Posts Tagged 'English'

English +Common Core +Mobile = Success (ISTE2014 Poster -details)

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.

SL.4 Tell about a mobile picture of a place far from your home by using space organization.

SL.6 Present mobile recorded news to two different groups (HS class and elementary class).

R.2 Create a one minute small group video to record the  theme of  the story.

R.5 Analyze the structure in downloaded literature by doing a key word search.

R.7 Integrate mobile content. Find online image to show the meaning of each poem stanza by identifying the key words in the stanza.

W.5 Revise a paragraph about non-fiction article using point of view and claims.  Orally dictate to voice to text on mobile, read, improve and re-record.

W.6 Publish school news as tweets; publish much info in few words.

W.7 Do map and image research for a novel like Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.

Use the 150+ different mobile activities in my ebook ,English Common Core Mobile Activities, to guide your students in learning and demonstrating the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Anchor Statements in Language, Speaking and Listening, Reading, and Writing. The activities, organized by Anchor Statements, actively engage your students. More than half the activities are non-fiction. Although the ebook is intended for grades 6-12, teachers at both the elementary and the college level can easily adapt the activities. Over 98% of the suggested apps are free and work on both Android and iPad. Many of these activities can be implemented immediately in the classroom. Each activity is described in detail; most students already can use the app in each activity. Students spend time in achieving the Anchor Statements, not in learning apps. Many of these mobile activities are done in pairs or small group so not all students need to have a mobile device.  $7.99

English Common Core Mobile Activities

English Common Core Mobile Activities

English + Common Core + Mobile = Success in Learning Poster Session at ISTE 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 tools with which to show their demonstration of the Anchor Statements.  Here are short descriptions of three activities:

L.2 Conventions Mobile Online Survey. Teachers can give their students quick conventions formative assessment QR codes that link to an online survey/quiz such as in Google Forms. Each week the teachers focus on a specific part of the conventions such as capitalization. For example, teachers give four statements and the students select the one with incorrect capitalization. As the teachers project the graph of that day’s online quiz and they discover that many students have made errors, they present a micro-lesson on that aspect of capitalization. Teachers can have QR codes for online videos so students can also review that specific convention at another time.

SL.4 Photo Description Organized by Space.
Teachers have their students describe a picture using space organized words. Teachers ask their students to take a mobile picture from their home of a far away location. In class, the teachers review how to use space or location words to organize the students speaking. The teachers share a list of space words such as “in front of,” “to the left,” and “two blocks.” The teachers ask their students to pair up. One student describes how to get from his/her house or apartment to the far away place. The other student listens for and writes down all the space words or phrases that the speaker uses. The listening partner tells the speaker how many space organization words he/she used and suggests other space organization words that would clarify the directions even more. Next, the other student describes his/her picture while the partner listens and gives feedback. The students audio record their revised speaking and post it in an online class management system such as Schoology.

R.5 Key Word Search in Downloadable Literature

As students determine the theme for a piece of literature, they focus on key words that help them explore that theme. In groups of two or three students, one student has downloaded to a mobile device the public domain version of the literature such as Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding. That group of students may search for the word “knife” in the play by using the Find feature in the e-publication. They create a paper chart with three columns: 1) Act and Scene 2) number of times the word appears; and 3) who says it or does something with it that reflects the theme of the play. When they finish with their chart, they take a picture and post it in an online class management system such as Schoology.

Use these 150+ different mobile activities in my ebook,English Common Core Mobile Activities, to guide your students in learning and demonstrating the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Anchor Statements in Language, Speaking and Listening, Reading, and Writing. The activities, organized by Anchor Statements, actively engage your students. More than half the activities are non-fiction. Although the ebook is intended for grades 6-12, teachers at both the elementary and the college level can easily adapt the activities. Over 98% of the suggested apps are free and work on both Android and iPad. Many of these activities can be implemented immediately in the classroom. Each activity is described in detail; most students already can use the app in each activity. Students spend time in achieving the Anchor Statements, not in learning apps. Many of these mobile activities are done in pairs or small group so not all students need to have a mobile device.

English Common Core Mobile Activities

English Common Core Mobile Activities

Common Core and Modern Languages- Do not panic

No, there are no common core standards for Modern Languages.    Yes, Modern Language teachers are looking at  the English Language Arts Common Core.      No, those teachers should not panic.

