Archive for the 'Reflection' Category

Break your class now!

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

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

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

Break your class to help your students better succeed!

One way to break your class is through formative assessment.

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

Reponding to Your Students

Portfolio Orientation – Get Real!

I was talking to an instructor who was explaining the portfolio process at her college. She said that they had a portfolio day to introduce the portfolio  to all students.  They took the students through a series of exercises; however, never did the students actually see a real portfolio nor  did they look at their own material which might go in the portfolio. Instead they did a series of “cute” exercises.

My only thought was “Get real”.  If I had been in charge, I would start out with the purpose of the portfolio, show them the standards/proficiencies they have to demonstrate, show them a portfolio from the previous semester,  have them examine some possible material for a portfolio and decide which best demonstrates the standard, and have them examine a reflection on the standard to evaluate how well it explains what the student has learned and has yet to learn.  The more we replicate the real experience, the better our students understand the process and can be successful in it.

Wiki as Presentation Tool

PBwiki site

If your students have worked collaboratively to create a learning product through a small group wiki, then why not have them present their product via the same wiki? They already have the information from all of its stages -from brainstorms through various drafts. They can copy the information to a clean wiki page and organize it. They can either link to other presentation pages or they can move all information to one long scrolling page (put in about 12 blank lines between each aspect so that each aspect shows up by itself on the screen). They do not have to go to PowerPoint to do their presentation.

This type of presentation is especially good to demonstrate changes in thinking, growth in the project, and increasing levels of complexity. Students can show parts of their early brainstorm and then show their final product. They can show the various decisions that the group went through. Group members can add their feedback to each other and any teacher feedback and show how that feedback was incorporated to create a better product.

Have your students used a wiki for presentation?

YouTube Video Creation Reflection- Vocabulary

Here are my reflections on uploading a YouTube video that I made on teacher exercises to improve vocabulary in English, ESL, and World Languages.

It took time to find and or create images. The longest time was to find the Flickr images of fruits and vegetables under the Common License, probably about 8 minutes.

I used the free Gliffy to create the concept maps.

It was hard to find crisp examples that would clearly demonstrate the strategies; I had some but others I had to figure out.

I put the presentation in PowerPoint (really Open Office’s Presentation software) so that I could easily go from screen to screen. I used a very large font size so it could be easily seen. I kept the mouse on the extreme right side of the screen.

The presentation starts with a title, author, and contact information screen.

I used a camera stand to avoid the jiggling that my earlier video English essay had. It took a few minutes to get the computer screen to be in the digital camera’s screen- I had to use the zoom in, move the stand, etc.

I had to be very close to the camera and speak in my outside voice to make sure my voice would be recorded. I recorded it inside to avoid extraneous noises. I turned off all possible noise making things (air conditioner, cell phone). The last time I had recorded the Spanish Direct Object outside and you can hear the air conditioner and other noises.

I decided to both say and show the words (strategies) so it took longer than I had planned.

I did have to redo it since I mixed it up what I was reading one of the last screens. I knew it was quicker to redo it than to have to edit it. My camera held both the original and the second movie version.

It took about 27 minutes to upload a 2:31 .mov formatted movie.

I found it difficult to tag this since it covers so many subjects – English, ESL, and World Languages. I know that most World Language teachers will search by their language such as Spanish and not World Language. I was not sure how to tag it to indicate beginning vocabulary.

It takes YouTube about from one hour to seven hours to process the video once it is uploaded depending on the traffic on YouTube. Mine took about 40 minutes.

I just got to see the video and realized that the camera was not straight on so that some of the words are not easily read. I showed it to some other people and they like that I supplied the words and have a specific example of each.

Let me know your reaction about the content and what could be done to make it better without going Hollywood 🙂

I challenge you to put up a YouTube or TeacherTube video during the summer. Let’s try for 300 videos before school starts.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Rating Eportfolios Over Time: The Big Question

Copy or new reflection in newest eportfolio

What does it mean if a pre-service teacher directly copies his/her reflection from a previous semester in his/her most recent eportfolio and does not add anything?

Does it mean that

The previous semester’s reflection was the best that it could be and it cannot be better this semester?

The student ran out of time to think about the proficiency so he/she just copied it?

If it is the second, then how do we build time in the semester for the students to reflect on their growth?

If it is the first, then our program needs to be examined so that each semester provides deeper and richer experiences for the students.

