Category Archives: Questions

Notice and note: check for comprehension

Is it true that the only time we expect demand that our learners draw a picture to accompany their work is when they are working with trigonometry and related rates?

How do we know – Do we know – that our learners are invested and engaged with the context of the task?

What if we connect to ideas they are using and learning in their literacy blocks?  How might we collaborate to use the same language with our learners?

Good mathematicians and scientists, just like good readers and writers, notice and note.  We seek patterns and wonder about things that occur again and again. We look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

How might we show our learners how to notice and note? What if we leverage their creativity and curiosity to show what they know more than one way?

Have you tried Robert Kaplinsky‘s task, How much does a 100×100 In-N-Out cheeseburger cost?

How would you notice and note? What might you and your learners wonder? Do I and my learners just note “the facts?”

NandN5

Or, do we take the time to sketch what we see?

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I wonder… I believe that the sketch doodle helps the thinker analyze what they see, notice what is repeated and what is not repeated.

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How might we deepen understanding and engagement by taking the time to notice and note what occurs again and again and to look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning?

 

Focus on learning: build a team – Embedding Formative Assessment VTR SPW

What if we collect evidence of progress to plan for next steps in learning?

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What if we take up a series of 30 Day Challenges: Step outside your comfort zone! as described in Justin Cahill’s linked post? Justin (@justybubpe) writes:

How about professionally? How can I apply the 30-day challenge to my job as a physical education teacher? How can I use this challenge to motivate my students? How can I take advantage of trying something new for 30 days to help bolster my planning and strengthen my curriculum? How will I answer all of these questions in under 30 days?

What if we focus on learning? When we set goals, are we committed to reaching them? What if we set micro-goals and action-steps that move our learning forward regularly?  How might we choose to team to step outside our comfort zone for 30 days to shift our practice to more formative assessment?

What if we choose to build a supportive accountability team to carve out moments for self- and peer-assessment?

Four weeks appears to be a minimum period of time for teachers to plan and carry out a new idea in their classroom. (Wiliam, 22 pag.)

How might we shift to grow from

a knowledge-giving business to a habit-changing business? (Wiliam, 19 pag.)

What if we try for 30 days?

Indeed, the evidence suggests that attention to classroom formative assessment can produce greater gains in achievement than any other change in what teachers do. (Wiliam, 11 pag.)

How might we try for 30 days?

Viewed from this perspective, choice is not a luxury but a necessity. (Wiliam, 15 pag.)


Cahill, Justin. “30 Day Challenges: Step outside Your Comfort Zone!” Keeping Kids in Motion. WordPress, 06 Jan. 2016. Web. 08 Jan. 2016.

Wiliam, Dylan, and Siobhán Leahy. Embedding Formative Assessment: Practical Techniques for F-12 Classrooms. West Palm Beach, FL: Learning Sciences, 2015. Print.

Agents of formative assessment – Embedding Formative Assessment VTR SPW

Anyone – teacher, learner, or peer – can be the agent of formative assessment. (Wiliam, 8 pag.)

I wonder if we have a common understanding of formative assessment.  I like the following from Dylan Wiliam and Paul Black (2009).

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…evidence elicited, interpreted, and used…to make decisions…

How might we empower every learner in our community to act as an agent of formative assessment?  What if we all use evidence of student learning to make decisions about next steps?

What if we team to clarify and share learning intentions and success criteria? How might we diagnose where learners are and start from there? While we already offer some feedback, what if we are intentional about the messaging in our feedback? Do learners know where they are now and where we want them to go next?

The third strategy emphasizes the teacher’s role in providing feedback to the students that tells them not only where they are but also what steps they need to take to move their learning forward. (Wiliam, 11 pag.)

How might we increase the frequency of feedback loops to offer feedback in the moment rather than the next day?

But the biggest impact happens with “short-cycle” formative assessment, which takes place not every six to ten weeks but every six to ten minutes, or even every six to ten seconds. (Wiliam, 9 pag.)

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If we want the biggest impact, we need help.  Are our learning intentions and success criteria clear and visible to learners? Do we offer moments for self- and peer-assessment? How might we grow in our ability to give high quality feedback that enables learners to move forward?

If anyone can be an agent of formative assessment, how might we team to offer big impact?


Wiliam, Dylan, and Siobhán Leahy. Embedding Formative Assessment: Practical Techniques for F-12 Classrooms. West Palm Beach, FL: Learning Sciences, 2015. Print.

 

Read with me? book study: Embedding Formative Assessment

What if we study and practice, together, to embed formative assessment into our daily practice and learning?

Jennifer Wilson (@jwilson828), Kim Thomas (@Kim_math) and I are hosting a virtual book club around Dylan Wiliam’s Embedding Formative Assessment: Practical Techniques for K-12 Classrooms in January and February.

I am intrigued and inspired by the chapter titles. I want to learn more about learning intentions and success criteria, eliciting evidence of learning, feedback that moves learners forward, students serving as resources for each other, and students as owners of their own learning.

If you don’t have the book yet, you can check it out by reading the first chapter from Learning Science’s website.

Here’s our reading plan:

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We want you to join us! We commit to reading one chapter per week and sharing our thinking using #T3Learns. To add a little structure to our reflective practice, we are going to share using the following Visible Thinking Routines.  Of course, we will share other things too.

We choose this reading pace in order to prepare for Dylan Wiliam’s keynote and sessions at the 2016 International T3 Conference in Orlando. We want to be able to ask questions and make connections based on our actions, experiences, successes, and struggles.