I  have been in education for over 40 years.  I have seen many many movements and new  approaches.  I have been in education long enough to see the same movement resurface with a new name.  With each new building principal came a new way of doing things, with each new superintendent came the newest approach, and with each new leader of  state education or professional organization came a new vision.  Usually the new approach, especially the common core in Modern Language,  does not require multiple days of professional development even a half day; most times modern language teachers can make the change within about an hour.

I have used a simple technique to change to any new  approach.    I analyze the new approach thoroughly and then determine
1. What am I presently doing that directly fits in that approach?
2. What am I doing that I can modify slightly to fit the approach?  Sometimes it is as simple as a name change or where something goes in a lesson. For example, what  is the new name for an anticipatory set?  I believe that Common Core English just uses different labels than we do in Modern Languages when we use the labels from ACTFL or state guidelines.
3. What do I have to change completely or add to what I already do?

I am waiting for someone to develop the magic cheat sheet that converts  the English Language Arts Common Core to Modern Language learning.  We already do  them, we just have to give our activities a new name or number.

I have attended two workshops on Common Core and Modern Languages  and neither kept it simple. In fact, I walked out more confused than when I went in.  A Modern Language department could do a  CC to ML conversion chart  in about a fifty minute meeting.

If you know of anyone who has developed the magic conversion chart, please let me know so I can share it with other Modern Language teachers.

I have developed many  Spanish activities that allow students to begin to express themselves and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking as in a natural conversation.  My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (20+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask  a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs),  Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing from 2-4 people) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group),  Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs),  and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

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

Problems with Institutional Assessment

Assessment dominates education from K-12 through college.   There are different types of assessment, formative (helps students improve) and summative (grading of students).  However, institutional assessment  involves the bigger picture of how an institution or a department is doing academically.

In institutional assessment, teachers enter data into a  mega-database. For example, teachers may enter their students’ grades  on each section of the final. Then someone, often a department head,  analyzes the overall results using the online data, to assess the student learning across specific courses and across the department.

Institutional assessment has some basic flows
1) Most institutions have not identified a specific  enough curriculum that can be assessed.  Many contain very general statements of learning.  For example, English might state that  students will write a well-written essay. Has the English department specified what constitutes a well-written essay?  Likewise, a Modern language department may have the curriculum statement  “The student should speak in sentences that have relatively simple structures and concrete vocabulary”.  What does “speak” mean?  Does it mean to be able to talk about one’s life, to hold a conversation. to repeat from memory?  When there are only general  learning statements, there cannot be any  meaningful assessment.

2) If departments have identified specific learning goals, what is the priority of those learning goals? For example, in English the purpose of writing is to communicate ideas or feelings.  Shouldn’t the organization of ideas be more important than the spelling?  Or does spelling/grammar have the same assessment weight as organization?  Likewise,  in  Modern Languages, are all skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) treated equally in assessment weighting even though both in class and in the real world, people listen and speak almost double the amount that they read and write?  Have the specific learning goals and their priority been communicated to the teachers/students through a department website/wiki?

3) The departments do not have exemplars that show the quality that they expect of students.  Does the English department share  electronically with all English teachers essays that show what constitutes a high level paper,  an acceptable paper, and a non-acceptable paper?  Again, are these exemplars on the department website for each course?  Does the Modern Language department share audio files of  a good ten sentence conversation through their website or an their department app?

4) They have vague assessment tools.  The English department has a generic rubric (has good organization,  conveys ideas, etc.) that can be interpreted differently by different people.   What type of essay will be the written? An autobiographical essay requires a very different approach than a contrast essay.  In Modern Languages, how will writing be assessed – holistically or analytically?  If different educators can come up with different scores for the same student, then the assessment tool does not accurately measure learning.  Teachers can receive a digital image of the rubric and work assessed using that rubric.   How well does the assessment tool match up with how the information was taught in class?  Is the assessment tool such as the final developed  at the  competency level or at the highly competent level?  Students may be competent but not highly competent

5) The departments do not do a thorough analysis to get at the root problem once they have discovered a gap.   If the students do not achieve well, was it due to the  students’ lack of effort, a misunderstanding of  how to answer the  assessment question, a specific word in the  assessment question,   the thinking level of the test question,    the structure of the assessment item,  the textbook, the textbook’s powerpoints,  the teacher’s explanation, the homework, or  the online work?  Usually much additional exploration is needed to determine the real reason for the gap. Once the  department identifies the gap, what  specific strategy will help the students over come this gap?  Will the department suggest  technology-based strategies that appeal to students such as Youtube videos, interactive websites,  interactive apps  and that help the students directly overcome the gap?

