Posts Tagged 'Education'



Close but Not Really Formative Feedback

Example A:

At the end of each class, a teacher has her students  do a cumulative task on their whiteboards. She looks over the whiteboards and then gives the whole class the  feedback  of a repeating the rule she has already said.

Formative Assessment or Not:   She does diagnose each student’s answer in a formative manner.  However, she directs her feedback to the class and not an individual.  She does not give a new strategy but only gives the same general rule such as  “remember the order” that she has previously used in class. If the students do have the answer wrong, they probably do not understand the general rule so repeating that rule does not help the students.  Saying a rule  louder or more often does not help students who do not understand the rule.

Example B:

During the class, a teacher has her students do a task on their mini-whiteboards. She looks over their answers and quickly regroups students.  Each group has a specific task to do.  Some do enrichment, some have formative feedback for their overcoming a specific gap, and others meet with the teacher for more in-depth help in overcoming the gap.  Each student gets the appropriate feedback so he/she can overcome the learning gap and move forward.

Example B shows formative assessment in action.

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

Purposeful Web 2.0 -Texting

A grandfather and grandmother recently had their teenage grandson with them for the weekend.  The grandfather asked the grandson to help him straighten out the garage.  Two people were needed  to lift and move the heavy objects.  Just after they started, the grandson stopped, pulled out his cell phone, read a text, and then responded.  About five minutes later, he did the same.  About three minutes more, he repeated this pattern of pausing whatever he was doing to answer the text.  His grandfather mentioned that they could get the work done faster if the grandson did not stop so frequently to check his phone and text back.  The grandson did not see any problem.

We can use this story to help us think about Web 2.0 in the classroom. Texting can be valuable as long as it is focused on the academic  task.  If a student is texting about non-academic  things, then the texting is not productive.   Being connected does not always translate into being on task or even  into learning.  In addition, the text needs to move the learning  topic forward or at least  to clarify the learning.  Students need to  be able to express their deep ideas in short phrases that others can understand.

So how do your students use texting in class or for school work?

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

Importance of Education

I recently returned from Costa Rica.  The government  has believed that its people are its most valuable resource.  Therefore, this Central American country has eliminated the military and put that money toward the education of its people. They have mandatory education.  Costa Rica has a 97% literacy rate.   Many people will share that they have their present  job because of the government supported education.  Costa Rica has many universities; the public ones have a tuition program based on parents’ income. People ranging from senior citizens to young people can speak English.

One of the first news items I heard upon my return to the USA was that schools were letting go of teachers due to finances. I do wish our country felt that people were the most important resource and  therefore would fully fund quality education for all youth.

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

What Did I Learn From Giving the Final? What do I Do Differently?

I recently gave my Spanish final. After correcting each part, I put the grades for each part onto the final sheet and totaled up the score to get their final exam score.  However, the process for me was far from done. I then opened a spreadsheet, created a column for each category of the test and a column of student names.  I then entered the students’ grades for each part of the final and had the computer calculated the class average and the percent of that average out of a perfect score such as (class average of 22.4 out of a perfect score of 25 for a 90%).  I found out that   my students achieved a class average of  85% for speaking, 90% for listening, 76% for reading,  and 77% for culture, and a 62% for writing.  I instantly thought of  what I could do differently next semester to help the students do better. I focused in on their writing which was their lowest score.  I have decided that each week that they will write at least five sentences. I will correct their sentences more frequently (at least once a week). I realized that I have to help them understand the critical difference between the preterite and the imperfect tense since most students mixed up the two tenses in the each tense specific writing on the final.   I also thought of several strategies to improve their reading such as writing more questions for them to answer about the book “conversations”; have them practice answering questions words in class so that they are sure of the type answer. For example, the Spanish question word,  Donde,  has to be answered with a place; and have them find similar words in the question and the answer.  My goal is to increase each  of these two lowest scores so that they both are in the 85% for the next time.   I realize that I have to give my students different strategies than I gave this semester’s students. I will give formative assessments frequently to measure their growth. I look forward to the challenge and their success.

So what does your final tell you about the different strategies you might need to give your students of next year?

