Archive for the 'Learner' 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.

Self-Assessment as Critical Skill: Formative Assessment as a Stepping Stone

I am painfully aware that helping students to be able to self-assess is a slow task. On the other hand, I realize how critical this skill is as a lifelong skill. Unless students can self-assess, they will not be able to improve on their own. I certainly do not want my students dependent on me for the rest of their lives to make sure that they are “correct”. I want them to be able to determine for themselves what they are doing and how well it helps them to get to their desired goal. They should be empowered to make their own decisions about the things they do. They do need our help in developing from very structured self-assessments  (Right or Wrong for lower level answers) to evaluating their decisions without any given criteria. Students need to transition through this process.

Formative assessment provides a wonderful stepping stone to self-assessment. As students learn to assess others, they learn what is important about the learning, how that learning can be demonstrated, and  how to identify and implement formative feedback.  They develop the skill to objectively look at their own work. They understand  that they have the techniques to improve.  As one of my English students said, ” I’m learning to look at my own paper as I do when I peer review another student’s paper.”

How do you help your students to be able to self-assess? Do you use formative assessment as a stepping stone?

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.

Let’s Hear it for the Power of Technology! LOL!

I know of a person who does not have any technology in his room accept for a 70s looking overhead.  One day he decided to walk around  his institute and see how the teachers who had technology in their room was using it.  9/10 rooms were using the “elmo” type device to show a handout, a passage from a book, etc.  They were using their fully Internet capable machine as a modern day opaque projector which would project the image of anything put inside it. The one other person was showing a DVD.  How much money has been invested in technology so that people can use technology from the past such as a DVD player or an opaque projector!   Educational institutes need to take a lead in helping their teachers to use the many educational resources that are available.  Perhaps at each faculty meeting there can be a five  minute demonstration  of various ways to use technology to improve student learning in powerful ways.

What does a walk around your school reveal about technology use and student learning?

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

Contractors – Summative and Formative Assessment

I had several contractors in to give me estimates for some changes to my house.  The first one measured the room and left.  The second one measured the room and then spent double that time in asking me questions about the room and the house. I went with the second one because he understood what I wanted and how that fit in with the rest of the house.

I see the first contractor as a summative assessment- get a number and leave.  The second contractor was formative. He had numbers but he needed to know what those numbers meant in terms of what I expected in terms of the room (the end goal) and in terms of the whole house (all the other data from the house). He gave me several suggestions for improvements (getting me from where I am to where I want to be) and let me select the one I felt was the most helpful.

Which type teaching contractor are you- summative or formative?

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

Fixed or Flexible Learning

I recently talked to someone who teaches an online course.  She says that the college has supplied the lectures for each class.  I questioned how a college could think that the fixed lectures would fit the needs of the class. Then the person reminded me that high school textbooks,  textbook websites, textbook DVDs,  textbook PowerPointsand content websites present the material  in a fixed manner.  I think it is good for a teacher to see an exemplary lesson and then to modify the lesson for the class or  for the teacher to use the fixed  lesson as a jumping off point  but I do feel that teachers should not follow a book lesson blindly. Based on our students’  intellectual, physical and emotional needs, we, as instructional leaders, need to decide how to teach the selected goal.  We need to modify the lesson to meet various learning styles and learning levels in our class. We need to know when to abandon a lesson to teach a missing skill or a complimentary skill. We are the ones to show the students the connections between what they are learning and the big picture, to bring in our life experiences in that learning.

How do you teach your course?  Do you strictly follow the textbook (fixed) or do you modify the learning in a flexible manner based on your students’ needs?

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

Reponding to Your Students

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

New article for Wiggins’ Big Ideas Website

I have had another article, Distributed Practice for Success, published at Grant Wiggins’ Big Idea website: Exploring the Essential Questions of Education.

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

In Medias Res (in the Middle) or From the Beginning

My wife and I went to a movie. It took me a long time to figure out what was happening until they did some flashbacks. I felt very lost just jumping into the middle of the movie.  Where do you begin your unit planning? Do you start in deciding on the standard, the particular aspect and then the learning goal? Or do you jump right into the activities you will do in the unit?

Understanding by Design advocates starting with the standard, the assessment, and then the activity so that “the end is always in mind”. Without a firm view of your “end” you will not be able to measure student learning against the standard. f you plan “in medias res”, you cannot be sure if you activities truly help the student reach the learning goal. Also, you may not be focusing on the essential ideas for the standard but, instead, on some very minor learning. Likewise, with a firm view of the “end” learning, you may focus on students’ minor errors that are not the most serious errors.