6) Most important of all, how does the institutional assessment help  students improve in the course right now?  Most institutions assess once a semester.  After the analysis, the department  focuses on  what changes will happen in the future year.  Unless regular assessment is done in small intervals  throughout the year and changes made almost instantly, then the assessment does not benefit  the present students.  Next year’s students may be very different than the students who took this assessment.  Classroom teachers need access to the online data and analysis so they can take class time to provide  the students new learning strategies.  Then, students can be successful learners!

How does your institution assess  student learning?

My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (20+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask  a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs),  Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing from 2-4 people) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group),  Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs),  and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

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

Aim For Real Learning With Apps

During the Olympics many athletes told about their training.  For example, swimmers lifted weights to develop stronger arms. They watched tapes of their turning around  and made adjustments.  They stressed that the most important thing that they could do to improve their swimming was to swim.

Do we use apps  in our classrooms to do  developmental drills or do we use apps to allow students to swim?  Students can do math app after math app of math drills without ever doing real world math; , can the students  figure out how much they are spending in a store and how much change they  are to get back?   Likewise, English students can do grammar drill after grammar drill on various apps;  can they write a persuasive essay about preventing the destruction of a forest for a shopping mall?  Again, modern language students can do vocabulary drills on  food in many different apps; can they, in the target language, order a meal and tell what is wrong with the meal?

Our students will use some developmental apps but then  they have to move up to  real life or simulation apps where students use the learning in real experiences.  For examples, you can give  your  math students a certain amount of  virtual pretend money such as $150.00 and tell them to go clothing shopping at an online store on their mobile device. What can they buy? How much will they have left?   Modern language students can visit a restaurant in their target language and explain to the waiter  what they want to eat  for each part of the meal.

Let’s use apps to do real world uses of the subject area and not to drown students in developmental apps.

I have 20+ Spanish spontaneous speaking/fluency activities  available at Teacherspayteachers: 
http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

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

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

Healing Learning injuries: The Immediacy of Formative Feedback

If a student has hurt herself and is bleeding, we do not say, “Wait a few days and we will take care of your bleeding.” We help stop the bleeding immediately.  However, when a student bleeds academically by showing a serious learning gap, we often delay the necessary treatment.

When a student displays a learning gap such as  not being able to write a topic sentence in a composition, we  immediately apply the treatment of providing the student with different new strategies.  We do not simply re-give the student the  original strategy that was unsuccessful for the student.  We have a list of different strategies on the class website, blog, wiki, a handout, or a QR code.  We write these strategies in student-talk and provide examples.  For example, a topic sentence has a topic, like “the school baseball team”, and a strong position or viewpoint  about the team such as “will win this Friday”.  The complete topic sentence becomes “The school baseball team will win this Friday.”
We provide a  variety of differentiated ways for the students to learn the missing concept of a topic sentence such as  a written explanation.   We can ask students to put a box around the topic and put an arrow ( → ) over the position. Also, we can offer the student  a variety of other ways of learning this concept such as    Youtubemovie, a podcast, and  a visual.  The student selects which formative feedback she feels will help her the most. Then, she practices that new strategy so that she improves.

Through the  immediacy of formative assessment, we heal the student  in their learning.  The student does not become injured for the rest of her learning.

Tuttle’s formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

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.

Revision as key to the Writing Process

Revision as key to the writing process

This graphic indicates an interesting aspect of the writing process.  Many students do a revision or possible two of their writing but they do not go through the constant revision that professional writers do.  However, the classroom teacher can build in many more revisions on the students’ work with little effort.

The students can peer review and revise their work as they do it.  For example, students write a thesis statement and then have  a peer assess it and give feedback based on the teacher’s guiding questions.  As the students develop their graphic organizer, other students can look it over for different categories, evidence and details and then the students can revise it.  As the students write their first body paragraph, another student can peer review it using a teacher-provided rubric and then the students can revise it.  The teacher can have writing strategies for that particular part of the writing process  to help the students who need additional assistance  in areas of the writing process or they can find other areas for peer review  as shown in my book Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

Constant assessment and revision improves student writing.

How often do you students receive feedback on their writing during the writing process and then make revisions?

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.

