This week, I was able to reflect on and discuss high-stakes testing with classmates. Most of us were able to agree that testing has taken a lot of the fun out of teaching and learning. One comment was that we need to keep up our enthusiasm to keep our students engaged and excited about learning. Some teach in private schools and those seem to be more relaxed than public schools in the area of testing. Most teachers who have been teaching for over 10 years have seen this change take place first hand. It is difficult for many of us but we just have to make the best of it.
Most of the formative assessments I give are standards-based assessments. The examples that come to mind when thinking of standards-based assessments are the pre and post assessments I give during my math assessments. This is a paper and pencil task and come from the “short-canned units” (Lewin & Shoemaker, 2007). How do I know my students have really held onto that information and are able to apply it after a post-assessment?
The lesson that I am creating now is going to be a norm-referenced formative assessment. Norm-referenced tests compare students to a norm group, or other group of students (Popham, 2014). Formative assessment is part of the teaching process and provides information as you are teaching the lesson or unit (Garrison & Ehringhaus, 2007). In my lesson, students are given feedback as we move through the lesson and then in an authentic task at the end of the unit.
In 2nd grade, I do not do any high stakes testing. The high-stakes testing does not begin until students are in 3rd grade when they take the statewide assessments. The only assessments we do in 2nd grade that could be considered high-stakes might be the AIMS web testing which assesses fluency of reading, number facts, and math concepts and applications. This information is then reported and it is data that is reported to the district.
It has been reported that high-stakes testing has made teaching and school more stressful and less meaningful (Wheatley, 2015). I would agree with this statement, I am only in my 5th year of teaching and have already seen so many changes in the education system and in the morale of teachers. I find that this is due to all of the testing, teacher evaluations, and accountability. I have heard that the fun has been taken out of teaching from many teachers who have been teaching for a lot longer than me. I would also agree that it is stressful for both teachers and students. Many times I feel like I should say to my students: “sorry kids, no fun today, we have to get through all of this material before the end of the week”.
I feel that testing has taken away much of the intrinsic motivation for some students, others it might not because they want to perform well. Formative assessment on the other hand can be a tool used to enhance intrinsic motivation.
“AIMSweb Login.” AIMSweb Login. Web. 17 Apr. 2015. <https://aimsweb.pearson.com/>.
Garrison, C., & Ehringhaus, M. (2007). Formative and summative assessments in the classroom. Retrieved from http://www.amle.org/Publications/WebExclusive/Assessment/tabid /1120/Default.aspx
Lewin, Larry, and Shoemaker, Betty Jean. Great Performances : Creating Classroom-Based Assessment Tasks (2nd Edition). Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD), 2011. ProQuest ebrary. Available: http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2081/lib/uasoutheast/reader.action?ppg=106&docID=10488667&tm=1428975832182 Web. 13 April 2015
Popham, James W. p. (2014). Criterion-Referenced Measurement: Half a Century
Wasted?. Educational Leadership, 71(6), 62-68. Retrieved from: Egan Library http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eft&AN=94925708&login.asp&site=ehost-live
Wheatley, K. F. (2015). Factors that Perpetuate Test-Driven, Factory-Style Schooling:
Implications for Policy and Practice. International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research, 10(2). Retrieved from: http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter/article/viewFile/261/pdf
This week, reading and learning about brain-based education has been very informative. After reading other blogs and having responses to my blog, I think many of use have feeling of reassurance. One of the confirming things that I read and wrote about was the the brain needs change and it’s okay and actually helps students to change things up that aren’t working anymore. Also, something important that I read about this week was that we need to give students opportunities to digest information. Brain-based learning was a deep topic but I learned a lot about it this week by researching and reading blogs of other classmates.
Brain-based learning is an area of research on how the brain learns information. It can be summarized as “the research on how the brain works and its connections to learning theory” (Palombo-Weiss, 2000). Our brains are amazing networks of connections. “We process all incoming information through networks, and any information already stored influences how and what we learn” (Palombo-Weiss, 2000). “Brain-based learning stresses the importance of patterning, that is, the fact that the brain does not easily learn things that are not logical or have no meaning” (Caine & Caine). Problem-based learning and differentiation allow more students to be able to make those meaningful connections in their brains.
Problem based learning focuses on giving students a problem that they must solve individually or in groups (Woei, Jonassen, & Liu). The brain needs variation in instructional style and problem-based learning is one of those variations. An example of this is that attention devices only work for a certain amount of time and then the brain becomes desensitized and you have to try something new (Jensen, 2005). Problem based learning also allows students to make sense of material and create their own meaning and find their own patterns in learning.
Brain-based learning can also inform differentiation in education. The brain needs different ways of learning the same information to create meaning. Teachers must find ways to help their students see the meaning of new information and use all available resources to create complex learning environments (Caine & Caine).
Brain-based learning is all about helping students create meaning in material. It moves away from traditional ways of teaching like lecturing and then following with a paper and pencil exam. Both problem-based learning and differentiation go hand in hand with the theories of brain-based learning.
Hung, Woei, Jonassen, David H., and Liu, Rude “Problem-Based Learning”. Web 9 Apr.
