Posts Tagged 'Teacher'

Curriculum Focus, Not Technology Focus

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. I met with the curriculum chairs to learn about the curriculum, how it was taught, and areas in which teachers and students had the most difficulty. When I met with grade level or curriculum teacher teams, we talked about the curriculum. After carefully listening to them, I usually would suggest some technology tool that might help them in doing their favorite project or in teaching those difficult curriculum areas. I often would have a mock student product to show the teachers what the student learning with technology would look like. I focused on student learning, not on technology.

Likewise, when my Technology department provided professional development, we focused on curriculum such as “Inquiry Science,” “Collaborative Math Projects,” and “A New Look at the Writing Process.” We offered curriculum workshops that involved technology. Usually, the technology transformed the learning process.

People in  the educational technology  field are most effective when they focus foremost on student  academic learning; they are least effective when they “sell” technology to teachers.

E-Texts: Innvovation or Status Quo

Many textbooks now have an e-text version.  Do these e-texts improve  student learning?

Some advantages:
– No heavy or bulky textbook to carry; portable
– Font size can be adjusted so students can more easily read or see information.
– Text can be searched
– Often has an online assessment; allows online quizzes  to be graded automatically online
– Often has an online homework management; allows  homework  activities to be graded automatically online
– Has organized the content into  chapters; chapters have various sections
– Text can be copied and pasted from the  e-text into a word processor
– Text can  usually be highlighted
– Usually includes multimedia (pictures, video, audio…)

Some disadvantages:
– Often is an exact  reproduction of the textbook. An E-text probably is   not linked,  therefore,  students cannot  click on words or images to get additional information.
-The e-text is still mainly print (word) based.
– Many images  may supplement  the text but they do not add new information;  images help explain the text instead of the image being the main source of information.
– Usually a student cannot write in the e-text such as writing  comments in the margin
– The user needs an e-reader, a computer or a mobile device to read the e-text.
– Additional exercises are  predominantly word based.
– Most e-text homework managers and on-line quizzes only tell the students if they are right or wrong. They do not provide new strategies for learning the material.
– Since homework and quizzes are done online, the teacher may never review what the students do not know. If the teachers do not review student progress, then the teachers cannot provide formative activities for student  improvement.
– Interactivity  may include activities such as  moving some words around or rearranging pictures but  the e-text interactivity  usually lacks high  interactivity such as simulations.
– Additional exercises are still  predominantly at a  low level of thinking.  They do not engage students in real-life use of the learning.
– Often multimedia is an add-on, rather than an integral part of the basic textbook.  Often multimedia comes after the main learning.
– An  e-text cannot be customized; teacher cannot rearrange parts such as  combining a part from chapter 1, a part from chapter 3, and a  a part from chapter 8 to create a new chapter.
– The digital textbook can be outdated very quickly if the  e-text does not contain links to current events.
– May not show the learners  the priority of the learning concepts within the chapter. What part of the chapter is the most critical? Is the most time and space spent on that critical learning or do minor  concepts get equal time and space?
-E-texts are boring since they are still traditional textbooks.

What are your reactions to using e-texts?

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml

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 at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

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

What is the Role of Technology in the Teaching-Learning process?

A very creative elementary teacher will retire in June because she no longer feels she can teach due to her district’s technology push.  Her district purchased a math online program in which the computer program presents the math concept and  the program has students do stations for a designated amount of time each day. Her job is to make sure that the students rotate through the stations.

Another teacher no longer has time to relate his subject area to the real world because he has to push through his textbook so students can do the  designated  and scheduled online drill and practice for each unit. The district looks at the student data from the online activities as an assessment measure.

A science teacher has to have her students do a specified number of app activities for each unit.  Although this teacher used to do many student inquiry labs, she has had to eliminate those labs in order to provide students time to  complete all the apps.

Finally, students in Carpe Diem schools spend half to  two thirds  of their day doing computer work. These students score well on state tests. (http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2011/04/22/carpe-diem-charter-school-seizes-tomorrows-innovations-today)

What is your view of the role of technology in the  teaching learning process?  Do teachers or technology determine how students spend their learning time? Who/What  makes decisions about what learning gap  students have and supplies a new strategy to overcome the gap?

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

Mobile Learning Questions

Mobile  Learning Summit 2012

How will you use mobile learning?

