Genevieve showed her pre and post test on the vocabulary and I think it was very well designed and shows that the students have learned a lot. Looking back I wish I would've done something similar with the vocab in my unit. Maybe I will try getting some video responses to vocabulary this next week. I noticed from one of her pics that all students are working hard. This has been the thing I notice on a daily basis when teaching my unit. Students are on task and I have to worry little about student behavior. Students are also willing to stay after school to work. I am wondering if this is the case for everyone? Teresa and Aleta both reminded me that I cannot control the weather and other activities outside of school. Students who are in class work the entire time and come after school. Usually students come after school just to fix a grade but these students are coming to finish their project. Students are now coming to learn instead of for a grade and this is a big piece of evidence that I was reminded of by both Teresa and Aleta. I like how Sally allowed her students to go back and fix their work. I used that strategy earlier on in my lesson. She said she had one student who refused to make changes. I have one of those students too. She refused to make the corrections to her work as well. I have not yet figured out a way to get her to want to try again.
It is great to hear that other teachers over plan as well. I liked how Teresa is using the same assessment 3 different times to gauge mastery. This is a great idea and offers proof of student learning. I wanted to stay away from traditional type tests so I did not want to do question answer types of things a lot. I did some front loading with reading and questions and then videos and questions. Next I provided a fun opportunity for Kahoot to see the learning so far. Next I will compare these to final reports, either video or written. However, my way will be a little harder to prove learning.
Jeff was struggling with technology use. If students are familiar it is hard the 1st time around. I only added one new part actively learn and this made things take twice as long. This definitely speaks to picking a few technology resources and using them frequently. His post also made me realize how important it is to do small tasks. Even then this can be a challenge. Breaking things down for students can really help students to understand the goal. I am interested to see how the project for my students will go next week. We will definitely work together in small steps. I also have written directions to enforce my verbal instructions. I hope this works.
This week I got some help in making sure my lesson was top notch for my students. Amy helped me to realize I left the self-reflection out of my plans. So I have since gone back and added that in. It was in my head, but I didn't really explain how this would work on paper. Aleta found many of my resources helpful. I always find it so beneficial when you get new resources, its like winning the lottery (the teacher lottery, if there were such a thing).
I read 2 other blogs. I was amazed by both! Teresa had a very well-rounded plan. Lots of good teaching, videos, and small tasks for students to complete that would lead up to the final performance task. I liked how her unit did not just end with the final product. She went on the have the class learn from each other by reading the stories and talking about the math. I couldn't think of many suggestions for her. My main suggestion was that she make sure each student can answer the essential questions. Jeff had a math lesson too, but his was on linear equations. He was very creative in allowing students to look of attraction cost and calculate that for different number of students. Then the students could graph. I had 2 suggestions for him: that he tie in a NETS standard and that he tie in the essential questions to gauge student understanding. In his blog he mentioned allowing students to do something other than a poster. I gave him a few suggestions such as videos, brochures, or power points.
I can't wait to start teaching my unit, I just hope the rest of the supplies get here by the end of the week so the students can start building next week.
This week really made my head spin So many great ideas but how to implement them will be quite the challenge. I wish I had been able to attend Twitter this week, but unfortunately I had no Internet or data at Chena hot springs. I was able to go back and read through the conversation, but there are just so many unanswered questions. How do we help students feel successful when the educational system around them does not fit their needs? I am graded on student achievement and putting in approximately 2 grades a week. How do I fit this into the needs of my students? I’m not sure I found an answer this week. I do know that some of the things I have been doing in my classes may not be the best for my students. I did not realize how harmful some things could be. After reading I really want to do away with formal tests for summative assessment, but then I know I am not preparing my students for a state standardized test. Tests are encouraged by the district and the state. I don't want my students to feel unsuccessful when they get test scores back, but I also don't want to waste time prepping students for a test that has little meaning to them or me as the teacher.
Amy talked a lot about standardized tests that are done on computers. She made a great point about how these tests only tell us if a student has been taught how to take the test. There is such a push for differentiation and meeting students where they are at yet our evaluation is based on students all doing the same thing. This makes no sense. Teachers are wasting precious classroom time teaching students to take a test that really has no value to a student. Hopefully with NCLB going away and ESSA coming back into play we will see some changes for the better.
Amy and Sarah both posted similar comments to my blog. They resonated with exactly what has been going through my head this week. How do I reach my students in a way that is beneficial to them while also following what is required by my district? I need summer to get here sooner so that I can do some revising of my current teaching practices.
This week I think Twitter was very helpful to bring everything together. There was just so much reading. I felt like there wasn’t enough time to absorb everything. Teresa and I hosted Twitter and she made a great suggestion to split it. She did the brain articles and I did the poverty articles. This gave me a chance to really read the poverty articles and focus on them. It made me not feel so overwhelmed with the reading. Later I was able to go back and read the brain articles.
Catherine posted a really great summary of brain-based learning. I was struggling to come up with such a concise summary. She pointed out some of the things that I found really interesting. For example, how genes for behavior and learning can be turned on or off. She also talked about how IQ can be changed. Before this week I didn’t realize how much teachers and others could affect a person IQ. I knew IQs weren’t fixed, but I didn’t realize IQ could be changed by as much as 20 points or more.
Teresa talked first about safety. I think this is a great point to bring up and I am so glad she wrote a lot about it. Safety is our number 1 priority. This means that as teachers if we don’t make our classroom feel safe we will never get students to where they need to be. Teresa tied everything together very nicely. Differentiation and brain-based learning go together because we cater to what students need in both approaches. If we add PBL to the mixture we are working to develop higher-order thinking which is a skill students will need no matter what their future holds.
