Category Archives: Ask Don’t Tell

Visual: SMP-1 Make sense of problems and persevere #LL2LU

What if we display learning progressions in our learning space to show a pathway for learners? After Jennifer Wilson (Easing the Hurry Syndrome) and I published SMP-1: Make sense of problems and persevere #LL2LU, I wondered how we might display this learning progression in classrooms. Dabbling with doodling, I drafted this visual for classroom use. Many thanks to Sam Gough for immediate feedback and encouragement during the doodling process.

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 1.21.17 PMI wonder how each of my teammates will use this with student-learners. I am curious to know student-learner reaction, feedback, and comments. If you have feedback, I would appreciate having it too.

What if we are deliberate in our coaching to encourage learners to self-assess, question, and stretch?

[Cross posted on Easing the Hurry Syndrome]

#LL2LU Fractions – we are smarter than me & modeling C’s – #MPVschool & #TrinityLearns

A new definition of strength: Can we learn together? What if we collaborate, ask for feedback, and lean in to leverage expertise and perspective of others?

If we truly believe in communication, collaboration, and the other C’s, how are we – as lead learners – modeling and taking action?

<Note the timestamps in the following communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving.>

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“Hear” snippets of Nicole’s thoughts as she is developing the assessment shown above:

    •  I’m  writing a mathematics unit for a grade level that I have never taught to learn, to  help my team, to help our young learners.
    • This is hard.
    • I’m trying to model backwards design unit planning (Grant Wiggins hung the moon, most recently evidenced by his math blog post today). Stage 2 (How will I know when they have learned it?) must come before Stage 3 (the learning plan). Teachers should have access to the assessments (formative and summative) at the beginning of the unit.
    • Our learning outcomes are all I have to work with.  Reading these standards in depth helps me some, but I need feedback.
    • I heart Google.
    • The “I can…” statements need to be student-friendly. They will be directly related to the standards-based rubric we will need to create.
    • I’ve worked through several leveled assessments as collaborations with classroom teachers, but I have yet to write one independently.
    • Wait, why am I writing this independently? It’s nearly midnight. I’m sending this to Jill.

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 7.09.54 PMScreen Shot 2014-04-24 at 7.09.34 PMScreen Shot 2014-04-24 at 7.08.44 PM Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 7.08.56 PM

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“Hear” snippets of Jill’s thoughts as she gave feedback and edited the assessment shown above:

      • Wow…Such good work.
      • Level 1 “I can decompose a figure into equal parts. I can name each part.”  
        • I wonder if decompose is a 3rd grade word. (I do not know.)  I also wonder about “partition” as a 3rd grade word.
        • I wonder if you are having a resolution problem with the shapes in Level 1. The image shown is a rectangle, not a square.
        • I wonder how successful a child can be partitioning the circle without having the center marked and using a compass.
      • Level 2 “I can represent a fraction on the number line when some fractions are given to me.“  
        • Can we eliminate the word “some” and/or simplify?
        • What if we say I can represent fractions on a number line?
        • What if we add number lines to identify fractions before asking students to take action on number lines? Just this month, Jennifer Wilson and I presented on conceptual understanding of fractions and the new way to convey a consistent story using number lines. 
        • My TI-Nspire software and the fraction lessons will give me number lines. I’m not sure about mixed numbers and partitions past 1, but Nicole will know.  At least adding a visual might help.

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 7.10.26 PM

Nicole thinking:

How on earth did Jill create this fancy number line in a Google doc? I like her train of thought here but think the visual at it stands now will be too hard for grade 3 students.

Jill’s thinking:

Right. Number lines too hard. Would it be easier if we think together now that we are both awake?

Below is a copy of the next iteration of this assessment after a Google hangout discussion and co-learning conversation.

How might we collaborate, ask for feedback, and lean in to leverage expertise and perspective of others?

A new definition of strength: We are stronger than me. Learn and share!


[Cross posted on Curriculum Reflections] 

#NCSM14 Art of Questioning: Leading Learners to Level Up #LL2LU

What if we empower and embolden our learners to ask the questions they need to ask by improving the way we communicate and assess?

Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path so we can challenge for ourselves. They provide us just enough insight so we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world, makes me want to step to the next higher level.  Great teachers somehow make us want to ask the questions that they want us to answer, overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome. (Lichtman, 20 pag.)

On Monday, April 7, 2014, Jennifer Wilson (@jwilson828) and Jill Gough (@jgough) presented at the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics Conference in New Orleans.

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Jill started with a personal story (you’re letting her shoot…) about actionable feedback and then gave the quick 4-minute Ignite talk on the foundational ideas supporting the Leading Learners to Level Up  philosophy.

Our hope was that many of our 130 participants would help us ideate to craft leveled learning progressions for implementing the Common Core State Standards Mathematical Practices.  Jennifer prompted participants to consider how we might building understanding and confidence with I can make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. After giving time for each participant to think, she prompted them to collaborate to describe how to coach learners to reach this target.  Jennifer shared our idea of how we might help learners grow in this practice.