Students vote to improve -Formative Assessment

I teach a freshmen college  English course. I’ve been using formative assessment throughout the course.  We do at least five very structured formative assessment peer reviews before we even write a draft (Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment).  During today’s class, we  peer reviewed a draft of their contrast essay.  I asked the class to vote whether they wanted 1)  to hand in their essays the next class which was just before  the vacation or 2) to do another  peer review  and have the essays due after Spring Break. I told them I would do whichever they wanted.  90% voted to have their essays peer-reviewed again. They wanted more formative feedback so that their writing could improve!  One student even boasted as he showed me  his peer-reviewed draft, “Look at all the ways I can do better!”

How do you use formative assessment to constantly assess students and to “instantly” help them to improve?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Critical Thinking- Fact? Inference? Judgment?

Many students need help in developing critical thinking skills as part of  the 21st century skills.  A technique that I have used both when I taught Critical Thinking courses at the college level and when I have taught higher level thinking  in my own Spanish or English  classes is Fact-Inference- Judgment.

Look at this picture taken by me  in Costa Rica:

Fact – something that is obviously (physically)  in the picture, text, movie, etc.  Everyone will agree to this fact.  For example, there are four people in the picture.  There are pigeons.

Inference- based on noticing  things in the picture, text, movie, etc., a person  makes an assumption. This assumption is only a short logical  step from the observation.   A person can state what he/she observed and what inference this lead to.  Others can easily understand the logic of going  directly from the observation to the inference.  Inference making people use statements like “Based on observing… I notice … I see and therefore …).  For example, I notice that they have on short sleeves so I infer it is warm.   It looks like there are young children, a young adult and an older adult, I assume that this is a grandmother, a daughter and her children.

A judgment is a value statement or emotional statement. Although something in the picture or text may be a springboard, there is no logical leap.  Judgments take a strong value or emotional stand on the media.  Judgments usually express their viewpoint through  opinion-based adjectives (“handsome”,  “unsafe”) , adverbs  (“dangerously”,   “peacefully”), verbs (“kill”, “love”) and nouns (“murderer”, “saint” ).  A judgment can be easily challenged by others.  Some judgments for this picture are “The family is happy”  (Not really, the little boy began to cry as the mother moved the pigeon closer to her son.” A fact is that the two older women are smiling. ) and  “Costa Rica is overrun by pigeons.” (Fact: Pigeons are in some city parks.)

As we help students to give only  facts and inferences about media, we develop their critical thinking.  As we help students to see that some statements are judgments (pure opinion not based on  facts  or inferences), we develop more critical thinkers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Formative Assessment Time = Success Time

This semester I am teaching  College Composition.  I find that my students’ quality of work has improved drastically since I use formative assessment. In the last essay unit,  the classification essay, the students spent over half of the time in formative assessment, mostly peer review.  We peer review each part of the pre-writing phase, starting with a narrowed topic.  Students constantly get feedback on their work according to the assessment checklists.  Their feedback is not a free-for-all, write whatever you want about the students’ writing; their feedback focuses directly on the assessment checklist.  They can give feedback  since they know whether the person has included a certain aspect such as a classifying verb or the evidence name.  I feel that they are about 90% accurate using the checklists.  In fact, I look over the previous peer-assessments before I actually assess the essay.  Since students have to have different students peer assess their work, they have different “eyes” to see their work.  Since each student gets feedback at least eight times during the writing process,  I find that  when I assess their papers, I do not have to  focus on the big issues (thesis, topic sentences, sufficient evidence, and detailed examples)  since the reviewers already helped the person with these. Each time we spend in formative assessment is time spent in helping students be more successful.   In a survey using Google forms, my students said that they made many changes (4.2 out of a five point where 5 =many many changes).  Also, they said that only 2.8 times in the past had their essay been reviewed twice or more.

How do you use build in formative assessment time for student success?

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.

Formative Assessment Class Culture

Formative assessment requires a specific culture in the classroom.

For example, I tell my students that my job is to help them constantly improve.

I remind them that in this formative assessment class, I am a coach.  I will look for what they are doing well but, more importantly, I will look for how they can improve. An athletic coach constantly watches his/her players and constantly gives suggestions for improvement.

In addition, I will only ask then to improve when they can be given a  new strategy or approach that will enable them to overcome their learning gap.

I let them know that when I call on them, I will give them feedback.  If they want to become better in the class, they will offer their answer no matter how wrong  they think their answer is. Once I hear their answer, I can help them to become better.  If they keep quiet, I cannot help them. My feedback will focus not on what they did wrong but on how to do it correctly.

I remind them that they will be constantly assessed and be constantly  given strategies. For example, in the pre-writing phase of their essays, there will be seven assessments. Each formative assessment helps ensure they are on a success track.