Prediction: If mobile learning only focuses on drill-and-kill activities, then mobile learning will fail.
Why only use mobile learning for apps?
How can teachers improve student learning  through the social interactive parts of mobile learning?

Questions for Mobile Learning
1. What is the role of  teachers in mobile learning?
2. How can the students learn through collaboration inside and outside the classroom?
3. How do  students do higher-level thinking for in-depth learning?
4. How can teachers increase students’ learning time?
5. How do students demonstrate their learning on a daily or weekly basis?
6. How do teachers constantly monitor students learning and provide new learning strategies? How do students monitor their own learning?
7. How do students bring their world into the classroom to make learning real?
8. How do students take their learning out into the world?
9. How do students communicate for learning through texting, Facebook, and phone calling?
10. How do students learn from media as well as written information?
11. How do students learn more when they interact with people outside the class/state/nation?

My favorite QR code generator is http://createqrcode.appspot.com/
Use a URL shortener like bit.ly to shorten the long urls
It allows you to enter several links into the one QR code and it allows you to determine the size of the qr code

A video about using QR codes in various subject areas     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayW032sKtj

 

A few of my previous blogs about Mobile Learning:

Criteria for selecting student mobile learning device (educational concerns)

Aim For Real Learning With Apps

Analysis of Learning with Mobile Learning

Is it really MOBILE learning?

Teaching In the Age of Mobile Learning Devices

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

Change Teaching Since Mobile Learning Devices as Outgrowth of Web 2.0

I feel that mobile learning with Smartphones, tablets, etc. comes as a natural outgrowth  of Web 2.0 and therefore our pedagogy with mobile learning has to be Web 2.0 or more.

Most older computer programs were top-down where the computer delivered the specific content and the student did that content in a specified path; they simply plugged in the answers.  Web 2.0 tools are  about the students  creating and interacting.

People used  the older phones  exclusively for talking.  Mobile learning devices allow today’s youth to  interact with the world, to create media,  and to access information.  Today’s youth determine what they want to do  and then use their  mobile learning device for that purpose.

If educators want  students to benefit from mobile learning devices in the classroom, then these educators have to change their teaching from the top-down deliver  teaching method to student engaged-interacting-creating.

Some ways teachers need to change:

1. Since students can access factual knowledge from their mobile learning device, teachers have to move from fact-delivers to  in-depth understanding and connections guiders.

2. Since students can text many other people and access multiple websites, teachers have to help students to evaluate and synthesize many diverse opinions about a particular learning concept/ situation.

3. Since students can access much  discrete information, teachers need to help students to go beyond the discrete learning to  see the big picture, the big  concept or question.

4. Since students can easily create media on their mobile learning device, teachers will move from just student text reports to media reports to demonstrate the students’ higher level  learning.

5. Since students can use the real world tools on the mobile learning devices, teachers will engage students in real life problems that use the critical learning.  Math students can help design a new playground for an elementary school in their district.

6. Since students can easily contact others and can access the web through their MLD , teachers will turn to collaborative project-based   in which students jig-saw their individual knowledge to form a  bigger learning.

7. Since students can ask peers and others for information through their MLD, teachers will help students write better survey questions and help the students  analyze survey data.

8. Since students can access online calendars and learning  interactive environments like Edmodo on their Smartphones and tablets, teachers will empower students  to be more responsible for their own learning.

9. Since students daily use their MLD, teachers can learn  from the students about the many educational and real-world apps that help students to become better learners.

So how has your teaching changed due to using mobile learning devices?

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

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


Use any Web 2.0 tool at any Level of Bloom’s Taxonomy, Don’t be Limited by Listings

I have been teaching for many years.  In fact, one of my earliest presentations was on “Using Print Shop at All Levels of Bloom” (the original Print Shop).  Therefore, whenever I see the listings that supposedly say what Web 2.0 tools works at what level of Bloom’s taxonomy, I become very confused. A few of the many such listings are http://www.usi.edu/distance/bloom%20pyramid.jpg, http://tsheko.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/visualblooms1.jpg?w=500&h=359, http://www.bcps.org/offices/lis/Reference/images/web_2_Bloom.jpg, and http://edtech2.boisestate.edu/candacemcenespy/Images/vectormap.gif There is only a very slight overlap among the listing, each usually puts the same Web 2.0 tools at different thinking levels.

