Archive for the 'Empowerment' Category

Constant Peer Review on the Same Essay Improves Student Writing

I  teach a college composition course.  We spend much time in peer reviewing (probably 70% of class time) in a formative assessment process. Today the students had their 6th peer review on the same “essay” and we are just up to doing  three body paragraphs.  I asked my students to do a questionnaire on the process we use.  About 15% said that they did not peer review in their high school English classes.  Of those they did peer review, they stated that peer review  focused on grammar, spelling and punctuation. As one student said of our process,  “we  focus on changing idea.”  Most students (80%) had not had more than one peer  review their writing; so far we  have had 6 different peers react to their writing.  As one student mentioned “you get a different view and different aspects about your paper from other people ” and “You receive others’ opinions using the same format you used to write it.”  My goal is simple: for students  to constantly improve in their writing.  Formative assessment which focuses on monitoring and giving feedback continually through the process enables students to improve in each aspect of their writing, starting at the pre-writing phase.  A more thorough description of this process is found in my Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

How often do your students peer review  each other’s work?

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.

Check Lower Level Learning Immediately (Formative Assessment)

We all want our students to be learning at the higher levels of thinking.  However, they first have to learn  lower level information.  For example, Spanish students want to converse in the language but until they learn basic vocabulary and grammar such as the present tense; they cannot converse.  We can change the format of class so that after we have introduced the lower level learning and have them practice it enough to know whether they understand the concept, then we can have them practice the lower level learning at home.

If we have them use an online program that “drills” them, shows them the right answer, and shows them  how to get the right answer,  they can immediately know how well they are doing and be given the opportunity to improve.  They do not have to wait until the next day (or in terms of a college course five days or week) to find out if they can do this lower level thinking.  Since the teacher has put in the program   a full explanation of how to get the right answer, the students can overcome their learning gap (formative feedback aspect of formative assessment).  They can redo the program to verify that they can do this lower level activity well.  They feel successful.  They have practiced this learning in the safety of their homes.

Then, in class, the teacher  can move the students to higher levels from the lower level.  For example, the Spanish students can tell what activities they do that day, can describe the various activities of their family members, and ask others what they things they do during a day.

So how do you practice lower level learning so that students know immediately if they are right or wrong and if they wrong,  do they learn how to change their thinking to get right answers? How do you  use formative assessment to move your students forward in their learning?

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.

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.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, my book

My book, Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available at

http://tinyurl.com/writingtuttle.

The book provides a systematic approach of observing students’ written work, diagnosing ( strengths and gaps and identify strategies to overcome the gaps),  giving feedback, allowing time for growth and reporting the growth within your classroom.  This formative assessment book breaks down the writing process into specific steps so that you can help the students be successful at each step.  The students build on their successes, not their failures. This book contains numerous strategies to help the students overcome each learning gap in the steps of the writing process. Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment applies theory to the classroom in a practical easy-to-do approach.  Formative assessment creates a truly student-centered class where the goal is for each student to be success in a very interactive manner of self, peer and teacher reviews.

I developed the book by using the techniques in my writing classes.  My this year’s writing students are at the same level of writing after their first essay as past students were at the end of the course!

My new book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

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

Reponding to Your Students

Baby Walking and Improving Student Learning

My grandson is beginning to walk. He takes about ten steps and then falls down. He crawls over to the nearest table/chair and gets up again. He does not get discouraged about failing to walk many steps. He walks some more and falls down again.

How do we help our students to not get discouraged about their failures?  Do we use the “fail forward” mentality that a failure is simply an indication that we tried something that did not work and now we can try something that can work?  A mistake is an opportunity to learn. When students see their answers and work  as work in progress, they are more willing to take chances and move forward. When we do not criticize them but help them to see how to improve, we encourage them to see failures as stepping stones as opposed to stop signs.

How do you show your students  that learning from  mistakes is a sign of growth?

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

Reponding to Your Students

Having Students Go from Proficient to Above Proficient Through Improvements

In my Oral presentations (speech) class, I’m grading their final speeches on how much they have improved from when they originally gave the speech. They have to show me their original speech, the rubric in which I indicated their strengths and gaps, and a sheet which explains how they are overcoming their gaps. Their final (two speeches that they select from those they have done) are graded on improvement.  If they show the three  improvements, they get an A. For each learning gap that is not changed into a strength, they loose ten points.  So far students have shown drastic improvements, their speeches have gone from being below proficient or being proficient to being above proficient. They have learned to support their speeches with image-based PowerPoints that drive home their messages. When we raise the bar and prove ways for students to improve, they go over the bar!

How do you have your students improve and become above proficient?

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

Reponding to Your Students

Student or Teacher Duty: Improving Time for Feedback

On Sunday, the church congregation was surprised to see a young ten year boy be the liturgist. He said the prayers, introduced the hymns, and read the scripture.  The boy had listened to the adults who usually do this and thought he could do it.  He did a good job!

It made me think of what duties are only teacher duties in the classroom and what are student only duties. Students can pass out materials, collect material, take attendance, do class review, prepare classroom materials such as handouts or PowerPoints, make quizzes, and assess other students’ work. Students often present information in a way that their classmates can easily understand the information.

If we have students do more in the classroom, we can spend more time on giving small group or one-on-one with students. We have more time for formative feedback.  We spend out time not in many managerial things but in helping students to learn.

Let’s give our students more duties so that we can help them more!