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 Show, Not Tell

In a few weeks I’m off to Costa Rica to take pictures to supplement the Costa Rican  cultural information and to show the  Spanish vocabulary in the Spanish textbook  that I use. Although I can tell students about Costa Rican life, they learn so much more from seeing it.  I have found the same to be true for most of education.  Telling is an abstraction. We  tell students something and they  can imagine anything or nothing. A good visual or metaphor focuses their thinking.   For example, we tell students that a paragraph has a topic sentence, three sentences of supporting ideas and a conclusion and their eyes gloss over since these words do not have meaning to them.  However, when we have them use their hand (thumb-introduction, three fingers for three supporting, and little finger for conclusion), they have a definite image of what we mean. In fact, they can always check their paragraphs against their hand to make sure they have all the parts.   Likewise, when we show the students a sign of a fruit store with the word “Fruteria” over it and a  perfume store with a “perfumeria” sign; they quickly learn that -eria is the ending for a speciality store in Spanish.   When we show them a picture or an illustration, they can see what we are trying to tell them. Many students need to go from the abstract to the concrete in order to learn information.

Do we use technology to tell or show?  PowerPoints full of text only “tell”. Blogs, wikis, tweets are often  text based; they can “show” by including links to pictures of movies of the content. Do  you use Web 2.0 tools to tell or to show?  Do your images or metaphors clearly show the concept you want the students to learn?

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

Really Effective Technology or Not?

This semester I decided to try something different in my writing class.  After giving them a pre-assessment (writing an in-class essay), I determined that this  class was at the same level as last semester’s students.  My change for this semester was that  I taught the whole semester without using a single PowerPoint.

In all the previous semesters, I have had a PowerPoint presentation  each night that had illustrations,  certain words in different colors,  many visuals, etc.   I had noticed that my night class often went to sleep when I turned down the lights and used the PowerPoint.  Even though I asked them many questions and did interactive things, the class seemed lulled.  This semester it was just me and the whiteboard with the lights on.  I did have different colored markers. I did full up the board and erase it several times during the class.   I felt that I had more eye contact (could see their reactions better)  and more interactivity with the students (could show other  strategies when they encountered a problem)  rather than being the button-pusher for the next PowerPoint Slide.

The informal results  based on this semester’s last in-class essay  compared to the previous semester’s was that this semester’s students did just as well (really slightly better)  than last semester’s students.  The lack of PowerPoint did not negatively impact the students; in fact, they did better without it.  Teacher methodology (focusing on students’ present learning status)  matters more than technology!

How do you know if technology is a truly effective tool in your class?

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

Opening Students’ Minds in Formative Assessment

I had the good fortune to present a full day  formative assessment workshop to a great group of teachers on Friday. They listened, asked questions and created their own formative assessment materials.

During the workshop, I stressed that after we have presented the information and students demonstrate that they do not “get it”, we need to either drastically paraphrase the information or give an entirely different strategy for learning it.  During the workshop, I used several metaphors

Students have a one channel TV.  Although they have the option of many different stations, they stick to one only. When they do not get any reception on that one channel, they do not switch to another way. We have the responsibility to show them how to use the other stations so that they can move forward in their formative assessment.

Students get stuck in a rut when they cannot understand what we present. That rut prevents them from moving forward. We have to help them get out of the rut by providing them with a new strategy for understanding the learning goal. That formative assessment strategy enables them to start back on their learning.

Some quotes about a closed mind or looking at a problem in only one way.

“If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”

“Our first problem is not to learn but to unlearn, to clear out some of the old assumptions (ways of thinking and doing).” G. Steinem

“If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”  V Hill

“Half of being smart is knowing what you’re dumb at.”

“It is not a disgrace to start over, it is usually an opportunity.”

“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.” F Zappa

“A closed mind is like a closed book; just a block of wood”  Chinese Proverb

“A closed mind is a good thing to lose.”

How do you open your students’ minds so that they can learn the critical learning goals in your subject?

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

Making Final State Exam Review into Formative Assessment for Higher Scores

I was talking to a teacher who has been reviewing for the  state assessment (New York State Regents) since January. I asked what he has done. He has taken a part of the regents exam and has had students do some practice activities. When I asked how his students were doing, he responded that they seemed to be doing fine. I asked how he knew and he answered that they did all the activities.

I suggested a different approach.  He can  pre-assess each part of the regents to find out  in which parts the students presently do well and in which parts they need improvement. If all students can do a part well, then they do not need to practice it.   Then once the teacher knows which parts are areas of weakness and determines what the actual gap is, the teacher finds  a new strategy or a new way of thinking about that specific learning  goal. The students use the new strategy on practice activities.  One or more  of the practice  activities become a formative assessment to determine well they are doing. The teacher diagnoses whether students have learned the goal to the desired level or whether they need another strategy if the initial strategy has not work.  When the teacher constantly is monitoring, diagnosing, giving feedback, and allowing time for improvement, students move forward.  Students who use formative assessment in their state exams will score much higher!

