Archive for the 'Instruction' Category

Backward/inverted Teaching and Formative Assessment

The Journal Recently ran an article on backward or inverted teaching where the instructor has the students watch a teaching video as homework and then in class they go over problems and the teacher does more one-on-one work with students.

As the students watch the 30 minute  instructional video, who is checking to see if they are comprehending  the video? Are there self-checks built into the video? What happens if a student gets lost at the beginning?  What happens if a student does not understand a major concept?  The students  have to wait until the class for which they will have to do homework.

Such backward teaching seems to go against the current formative assessment approach of constantly monitoring students and helping them to overcome the learning gaps that appear as the lesson develops.  According to formative assessment, students should be helped with their  learning gap as soon as it appears; the students are immediately diagnosed and given appropriate feedback to overcome the gap. The longer the time between the gap and the feedback, the less effective the feedback.

I think that backward teaching can be done well  if appropriate formative assessments are built in just after new concepts or ways of thinking are introduced in the video. Probably a video teacher does not want to go more than ten minutes without doing a check-in on the students.  The teacher might want to go over commonly made mistakes as he/she presents the lesson.  When students know they are “right”, they feel more confident about their learning. When they begin to have doubts, they learn less.

How do you use teaching videos/clips in your class?

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.

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

Making the learning stick

When I was putting the insulation on my windows, I had two different products. One had the instruction of waiting fifteen minutes before I removed the backing to the two sided tape. The other did not have that instruction. The fifteen minute wait tape was far superior to the other.

I wonder how much time we give our students to stick to their new learning before we ask them to use it. Fisher and Fry suggest in Better Learning Through Structured Teaching that when we give our initial modeling of the new learning, we do not ask students to actively participate but, instead they are to think about this new learning. If they do not firmly understand the modeling before we ask them to practice it, then there is a high likely hood that they will do it incorrectly. Their first steps of doing it wrong will be cemented into their brains. Instead, we can model the learning for them and go over an exemplar of it. We can let them think about the new learning and then scaffold them through it.

Let’s organizing our teaching so that we allow students plenty of time to think about the new learning before they are asked to do it. Let’s let them get firmly stuck to the new learning before they use it.

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.

Passion: Use it in Your in Teaching

I knew that I had to revise a course (Critical Thinking) that I was teaching. The course bored me. I realized that I was not excited about the content of the course in the form I had it last year and the students were not excited either. The course did not seem to fit together. I realized that I had nothing to “hang” the course around. So I’ve decided to “hang” it around passages from Don Quixote, my favorite novel. As I look at the novel more, I realize that I can cover all the course standards by using the book. Furthermore, the students will learn more since the ideas are in a context and the book uses humor to teach value thinking skills. Yes, I will still use the textbook but the text will be the jumping off point for reading the ideas in Don Quixote.

I was delighted to find that in Wiske’s Teaching for Understanding with Technology, she has as one aspect of a generative topic that the topic has to be “fascinating and compelling” for the teacher. She gives the example of an elementary teacher who uses bird names for the different parts of the writing process since she enjoys watching birds. Another instructor uses his passion for bridges as the overarching theme for his course.

What is your passion? How do you connect that passion with the course standards? How does your passion make the course more meaningful for the students and allow them to better learn the standards?

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Graphic Organizers/Concept Maps – Limiting or Encouraging Thinking?

I made a concept map that I thought would help the students in their writing. As I observed the students, I realized that my concept map actually stopped their thinking. When students have a paper concept map, they stop when all the bubbles, boxes, or lines are filled in. When they have an online one with bubbles, boxes or lines, they do the same. They fill in the bubbles, boxes or lines and they stop thinking. However, often these concept maps are just the start of the students’ thinking about the topic. The concept maps are more like a writing prompt than the actual writing.

I realize that my concept map did not have enough boxes, bubbles or lines to guide the students to explore the writing topic more thoroughly. Likewise the boxes, bubbles or lines were too small. Once the students have written something that fills the boxes, bubbles, or lines, they stop writing. The boxes, bubbles or lines confine the students.

Cause Effect concept map

This concept map needs to be extended to include the three major examples and the details that the students will use to prove each cause or effect. The concept map will double in size. In addition, if I am using a paper version, I will stretch it out to be a full page so that the students have plenty of writing space. Bigger spaces equals more room for thinking.

What do your concept maps look like? Do they encourage additional thinking or do they stop the students’ thinking?

It’s not the technology but the teaching

PowerPointUse

Technology is neutral.

I’ve seen two teachers in the same subject area on the same topic use PowerPoint very differently. One used it to display the outline about the topic. The other used is to present contrasting images about the topic for the students to analyze.

Technology does not magically transform the teaching learning process. A change in the teacher does.

Sometimes teachers see a new technology such as the Smartboard and they use it the same way as they did a chalkboard, they write on it. Sometimes when teachers see how a technology can be used, they accept the change in their teaching. A teacher who sees a Smartboard demonstration may then want her students to manipulate math shapes on the Smartboard.