Let’s look at Google docs which a few sites place at the lowest level of Bloom, Remember/Knowledge. Google docs can be used to help students recall information. However, it can just as easily be used to paraphrase the information (from the original Shakespeare to modern day texting messages), to apply/use information (How does Pareto’s 20/80 rule apply to this story? ), to analyzing/contrasting (How are these two poems the same? Different?), to evaluating (Which literature that we have read this year best expresses man’s inhumanity to man? Why?), and synthesize/creating (Write a short story in which you mock some modern day thinking or organization.)

Teachers determine how any Web 2.0 tool is used. They determine at what Bloom’s level they will use the Web 2.0 tool. If they want their students to be bigger thinkers, they will use the higher levels of Bloom. If the teachers want their students to remain in small thinking, they will use the lower levels.

The choice of what level to use any Web 2.0 is up to the teacher. At what level do you use each Web 2.0 tools? Do you consciously build up Bloom’s taxonomy with each different technology you use during a unit?

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

Pollinate Great Learning Ideas Through Social Media

As administrators walk around and see examples of higher level learning,
they can capture the learning through pictures or videos. They will make sure that the pictures or videos clearly show the specific learning goal and the higher level learning as opposed to some “cute”
picture of students.  For example, an administrator takes a picture of a student made Social Studies concept map that contrasts the causes of the American Revolution and the American Civil War.  The administrator  posts it to the school website,  the school facebook page, or a flickr school page. Likewise,  the administrators can tweet  “English 8 students works in groups of three to help each other have more evidence and details in  their essay paragraphs.”  In addition, the building leader can record students talking about what they learned during a certain unit and then post this as part of the school podcasts. Through using technology, the administrators shares these great learning ideas with their buildings teachers so that these classroom  teachers can learn about  and implement new strategies for improving student learning.  Furthermore, the administrators will find that teachers will soon be contacting them about the higher level learning taking place in their classrooms so that their students can be featured in the next social media blast.

Tuttle’s Formative Assessment books

Why a physical textbook?

It seems so “yesterday” to use a physical  textbook such as in a Spanish classroom. Any instructor can easily find PowerPoints, Youtubes, etc. that teach and practice the   grammar and vocabulary in Spanish.  Any instructor  can easily find online sites that explain grammar and drill that grammar.  An instructor can find Internet sites that have vocabulary lists or can easily post such lists to a class  wiki.  Imagine if a department asked each instructor  to create one activity such as a spoken conversation or  a listening comprehension that takes the grammar and vocabulary to the level of communication. The instructors can find current pictures of the culture from Flickr and other sources.  Students can converse about the daily culture that relates to  the situations in the virtual textbook.  Students can communicate about the situations.

With a few handouts made in Google docs and the links to the grammar, vocabulary, communication activities, listening, reading,writing,  and culture, the instructors could run a whole course without a physical textbook.   All the resources can exist in the class wiki.  Students can have access to theses resources 24/7.   Since the resources come from various sources, there is more of widening  of the students’ learning. When instructors use  virtual textbooks, they can add more resources in areas where students demonstrate weaknesses (formative assessment).

In addition, students can contribute to the virtual textbook.  As they do activities such as writing five important questions about the situation, these questions  can be posted to the virtual textbook for other students to answer.   I believe that within a year, instructors could have a virtual textbook that outshines the limits of the physical textbook. I have used  a virtual text and feel that it best meets the needs of my students.   The virtual textbook can fit the specific goals of the instructors while meeting national goals. The virtual textbook can be easily modified as better resources become available.

The virtual textbooks will not cost any money! Also as students migrate to smartphones, their phones become a valuable learning tool in class.

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.

10 Reasons to Use Online Practice Quizzes (Formative Assessment)

Students benefit greatly from being able to take online practice quizzes. These quizzes focus on the critical lower-level thinking learning for the students. The students can practice these activities on online quizzes, therefore, freeing up class time for higher-level thinking activities. Here are some reasons based on my use of Quia.

1) Students do not have to wonder if their answer is correct or not as they answer a question, the quiz programs tells the student.  Students get immediate reaction to their answer; they do not have to wait until the next class which may be 24 hours, 48 hours or more away.

2)  The online quiz program focuses on parts of the learning goal details that students might have overlooked.  Spanish students soon realize that they need an accent on a the preterite tense  such as hablé.  English students see that difference between “metaphor” and  “analogy”.

3) Students can read the teacher-provided strategy for improvement for each wrong answer.  The students do not just know that they are incorrect but they see an explanation of how to improve. They learn how to do it right;  they improve through formative assessment.

