Posts Tagged 'scaffold'

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

Textbooks – Not sufficient for students to be proficient.

I recently had the opportunity to examine three textbooks all written at the same time.  They all claimed to be standards based.

I was shocked by the differences.  Each had the same critical information but one textbook  just showed the essential information and then had an exercise, another explained how to do it but provided no exercises, and the third talked about it generally. Even though I teach the subject, I found many of the exercises confusing or not focusing on the standard.  None of the textbook had sufficient information to guide the student from knowing nothing about the topic to be able to use the information.   To accompany the information, one had up to many colorful pictures, a second had quotations, and the third had news articles.

How can a book claim to be standards-based if it does not guide the student from the very beginning stages through to the proficient stage?  A book has to explain the information so the student understands it,  see the specific forms, and uses these forms in meaningful ways. Hopefully, these books will provide  formative assessments that permit the student to assess how well he/she is doing and to learn a new strategy to overcome any gaps.  Let’s convince textbook publishers to move from  seeing the  “cuteness” of the subject to moving the student forward to success.

How well does your textbook guide the student to success?

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

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

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

Making the learning stick

When I was putting the insulation on my windows, I had two different products. One had the instruction of waiting fifteen minutes before I removed the backing to the two sided tape. The other did not have that instruction. The fifteen minute wait tape was far superior to the other.

I wonder how much time we give our students to stick to their new learning before we ask them to use it. Fisher and Fry suggest in Better Learning Through Structured Teaching that when we give our initial modeling of the new learning, we do not ask students to actively participate but, instead they are to think about this new learning. If they do not firmly understand the modeling before we ask them to practice it, then there is a high likely hood that they will do it incorrectly. Their first steps of doing it wrong will be cemented into their brains. Instead, we can model the learning for them and go over an exemplar of it. We can let them think about the new learning and then scaffold them through it.

Let’s organizing our teaching so that we allow students plenty of time to think about the new learning before they are asked to do it. Let’s let them get firmly stuck to the new learning before they use it.

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.

How Many Academic Firsts Do You Celebrate?

My wife and I went to see our son, daughter-in-law and our grandson. These parents proudly talked about each first success of the baby- the first time he rolled over, the first time he had cereal, the first time he made something move…

I wonder how proudly we talk with our students about their successes. Do you acknowledge each of the students’ firsts? Do you let your students know on a daily or weekly basis their successes? Do you break your curriculum down so that they can celebrate small successes instead of waiting until the end unit test to be able to show a success? Do you celebrate each success to motivate them in their learning? Do you celebrate each success to show them that they are moving forward? Do you celebrate each success so that when they find a task especially difficult they can look back to their previous successes and know that they can achieve this task? Do you scaffold the curriculum so that they can easily move from success to success or do you have a sink-or-swim approach to student learning? Do your students look forward to the next challenge so that they can show how well they are doing or do they dread the exercise that they know they will fail at?

How do you make your curriculum a success one for students so that they constantly have new learning firsts?

If you are interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

High Quality Student Work Early in the Semester

My students have given their first speech in my college oral presentation course. I analyzed their entering speaking skills and adjusted the curriculum. We have gone over the speech rubric, analyzed three speeches using the rubric, analyzed the text of one speech, and created a template that incorporates good presentation. They organized their ideas with a graphic organizer. We spent time going over techniques for relieving nerves. They did a practice speech to a partner who gave feedback. As my students gave their first speeches, I was in shock. Wonderful Shock. Their speeches were actually at the same high level as the final speeches of my students from last semester even though this semester’s students are only in the third week of class. I had raised the bar for these students, they understood the high expectations and they had the tools to help them reach that high.

I congratulated the class on a superior job in presenting. I look forward to hearing their other speeches as they shine even more.

How do you structure your class so that your students soar in their learning? What do you do so that this year’s students do drastically better than last year’s?

If you are interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

Visual Learning in All Subjects- Scaffold and Self-Assessment

In my English class I was reviewing basic paragraph writing. I found that of 66 students (3 classes), only two students had had a visual way to remember what goes in a paragraph. One had a snowman analogy and one had a hamburger analogy. When I introduced them to the hand analogy, one student commented that her teachers did not give her visuals of writing.

The visual act as a scaffold to guide the students as they write. In addition, they can self-check themselves by using the visual.

How do you visualize the critical information in your course in a visual only (no-text) manner to help all students to learn?