How do you “review” for the big state test or the final?

Formative Assessment books by Harry Grover Tuttle

Formative assessment keeps students from getting stuck in pot holes

The more I teach and the more I observe other teachers, the more I see formative assessments as avoiding or filling in the pot holes as soon as they show up in students’ learning.  Our students can only hit so many pot holes in their learning before they get an educational flat and cannot continue.  If students do not get the help to overcome these pot holes, then they give up. The students know when they hit a pot hole but they do not know how to avoid it in the future.  If we do not give them a new strategy, then they will continue to hit the same pot hole in their learning. They will get stuck and not be able to proceed forward in their learning.  Let’s keep students on the road to learning, not stuck  in their learning gap pot holes!

Formative Assessment books by Harry Grover Tuttle

No Real Destination No Real Learning

I enjoy “talking” with other teachers.  However, I am often amazed at how  they  describe the final learning destination.

A writing teacher may say, “We are doing contrast essays”, a modern language teacher says, “I want my students to speak the language”, a social studies teacher says “My students will be citizens of the world.”  What does each of these mean in a practical sense? How will these teachers know if their  students have reached the final destination  and how well they have done it?  Would another educator be able to identify the  same success?

I have been working in developing some foreign language assessments so that I can quantify the various types of speaking and how well students do on each.  I do not want to say “My students speak the language”  which is a vague concept but to specify what type speaking they do  and how well they do each. Once I can identify what the end learning looks like/sounds like, I can work backward to provide scaffolded  steps to help the students get there at a high level. In addition, I can build in formative assessment to monitor their upward process.

In order for athletes to win, they visualize exactly what they will do; they visualize their success.  Our students need to visualize exactly what they are to do.

How do you identify the end learning for the students so they can become successful at it?  How do they climb the ladder of success in that learning goal?

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

Do We Know the Students’ Exact Progress in the Learning Standards At Any Moment?

Every teacher should know at any given moment where their students stand in regard to state standards, state assessments, or even the “final”. We need to focus on our students’ learning progress and how we can help the students to improve from where they are to where we expect them to be. Waiting until the end of the year for students to take a pre-state assessment and then cramming down not-learned concepts make no sense.

When we start with the end in mind (Covey and Understanding by Design), we identify the precise learning we expect of the students and we create assessments that measure not only the end product but the many steps in their progress toward the learning. These mini-formative assessments help us to know at any moment where our students stand in terms of the end assessment. By using a technology as simple as a spreadsheet, teachers can keep track of their students’ formative assessments, give students new strategies to use to be successful, and, after much practice, re-assess the students to see growth.  Student learning is about continual growth toward the end learning.  If we want students to achieve the end learning goal, we need to constantly assess their progress and provide new strategies for success.

Do you know where your students’ exact progress right now in your course toward the state standard or assessment?

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

Build a real class learning community

Teachers can create a class community such as everyone knowing two things about everyone else in the class without having a learning community where students continually work together to better each other.   Likewise, teachers can have students work together (Student A does this/ student B does that….) without really collaborating (interacting and changing the individual or group’s ideas) .

I would propose using formative assessment to build a class learning community. When students continually help each other by peer-reviewing and offering new ideas to others, they  have a learning community.  For example, in pairs, the students have peer-reviewed each other’s brainstormed evidence for an English essay and the teacher has given the original authors time to make appropriate changes. Then they continue being formative by creating groups of three to four.  In turn, each author reads his/her thesis and his/her brainstormed evidence; the group has the responsibility of adding three to four new pieces of evidence to the original list. After they help the first person, they rotate through the group.  Each group has a single purpose: to help each author to have three to four new pieces of evidence.  Those groups are truly learning communities

What learning communities do you have in your class?

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

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, my book

My book, Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available at

http://tinyurl.com/writingtuttle.

The book provides a systematic approach of observing students’ written work, diagnosing ( strengths and gaps and identify strategies to overcome the gaps),  giving feedback, allowing time for growth and reporting the growth within your classroom.  This formative assessment book breaks down the writing process into specific steps so that you can help the students be successful at each step.  The students build on their successes, not their failures. This book contains numerous strategies to help the students overcome each learning gap in the steps of the writing process. Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment applies theory to the classroom in a practical easy-to-do approach.  Formative assessment creates a truly student-centered class where the goal is for each student to be success in a very interactive manner of self, peer and teacher reviews.