4)  Students can begin to use their new strategy  as they encounter a problem using the same concept that they just missed. They can verify if they are applying the strategy correctly.

5)  Students can answer without  feeling badly about having a wrong answer as can happen in a class. No other student knows.

6)  Students can retake a practice  quiz as often as they want to improve their score. The program can be set to keep the highest score.  If the practice quizzes are truly formative, then no grade will be taken.  Students will demonstrate their learning in classd and on  summative tests.

7)  Teachers can quickly analyze in what areas students are successful and in what areas they have demonstrated  learning gaps. They can select an appropriate learning strategy for each student for class.  The teachers can use the online quiz’s graphing analysis to see if any learning gaps are class wide. Such real time data improves the formative assessment process.

8)  Teachers do not lose time in going around the  classroom physically checking in homework. I figure that I save 10 minutes for my college class. 10 x 30 classes = 300 minutes, 5 additional hours of class time, or 3.7 additional class periods. Therefore, teachers have more time in class to help students improve and to work on higher level skills.

9)  Likewise, if teachers do go around the room checking in homework, they do not have the time to check each individual answer of each student. If students do twenty five questions, the teachers can only glance over the homework. The teachers probably do not have time to explain individually to each student which answers are incorrect and what strategy will work for each incorrect answer.

10)  Both  students and teachers can see the students’  progress over time as they see the online quiz scores.  In addition, teachers may notice patterns such as Tom does well on vocabulary quizzes but has trouble on grammar quizzes; teachers can then determine how to help Tom with his general learning problem of grammar.

How do you use online quizzes as part of your formative assessment?

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.

Meaningful Web 2.0 Tools Listings, Please

In searching for a good free web 2.0 program for making stories, I’ve found some common disturbing trends.  Often people simply list the tool’s name without even explaining what that program does.  Unfortunately, most Web 2.0 names do not reveal what type of program it is.  For example, Animoto is a presentation tool.  Some people even present an alphabetical listing of tools which does not help to find specific types of programs.

At least listers should include the category of the tool.  If people do categorize web 2.0 tools, then they usually do not tell what makes each unique.  For example, I recently opened a page that had  a listing of  15+storyboard programs. I had no way to tell how each program worked until I opened each.  Even a description such as ” create a story through selecting various characters and selecting scenes and typing the text”  tells me that students cannot record their own voices.

I would prefer that the educators list the “best” program in each category  and tell why it is the best.  I really do not care to see a  random list of 15+ programs of the same category.  Bigger is not better to a person searching for a specific type of program. Bigger is not better to someone who wants to know what a program really does.

Many times I wonder if the tool  listers have even used the program.  Rarely do I read anything practical about the program such as “The avatar voice of ….produces the  clearest  modern language voices.”  Why do listers  include programs that they have only heard about but not used?

Please, listers of Web 2.0 tools  be practical to really help other educators.  Do not try to overwhelm us!

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.

Backward/inverted Teaching and Formative Assessment

The Journal Recently ran an article on backward or inverted teaching where the instructor has the students watch a teaching video as homework and then in class they go over problems and the teacher does more one-on-one work with students.

As the students watch the 30 minute  instructional video, who is checking to see if they are comprehending  the video? Are there self-checks built into the video? What happens if a student gets lost at the beginning?  What happens if a student does not understand a major concept?  The students  have to wait until the class for which they will have to do homework.

Such backward teaching seems to go against the current formative assessment approach of constantly monitoring students and helping them to overcome the learning gaps that appear as the lesson develops.  According to formative assessment, students should be helped with their  learning gap as soon as it appears; the students are immediately diagnosed and given appropriate feedback to overcome the gap. The longer the time between the gap and the feedback, the less effective the feedback.

I think that backward teaching can be done well  if appropriate formative assessments are built in just after new concepts or ways of thinking are introduced in the video. Probably a video teacher does not want to go more than ten minutes without doing a check-in on the students.  The teacher might want to go over commonly made mistakes as he/she presents the lesson.  When students know they are “right”, they feel more confident about their learning. When they begin to have doubts, they learn less.

How do you use teaching videos/clips in your class?

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.

