• Change in the reading for technology week (week 11): Luehmann & MacBride (instead of Frink) on Blackboard
  • Homework for next week: Learning Styles Inventory
  • November 25th: STARS Reports Due
  • December 1st: Presentations
  • December 8th: Submissions & rest of presentations

Objectives: Students will be able to-

  • articulate multiple purposes for assessment
  • articulate multiple benefits for writing detailed lesson plans
  • connect strong grounded practices with theoretical support
  • draft 3 possible foci for mini action research

Conversation with Jenny Peck (7th grade science teacher @ Rush-Henrietta)

Jenny has implemented a “menu” style curriculum into her classroom. She created this curriculum in response to her concerns about making grading and assessment explicit and accessible to her students. The menus allow her students to choose activities to work on as well as provide them with all of the information they need to know in order to obtain the grade they want. She sets up the menus with three levels and grades correspond with each level. Mastery of level 1 will equate to a C, levels 1 & 2 a B and levels 1-3 an A. After the students complete the activities in each level, they conference with the teacher and take a quiz. If the quiz is mastered, students can process to the next level. This menu-style curriculum was generated in response to Jenny’s action research question “How does using a menu impact student motivation?” She found that using this format which utilized transparent grading and student centered activities that the intrinsic motivation of her students increased dramatically.  

Possible Action Research Questions (Things that “feel weak in my practice”):

Remember to keep these questions small and reasonable since we are only studying them for an abbreviated period of time. Also, a good place to start is “What do I want to do better?”

  • How does increased wait-time (I & II) impact student engagement?
  • How does building on “wrong answers” change participation?
  • How does involving student in rubric construction change the use of classroom Q & A time?

Possible data sources for action research:

  • Teacher checklists
  • Grades
  • Student perception surveys
  • Student interviews   

Here are some of the things that my group came up with that we thought John Van Niel did well during class last week to make our classroom feel like his own:

  • Scaffolding the process of skull identification
  • Setting up expectations for brainstorming
  • Using humor
  • Great artifacts & accessibility to those artifacts
  • Student construction of knowledge
  • Obvious passion for the subject matter
  • Student choice in the activities
  • Introduced a wide variety of knowledge
  • Addressed misconceptions in a positive and constructive way
  • Efficient use of time & smooth transitions

Writing detailed lesson plans – rate your confidence on a scale of 1-10 (implementing John’s lesson plan for 7th graders)  YOU and JOHN
·     I can describe why objectives of my lesson should be shared with my students.
·     I can articulate and carefully phrase the learning objectives for the lesson, including which are more important in case time gets cut short.
·     I know how to start and incrementally build on students’ contributions to move my lesson along in the time and direction I need for meeting my objectives.
·     I can describe multiple ways I will assess students in order to help them and me monitor where they are in their understanding – at multiple benchmarks throughout the lesson.
·     I can list the likely misconceptions and stumbling blocks students will face in meeting these objectives (for example “sharp vs. flat” as a heuristic for distinguishing herbivores from carnivores)
·     I can identify multiple ways that I will meet individual students’ needs as they arise.

Planning – anything that teachers do when they say they are planning; thinking is what really matters.

What value is there to MAKING your thinking visible? (some ideas)

·     Make it available for feedback from many others
·     Make it available for future reflection
·     Construct meaning as you write
·     Develop a new discourse – especially of reform
·     Develop routines

I also wanted to add a link to a cool article that I came across when I was researching authentic assessment for my research methods class. I just love using stuff for more than one class! Here’s the link on the library website:

Just in case the link doesn’t work (since I’m not 100% confident in my blogging skills!), here’s the info about the article: “High School Students’ Perceptions of Narrative Evaluations as Summative Assessments” by Sylvia S. Bagley, published in American Secondary Education, 36(3) Summer 2008. 

Now that my scribe responsibilities are all done, I’m going to pass the torch to my groupmate Andrea for next week. Have fun with it!  

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