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

Pre-checking for Student Engagement Through PowerPoint

Like many teachers, I use PowerPoint to guide the lesson. I like that I can have all the images, videos, quotes, essential questions, class activities, etc. in one place for the lesson.  Lately, I have been thinking more about student engagement during class. I’ve come up with a simple way to verify that students will be engaged.  I use a distinct color such as dark blue  in the PowerPoint to indicate  all the  student activities  such as questions to be answered, small group discussions, and  comparison charts to be done. Before I teach a lesson, Iscan my PowerPoint slides to see how often I am engaging the students- I simply look for the dark blue text.  Since I’ve begun doing this, I find myself  wondering how I could be talking/showing for so long without students being asked to think through the topic.  I find myself adding more opportunities for students to  become engaged with the material.

Go dark blue and see what happens in your class.

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

Reponding to Your Students

Be more positive than negative

Do you use a positive or negative mentality in your class? Do you focus on pointing out the positives of students’ learning or do you concentrate more on the negatives?

Tom Connellan, “Inside the Magic Kingdom”, pgs 91-95 asserts that

If students see…………………………….they perceive it as

1 compliment, 1 negative………………negative

2 compliments, 1 negative…………….neutral

3 compliments, 1 negative……………positive

I almost agree.  I think that students need an abundance of compliments before they really believe the comments are positive. I think that 3 to 1 is borderline positive. I would argue that a 5:1 ratio is needed for students to feel that they are doing positive work. If they feel that positive about their work, then they are willing to make formative changes.  If they do not feel very positive, they will not attempt the changes.

Try the 5:1 rule and see the change in your students.

For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book,
Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Improving Students’ Self-Assessments Skills for Increased Learning

Part of the handout for the conference session:

Reasons for student self- assessment

Closed- ended assessment

Some examples:

Check answers against a paper or digital “answer” key.

Take online quiz.

Transitional assessment

Some examples:

Take online tests until ready for “real” test

Learn the quality in an assignment

Open -ended assessment

Some examples:

Self-assess and change strategy if necessary

Digital portfolio updates

Students' Self Assessment Growth Chart

Students

For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book,
Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

A Tight Formative Feedback Fit for Students

Today I put plastic insulation on the windows in my 1910 house. The insulation will keep the cold air from blowing in. The tricky part is to put the plastic on tightly. If it is not tight, then the air can blow it off.

I wonder how tightly our formative feedback fits our students? Do we give them general feedback such as “You need to improve your topic sentence. Remember to restate the thesis and then identify the category of this paragraph”. Or do we give specific feedback to one of our students who is a football player “Think of a topic sentence like a sports game. The goal is always to win the game. Each play is to win the game through doing (this play). A topic sentence has the same format of the essay thesis (the game purpose) and the particular paragraph game play.”

Do your students understand your formative feedback? Unless they understand it, they cannot move forward. Does your formative feedback tightly fit them or will they blow it off.

For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

Looking Ahead For Better Learning

I attended my every three year Defensive Driving Course to get a reduction in my insurance. The AAA instructor and the DVD said that we should always be looking 20-30 seconds ahead on the road or about a third of a mile forward so we can be prepared for what is ahead.

I wonder how often we take our eyes off of our current learning to remind ourselves and our students of what is ahead, the standard. It is too easy to get focused on the moment so that we forget where we are really headed. By being focused only on the present activity, we may not connect our present activity into the bigger picture. The present activity may not seem to serve any purpose except when seen in the bigger picture. When students know where they are headed, they are more likely to get there and to be able to assess their progress. As we check what is ahead, we can help modify our instruction to make sure our students get there.

How do you help your students to see the standard or the big concepts of the year?

For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

Exemplar Collecting and Using For High Quality Learning

At one of the colleges I teach at, I had to submit material for a course review. I was pleased to receive not only a perfect 3/3 but also to be asked to send some of my material in as exemplary work. However, I became even more interested when I found out that this college that has at least six different campuses is collecting exemplars. My question becomes “When are they going to share these exemplars with the faculty so that we can improve by seeing the excellent work that our colleagues are doing?”

I would suggest that we all collect exemplars at our schools and use them to improve our teaching and our students’ learning. Have each teacher submit his/her best student paper, project, etc. For example, each English 9th grade teacher can submit one excellent student paper for the major types of writing. The teachers can physically put them in a cabinet or even better they can put them onto an English Wiki so that teachers at any given time can access these exemplars. These instructors can discuss with each other what makes each exemplary. They can all come to the same idea about what exemplary work is. Furthermore,They can use these exemplar papers to raise the learning level of their students. The instructors will have many exemplars for their students so that the students can realize that the high quality can be shown in many diverse ways.

Get your team to start collecting and using exemplars now!

For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

Organic Learning With Technology or Inorganic Learning?

I drove past a farmer’s stand that proudly proclaimed itself as organic. I laughed. When I was growing up on a farm, everything was organic. Cows produced the fertilizer for the fields.

I wonder if we have made changes to make the learning process less organic. Have we gone to using technologies in which that might reduce learning? Do our PowerPoints truly energize the learners into deeper learning or do the PowerPoints put them to sleep? Does the time we have the students spend on creating a podcast really reflect in-depth learning about the course’s standard or does the time reflect surface only learning over multiple days? Do our students spend time in responding to others in a blog when the other people do not read their comments? Do our students spend time in creating fancy projects that include many visuals when the visuals do not add more meaning to the project? Do we have students create the same information on a wiki that is presently available in another location? Do we have students virtually visit a location (like a zoo) without having them learn critical standards information?

Have we used technology to interfere with students’ learning instead of helping them to grow in-depth and comprehensively in the standards? How organic is your classroom or have you covered it with harmful fertilizers?

For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education

Students Create Own Class Final Based on Portfolio

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”?


RSS Education with Technology

  • Tech Integration Teacher, What time is it? August 23, 2016
    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 […]
    hgtuttle
  • Curriculum Focus, Not Technology Focus July 28, 2016
    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 […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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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