I developed the book by using the techniques in my writing classes.  My this year’s writing students are at the same level of writing after their first essay as past students were at the end of the course!

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

How Many Formative Assessments Do You Do Each Period?

The only way to know how well the students are doing is for constant formative assessments or check-ins. If we do monitor students’ progress, then we have to have strategies ready to help the students who are progressing. I suggest that we should do three or more formative assessments each period.  At present I teach a Composition and Research course at a college and, specifically, we are doing classification essays.   Students self-check to see if for their chosen  topic, they have three classifications and that those classifications do not overlap. They see or hear several examples of classifications that do or do not overlap.  They have time to make changes.  Then peers look their papers to see if they have three classifications and if there is any doubt that two classifications may be too similar. The peers circle the two classifications that seem similar and put a question mark next to them.  The peers talk to the writers to explain what they perceive as the overlap.  The students have time to make changes. At the same time, I walk around and comment on any students’ paper that is lacking three classifications or that seems to have  overlaps. I suggests ways to avoid the overlap such as changing the classification name to be more general such as “music” to “entertainment” or ways of narrowing the classification from “fast cars” to “sports cars”.

During each class the students self-assess themselves, peer assess, and I assess at least three  times each class.  Every class every student becomes successful; no students get stuck in their learning gap.

How often do you have formative assessments in your class?

Harry Grover Tuttle's two formative assessment books

Your Class Calendar and Formative Assessment

Most teachers have class calendars or schedules.  I’m wondering how much formative assessment is mentioned.

I guess that middle and high school teachers formatively assess (diagnosis a student gap, give a specific strategy to overcome that strategy and re-assess for success) less than  10% of the assessment time and  do summative assessments 90% or more.

How different it would be if teachers put formative assessment in their class schedule to show that formative assessment was a regular part of learning.

An English teacher may have for the writing section of class (Pre-write topic for contrast paper and have teacher, peer or self assessment of topic, narrowed topic, thesis, brainstorm, categories of proof,  graphic organizer or other organizer).

A science teacher may have the students write  a lab report draft (Teacher, peer or self assessment of lab report essential parts via a check-list;  compare findings with other students’ reports and report differences)

When students see such assessments, they know that their work will be reviewed, strengths and gaps will be identified, and they will be given precise strategies to overcome their gap and show improvement. They see that the class will help them move forward instead of just receiving a summative  assessment of a  “D”.

Try changing your class calendar to include formative assessments and see the difference in student learning.

Harry Grover Tuttle's Two Formative Assessment Books

21st Century Skills Learning and Web 2.0

I’ve noticed that many “Web 2.0”-based learning experiences are not 21st century skills-based.  For example, students can twitter about a novel but if their comments are simply plot summaries then they are not showing critical thinking. Likewise, many 21st century skills are not Web 2.0 based.  Students can create a video reacting to a novel  but if no one reacts to it or builds on it than it really is not Web 2.0 read-write based.

I think that we have to move from isolated thinking to more global thinking. We want to see 21st century skills developed through Web 2.0.

I share this preliminary draft of a grid in which we can look at both 21st century skills and Web 2.0 characteristics at the same time to see if we really have an intersection of the two.

Tuttle's 21st Century Skills and Web 2.0 Grid

Tuttle's 21st Century Skills and Web 2.0 Grid

Harry Grover Tuttle's Formative Assessment Books (Overview and Writing)

Spoiling our Students Through Formative Assessment

My wife and I spent the week taking care of our 15 month old grandson, Rowan. We now understand what it means to spoil a grandchild.  Like other grandparents, we did not buy special toys or clothing; we did not keep him up past his bedtime; and we did not take him to special places.  We did spoil him by devoting our complete attention to him. We did not focus on working, taking care of the house, etc; we only focused on him.

Every teacher should spoil the students in their classroom.  The teachers should be so prepared for class that when class starts the teachers can focus their complete attention on the students. How are the students responding to the instruction? Which students are “getting it” and which are not?  What learning problems are emerging?  What instant strategy can be implemented right now to help the students overcome their learning gap? We need to change our perspective from what we teach to what the students are learning. We need to  become  attentive parents/guardians who constantly look for clues of learning strengths and learning gaps.  We need to be nurturing parents/guardians who can treat  any “illness” as soon as we see it.  We do not want any student to bleed out while they wait overnight for us to figure out a solution to their illness.