Nummela Caine, Renate, and Geoffrey Caine. “Membership.” Educational
Leadership:Self-Renewing Schools:Reinventing Schools Through Brain-Based
Learning. Web. 8 Apr. 2015.
Jensen, Eric. Teaching with the Brain in Mind (2nd Edition). Alexandria, VA, USA:
Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD), 2005.
ProQuest ebrary. Web. 5 April 2015. Retreived
Palombo Weiss, Ruth. “Brain-Based Learning: The Wave of the Brain.” Training and
Development (2000): 20-24. Web. 8 Apr. 2015.
Both of the info graphics I created are very simple. I read the scenarios and just brainstormed a couple of ideas where I thought differentiation could take place.
I am focusing on the diffitool for teachers during this experience. I worked on this with Nicole and Scott during the last experience. We just need to make sure that teachers know about the tool and that it is not being duplicated.
Dashner, James. The Maze Runner. New York: Delacorte, 2009. Print.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Coward-McCann, 1962. Print.
“Login | Piktochart.” Login | Piktochart. Web. 3 Apr. 2015. <https://magic.piktochart.com/>.
I have learned a lot about what everyone has been doing in Givercraft this week. I was so focus on the Live minutes site that I did not have time to look at what everyone else was doing. It it pretty amazing how involved so many people have been in working within the world. I would like to try to get into the world more during Survivorcraft.
After reading and commenting on blogs this week, it sounds like something that we all need to do is consolidate. This is something that we talked about during the Twitter session too. All of the resources need to be in one spot, also the training need to inform the teachers about the resources that are available for teachers and students.
The tool that I worked on with Scott and Nicole was the Live Minutes site. We had a chat room open in the evenings and resources imbedded in the Live Minutes. Once we get the survey back, we are hoping to find out if teachers used the resources. We knew that one teacher chatted with us in the Live Minutes Chat room.
In order for this tool to be more effective the next time some revisions will need to be made and the site will need to be promoted more. We need to have all of the resources consolidated into one site so things are not so spread out. The evening helpdesk might have been used more if teachers knew more about it.
Our tool was for teacher education and support during the project. As stated in Timperley’s article this site was to help teachers to “deepen their professional knowledge.” We are not sure how much teachers used the site but that was the hope behind the site. As part of the project we are collecting data through surveys. Data collection is part of the education culture today, it is our responsibility to use data to inform our practice (Using Data: Transforming Potential into Practice, 2014). “New technologies can capture, organize, and analyze vast quantities of data” (Expanding Evidence Approaches for Learning in a Digital World, 2013). We are collecting data through surveys and the survey is being put together in a Google document to include everyone’s questions for the project.
The hope for Survivorcraft is that more teachers will be asking questions in the chat and using the resources there. It was a great idea for everything to be consolidated into one spot so resources are not so spread out.
Expanding Evidence Approaches for Leearning in a Digital World (2013). US
Department of Education Office of Technology.
Moon, Tonya R. “The Role Of Assessment In Differentiation.” Theory Into
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Timperley, Helen “Using Evidence in the Classroom for Professional Learning.” Ontario
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This week was a learning experience for me. I got to hear about what other classmates are doing to contribute to Givercraft. There are many classmates who have great ideas about surveys and support for teachers. I worked with Nicole and Scott to come up with a teacher support area. Others commented on my blog about the Liveminutes teacher support area and had some good ideas about it. I am learning as we go and I am hoping to contribute as much as I can to the experience.
How will I assess the effectiveness of the differentiation I have planned for the Givercraft?
The differentiation the I have been working on with Scott and Nicole is a teacher support area in Liveminutes. We have been trying to think of ways to gauge the effectiveness of the page. Some ideas might include just keeping track of how many teachers are using the site, reading feedback and questions they write on the site, and a possible teacher survey.
We have not discussed ideas to gauge how the work we are doing for teachers is helping differentiate for students. I would say that maybe the best way to find out if the site is helpful to teachers is to do a survey with them. We have come up with an FAQ page, a what to do when page, a reflection question page, and a Minecraft resource page. This is also an are where teachers can meet in the evening to ask questions and get some closure from the day.
This week was a difficult blog for me because of my lack of skills in Minecraft. I was able to read and comment on other blogs this week and contribute in others ways. I was able to talk about difficult students and having difficulty with Minecraft in general. One blog that I commented on was where we were able to discuss difficult students. There are many ways to differentiate and one of the ways that was talked about was grouping students and independent work. There are some students that just cannot handle doing group work and we discussed whether to let them continue in group work or pull them out of the groups. My belief is that I continue to give them opportunities to work in groups and then take them out of the groups after warnings during misbehavior. Group work skills are skills that all students need the opportunity to learn. I was able to discuss alternative routes for students who may not be as “in to Minecraft” as others. Tristan and I discussed having projects such as paragraph writing about the game for students who may not be able to complete the task within the game. We also discussed giving badges for these other tasks. After reading and discussing this week, I am feeling a little better about the project. I know that there are others who are in the same boat as me.