Web 2.0 = Social Networking, Not Social Learning

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,710139,00.html

A study by the Hans Bredow Institute entitled “Growing Up With the Social Web” was particularly thorough in its approach. In addition to conducting a representative survey, the researchers conducted extensive individual interviews with 28 young people. Once again it became clear that young people primarily use the Internet to interact with friends.  Most of the respondents saw the Internet as merely a useful extension of the old world rather than as a completely new one.  More surprising yet, these supposedly gifted netizens are not even particularly adept at getting the most out of the Internet. “They can play around,” says Rolf Schulmeister, an educational researcher from Hamburg who specializes in the use of digital media in the classroom. “They know how to start up programs, and they know where to get music and films. But only a minority is really good at using it.  The second most popular use of the Internet is for entertainment. According to a survey conducted by Leipzig University in 2008, more young people now access their music via various online broadcasting services than listen to it on the radio.  A major study conducted by the British Library came to the sobering conclusion that the “net generation” hardly knows what to look for, quickly scans over results, and has a hard time assessing relevance. “The information literacy of young people has not improved with the widening access to technology,” the authors wrote. Tom and his friends just describe themselves as being “on” or “off,” using the English terms. What they mean is: contactable or not.

The article also urges teachers to help students to use the Internet for educational learning, not just social networking. It advocates that teachers “teach” students how t0 use the educational part of the web.

How do help your students to be Web 2.0 learners, instead of Web 2.0 socializers?

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

Contractors – Summative and Formative Assessment

I had several contractors in to give me estimates for some changes to my house.  The first one measured the room and left.  The second one measured the room and then spent double that time in asking me questions about the room and the house. I went with the second one because he understood what I wanted and how that fit in with the rest of the house.

I see the first contractor as a summative assessment- get a number and leave.  The second contractor was formative. He had numbers but he needed to know what those numbers meant in terms of what I expected in terms of the room (the end goal) and in terms of the whole house (all the other data from the house). He gave me several suggestions for improvements (getting me from where I am to where I want to be) and let me select the one I felt was the most helpful.

Which type teaching contractor are you- summative or formative?

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

Reponding to Your Students

Fixed or Flexible Learning

I recently talked to someone who teaches an online course.  She says that the college has supplied the lectures for each class.  I questioned how a college could think that the fixed lectures would fit the needs of the class. Then the person reminded me that high school textbooks,  textbook websites, textbook DVDs,  textbook PowerPointsand content websites present the material  in a fixed manner.  I think it is good for a teacher to see an exemplary lesson and then to modify the lesson for the class or  for the teacher to use the fixed  lesson as a jumping off point  but I do feel that teachers should not follow a book lesson blindly. Based on our students’  intellectual, physical and emotional needs, we, as instructional leaders, need to decide how to teach the selected goal.  We need to modify the lesson to meet various learning styles and learning levels in our class. We need to know when to abandon a lesson to teach a missing skill or a complimentary skill. We are the ones to show the students the connections between what they are learning and the big picture, to bring in our life experiences in that learning.

How do you teach your course?  Do you strictly follow the textbook (fixed) or do you modify the learning in a flexible manner based on your students’ needs?

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

Reponding to Your Students

Student or Teacher Duty: Improving Time for Feedback

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

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

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

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

Teacher Portfolios- Real Student Success or Faked Success?

Individually, I talked  to two teachers who had to present teacher portfolios and had received back  comments on their portfolio.  One teacher had glowing feedback.  He told me how he had only put student material in the portfolio that demonstrated above proficient work. He explained that usually only one or two students in all of his classes had reached that level for each standard and so he included that  work.

The other teacher had put in student work at all levels of proficiency.  Her feedback focused on how she had to help students to be successful. She had included the percent of  students  at each level of proficiency; she had even included a graph for the proficiency rates on  the four major standards. She indicated some strategies she had tried and whether each strategy succeed or did not succeed with these students.

The administrators were looking for measures of the teachers’ success in helping students to learn. They did not discern the difference between  a staged or fake representation of success for a teacher and a teacher’s  full disclosure about classroom learning.

How can your teacher portfolio show your growing success in reaching more and more students?

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

Reponding to Your Students

Pre-checking for Student Engagement Through PowerPoint

Like many teachers, I use PowerPoint to guide the lesson. I like that I can have all the images, videos, quotes, essential questions, class activities, etc. in one place for the lesson.  Lately, I have been thinking more about student engagement during class. I’ve come up with a simple way to verify that students will be engaged.  I use a distinct color such as dark blue  in the PowerPoint to indicate  all the  student activities  such as questions to be answered, small group discussions, and  comparison charts to be done. Before I teach a lesson, Iscan my PowerPoint slides to see how often I am engaging the students- I simply look for the dark blue text.  Since I’ve begun doing this, I find myself  wondering how I could be talking/showing for so long without students being asked to think through the topic.  I find myself adding more opportunities for students to  become engaged with the material.