Level 4:
I can find a second or third solution and describe how the pathways to these solutions relate.

Level 3:
I can make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

Level 2:
I can ask questions to clarify the problem, and I can keep working when things aren’t going well and try again.

Level 1:
I can show at least one attempt to investigate or solve the task.

 Participants then went right to work writing an essential learning – Level 3 – I can… statement and the learning progression around this essential learning. Artifacts of this work are captured on the #LL2LU Flickr page.

Here are the additional resources we shared:

How might we coach our learners into asking more questions? Not just any question – targeted questions.  What if we coach and develop the skill of questioning self-talk?

Interrogative self-talk, the researchers say, “may inspire thoughts about autonomous or intrinsically motivated reasons to purse a goal.”  As ample research has demonstrated, people are more likely to act, and to perform well, when the motivations come from intrinsic choices rather than from extrinsic pressures.  Declarative self-talk risks bypassing one’s motivations.  Questioning self-talk elicits the reasons for doing something and reminds people that many of those reasons come from within. (Pink, 103 pag.)

[Cross-posted on Easing the Hurry Syndrome]

________________________

Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

Pink, Daniel H. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others. New York: Riverhead, 2012. Print.

thinkering and applying – #MakerEd #LearnAndShare

On February 26, I participated in a workshop with Lindsey OwnVinnie VrotnyJaymes Dec, and Andrew Carle on Maker Education.  It was AWESOME! (You can read a summary of the details of the workshop on Lindsey’s blog post, #MakerEd at #NAISac14!) I applaud their plan, pedagogy, and execution. It was a real workshop with learner choice and learning by doing. Here’s a glimpse of the action:

Maker
Image by Lindsey Own; used with permission.

My favorite of the experiences was the sewing station.  Using a strip of felt, snaps, an led, a battery, and some conductive thread, I created a wearable circuit. Now, I have to confess that I have, in my past, co-taught calculus-based physics to seniors.  While I was the calculus person on the team, I did quite well with circuits. I could read most problems, draw the circuit (in parallel or in series) and answer the question posed by the book.  Sewing my bracelet at NAIS was the first time I ever created, touched, designed a circuit. Amazing and sad at the same time.  How much more would I have understood about physics if I’d had the sewing experience first?

I wanted to have two leds on my bracelet.  In conversation with my 9-year old, she asked if her bracelet could have her name as well light up.  Trying to apply her ideas into my learning, here’s the next iteration in my learning:

MakerMe

I used 18 ct Aida cross stitch fabric and DMC thread to produce my bracelet.  I tried to capture the process in pictures.

I am grateful to  Lindsey OwnVinnie VrotnyJaymes Dec, and Andrew Carle for the experience at NAIS.

How might we connect ideas with our learners? How might we ramp up design and hands-on experiences to make additional opportunities for curiosity, creativity, critical reasoning, communication, collaboration, and control?

#LL2LU Formative Assessment that Builds Confidence and Skill – #NspiredatT3

What if we empower and embolden our learners to ask the questions they need to ask by improving the way we communicate and assess?

Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path so we can challenge for ourselves. They provide us just enough insight so we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world, makes me want to step to the next higher level.  Great teachers somehow make us want to ask the questions that they want us to answer, overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome. (Lichtman, 20 pag.)

Our final session at T³ International Conference was, of course, my favorite of the sessions we offered.  Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 4.11.06 PM

Here’s the original plan:

.

I started with a personal story about actionable feedback and then gave the quick 4-minute Ignite talk on the foundational ideas supporting the Leading Learners to Level Up  philosophy.

We then went right to work.  Here’s what it looked like:

Responding to questions from participants, I shared the following additional resources:

How might we coach our learners into asking more questions? Not just any question – targeted questions.  What if we coach and develop the skill of questioning self-talk?

Interrogative self-talk, the researchers say, “may inspire thoughts about autonomous or intrinsically motivated reasons to purse a goal.”  As ample research has demonstrated, people are more likely to act, and to perform well, when the motivations come from intrinsic choices rather than from extrinsic pressures.  Declarative self-talk risks bypassing one’s motivations.  Questioning self-talk elicits the reasons for doing something and reminds people that many of those reasons come from within. (Pink, 103 pag.)

________________________

Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

Pink, Daniel H. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others. New York: Riverhead, 2012. Print.

Design for Learning and Inquiry – #NspiredatT3

Can we – do we – see ourselves as designers of learning experiences?

Today’s session offers  T³ International Conference participants an opportunity to go deep.  Friday’s sessions ran for either 60 or 90 minutes.  While there are 60 and 90 minute sessions at the conference today, participants may also elect to spend four or six hours in learn-by-doing sessions.