Let’s spoil our students so that they achieve more in-depth learning!

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

Reponding to Your Students

Standardized Terms for Common Understanding

I am constantly amazed that we, in education, have not standardized learning terms.  Is a benchmark a 3-4 a year comprehensive test of the skills in the course? Or is a benchmark the level at which the students are to arrive? What’s a standard? The list of generic skills from the state?  The quality we expect of students?  What is formative assessment? Student observations that lead to improved lessons for next year?  A student observation that leads to instant feedback for that student?  Each new educational movement brings in its interpretation of a term.

We cannot even have an educational discussion because we use the same word to mean different things.

The Federal Gov’t wants to clarify the end product of learning instead of having states have their own standards. I agree. Even more the federal government should publish a dictionary of what educational terms mean so that everyone can use the words with the same meaning. A common vocabulary means that teachers within the same building, within the same district, within the same state, and within the same country can have a common meaning.

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

Reponding to Your Students

Formative Assessment Rubric: Different than the Usual Rubric

You probably use a rubric to assess students.  Your rubric is most likely a summative rubric.  It tells the students what they did right or wrong (a score of 4/6).

It probably does not show the students what a proficient answer looks like so that they can improve (a formative assessment rubric). Since a formative assessment rubric includes what a proficient example looks like the students move from the theory of the rubric (what I got wrong or the abstract terms in the rubric) to the classroom practice (what does a “good” answer look like in practice) so that the students can change.

In addition, a formative assessment rubric contains suggestions for improvement for any less than proficient area. Students not only see a proficient response but they learn a strategy that will enable them to do  that proficient response.

The rubric moves from “a grade” to “an improvement”.

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

Reponding to Your Students

Frequent Formative Assessment: Road Trip Metaphor

Recently I’ve been thinking of learning as a road trip.  Our students start out on the trip but soon they may take a road that does not lead to the  destination. In many classes, the instructors do not find out that the students have been on the wrong road until the weekly quiz or even the unit exam. Formative assessment helps to monitor students as they drive. Students do not have to take the same road (differentiation) but they do need to end up at the same destination. Formative assessments helps  identify students who have wandered off on dead-ends, have  being caught going around traffic circles, or have taken roads that lead in the opposite directions from the destination. Formative Assessment shows them how to get back on a road that leads to the destination and then monitors that they are continuing on that road. Formative Assessment can monitor when students have stopped for an extended break. Formative Assessment celebrates their success as they arrive at the destination.

How do you use Formative Assessment to help your students reach their destination?

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

Reponding to Your Students

Creating Imaginary Worlds in the Class

Some educators feel strongly that schools should use virtual worlds to engage today’s youth. I remember a distant time when teachers had the power to create imaginary worlds in the class. A Social Studies would tell about the Civil War from the viewpoint of a teenager as his middle school students enter in that teenager’s struggles.  An English teacher used A Midsummer’s Nights Dream to explore young love for high school students. They understand the world of crazy love, mistaken love, and true love. The play becomes a vehicle for them to explore an important issue in their lives.  A science teacher had the students adopt a local stream; they tell the stream’s story throughout the school year. They write as if they were the living stream.  Teachers have the power to create wonderful worlds in the classroom.  Students can be transported to other places, times, and events and see through the eyes of others. They learn more in-depth and more comprehensively.

Can you create imaginary worlds in your class so that students enter into a different world? Do you transport them to a different realm of seeing and thinking?  Get your Merlin’s wand out!

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

Reponding to Your Students

Quality Learning in Education

Long ago when I began a new job, my superintendent suggested I go to TQM training which was being done via videoconferencing. I learned much and changed my department into one that applied TQM to increase our effectiveness while providing high quality service. Then the TQM movement was criticized for being too business like and it quietly disappeared from education.  Ironically, many of the TQM ideas and tools have been renamed into more “acceptable” terms such as “continuous quality improvement” (CQI) or “data driven”. The premise in TQM is that you identify the quality that you want and you constantly measure to see if you are obtaining that quality. If not, you change your actions to achieve that quality.  TQM builds in success structures (many graphic organizers came out of TQM).  Movements such as formative assessment can be seen as TQM applied to student success.

How have  you identify the quality of learning you want in your students? How do you build in success measures so that students reach that level of quality in their learning?