Join us! Let’s experiment and learn by doing.

How might we impact learning if we work on intentionally embedding formative assessment into our daily practice and learning?


Cross posted on Easing the Hurry Syndrome.


Ritchhart, Ron, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison. Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011. Print.

Wiliam, Dylan, and Siobhán Leahy. Embedding Formative Assessment: Practical Techniques for F-12 Classrooms. West Palm Beach, FL: Learning Sciences, 2015. Print.

 

Move the fulcrum to a positive mindset; find a path forward (TBT remix)

Move the fulcrum so that all the advantage goes to a negative mindset, and we never rise off the ground. Move the fulcrum to a positive mindset, and the lever’s power is magnified— ready to move everything up. (Achor, 65 pag.)

“When people believe their basic qualities can be developed, failures may still hurt, but failures don’t define them.   And if abilities can be expanded – if change and growth are possible – then there are still many paths to success.” (Dweck, 39 pag.)

How are we intentionally teaching growth mindset? How might we coach ourselves and our learners using Carol Dweck’s first steps to changing your mindset?

Step1. Learn to hear your fixed mindset “voice.”

Step 2. Recognize that you have a choice.

Step 3. Talk back to it with a growth mindset voice.

Step 4. Take the growth mindset action.

“Mostly though, I feel it in a changed attitude toward failure, which doesn’t feel like a setback or the writing on the wall anymore, but like a path forward.” (Coyle, 217 pag.)


Move the fulcrum to a positive mindset’ find a path forward was originally published on January 12, 2015.


Achor, Shawn. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work. New York: Broadway, 2010. Print.

Coyle, Daniel. The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born : It’s Grown, Here’s How. New York: Bantam, 2009. 217.  Print.

Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: the New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House, 2006. 39. Print.

 

 

Growing into independence

Coaching or over-coaching? It’s not about intent; it is about impact. If we focus on learning, don’t we need to move to the sideline and watch? How will we know if learners are independent or dependent if we are always on their learning field?

On his own, a dependent learner is not able to do complex, school-oriented learning tasks such as synthesizing and analyzing informational text without continuous support. (Hammond, 11 pag.)

How might we intentionally plan and facilitate learning experiences to help dependent students grow into independent learners?

See that window?

Jill-Shop

Over the last break, I wanted to learn to make something that I’d seem my smart, creative brother make back in the summer.  Jeff, my brother, believes in learning by doing. He prototypes and seeks feedback.  How often do our learners do that or get to do that?

So, when I asked to learn, we went to work.  I received a 5 minute mini-lesson on the Kreg jig and pocket screws where I watched and asked questions.  Then, I was handed the Ryobi drill.

Generally speaking, one of our family rules has been that Jill cannot use anything that has a blade and a power cord.  So I predicted that Jeff would help me. I mean, stand right there beside me to keep me from making a mistake.

Nope. He was busy; working.

He did come right back to explain that the drill was a variable speed drill and asked me to slow down.  And then, he was gone again. Who knew? Variable speed so I could work at a speed where I felt confident. Amazing! I experienced success and a few failures and one do-over.

How do we make time and space for our learners to become independent learners?

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 5.29.59 AM
From Zaretta Hammond’s Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students

Independent learners regularly attempt new tasks without scaffold and have cognitive strategies to get unstuck.

Coaching or over-coaching. There’s more to the story,

Remember that window?

Consider that window…


Hammond, Zaretta, and Yvette Jackson. Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students. Corwin. Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.

Hammond, Zaretta, and Yvette Jackson. Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students. Corwin. 2015.

Deep Practice, Leveling, and Communication (TBT Remix)

Does a student know that they are confused and can they express that to their teacher? We need formative assessment and self-assessment to go hand-in-hand.

I agree that formative self-assessment is the key. Often, I think students don’t take the time to assess if they understand or are confused. I think that it is routine and “easy” in class. The student is practicing just like they’ve been coached in real time. When they get home, do they “practice like they play” or do they just get through the assignment? I think that is where deep practice comes into play. If they practice without assessing (checking for success) will they promote their confusion?  I tell my students that it is like practicing shooting free throws with your feet perpendicular to each other. Terrible form does not promote success. Zero practice is better than incorrect practice.

With that being said, I think that teachers must have realistic expectations about time and quality of assignments. If we expect students to engage in deep practice (to embrace the struggle) then we have to shorten our assignments to accommodate the additional time it will take to engage in the struggle.  We now ask students to complete anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 as many problems as in the past with the understanding that these problems will be attempted using the method of deep practice.

Our version of deep practice homework:
“We have significantly shortened this assignment from years past in order to allow you time to work these questions correctly. We want you do work with deep practice.

  • Please work each problem slowly and accurately.
  • Check the answer to the question immediately.
  • If correct, go to the next problem.
  • If not correct, mark through your work – don’t eraseleave evidence of your effort and thinking.
    • Try again.
    • If you make three attempts and can not get the correct answer, go on to the next problem. “

I also think that the formative assessments with “leveling” encourage the willingness to struggle. How many times has a student responded to you “I don’t get it”? Perhaps it is not a lack of effort. Perhaps it is a lack of connected vocabulary. It is not only that they don’t know how, is it that they don’t know what it is called either. It is hard to struggle through when you lack vocabulary, skill, and efficacy all at the same time. How might we help our learners attend to precision, to communicate in the language of our disciplines?

Now is the time to guide our young learners to develop voice, confidence (and trust), and a safe place to struggle.


Deep Practice, Leveling, and Communication was originally published on November 20, 2010