The preplanning (standard and assessment) for the lesson gives a foundation for all you do in the unit. Start from the beginning so your students can arrive at the end.

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.

Apply the Heat to Learning

Another thought about putting plastic on windows to insulate the window. After putting the tape on the window and putting the plastic over the tape, the last step is to apply heat. The heat forces the plastic to attach itself more firmly and tightly to the tape. It changes the loosely fitting plastic to very tight and firm plastic.

How often do we apply heat to our student’s learning after they have had some basic instruction and practice? Do we present them with a challenging task that causes them to apply their learning to a high degree? Do we have them think at the analysis, synthesis or evaluation levels? Do we have them take their “book” learning and apply it to real life? Do we have them evaluate present conditions based on past ones? Do we apply heat to their learning?

How do you apply the heat to your students’ learning?

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.

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.

Teach or Observe Students

I am the photographer for my church. I am supposed to record the events of the church. However, I often get involved in the events so I forget to take pictures such as last week when we baked 200 pies to raise money.

I realize that the same thing happens in the classroom. I am so busy “teaching” that I forget to observe the students. I do not do frequent check-ins so see where they are in the process. I do not build into my lesson plan student-self or peer assessments. I need to lessen my presenting and increase my student learning focus.

How do you change your focus to become the photographer of your students’ learning instead of th event main participant? Once you have a picture of their present learning, what formative actions do you take?

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.

Two Observations, Two Different Approaches

I was talking to two teachers from the same school. Both teachers were going to be observed. One supervisor not only did a pre-conference a week before the observation but also gave the teacher the evaluation rubric. This supervisor asked about any special conditions in the class or if the classroom teacher wanted the supervisor to look for anything in particular. As soon as the class observation was over, the supervisor gave some positives and some suggestions for change. Then within a week, the supervisor sent out the formal evaluation.

The other supervisor showed up two minutes before the class for the pre-conference. He looked over the lesson plan. After about two weeks after the class, the teacher received the formal evaluation.

I’m wondering which technique we use when we observe our 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.

My Formative Assessment Book Published

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, was published by Eye on Education. I just got my copy. http://tinyurl.com/FormAssess

I’m proud of the book since I included so many practical suggestions. I’ve read too many articles and books that talk about formative assessment. In fact, I just finished a book about feedback that was very general. It took a very long time to say very little. Very few writings take it to the classroom level with specifics. So my book has many examples for the sections of building in student responses, monitoring, diagnosing, formative feedback, time for growth, reporting and celebrating. It is meant to be a bank of easy to implement ideas.

I reread it last night. I begin thinking more about some of the activities and realized that I can modify some of my present activities to be even more formative, helping my students to begin to walk on the path to success.

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.

New Windows, New Visions: Insights into Class Learning

Our church is having its stain glass windows cleaned. As the window company took out the stain glass windows for cleaning, they put in clear windows. The sanctuary is covered with light now. Things that we did not notice, we know notice.

I wonder how much light we have in our classrooms. Do we see which students are struggling? Do we see how they are struggling? Do we see which resources we can use to help these struggling students? Do we see how we can lecture less and spend more time helping students? Or do we teach our lessons so we only see darkness (our teaching) and not students’ responses?

Turn on your lights by noticing how students respond to your higher level questions through their hand signals or personal response systems. Brighten the classroom by observing students doing in class exercises to determine where their strengths and learning gaps are. Enlighten your classroom by having numerous formative feedback activities to help students who struggle.

Let student learning shine brightly in your classroom.

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

How Many Academic Firsts Do You Celebrate?

My wife and I went to see our son, daughter-in-law and our grandson. These parents proudly talked about each first success of the baby- the first time he rolled over, the first time he had cereal, the first time he made something move…

I wonder how proudly we talk with our students about their successes. Do you acknowledge each of the students’ firsts? Do you let your students know on a daily or weekly basis their successes? Do you break your curriculum down so that they can celebrate small successes instead of waiting until the end unit test to be able to show a success? Do you celebrate each success to motivate them in their learning? Do you celebrate each success to show them that they are moving forward? Do you celebrate each success so that when they find a task especially difficult they can look back to their previous successes and know that they can achieve this task? Do you scaffold the curriculum so that they can easily move from success to success or do you have a sink-or-swim approach to student learning? Do your students look forward to the next challenge so that they can show how well they are doing or do they dread the exercise that they know they will fail at?

How do you make your curriculum a success one for students so that they constantly have new learning firsts?

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


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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