I tell them that we build on successes.  We do something well, then we build on that successful learning  to reach the next learning goal.  Students feel very different in a class where they know that the teacher and their fellow students are there to help them improve in their learning.

Finally, I inform them that they are expected to do well in the course since we build on and reward successes.

What is your class culture?

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

Reponding to Your Students

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

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

Moving Away from Finals to Final Improvements

I do not give finals.  I do give students an  opportunity to show me how they have improved in the course. They show that the formative assessment done on their work leads to greater achievement.

For example, in my English Composition and Research college course, students select two essays that they have written and received three formative feedback on, identify how they will make the improvements on an essay improvement sheet,  and make the improvements in the essay. As an illustration, students receive three formative feedback on their essays that focus on the most critical areas for improvement such as their lack of details to prove the essay. They either receive an example or are referred to some examples.  On their essay improvement sheet, they copy the suggestions for change and then they  show how they will change  their previous sentences to include detailed examples.  They make these revisions to their paper.   When they hand in their “final” essays, they highlight in green all the changes that they made from the  previous version. They get graded on their formative  improvements based on the previous essay.    Their “final” essay grade replaces their original essay grade.

Such a “formative assessment final” drastically changes the usual concept of a final.

So what type final do you give?

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

Using Writing Formative Assessments for At-Risk students

Recently I received an email from someone who had purchased my Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment.  She said that she was, at first, shocked by how I had objectified English by breaking each part of the writing process down.  She said that she had assumed that her students “knew” all the basic things about writing. However, when she began to use the book’s formative assessments for each part of the pre-writing process, she quickly found out that they did not. She  realized that they became stuck very early in the writing process and, therefore, did not move forward.  She told me that she never thought about giving students different strategies to overcome their writing gaps; she just assumed their present writing strategy was effective.  She used some of the book’s  various strategy to help them.    She commented that she could see success in her students as they used the strategy.  She ended up by saying that she was now aware of how much structure students need to be successful and how these formative assessments provided that structure.

Obviously, I felt good about her comments.  The writing formative assessments  that I included in the book were ones that I have used  in a college writing course that I teach. Some of the students in the class dropped out of school in six grade and am now working on their GED as they are taking college courses. My job is help these “at-risk” students  to go from six grade writing to college level writing in one semester.  Through the use of constant formative assessments I can guide them from where they are to where they need to be so they can  write college-level academic essays. The writing  formative assessments build in student success and  build in student confidence in their writing.

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.

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

A Writing Miracle With Timed In-Class Writing

In my college writing class,  for their last graded essay, the students have been writing in-class timed essays.  We started out with just doing the pre-writing organizing, moved to writing one period and revising  the essay the next period , and finally to a one period in-class timed essay.  About 80% of the students did as well, if not better, than their usual essay writing in which they spent 2-3 weeks per essay.  Most students were shocked at the high quality they could produce in one period.   Along with the essay, they had to hand in their graphic organizer with each essay- which included not only the thesis, evidence, and details but topic sentences, transitions, synonyms,  attention getter and an extender.   They found that the more time they spent on their organizer, the quicker they could “write” their essay.  Their  “writing” consisted of taking their ideas from the organizer and writing them out in full sentences.   Some students did not finish their whole essay but with their completed graphic organizer I could see what ideas they had.  The students had improved all semester so that they could reach this point. Their constant formative assessments help them to overcome their major and minor learning gaps.

In their class evaluation, numerous students mentioned that we should do more inclass  timed organizer and writing. They felt successful!

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

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

Revisions and Formative Assessment

I find that if I ask students to revise their work based on my formative feedback, some of them do make the changes  and others do not.  However, if the students have to create a Change sheet, they do make the changes.  In the Change sheet, they list the original learning problem, tell what they did to improve, and include an example from their most recent work.  As I look at their revisions, I first look at the original rubric, then their Change sheet, then put their previous work and their revised work side by side. I look for the changes in their revision. I look to see if they have changed all of the items for each formative feedback. For example, if I asked a student to improve his/her topic sentences, I look to see if all the original poorly done topic sentences have changed. If students have made the revisions for the three major areas of feedback and, therefore, reached the level of proficiency or above proficiency, they receive a new higher grade.

How do you help your students to improve?

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

Messy papers are best: Continual Improvement through Formative Assessment

I like messy papers. I like papers with all sorts of colors over them and all sorts of comments. My students enjoy them too.

