Posts Tagged 'Social Studies'

Learning Disease Epidemic: Textbook Dependency

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Make classroom Web 2.0 use interactive, not static

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

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

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

How do you have your students use Web 2.0 interactively?

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

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

Carefully teaching another culture to promote positive feelings

Anyone teaching about another culture has to be very careful in how the person presents the culture.  The person may create negative feelings toward the culture instead of the positive ones he/she had hoped for.  In addition, students enter our classroom with stereotypes about other cultures.   We tend to teach culture as a series of facts or as a feeling about a country.  Research shows that initially students become positive toward another culture by seeing similarities, not be seeing differences.

Salychivin analyzed that students respond to culture in a grid of similar/different  and positive/negative .  If they view the cultural item as similar and positive such as baseball, they feel positive about it.  If they view the cultural item as similar and negative such as pollution in Mexico City,   they see are    If they see a difference and that difference is positive such as all the parties during the Posadas in Puerto Rico from Dec 16 through Jan. 6, they feel positive.  However, when they see a cultural item as different and negative such as the Mexican Day of the Dead, then they feel negative. How we word information about the other culture can determine students’ reaction to the other culture

We can show our students culture in a positive way by

1) Showing how it is logically within the culture.   If people work 8 hours a day and work from 9-12, take a two hour break, and start work again at two, they will work until seven. By the time they get home, they probably will eat at eight (in Spain).

2) Showing how the same thing (a positive) happens in US culture.  Hispanic men tend to embrace frequently which may be seen as a negative.  However, if a teacher shows USA  football players embracing as a positive and then shows hispanic men embracing, the embracing becomes a positive.

3)  Using images and questions to present the culture.  As the teacher shows a picture of a heavy rainstorm in  June in San Jose, Costa Rica, the teacher asks about the rain and  the month and then explains that Costa Rica like many South American countries has two seasons, the rainy and the dry season.  Flickr provides a great source of fairly current images

4) Showing the variety in the other culture.  Do not only  show Lima (Peru) as the only part of Peru, show the cost, the mountains, etc.  If you show Machu Picchu, also show a  modern city.   Show how things change within the country such as in Spain paella changing from a seafood paella near the coast to a chicken paella inland.

5) Avoiding negative statements about the other culture:  “These poor people”;  “This war-driven country”;  “They only…”;  or “They are the opposite of /backward from us.”

How do you teach culture of another country to help your students feel positive about that culture?

Here are a few links to some Spanish images based on topics:

Deportes

Restaurante

Spanish Streets

(Type Spanish in the search engine for this site to find more).

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.

Please avoid cultural stereotypes in images/pictures


Do you creative negative stereotypes by showing outdated pictures or by  showing a picture representing only a small portion of the of people or things from other countries?

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

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

Aligning activities and end goal

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

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

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

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

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

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

Reponding to Your Students

Assessing Web 2.0 Projects Through Bloom And Time

I offer the following mini-assessment of any Web 2.0 project as a way to refocus our attention on student learning rather than the Web 2.0 tool.

Take the highest level of Bloom achieved during the project

1- Knowledge                                  2. Comprehension

3 – Application                               4. Analysis

5.5 Synthesis                                   5.5 Evaluation

and multiple it by the number of days in the project.

So, if Susan produces a Social Studies podcast that simply restates (Comprehension) information about George Washington after five days, her score is 2 (Comprehension) x 5 (days) or 10.

If Pablo produces a Social Studies podcast in which he goes through the problem solving steps that George Washington went through and evaluates his final solution (5.5) in two days, his score would be Evaluation (5.5) x 2 = 11

Based on this analysis, a two day project of higher level thinking rates a higher score than a longer project. Let’s focus on student learning!

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

Formative Assessment and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment by Harry Grover TuttleFormative Assessment and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment by Harry Grover Tuttle

My book. Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment will be available from Eye-on-Education in the Fall.


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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