Bike training wheels and scaffolding

I watched a young boy ride his bike that had training wheels.  I saw him dip toward one side to be supported by the training wheels.  A few seconds more and he dipped toward the other side, again the training wheels supported him. He was able to move forward, instead of falling, due to the training wheels.

I wonder how much we provide training wheels for our students as they learn our subject area. Do we provide them with support, scaffolding, so that they can only dip so far before the scaffolding supports them? Do we build in success checks frequently so that we can find out their learning gaps and then help them? Or do we let our students fall down?

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.

Final Portfolio Still Formative Feedback

Last week I went over my students’ portfolios before they handed them in. The portfolio served as the final in the course. The review gave me one last chance to give them formative feedback. As we went over each section, I asked the students what they did well and what they can do to improve. Their most common learning gap was that some students forget to relate what they had done back to the standard. For some students I had to give them the phrase “I showed (this part of the standard) by ……” or “When I wrote ……, I demonstrated the essential characteristics of …..”.

For several students, it was hard making the leap from what we did in class to the standard (even though for each part of the standard, I had labeled the essential characteristics as we had done them in the class. Students tend to get caught up in the activity without thinking about its real purpose.

How do you constantly remind your students of the bigger purpose for each activity they do? How do you keep your students focused on the standards?

Template Writing/ Scaffolded Writing

Even with all the step by step instructions that I gave my students, many became confused when it came time to write. I realize that I have to build in even more structure or scaffolding for my struggling writers. This coming semester I will offer a writing template to my students that is a first step fill-in-the-blank type of writing. For example, for contrast writing:

_____________________ (first item) and ________________________(second item) differ (or some other words showing a difference). They are different in ______________________(first category). __________________________________(the first item) (pick a contrast word such as however, on the other hand, meanwhile) ____________________________________(the second item-make sure to show the difference between the first and second item for this category). ………

I hope that they will use this for the in class practice writing and then they will modify it as they write their homework. The template provides a structure so that they focus on the content.

I have found it challenging trying to create a simple template so they can think about the content for the provided writing structure. To be able to create the template, I have to understand the essence of the writing pattern.

Scaffolding Writing Handouts For Students’ Success

I’ve been revising my writing handouts for my next semester classes. I’ve tried to create a step-by-step approach  in the order that they would actually do the steps and then in the checklist I repeat the steps such as for a contrast paper:
“Do I include two items in my thesis?”
“Do I directly state that I am contrasting them?”
|…..
“Do I include a detail for the first item, a contrast transition word and then a detail for the second item?”

Hopefully, if the students have followed the step-by-step approach then they will just confirm those items in their actual writing as they do the checklist on their draft. If they have missed a step then, they can catch it in the checklist and revise it before handing it in.

My students have wonderful and dramatic stories to tell; they need a structure in which to tell them well. Hopefully, the revised step-by-step process will give them the scaffold they need.

Greater Learning Through Same Model and Technology

I talked to a student who had been in the same English classes with several friends from 9th through 12 grade. Each year they had a different teacher and each year that teacher taught them “their” way of writing. When the students got to 12th grade, they just said to the teacher, “Tell us how you want us to write.” She taught them her “official” way of writing. These students are living proof that constantly changing what we expect of students results in less than proficient writers.

How can we expect students to improve in their writing if we constantly change how they should write? They will only improve when we build on one consistent model. They same is true for all subjects.

Do you get together with your department (K-12) to talk over what you expect of students and what model the students will follow? Do various teachers produce Power Points, emovies or podcasts to demonstrate that consistent model? Do other teachers help develop scaffolded handouts or Power Points that guide students through the model?

Restructuring handouts to be more formative

Originally, I had taken the sections of a writing chapter and reduced them down to their essence for my handouts. However, I found out from my students that they only looked at one section, the actual writing examples. When I asked the students about the rest of the handout, they explained that those sections were not helpful.  I had used the book’s terms and “fancy” language which did not explain “how to” do the writing process in terms concrete enough for my students to use.

I’m in the process of redoing the handouts to be the actual steps (and hopefully, the actual order) in doing each type of writing. I would like students to have steps to follow when they need the structure. When students are struggling writers, they need all the scaffolding possible to help them figure out what to do at each step. In order to create the steps, I had to mentally go through what I do in writing each type of writing. That process gave me greater insight into possible learning problems that students might encounter.

Do We Think in a Student Success or Failure Mode?

In the northeast, we have warmed up to 32 degrees. There are about four inches of snow on the ground from the last mini-storm. Today has been sunny. I watched two young boys shoot basketball in their backyard. No dribbling but they did play basketball for about half an hour. They have hopes for the summer regardless of the present cold and snow.

