Archive for the 'Social Studies' Category

Learning Disease Epidemic: Textbook Dependency

Many students suffer from the academic disease of textbook dependency.  You can help cure your students of this affliction.

Symptoms:
Students
Are always looking in the textbook for answers
Never thinking for themselves
Cannot make connections between two concepts found in different chapters
When told to close the textbook and do an activity on their own,  they  show a wide range of emotions from a dazed look to high anxiety plus physical signs of mild to severe panic.

Sample cases:
1) A Modern Language  teacher asks his students to  find an Internet picture of a street scene in a country such as Ecuador  either on their Smartphone / tablet or print out the picture and bring to class.  When the teacher asks the students to talk about that street picture which is not in their textbook but based on the vocabulary in the chapter which they have reviewed many times, students show visible signs of agitation. Eyes are wide open as their mouths may be.  Visible nervousness. Inability to speak.  Students feel pressured. Pulse becomes higher.

2) When a Social Studies  teacher asks his/her  students to compare the Occupy movement to the American Revolution, students quickly look in the textbook’s  index and are shocked not to find Occupy listed. They  nervously flip through  the textbook pages.  Mild panic sets in. They cry out in emotional trauma, “It’s not in the book. What do we do?” Faces become red or pale, sweat may appear.

One cure:
Have the  students  do at least one activity beyond the textbook on a weekly or even better, on a daily  basis.  Scaffold their transition from the textbook to applying  the critical  information/concept.

The teacher can relate the learning goal to the real world.  He/She can  start small.

Example 1: In Modern Languages, before students talk about a street scene,  the teacher has them find either on their Smartphone/ tablet or print out a street scene picture and bring to class. The students identify the key street vocabulary from the book in the actual picture; they point to the object/person and say the word.  They review any words with which they had difficulty.  Then, without using their textbook or any review sheets, the students use the vocabulary in basic sentences to talk about the picture such as “There are many pedestrians in the street.  The cars stop at the stop light.”

Example 2: In Social Studies the teacher has students use their Smartphone/tablets or their home computers to find out what the Occupy movement is and what the movement’s goals are.  The teacher may start them off with some categories to explore such as purpose, method, etc.  The teacher has them create a similarity-contrast chart for Occupy and the American Revolution. Students use the chart as a basis for their critical thinking.

How do you move  your students from their dependency on the textbook to their  independent thinking?

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

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

Learn not be engaged in technology

I would  like to ban the words “engage”, “engagement”, “engaging” from education.   Many educational articles, company ads, and conference presentations use the this concept with titles such as “Engage your students through…”, “Highly engagement by….”, or “Engaging Students ….”.  Teachers will comment “My students were so engaged in the lesson.”  I would like much more than mere engagement, I want learning.

In a Social Studies class, students can be “engaged” in creating a PowerPoint of a country for many class periods but they  may not have  learned the critical country information.  Also, an “engaging” activity may be for students to create a video showing an understanding of a play  in their English  class. The students  can be fully attentive to the project but if they focus on sword play instead of the plot of the play, their engagement does not end up in learning.  Likewise, in Science, students can fully participate in a twitter conversation about the impact  of development on the local environment with every student tweeting.  Does each tweet add more information (depth or breadth of learning)?  Modern Language students can be “engaged” in using their Smartphones to collect pictures  for their teacher but do they talk in the target language about the pictures?

When we use essential questions, backward design, or problem based learning, students immerse themselves in learning. They improve in their learning through technology.

Do your student focus on learning?

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

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

Make classroom Web 2.0 use interactive, not static

I thought that Web 2.0 was all about interactivity- someone does something and others respond. However, I’ve noticed that numerous Web 2.0  programs are used primarily in a one way mode  (publish and run mode)

Students use Voki to record their ideas.  However, the recording  usually serve as  the end product.  The recording does not encourage others to respond or build on the recording.  Yes, others can listen to it but they usually do not do anything after listening to it.  For example, Modern Language teachers may have their students record what they did last weekend in the second language.  Once the recording is done, the “learning” is done.  No one will probably listen to it except for the teacher.  I propose a transformation  so that class use of Voki goes from being in a static mode to an interactive  Web 2.0 mode.  Modern Language teachers can have students make Voki recordings that are questions that other class members can answer. For example, students can ask questions in the imperfect tense of their classmates “When you were a child, what was your favorite milk?” and the classmates can answer, “Yes, when I was child, my favorite drink  was chocolate milk.”