Go dark blue and see what happens in your class.

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

Reponding to Your Students

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

High Expectations For Our Students: Our Responsibility

Robyn Jackson in Never Worker Harder than Your Students differentiates between standards and expectations.

The standards specify what high level content or process learning we want of the students. Expectations refer to our belief that we can help the students  to get there. If we have high expectations, then we believe that we can help the pupils to be successful. If we have low expectations, then we do not feel that we can help them learn. If we truly have high expectations, then we will figure out what we can do to help the students to  grow in the standard to the point of achievement. We do not focus on what they cannot do, we focus on what we can help them be able to do. We do not focus on what they do not know, we focus on how to help them obtain the prerequisite knowledge or skills in the context of the course. If we have high expectations, we do not ask students to learn the missing material or skills on their own, we build knowledge or skill development into our class into mini-lessons targeted to help them. If we have high expectations, we take responsibility for their growth; we work on the solution, not cursing the problem. If we have high expectations for our students, we promise ourselves that they will be successful in our class due to our efforts.

Do you have high expectations for your students? How do your students know?

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

Reponding to Your Students

Break your class now!

For many years a favorite book of mine was If it is not broken, then break it by George Morrison. The author stresses that the time to improve something is when it is working, not when it is broken. If you fix something when it is broken, you usually only restore it to its original condition but not an improved one.

If you spend time in reflecting on the lesson or unit and breaking the present level, you improve it to a higher level. Your students learn better.

When do you stop and break your class? Do you consciously say “What can I improve the next time I do this?” Do you rewrite your lesson plans? Redo your PowerPoint? Find different websites? Think about wording things differently on your handouts? Do you ask your students what worked for them such as rating each part of the unit on a 4-very helpful for learning the goal 3- somewhat helpful 2- a little helpful 1- not helpful at all” scale and do you ask them “What would have helped me better learn this goal?” Do you honestly consider their suggestions?

Break your class to help your students better succeed!

One way to break your class is through formative assessment.

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

Reponding to Your Students

Responding to students: Our Real Emotional Message

In a previous post, I emphasized that students need an abundance of positive comments before they really believe that what they have done is good.

Likewise, when we examine our comments to students in the margins and at the end of their papers, we may discover that  the messages that we think are positive or neutral appear to the students as negative ones.     For example, in “Good topic sentence. Follow it up with more evidence”   the message seems to us to be a positive; however, the second sentence deflats the praise. The previous examples strikes students as a “set up and slap down” comment.

Students may see our statements or questions as direct commands rather than suggestions. “Can you think of other possibilities?” can easily be translated as “You dummy, why can’t you get a good answer?”

When we write on students’ papers, we have to promote a positive tone since many students will read any non-positive statement as a negative one.

If you are 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

School Awards For Teachers

I recently  attended a college’s award ceremony for faculty and staff.  I was impressed with all the categories of awards.

I’ve made up some awards that I would like schools to give. These awards will not be given to just one teacher but to any teacher who does any of the following:

Focus their students’ learning on the standards

Spend more working with students than lecturing

Diagnose students’  learning problems instead of just giving grades

Give specific feedback that actually help the students to move forward in their learning

Keep cumulative records of students’ strengths and learning gaps in a specific learning goal

Celebrate their students’ standards-based learning successes

Transform academic learning  into real world learning

Invite parents and other experts in the classroom (physically or virtually)  to share their wisdom about a learning goal

Involve the students in meaningful community or global projects that truly make a difference in other students’ lives.

Empower students to feel that they are capable of being successful

Share the learning goal, assessments, and success strategies with other teachers

What other awards would you like to schools to give?

Improving How We Use Wikis for Better Student Learning

Here are some handout notes for the session:

Harry Grover Tuttle, Ed. D.
Instructor, writer, consultant
harry.g.tuttle   at   gmail.com

Blog: https://eduwithtechn.wordpress.com

Purpose: To improve students’ learning through changing how we use wikis in our classroom.