Here’s what we submitted for the program:

Design for Learning and Inquiry
Interested in more inquiry from student-learners? In this hands-on session we will focus on designing one-page TI-Nspire documents that promote investigation, learning, and inquiry.  Our goal is to learn by doing.  We want participants to be able to say at the end of this session:  1) I can exercise the ideas of simplicity and restraint when designing TI-Nspire learning investigations; 2) I can storyboard a learning investigation prior to beginning to design to streamline the concept and balance the information to be learned; and 3) I can create TI-Nspire documents to promote learning and inquiry. Bring your laptop with TI-Nspire Teacher Edition and sample learning targets or assessments that you will tinker with.

Here’s how it was printed in the program.

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We want our participants to learn to design a one-page TI-Nspire document that promotes student investigation, learning, and inquiry.  Our goal is to discuss – experientially – the essential learnings for the summer workshop. We know we can’t do justice to a 2-day workshop in 2 hours.  We planned to go deep into one activity rather than cover the entire agenda at a rapid pace.

We encourage the idea of Storyboarding prior to launching in to designing with TI-Nspire. We are inspired by Garr Reynolds and Presentation Zen.  In particular we are going to try to avoid creating Nspire documents that are slideuments. For more information, please read “Slideuments” and the catch-22 for conference speakers.

Our hope:  At the end of this workshop, participants should be able to say:

    • I can exercise the ideas of restraint and simplicity when designing learning investigations.
      • I can identify what is important and remove what is not important.
      • I can design where less is more visually – I can include only what is necessary to promote inquiry and investigation.
      • I can design documents that are engaging and prompt questions and inquiry from the learner.
    • I can storyboard a learning investigation prior to beginning to design to streamline the concept and balance the information to be learned.
      • I can explain the goal of the activity and outline the expected learning outcomes.
      • I can design a variety of dynamic constructions that are controlled by different inputs including points, sliders, and stored variables.
      • I can design documents with a variety of outputs, which use color and strings to support opportunities for  visual connections.
    • I can create TI-Nspire documents to promote student investigation and inquiry.
      • I can enhance documents with conditional statements to make information appear and disappear as needed to enhance a lesson.
      • I can apply TI-Nspire construction tools: geometry tools, scatterplots, data capture, etc. to create the investigation.
      • I can use free points, restricted points, sliders, stored variables, etc. to control the actions in the document.
      • I can use color, text boxes, strings, etc. as inputs and outputs to connect ideas and promote questions.

We have a plan which is shared below, but we are going to lead our learners by following their questions.

Essential learning: I can explain the effects of a, h, and k in the vertex form of a parabola.

Level 1: I can graph a parabola and use the interactive tools of TI-Nspire to shift and stretch the parent function to investigate graphs of parabolas.

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Feedback:

  • I like that learners can shift and stretch the graph to see the graph and function change.
  • I wonder if the decimals are helpful or distracting.
  • What if we created a document where the values of h and k are Integers?

Level 2: I can design a document to stretch and shift a parabola where the values of h and k are Integers.

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Feedback:

  • I like that the values of h and k are restricted to Integer values. I like that I can control the step of these values by changing the scale of the graph.
  • I wonder if learners will connect the values of (h, k) shown in the ordered pair to the equation.
  • What if the equation showed the numerical values of h and k rather than the symbols?

Stage 3: I can design a document to stretch and shift a parabola where the values of h and k are Integers and the function dynamically shows the numerical values of h and k as the function changes.

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Here’s what we planned to do:

Here’s what our participants prompted us to actually do because of the question How might we use color?:

Stage 4: I can design a document to stretch and shift a parabola where the function dynamically shows the numerical values of a, h, and k as the function changes.

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Final Nspire document shown above

We’ve left the last hour for application and coaching.  Participants are invited to create their own document. We are available for trouble-shooting and brainstorming.

Here’s the next challenge for curious learners:

Final Nspire document shown above.

Calculus and the Art of Questioning – #NspiredatT3

It falls in the category of “ask; don’t tell.” We used to think that kids needed carefully scaffolded, guided learning experiences. We now think learners need opportunities to explore, ask what if, and test their ideas instead of us telling them what to think and do. We know there needs to be a balance of both.

What if we offered Calculus students a TI-Nspire™ document to explore and develop questions and hypotheses? What if we used student questions to develop a path to learning? Can we lead learning by following student questions?

In The Falconer; What We Wish We Had Learned in School, Grant Lichtman writes:

Good teachers ensure that their students learn the subject material to an acceptable or superior level. Great teachers all do one thing well: they create dissonance in the minds of their students and guide them in the resolution of that dissonance.

In another of our the T³ International Conference presentations in Las Vegas, Sam and I are going to share our thinking, our documents, and our ideas about creating dissonance and offering learners the opportunity to ask questions and investigate first.

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Here are the files we are using as starters for this conversation (We learn and share; download these Nspire files from our Dropbox. Each screenshot is hyperlinked to the corresponding file if you just want one or two.):

03-07-2014 Image001 03-07-2014 Image002 03-07-2014 Image003 03-07-2014 Image004 03-07-2014 Image005 03-07-2014 Image006

We’d love your feedback and your questions.  We’d also love to know if you try this with learners.