Archive for the 'Purpose' Category

Intensity of Learning

People enjoy  intensity such as the intensity of a ski run, an amusement ride, diving into a lake, a round of Jeopardy, or a Soduku puzzle.

Students enjoy and benefit from class when we provide them with intensity of learning  We can give them short  activities that  are highly focused on critical learning.  As we move our students from talking about learning to  using what they are learning, many opportunities exist for intense learning.

In my Spanish class, I have my students do many one to two minute speaking activities. Each activity focuses on a specific language function such as asking for information or  persuading.   For example, in groups of two, one student looks at a picture such as a people in a mall and asks his/her partner questions while the partner answers the questions.  They do not prepare for this activity, they just dive into it. They have to combine their already learned vocabulary and grammar from previous lessons to do this activity. After this intense activity, they debrief by going over what they could do better next time and then practicing to show that they can improve. This formative assessment activity provides a intense experience for students.

In my English comp0sition class, my student write essays but they write them intense part by intense  part.  After my students have selected a topic, narrowed it down, written a thesis, and generated ideas, they spend a few minutes in organizing the ideas into a graphic organizer.  They complete the graphic organizer if any parts are missing.  One student described this as putting together a giant puzzle with a clock ticking.  He also commented that sometimes he has to create a missing puzzle piece.  When the students finish, they feel a sense of satisfaction.  A writing partner looks over their graphic organizer for the logical flow of ideas and the support of those ideas in this formative writing activity.

These intense activities require the students to use higher level thinking and to perform on the spot. Students like a challenge and that   students can climb higher academically if we give  them the opportunity.

How do you provide intense higher level learning for your students?

I have Spanish spontaneous speaking activities at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

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Consistency in learning

Do we have consistency in learning in our classes?  Do we translate our ending goals into daily learning?    Do our tests, quizzes, and daily classroom activities reflect that same learning?  This backward planning follows the Understanding by Design model. For example, if a social studies curriculum wants students to  answer  the universal questions of Why is there war?,  How do people fight wars? and What are the consequences of wars?, then social studies book tests should  not have  students memorize the names and dates of battles for a particular war in a specific country.  That microscopic view does not help students answer the essential questions.

Likewise, if modern language teachers want their students to be able to converse in the target language, then do students spend most of their time in class conversing?  Do the language tests reflect conversations or do these tests focus on discrete grammar and vocabulary?

Do English teachers who want their students to be better writers  really focus on writing?   Do  these teachers spend more  class time on  doing punctuation exercises than on  developing good ideas?  Do they have their  students spend more time watching a movie than writing about the movie?

When teachers  want to improve subject area learning through Web 2.0 tools,  do the students spend more time on the technology or on the content learning?

I do not believe that we need to add more days to the school year to improve student learning.  I believe that we can increase learning  best when we are consistent in what we want students to learn and then following through in our daily activities, in our quizzes and in our tests.

How consistent are you in your students’ 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.

Feedback that serves a purpose or that confuses

I get lost easily. A few years I spend one half hour in getting from point A to point B in a large city because I kept on getting lost.

I wonder how lost most of our students are when we give them feedback such:

Study more!
Get serious!
Focus/ Concentrate!
Think /Think it through!
Try harder!
Redo/ Revise / Rewrite!
Reread the chapter/handout!
Look it over!
Do it right!

Using formative assessment we give them precise suggestions that guide them in their improvement. Our formative feedback does not leave them wondering what to do.

Do you have other words that you will no longer use as you change to formative assessment?

The Role of Technology in Your Class: Purposeful or Wasteful?

Eli Whitney image from Wikipedia
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eli_Whitney

I recently had a discussion with a Social Studies teacher who was telling me about the great project her students were doing.

She told that the students researched their famous person, spent several days to put it in PowerPoint and a day to present it. I asked her what a project contained. She said it had the person, his/her birthday and place, what his/her accomplishment was, and the impact of the accomplishment. I really liked the accomplishment and impact aspect of the project. However, when she told me that this project took “only” a week to do (one day to get the information, three days to do the PowerPoint, and one day to present); I realized that it was a technology project and not an academic learning project. The students spent one out of five days or 20% in learning the academic information. This information is readily available in most encyclopedias or websites such as Wikipedia so student could find it in little time. They spent most of their time in decorating their PowerPoint statements about the person such as finding a map of the state he or she was born. They could have found the information, found a critical picture that illustrates the accomplishment or impact, and presented in one period. When students have a clear learning purpose (the accomplishments of people), they can thoroughly accomplish the task through meaningful and effective uses of technology. I wonder why the teacher allowed her students to waste four valuable learning days.

Do you focus on student learning or technology in your students’ technology-infused learning?

Students Standard Success Pre-Requisite: Purpose and Demonstration

My favorite questions to ask in class are “What is the purpose of this class?” and “How will I know that you have learned it?”

Two critical classroom questions about a standard

If students are not aware of what they are to be learning (the standard, outcome, or proficiency), then they are not focused learners. I do not want to hear their answers as activities such as “To find information on the web” or “Use APA style.” I want them to identify the major outcome for the unit or course such as “Write a research paper on a future career.”

Likewise, if they do not know how they are to demonstrate their learning, then they will not be focused on the types of activities they need to do. If students can answer “Write a research paper detailing career responsibilities, skills, education and employment possibilities for two careers,” then I am sure that they know what they have to do to be successful in the course.

I’ve actually give quizzes on these two questions. If they cannot answer these two questions, then they probably will not do well in their course learning. I will provide them with many opportunities to self-assess their progress. I use the online survey tool of Zoomerang to give me a class and individual overview of their progress in reaching the course outcome so that I can work with groups and individuals who need additional support in order to be successful.

How well can your students answer these two questions for your course? How do you check on their progress using technology?

Harry Grover Tuttle© 2007

Which technology serves our educational purpose? -NECC

Backward Design

Based on the many sessions and poster sessions at NECC, I see that podcast is the “in” thing. My question is “Why is it better for a specific learning than another technology?” Using the Backward Design model, I thought we were to

– identify the standard
– identify the specific component of the standard
– figure out how we will assess it
– select the activity
– then choose the technology

If teachers say they want to podcast, then they are jumping to the absolute last decision instead of starting at the most important decision (the standard).

Where do you start?

 

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

 

 


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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