I wonder whether we have hopes for our students.

Do we think in terms of   students  success or failure mode?
Do we build success into our course so that students can be successful or do we build in quizzes and tests that show what they do not know?
Do we encourage rewrites and redos or do we have a one time make-or-break policy?
Do we show students examples of good work so that they can build up to that level or do we keep the level a surprise until the test or project?
Do we constantly give them feedback so that they can improve or do we withhold any information until the report card and then give nebulous “work harder” statements?
Do we focus on covering the curriculum/textbook or do we focus on what the students are actually learning?
Do we give them the textbook to work on or do we scaffold learning for them?

Useful Textbook or Too Bloated and Non-Useful

A growing trend in textbooks is to add more visuals and  add cute stories. However, with all these additions, I think it is harder to find the real critical information in the text.  Some textbook go into such minute detail that the students have to be miners in a maze of dark caves. Students can read the textbook and miss the critical points.  One textbook takes over 60 pages to describe the pre-writing, composing and revising phrases of writing.  Unfortunately the book is not rich in student practice exercises that focus on the students using these major components of the writing process.

Some questions about your textbook and student learning/
Can the students easily find the critical standards-based information in the textbook?
Does the book provide crystal clear examples of students doing these learning goals? (Are these exemplars?)
Does the book provide step-by-step instructions for being successful in these learning goals?
(If the students did just what the book said, would they be able to be successful in this learning goal at the highest level of thinking?)
Does the textbook warn students  how to avoid possible mis-steps in the learning process?

Creating writing handouts that help students think

As I have been preparing for my writing courses, I have realized that the textbook is not a practical book on how to write. It repeats the same ideas in different sections without giving a clear process for actually writing.  I’ve created a short worksheet on the various forms of writing.

For example for descriptive writing, I ask the students to go through the following steps:
Identify what you want to describe: ______________
Identify your attitude or opinion about the person, place, or thing:_____________________________
Pre-write: Organizing your description by direction (top to bottom, left to right, etc.). My organization is ____________
Pre-write: Identifying the sense words about your person, place, or thing: (sounds, sights, texture, smells, tastes): ______________________________________________________________________________________
I’ve given them several graphic organizers to help them.
Pre-write: Make sure all of your sense words support your attidude
Add in your direction transition words and phrases.
Write out your passage.

When we give students scaffolding, they can be successful in their writing.

How do you scaffold your students’ writing in your subject area so that they can be successful?

Scaffolding for Students Success

I’m preparing two writing courses for next semester. After checking the textbooks, the workbooks, and teacher DVDs/websites for both courses, I still do not feel that the students have enough structure to help them be successful in writing. Using high level writing terms or asking “Does your topic sentence convey a controlling idea?” does not provide much assistance to struggling writers. I tried to read the textbook and write the paragraph patterns such as narrative writing based on what I found in the book, I could not write what the book rubric indicates as a good paragraph. I searched the Net and likewise found many generalities but did not find specific structure to guide students through a complex process. I found this past semester that my students need much guidance in writing. I hope that as I create materials by greatly expanding on the textbook that I can provide them with the step-by-step they need to go from writing anything to write a vivid narrative.

How much guidance does your textbook, PowerPoints, worksheets, etc.. provide for the students so that they can be successful.?

TomTom Navigation: A Metaphor for Formative Assessment

I just received a TomTom car navigation system as an early Christmas present. I really like it since I get lost alot. I am fascinated that it knows where I am, where I want to go, and can show me how to get there. It tells me far ahead when I have to make a turn and reminds me as I get closer. If I make a wrong turn, it can redirect me.

How many of us are TomToms for our students? Do we show them their end destination and scaffold their learning experiences so that they can successfully arrive at the destination? Do we help them to be their own TomToms through self-reflection and critically analysis?

Templated Learning Through Word Processing For Student Success

Persuasion Letter Template

I’ve decided that next semester I will provide my students with a template for their writing of business letters. The template will have the major parts of the specific letter format such as (get attention, increase interest, minimize resistance, action or AIRA) for a persuasion letter. This scaffolding will help the students to include each critical part of a persuasion letter. I’ve found this semester that students tend to skip over a part; I think the scaffolded template will guide them through using all four parts. I’m trying to decide whether they need more specific scaffolding such as a list of possible ways to do each part.

How do you use your word processor to scaffold the learning for your students so that they can be successful in their learning?


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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