Likewise, students produce multi-media Glogster eposters.  However, their eposters occur at the end of their learning. Usually, no one is expected to take their information and react to it or build on it. For example, Social Studies students prepare country reports.   I propose a transformation  so that the class use of Glogster  goes from being in a  static mode to an interactive mode.  Social Studies teachers can ask students to compare/contrast the various county reports to see what commonalities show up about the countries. For example, what do the country reports from South Africa have in common? How do they differ?

How do you have your students use Web 2.0 interactively?

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.

Aligning activities and end goal

When a  colleague was teaching a remedial English course, she was told to focus on the creative aspects of writing.   Those beginning college students needed to able to write academic  papers for college, not to write poetry and personal narratives.  They would  become good academic writers by focusing on the standard forms of academic writing  of writing such as contrast and argument papers.

Although this is an extreme example, I wonder how often teachers forget the real purpose of the students’  learning and have their students spend time doing something that does not directly lead to learning that goal.    A question to ask  is “How does this directly and efficiently lead students to being proficient in this skill?”  I remember watching a social studies class where  ninth grade students were coloring in the countries of South America, each country in different color.  The real purpose was to learn where each country was on the map but they spent about a third of the class on coloring.    Locating  countries on a map is a memorization activity so do memorization activities such as study a map with the names shown for  half the countries  and then , see a map without the names and put the names in.  Likewise, in a modern language class, students do not improve in their speaking ability by doing grammar drills. A student can be proficient in grammar but not  be a proficient speaker.  Students become more skillful in speaking as they speak more in class through structured activities.  Likewise, English students do not become better writers by just reading and answering questions about long literary essays.  When educators take students through the writing process with a focus on the specific type of writing, then these students become better writers.

So how does what your students do directly and efficiently lead them  to being proficient in a specific skill?

My  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

Let’s save Local History Through our Classroom Technology

Many years ago there was a push for students to produce local histories. I’ve not noticed that recently. In my community, the last school publication on this local community was done about 1990 and then it was very superficial- more of an activity book, then a history book. Like many communities, we have WW I and II vets, the people who owned the original buildings, the people who remember what life was like back “then”, the people who saw the rise and decline of the community, the people who have new visions for the community, buildings that are falling down, cemeteries that are being overrun with weeds, local famous people who few remember anymore, local historical landmarks that are being torn down for new buildings, old documents are falling apart, old pictures are fading away, etc.

Today we have so many classroom technologies to capture quickly people’s memories–digital cameras, digital camcorders, digital recorders. Digital storytelling is a big movement. We should not wait until Veterans’ Day to have people from our community into our classroom. Let’s involve social studies, English (narratives), math (chart the population over the years) science (what technology changes have taken place and its impact on the community), health (changes in water and sewage, types of restaurants) and other subject areas to collect valuable historical information on our community before it is lost.

Let our schools save the local history before no one or no objects tells of the past history. Let’s involve our students in real learning that involves community people. Let our students be of service to the community. Not longer do we ask ” Brother, do you a dime?” but “Brother & Sister, do you have technology to save our past before it is gone?”

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?

Student Talk or Assessments To Verify Standards-Based Learning

Student Hand up

A Social Studies friend complained that he showed his students the important geography of a country via pictures, maps and movies and his students, as a class, could orally say the geography. They could talk about the impact on the country. However, when he gave the students a map and asked them to label the geography and comment on its impact on the country, they could they not do it (average score of 45). He said that he realized his students could verbally talk their way through content but still not be able to really do it. He became aware that each student may be able to answer a single question but still may not understand the answers to several questions. He decided that to build frequent “reality” checks (assessments) into his class so that they students would have to demonstrate the learning. He began to use maps, outlines, charts, drawings, concept maps, etc. instead of relying on the verbal answers of his students. He found out that he could quickly assess the students’ learning in a comprehensive and in-depth manner. He could verify their actual learning instead of their verbal footwork. He created these assessments from the unit final.

What do you rely on- student talk or assessments?


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

Blog Stats

  • 780,674 hits