What do you do in your program so that students have more in-depth and more comprehensive proficiency reflections each semester?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Reviewing Students Proficiency-Based Eportfolio Online: Prove it

Eportfolio Reflections Generalities Specifics

I recently finished doing an online review of a student’s electronic portfolio (eportfolio) to demonstrate her progress toward the School of Education’s five proficiencies.

I had heard the same student do a short fifteen minute public presentation of her eportfolio.

My reaction to the online review was the same as to her oral presentation. She gave many generalities but did not “prove” her point. I see proficiency-based eportfolios as “prove it” paragraphs in which the student clearly states what they will prove and then gives very specific evidence.

For the proficiency of “critical reflection” a student may write “I have grown professionally by doing reflections. I reflected after each of my lessons and I reflected at the end of the unit. I have become a better teacher.” She certainly is showing that she reflects but she is missing the critical part of how she has grown by reflecting.

When she adds details, she proves her growth. “I have grown professionally by doing reflections. I reflected after each of my lessons and I reflected at the end of the unit. I now base all my lessons on standards and assess on those standards; previously I did a reading activity and wanted the students to enjoy that activity. I have become a better teacher since I now assess during the lesson with response cards; previously, I only cared about my teaching not about the students’ learning.”

Do your students give specific “prove-it” examples of their learning in eportfolios?

Improving Student Learning Through Reflections in Technology Projects and Electronic Portfolios (Eportfolios)

Students Summarize or Reflect

Students need to develop the life long skill of reflection. They have to be able to determine what they did well and what improvements they can make to improve in the future. Unfortunately, most of school is built on external feedback, usually the teacher’s. Teachers can build in the reflection process: by modeling it; by asking students to do it; and giving feedback on how insightful their reflections are.

Reflections are a critical part of student electronic portfolios or eportfolios. Let’s look at a student eportfolio reflection.

I liked writing the essay about Cervantes’ Don Quixote and Shakespeare’s Midsummer Nights’ Dream. Both works of literature were great. I used the theme of love from the list the teacher gave us. For this essay I was told to tell three similarities or three differences and give examples of each. I followed the comparison/contrast essay format that the teacher gave us; I developed my outline using it. I looked over my notes and the class handouts and got the examples from them. It did not take me very long to do. I wrote five paragraphs. I outlined it and then word processed it. I think I did a good job.”

Nothing in the previous paragraph is a reflection. The student has summarized what he/she had to do. The only statement that comes close to a reflection is “I think I did a good job.” but even then, the student does not explain why he/she thinks he/she did a good job.

Another students writes.

I had trouble deciding whether I wanted to compare or contrast the two works of literature. I did a quick concept map of both and found that I had more complete examples to show their similarities. I could more easily prove the similarities after I changed the theme of ”love” to “crazy love”. I realized that both authors used humor to show how love can be crazy. I had trouble not including real life examples that are so similar to the literature examples. This time I listed examples of “crazy love” from each. Next time, I will match up the examples from the literature and show precisely how similar they are, instead of how generally similar they are.”

Notice how the second student clearly reflects his/her thinking and contains a specific suggestion for future improvements.

When your students do technology projects or eportfolios, do your students summarize or reflect?




Eportfolios- Student Growth Through In-Depth Reflections

As I prepare for a presentation on electronic portfolios (eportfolios), I am aware that many educators have a vague concept about eportfolios. My definition is “students’ self-selected purposeful limited collection of and reflection on artifacts toward the progress on a standard(s) done digitally”. I prefer  on standards-based eportfolios.

I have found many examples of eportfolios on the web; most of them are collections of material. What concerns me even more is the lack of in-depth reflection. If we want students to be life-long learners, then they have to develop in-depth reflection. A weak reflection summarizes what was done but does not specifically address the students’ growth. I like a KLW model: what I already Knew about the standard, what I Learned, and What I still want to learn. When a student says, “I learned to write better” then the student either does not know what he/she learned or they have not learned how to be specific. A student can tell how they learned it.

Eportfolios show student growth only when students’ do in-depth reflection.

RSS Education with Technology

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  • Curriculum Focus, Not Technology Focus July 28, 2016
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    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 […]
  • Digital Badges: Better Than Grades? October 19, 2015
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  • 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 […]
  • 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. […]
  • Global Cultural Learning Using Mobile Devices (ISTE Mobile MegaShare Presentation) June 28, 2014
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  • 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 […]

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