Formative Assessment Focus

Improvements:

    1. Teach the mechanics

    2. Identify the learning goal/purpose

    3. Explain the quality of responses

    4. Use students’ notes

    5. Organize the class

    6. Provide in-class and out-of-class resources by learning style

    7. Avoid common web topics

    8. Make learning “collective wisdom” instead of  “collective stupidity”

    9. Have exemplary work and reactions to the exemplars

    10. Build in real and varied interaction

    11. Build on the past

    12. Make group work transparent

    13. Have a student-help-student section

    14. Carefully use outside experts and other classes

    15. Co-create with students

A wiki has been created for you to add to  http://wikiforbetterlearning.pbwiki.com/

A mini version of the presentation is available at slideshare

Reponding to Your Students

Two Observations, Two Different Approaches

I was talking to two teachers from the same school. Both teachers were going to be observed. One supervisor not only did a pre-conference a week before the observation but also gave the teacher the evaluation rubric. This supervisor asked about any special conditions in the class or if the classroom teacher wanted the supervisor to look for anything in particular. As soon as the class observation was over, the supervisor gave some positives and some suggestions for change. Then within a week, the supervisor sent out the formal evaluation.

The other supervisor showed up two minutes before the class for the pre-conference. He looked over the lesson plan. After about two weeks after the class, the teacher received the formal evaluation.

I’m wondering which technique we use when we observe our students?

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.

A Sign for Learning

Recently I had to put out a church sign.  I had to write out the sign so I knew what I wanted, find each letter  for the words, put the letters in the correct order to spell each word, and then put  the letters in backward order (last letter, next to last letter, etc.)  for each word on the sign.I constantly checked to make sure that the backward planning was resulting in the words being spelled correctly.

I realized that that is how good teachers teach. They figure out what they want their students to do, they make sure of all the skills involved, and they plan backward so that the students will learn letter by letter so they can be successful. They use formative assessment to verify the students learning

What learning sign have you put out this week?

Time to Teach or Time to Learn

I was talking with another educator who teaches the same course I am now teaching. He spends the first half of the course in teaching about how to give a speech and then, in the second half of the semester, he has the students do speeches. I have my students give speeches after the third class. I think that I have scaffolded their speeches so that they can be successful in including all of the elements of good speaking. The proof will be tomorrow when they give their first speech.

Do you spend much time in teaching the material and then give the students a little time to practice it or do you present the material quickly and then give the students much time to practice?

Gladly would the teacher help the students to learn

Chaucer wrote “Gladly would he learn and gladly teach.” I would like to change that to “Gladly would he/she learn and gladly help students to learn.” Unfortunately some teachers think of teaching as presenting information and then testing on that info. In the formative assessment process, the focus is on helping the students to learn.

Glick wrote :”It is not what the teacher does but what he gets the students to do that results in learning” Our focus should be not on what the teacher does but on what the teacher helps the students to do. The teacher’s “best” lecture is not good if it does not help students to do something to learn the standard. Teachers should teach less and have students learn and do more in the class. The more students do in the class, the more teachers can observe them, diagnose them, and offer formative feedback to help the students so that the students can improve drastically in their learning.

Do you focus on teaching or learning?

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?

Formative Assessment Camps

There are two camps in the formative assessment field. One focuses on what the teacher does. The teacher camp concentrates on all the teacher does- how he/she observes, gather data and plans the lesson. It focuses on future changes for the next year in the curriculum or manner of presenting it. The other camp focuses on the students receiving information for their improvement in the standard for the present lesson.   This other camp simply asks how does what the teacher does help the students to better learn the standard in this unit.

What formative assessment camp are you in? How do you use technology to help you in your camp?

Spring, Student Learning, Formative Assesment and Technology

In the northeast spring is in the minds of people even if it is only 28 degrees. Ice cream stands are interviewing applicants; miniature golfing ranges are getting spruced up, and chicken Bbqs have begun.

I wonder how we prepare for our students’ spring? Do we throw out old non-productive lesson plans? Do we figure out ways to discern the learning gaps (weeds) in our students’ gardens and then to help them remove those gaps? Do we celebrate their learning successes? Do we review the strategies we have used with various students and make sure those strategies have made a positive difference? Do we help them to see what learning succcesses they have had? Do we help them to see the goal that they are growing in?

How do we use technology in this garden of learning? Do we allow students to see their standards-based progress through online “grading” programs? Do we provide many different formats for learning activities to overcome learning gaps such as emovies?


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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