

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Kiva – A Great Classroom Web 2.0 Tool and a Great Holiday Gift

Kiva is a micro-lending site ($25 and up) that loans money to low income entrepreneur.  The loans general last 6-12 months so that a class can make a loan and then trace its history of repayment.

The site has a 96% repayment. The lender can select the gender, the  continent and the area of the loan (agricultural, business, etc).   Each requester has information about what he/she/they  want the money for.  As people lend a portion of the money, a scale shows how close the requester is  to reaching the  goal.

Math students can  do a multitude of math such as figuring out how many more $25 donations are needed for the person to get the loan. Social Studies students  learn about daily economy from what the requester wants the money; they can see the average annual income such as $2,817 for  Bolivia.  They also can identify all the countries from which loans have been given to a person.  Foreign language students can read the requests in the target language. Art  students can draw posters as a promotion for the requester.

In all classes, students can debate which person/group should get a loan from the class.  The students  can read to compare how many people from the same country are requesting money for the same thing (farming) and from which regions of the country the requesters are.  Have your students learn  more about the area from which the person is like and compare that area to their area.

More importantly, they can lend knowing that these loans change lives.

Give to Kiva as a class and as an individual.

Break your class now!

For many years a favorite book of mine was If it is not broken, then break it by George Morrison. The author stresses that the time to improve something is when it is working, not when it is broken. If you fix something when it is broken, you usually only restore it to its original condition but not an improved one.

If you spend time in reflecting on the lesson or unit and breaking the present level, you improve it to a higher level. Your students learn better.

When do you stop and break your class? Do you consciously say “What can I improve the next time I do this?” Do you rewrite your lesson plans? Redo your PowerPoint? Find different websites? Think about wording things differently on your handouts? Do you ask your students what worked for them such as rating each part of the unit on a 4-very helpful for learning the goal 3- somewhat helpful 2- a little helpful 1- not helpful at all” scale and do you ask them “What would have helped me better learn this goal?” Do you honestly consider their suggestions?

Break your class to help your students better succeed!

One way to break your class is through formative assessment.

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

Reponding to Your Students

Less in a Course For Greater Learning

The first semester that I taught a Composition and Research course, I followed the syllabus given me. I had the students do an essay a week. I did have high attrition and low grades. I felt like students were just doing essays without truly understanding how to do each one More importantly, they showed minimal or no improvement from essay to essay.

This semester I have reduced the essays by half. I am spending more time in helping students to be successful. We examine other previous students’ work and analyze how they developed their paper. We develop essays as a class. I build in check points along each major decision in the writing process. For example,the students have to show me their thesis before they can continue, they show me their categories and topic sentences before they can continue, they show me a detailed completed graphic organizer before they do their draft. They frequently peer review each other’s work. So far the first essay that I received from the students is already at the same or higher quality than the final essays of the students from last semester. I am looking forward to their second essay to see how they have improved.

Do you focus more on coverage or on student learning? How to build in high success with your students?

If you are interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

Similarities and Differences: Avoid Circle Venn Diagrams

When students are asked to compare and contrast, they open their mind to more firmly defining each topic. They come to understand what the topic is and is not in comparison or contrast with another topic. They engage in higher level thinking.

I watched students list the similarities and differences between two stories they had just read. By looking at their circles I could not see the corresponding differences. When there are two overlapping circles such as for butterfly/moth, students do not identify what is the topic of each difference. I would suggest that students do not use circle Venn diagrams.

I prefer that students use block Venn Diagrams in which differences are clearly contrasted. You can easily make this in Word or Inspiration.

Similarities Differences

You might even want add a final line on the chart that says “Conclusion or Interpretation.”

Do you have another form of a compare and contrast chart that clearly helps learners to develop in-depth learning?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Students Learn More With Similarities/Differences PowerPoints

Similarities Differences in PowerPoint

Robert Marzano in A Handbook for Classroom Instruction That Works had identified that, of all classroom activities, the students benefit most from finding similarities and differences. When the students find similarites and differences, they are using higher level thinking skills.

So how can we use this to make students’ learning more powerful?

In Social Studies, students can compare two countries in terms of their future potential as a world power in a PowerPoint. The students go beyond just copying facts to looking for the different components of a world power.

In English, students can show how the same theme is in two different works of literature through a PowerPoint. They begin to analyze how each theme is presented in the different works and see the variety of ways of expressing this theme.

In Science, students can compare the health of two streams through a PowerPoint. The ph of one stream is a static fact but when it is compared to the ph of another stream, students begin to generate many questions.

In Math, students can show the similarities and differences between various geometric shapes through PowerPoint. When students put a square next to a rectangle, the differences become apparent.
In languages such as Spanish, students can compare the uses of estar and ser through a PowerPoint. By having to contrast these two, they come to see when each should be used.

Students can use the many features of PowerPoint such as arrows, text blocks, colored fonts, and shapes to accentuate the similarties and differences between two concepts. As they dramatically illustrate the similarities and differences, they demonstrate their higher level thinking.

The students’ PowerPoints are robust learning experiences that maximize their learning since the students compare and contrast.

So what similiarities/differences types of PowerPoints have your students done?

© 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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  • 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

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