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

Reponding to Your Students

Web 2.0 Learning Only Works With Critical Learning

Web 2.o  allows students to have more access to information through the social interactions. Collecting information is not creating knowledge.  Some  of my writing students have a ton of information about a topic through Web 2.0 tools but they cannot put the information together in a coherent fashion. The problem is not access to information; the problem is thinking.  As we get more into Web 2.0, we need to get more into Critical Thinking.  Students need to be able to analyze, synthesis, and evaluate information (Bloom) . They need to be able to see information from various perspectives (Chaffee) and to think through various aspects of the issue  such as purpose and  consequences  (Noisch). If we want to “teach” how to use Web 2.o tools, then we need to teach Critical Thinking.  Instead of  Web 2.o courses/”new literacies” courses, we need “Critical Thinking with Web 2.0” courses. The thinking skills will be transferable as new tech tools quickly evolve.

Let’s focus on critical 21st century thinking skills so we can use Web 2.0 tools wisely!

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to 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

Student or Teacher Duty: Improving Time for Feedback

On Sunday, the church congregation was surprised to see a young ten year boy be the liturgist. He said the prayers, introduced the hymns, and read the scripture.  The boy had listened to the adults who usually do this and thought he could do it.  He did a good job!

It made me think of what duties are only teacher duties in the classroom and what are student only duties. Students can pass out materials, collect material, take attendance, do class review, prepare classroom materials such as handouts or PowerPoints, make quizzes, and assess other students’ work. Students often present information in a way that their classmates can easily understand the information.

If we have students do more in the classroom, we can spend more time on giving small group or one-on-one with students. We have more time for formative feedback.  We spend out time not in many managerial things but in helping students to learn.

Let’s give our students more duties so that we can help them more!

Talking to Babies Makes Them Successful in School

Christensen, Horn and Johnson in their Disruptive Class argue that one of the most disruptive ways to improve education is to have children 0-3 years hear more “language dancing” (Risley and Hart term) where the parents  engage in face to face conversation with the infant and talk in adult, sophisticated language.  The business talk  of  “Let’s get in the car”  or “Eat your peas” does not contribute much to language development. They quote research to show that a significant portion of a person’ intellectual capacity is determined in his/her first 36 months and the most critical is the first year. Risley and Hart affirm that some working class parents do talk to their children and some affluent parents do not. Race, age, or income are not factors, simply the amount of time that parents talk to their children.

I would like to propose a  serious change in education.  I advocate that the federal govt or state pay retired teachers to go to talk to young babies for two hours a day for five days a week. Even if the teachers are paid $10 an hour or twenty dollars a day or $100 a week for a total fifty two weeks or  $5,200 a year, that would be a tremendous Return on Investment (ROI).  Imagine students going into school having heard 48 million words as opposed to the 13 million words.   Hopefully, the children’s parents after hearing the sophisticated talk of the retired teachers will change their talk to their children. We could get rid of HeadStart and use that money.  Many of the reasons for universal Pre-K would be eliminated.  All students would start school at a high level of language.  All students could start off being successful and continue to be successful.

Let’s starting talking to babies now!

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

Reponding to Your Students

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

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

Learning as dancing

One of my student compared being a student to learning to dance with someone. You have to figure out where the person is taking you. You learn how the other person moves.  You learn how to respond.  You learn the boundaries.

Often students spend much of a class in figuring out this dance. They may not know the “real” course goals. They may not know how they will be assessed. They may not know how they are to complete assignments (the procedures and expectations). They do not know the limits (They have not seen an exemplar).  They step on many toes in doing this dance; they stumble.  We need to step back and show them the “secrets” of our dance so that they can spend time dancing instead of trying to figure out the dance. Let’s scaffold our class for success in each part of the dance so that the students can do a joyful dance of learning!

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

Reponding to Your Students

How Lost Are Your Students?

I heard from a college student who happened to read parts of my next manuscript (Formative Assessment Improves Writing) after his mother told him that she was reviewing the book. He mentioned that the smart kids “get it” but the other kids often struggle. They get lost in one part and then they get more lost  in the next and more lost in the next until they cannot find their way out. Unfortunately, their teachers usually do not help them.

He was interested in how I made sure no student could get lost since I assess each student on each minor part of his/her writing  journey.

I wonder how often teachers assess their students and then give formative feedback immediately?  How many minutes go by before the students are assessed and formative feedback is used to help students get back on the learning path if they have wondered off? How many days? How many weeks? The more time between formative assessments, they more time to get lost, to get so lost that there is almost no hope of ever finding the path again.

learninggoalfaffmap1

How lost are your students? How do you know? What do you do to help them when they get lost?

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

Reponding to Your Students


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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