This week for my blog post I was really happy with the articles I found. Twitter came through for me again. I read through my Twitter feed and found 3 articles that related to what we were talking about this week. I really liked one article that talked about a fixed mind-set and a growth mindset. These were not terms thrown out in the reading this week but describe exactly what the author was talking about. We as teachers need to be positive and show students hope. Improvement is possible and that is all we can ask for as teachers.
There is just so much to take in when looking at ways to include games in the classroom.
Genevieve talked about how all games are different. I didn’t specifically post about this but found it to be a key concept. With these differences my take away is that differentiation is inherent in game play. You can easily change rules or design to fit many different scenarios. For example, battleship is a popular game and to make it educational I found someone who had made a periodic table battleship game. This was easy to create but made the learning focused to a topic in my class.
I loved Amy’s video for this week. It was great to hear from kids what they like about Minecraft. This made me realize that I really need to try it out and figure out where it might fit in. Even then as an educator it is important to not overdo things and to be ready to change things as need be. I have heard from students on occasion that teachers are ruining online things. This made me realize that I need to be careful as to how I incorporate things and that more choice and freedom is necessary. I also realized that a huge benefit of games is communication. So the game may not really be the main goal but instead to get students talking. Amber's post also made me think of this when she was showing how student's build in minecraft and then explain their reasoning. It made me want to try it out for myself. If I want to try it I'm sure most of my students would be excited to try it too.
Sarah posted something interesting about boys reading at higher levels when playing games. This was do to the choice they had of what they were reading. For me this really makes me think about how I can make reading something students would choose to do. How can I make it more interesting?
For the assignment I think I will work with my physical science class. They are my highest ability class and also are my most diverse group of students. They will provide me with the best work, and are the most likely to actually complete the work. I'm guessing at that point we will be studying either thermal energy or waves. I'm not sure yet. We have spring break the week after next so I will look at my planning more then. I will also be gone for a week after spring break, and will know more once I make my sub plans. My assessment will most likely be a project and I might include the reflection with it. Other than that I am not sure what I will do.
Here is the link to our wiki. It is the same link as last week because our group decided to build off of our last wiki. Last week we broke up our project into different types of learners. For this week we decided to pick our 2 assistive technologies for the type of learner we had previously picked. I had cognitive and chose to do talking calculators and graphic organizers. We decided to each do a simpler technology and one that was a little more complex.
We each chose our own 2 technologies and posted them to the main page of our wiki discussion. This way we could not duplicate any technology. We arrived at this decision through google hangouts in the chat. We all met up and decided we each needed more time to come up with 2 technologies. There were just so many to choose from. I continued my learning on all of these devices. Some of them are easy and are things that I use in class on occasion, like graphic organizers. This week I really learned what is assistive technology and I found different apps that I could use in my classroom. Ideament is a graphic organizer app that would be great for review. I also read about text to speech apps and many are free. I think this would help some of my struggling readers.
Click here for our group's wiki on assistive technology. We met this past Wednesday before class started for about 40 minutes. We met on the chat part of google hangouts and discussed how we thought we could break it up. I came up with the idea of breaking the wiki up into different types of learners: cognitive, hearing, visual, communication, and mobility. Kate came up with the idea of each talking about a different grade level. We discussed both ideas and then settle on dividing it up into the different types of learners. Jeff picked mobility, Amber took visual, Kate signed up for hearing, I took cognitive, and we assigned Cherie communication (she was sick and signed up late but we got her email just as we were assigning roles).
This week I learned a lot about how much assistive technology is really out there. I knew there was a lot but there was even more than I expected. There are also some very complicated names for such simple things. For example, freeform database software is really just digital sticky notes. Our group had a discussion on whether AT is just for students with disabilities. We did not come across a clear cut answer. Amber found some great resources that helped us decide that AT can be used in many different scenarios. It seems like AT was designed for those with disabilities but could be used for anyone.
I read Cherie’s blog this week and could really relate to having the same students making it easier to connect with parents. I also really liked that she talked about project choice. This is something that I do once a semester, but would love to figure out how to add it more and in different ways.
I also read Genevieve’s blog and really related to the part about inviting parents in. I want parents to come in, but as the students get older, and content gets harder, parents feel less comfortable taking part in their child’s education. For me, as a teacher, this is where I can really help parents. I know the parents in my community want to help, but I don’t think they know what to do. Genevieve talked about a newsletter or email and I keep reading this. It must be a sign that I need to do something. I have thought about it for a while but done nothing. Maybe now is the time. I could try adding a section to my website or sending home a newsletter with some advice would help connect some parents, even if they don’t physically step foot in my classroom.
Anastasia also talked about a letter or email to parents. I think after reading all of these blogs I really need to try it this year at least once. I also noticed that she found the same article from reading rockets that I found. It did such a nice job of summarizing differentiation for parents and students.
This week Jeff found a very similar article to mine that talked about students resubmitting work. This is such an easy strategies, and once I read the benefits, I feel like I should promote it more in my classroom. This would really encourage students to do things right rather than just rushing through.
I also read and responded to Natalie’s blog. She is giving her students so much freedom and her lesson sounds great. I just wonder how that would work in my classroom. I think it would be great to post a bunch of resources for students to view and to then ask them to create something with the information. It would be like what we are required to do in this class. Read and then create. It really makes me think and process what I am learning so I am sure many of my students would feel the same. I just worry that I would really need to build my students up first. I also wonder how much time I would need to give them. For me creating takes so long and I feel some of my students would need more time than I can give them.
As always I really enjoy Twitter. It is so great to hear how things work in other classrooms and to get new ideas. I really love how Cherie uses screencastomatic to make homework help videos. I wonder if I could do something similar but instead make them summary videos to tell what we learned either that day or maybe even for the week (time always seems to be an issue). Another thought would be to assign students this task during the semester.