How technology supports our school academic priorities will not change until we change how teachers use technology. How do you use technology? How has your teaching changed due to using technology?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

YouTube Instructional Videos- Let’s Improve Them!

Golden Star

Last night I watched On the Lot in which amateur movie makers have one minute to show their story. I’m fascinated by how much can be told in a minute. Look at the story that commercial tells – some in fifteen seconds. When I compare these videos to a multitude of teacher and student made YouTube-ish videos, I notice several startling differences.

Videos get you into the story immediately. Many teacher and student videos take a long time before we even know what the story is (other than the title). Music plays for 15 seconds and then a title slide appears. In another video 1/7 of the total time was in a song which had nothing to do with the teaching part of the video.

Videos get to the critical part of the story quickly. Many teacher and student videos describe what they are doing without telling what the students are learning. “We had fun doing this experiment. We opened the rocks……..” So what did “we” learn? Have students tell more about the important part (learning) than the description part (actions). Have teachers focus more on explaining what the experiment did what it did.

Videos do not repeat the same story over and over. Many teacher and student videos have groups of students saying the same thing. We do not need to hear five groups each saying “We had fun doing this experiment. We opened the rocks……..” Either have each group say something very different or only show one group.

Videos use close ups to show the details of something important. Many teacher and student videos use the same type shot for a group of students as for a critical object. Get in close. Let us see it clearly.

Videos do not include distractions. Every shot contributes to the purpose of the video. Students running around for the comedic value distracts from the learning. Videos showing all of the room are not important in a learning video about chemistry. Use a non-distracting background. Bring in a solid color sheet and drap it over things to create a quick non-distracting background

Videos focus on their purpose. If the stated purpose is for students to show how well they learned a certain letter like “D,” then there should be a multitude of clips of “D” things. Otherwise the video is just a glorified album of class pictures. Make sure your video is an instructional video. What will others know or be able to do after watching your video? I felt that after most videos, if I imagined myself a student, I knew nothing new nor could I do something. INSTRUCTIONAL video.

Videos let you hear the speakers. Have students and teachers speak loudly and clearly. Keep the background music soft so that the speakers can be easily heard. Do not include copyrighted music. Have the rest of the class keep quiet so their talking is not distracting. “Silence please. We are recording.”

Videos uses visuals effectively. Video visuals give information. Do not just talk, rap, or sing, show the information in visuals as well. Use arrows, signs, and other visuals to emphasize the information. 4×6 sticky-notes with large letters can be effective labels. Each visual moves the story along.

All of the previous suggestions are based on watching teacher/student videos.

Please plan out instructional videos so that other teachers and students can learn new concepts and can do new actions as a result of your video. Only upload instructional videos, not “here is our class” or “watch us goof off” types of videos.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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YouTube Instructional Video Creation from a Digital Camera

camera

You and your students can create instructional YouTube videos by using a digital camera that can record short video clips.

Most digital cameras take 30 seconds or more of video (Check your camera’s manual for the length for your camera.) Plan your instructional movie out like you would a real “movie” script- what do you say, what do you show, and what background will be seen? How will these do the best job of “teaching” or “explaining” the learning? Practice it a few times. Then capture it by changing the digital camera to movie mode and click. If you make a major mistake, then reshoot it.

Some hints for creating a better instructional video are focusing on a short burst of concentrated learning, limiting the movement, having a solid non-distracting background, having you or your students speak loudly and clearly (their outside voices), use close up shots whenever possible, using big easy to see objects, and using easy to see signs with large dark colored lettering. Most important, have something very educational to explain or show. How does this video help students learn the standard to the highest level of thinking?

If you did not include a title and credits, you can move the video over to Mac imovies or the PC Movie Maker to add a title (Make the title one that represents the content such as “The Underground Railroad in Ithaca, NY.”) and give your class credit (“Mr. John Brown’s 8th Grade Social Studies Class, ABC School, Norfolk, VA.”)

According to the YouTube Team, save your movie in “either QuickTime .MOV, Windows .AVI, or .MPG files— these are the most common formats and they work well within our system. We specifically recommend the MPEG4 (Divx, Xvid) format at 320×240 resolution with MP3.” Saving in these formats helps compress the movie to a manageable size. YouTube will not accept videos clips over 100 megabytes. Some cameras automatically save to MPEG 4 s0 check your camera’s specs. Some other programs that can help you compress your large movies for YouTube format are found on How to Put Your Camera Video Clips on YouTube .

Please share your experiences with creating instructional YouTube videos from a digital camera. If you share what worked and what did not, then we all can become better.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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YouTube Classroom Video Collaboration

YouTube Stuff

I’m coming to see YouTube as the next wave of educational collaboration and sharing.