The messy papers are my students’ peer reviewed papers .  The pupils color code the writer’s paper with the thesis and topic sentences in red, evidence in yellow and details in green.  They draw triangles for transition words. They put in many other marks to indicate various aspects of writing that they found.

The more colors and the more marks, the better the student has written the paper. When students get back their papers, their faces light up when they see all the colors and all the positive comments. When they are missing a color in a paragraph, they can instantly notice the lack of color. They know we are a “green” classroom; we want to have plenty of “green” in their writing.

After a quick verbal peer conferencing, they revise their papers as soon as they are made aware of their learning gaps.They want more “color” in their life!

How do you help your students to give formative feedback to other students? How do add “color” to their work?

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

Reponding to Your Students

How valuable is Peer Review?

When my students hand in their final English essay, they also hand in their peer reviewed draft. I’ve noticed that usually they do not incorporate the changes that peers suggest.

I gave them a survey on peer review to help me better understand their use of peer’s comments. They admitted that they use very little of peer review.

Some of their reasons:

The reviewer isn’t as smart as I am.

I don’t care what they “feel” about my paper. What is good/bad according to the rubric?

They don’t understand the rubric.

It does not help me when a reviewer finds a mistake if he cannot tell me how to fix it.

They don’t understand my thinking/how I wrote the paper.

The reviewer found some spelling mistakes but missed the big things like my first body paragraph having two topics.

They don’t try/ they do not  take it seriously.

How well do your students peer review each other? How valuable is the peer review to the author?

For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book,
Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Panic Attack: Chalk is the Technology in the classroom

I’m teaching as an adjunct at a community college which is part of the state system. I was shocked when I went into my classrooms and discovered that chalk was the technology. There was a dusty overhead in the corner. There was no computer and no LCD. For as many years as I can remember I’ve had a computer and projector in my classroom. Now when I want to use images in the classroom, color coded items in a paragraph, graphics to highlight a writing aspect, Youtube clips as a writing prompt, I cannot. Apparently, English teachers do not need technology. This English teacher does!

I am finding it very hard to go backward in terms of teaching. I’ve covered the chalkboard, erased it, and written over it again. So much wasted time. Each class is in a different room so I have to rewrite the same thing. I certainly am not going to write a long paragraph on the board.

I may have to  resort to buying transparencies so that at least I can show some items- about $1.50 per transparency. I may use up my pay for the courses just in transparencies.

I need  technology for my classroom so that I can spend more time teaching and less time writing on the chalkboard.

Not a life Threatening event for Doing Homework

This semester I’m trying a new strategy which  is to reduce the pressure to be “perfect” on assignments.  Recently, I told students to do their best at this given stage but that doing the essay was not a life threatening event.  I then added that once they hand the essay in, I’ll give them feedback and then they can make those changes. Furthermore, I told them that what I wanted to see is improvement through the semester so their beginning papers would be baby steps in doing the essay.  I could see many faces changed from pure panic to less stress.  Some students even leaned back instead of being so far forward I thought they were going to fall. My hope is that if  they can feel less stress, they will work more from thinking than from fear.  I’ll let you know if this less stress and more thinking strategy pays off.

Do you build in stress or take out stress in your students’ work?

What is your target? Don’t confuse context and content

Unless we are focused, our students will never hit their academic target. We have to identify exactly what they are to learn.  Some sometimes we focus on the context, the learning vehicle, instead of the content, the learning purpose.  An example is an English teacher who focuses on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the context, without considering the real purpose of the content such as analyzing themes which is part of NYS ELA Standard 3 Critical Analysis. Is A Midsummer Night’s Dream the most appropriate context for the learning goal?

Once we do decide on our specific learning goal, then we have to decide how we will help students develop that skill.  Just reading  A Midsummer’s Night Dream will not accomplish the task. We have to develop specific activities to help students grow in analyzing themes.

Do you focus on content or context?

Formative Feedback & Focused Handouts

So far this year I have created numerous “handouts” to help students overcome learning gaps.  I create each handout as I see the learning gap in one student.  Then I have the handout for when I see the same learning gap in other students.  In my writing course, I’ve created handouts for such topics as topic sentences, thesis statements,  plurals, run-ons, and fragments. I had to go down to the “ground zero” in writing the handouts- providing many examples, providing simple practice (with answers on the other side), etc. to guide the student through the learning gap.  I only give out the handouts to those students who display the specific learning gap.  I’m glad that I’m building up a library so that next semester I will be able to help more 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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