If you put your videos on YouTube, anyone has access to them so your students (and other students of the same subject) can see them at any time to view content. They can view and review the videos. Classroom videos that your students make can be put up for other classes to see. Your class and a class in a distant location can create videos on different aspects of the same topic and share then on YouTube. Your class and other classes can share how local history, science, language, and math reveal itself in your communities. Imagine if ten schools videotaped their local “underground railroad” locations and shared them. Imagine if ten schools interviewed local officials about what is being done to prevent global warming in the area and shared those videos. Imagine if ten schools asked local poets or writers about how to be better writers and shared those videos. Imagine if ten teachers shared their hints at helping students to do well on the same state exam in their subject area and shared those videos.

Instead of having your students create a PowerPoint, a poster, or a model, have them create a short video using a digital camera.

Imagine what could happen if each school district in the USA (and in each nation) put up an instructional video by Nov. 2007. We would have a gigantic library of YouTube videos that would be powerful instructional tools created by educators and students for other educators and students. What a positive collaboration!

So when will your district (or your class) put up an instructional YouTube video? How will you help your students and other students to better learn your subject area through YouTube.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Acuity, Student Diagnostic Testing, and Teacher Time To Refocus Instruction

Teach it Differently

A district is using the Acuity program to assess its students at various grades levels on Math and ELA. (The same company that makes the state benchmarks produces this program-just a coincidence, I’m sure 🙂 )

If the school district uses this program three times a year, they can get valuable information on the progress of each student. My concern is that the teachers will have insufficient time to analyze the results and refocus instruction. If teachers do not have plenty of time to figure out how to do “remediation” or “re-teaching”, then the Acuity program serves no purpose.

I was involved in a program in which our Spanish students were tested every 6 weeks on the 40 most important objectives for the course. An hour or even a half day of release time was not enough time to digest the feedback on the students’ progress and to refocus instruction. Often we would see major gaps between what we thought we taught and what the students actually learned. A day was not even enough to figure out different ways of presenting the learning so students could be successful. Reteaching by speaking slowly and speaking loudly with the same material was not going to result in better student learning. Having students just do more problems will not help them unless they have learned a new strategy.

I advocate that any school district using Acuity or any similar tool gives those teachers at least two days after the results are available each testing time. For example, all ELA teachers of the same grade level will have the same two days to analyze the results, to share successes, and to plan for how to re-teach. If Acuity were administered three times, they would have a total of six days.

So how many teacher refocusing days have your built into your Acuity program? Or are you just having students do more problems that they still do not understand?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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As a result of my instruction and with technology, students learn

As a result instruction and technology

While looking for Math prep exercises, I came across a lesson plan. The initial phasing impressed me.

As a result of my instruction, when the students are presented with a multiplication problem they will be able to find the answer to the problem with out any teacher assistance and students will answer at least 98 to 95% correctly.”

What if we changed that to “As a result of my instruction and with the use of technology, students will ….”?

How do we scaffold students’ learning so that they are successful in demonstrating the learning? How do we use technology to help them climb the learning ladder to the top?

Do we administer a pre-test via technology?
Do we provide students with pre-requisite background information through the use of technology?
Do we model the learning with technology?
Do we guide students through the learning steps by using technology?
Do we provide them with guided practice through the use of technology?
Do we check for understanding by using technology?
Do we provide independent practice through technology-infused experiences?
Do we provide students with closure through the use of technology?

So how do you use technology to ensure that students will successfully learning the selected standard?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Improving Student Learning Through PowerPoint: Madeline Hunter Style

For numerous years, I gave a presentation/workshop that had various names: “Improving Student Learning Through PowerPoint”; “Engaging Students Through PowerPoint”; and “Interactive Educational Uses of PowerPoint”. Teachers came for the PowerPoint part but what they really got was a lesson in how to teach in the Madeline Hunter Model through the use of PowerPoint.

I would start each presentation with a show of hands of how many did the various parts of the Hunter model, the number was almost always in the low single digits.

M Hunter and learning

So what is your Madeline Hunter score? What is your Madeline Hunter score for technology use?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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ESL,FL & ELA: Let’s Pool Technology Resources

languageinstructiong.jpg

I think that many students and most faculty seem learning as disconnected subjects. One example is Foreign Language, English as Second Language, and English Language Arts. These three areas share many more commonalities than differences. They all develop skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. They all have students communicate basic information, express personal ideas, criticially analyze material, and use social interactions in many different situations. I would like to see online sites where these three areas share their wonderful ideas about teaching and learning so that they can help each other. For example, students need to develop speaking skills in all three subjects so a Foreign Language teacher’s PowerPoint of transportation digital images can be used in the other two subjects. The teachers can pool their technology and print resources. The more we as teachers see the similarities in our subjects, the more we can help each other. The less time we can spend in finding, modifying or creating technology-rich resources, the more time we can spend in planning better lessons that will help our students learn more in-depth and in assessing our students’ growth.

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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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