Sunday, March 21, 2010

Test-Savvy Principal #2: Accountable Talk

The 2nd Test-Savvy Principle is Accountable Talk.  Accountable Talk is one of the nine researched-based Principles of Learning as categorized by the Institute for Learning (IFL) at the University of Pittsburgh.  IFL states that, "The Principles of Learning are condensed theoretical statements summarizing decades of learning research. They are designed to help educators analyze the quality of instruction and opportunities for learning that they offer to students." Accountable Talk is about talking to others about our work and being able to clarifying our thinking about a given topic.  The one who is talking is the one who is learning or clarifying their thinking.  In many classrooms, teachers do much of the talking, thus much of learning.  In the Voicethread posted below, we will look at Accountable talk in action.  The test-savvy strategy being used the is Word Problem Rework.  The student is in the 3rd grade.  Consider: 1) What does the student know about the concept?  2) Where is the student on the continuum of learning from concrete to representational to abstract?  3) What misconceptions is she student grappling with? 4) If you were her instructor, what might your next steps be?  Please note, this is the students first "rework" and her first Voicethread.  Please feel free to leave a comment (feedback) for the student, as she will learn from what others have to say.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Motivating Students

Just watched a video lecture by Daniel Pink as he spoke at the TED conference in July, 2009.  Please watch the video and ponder the following question:  How can we apply the ideas of intrinsic motivation to student learning?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Test-Savvy Principle #1: Student Ownership

This is crunch time for many schools.  They are entering the "test triage" zone.  Every year around this time I see educators pull out the traditional test prep book, give simulations exams and frantically try to figure out strategies to help students do well on standardized exams.  Every year it is the same cycle...give lip service to the exams the first half of the school year and ignoring data.  Then as exams get closer we test the daylights out of students, pinpointing their areas of weakness and enact various extra/enrichment programs and provide additional resources to "help" students succeed on the upcoming exams.  We lament about all we have done, but the students still don't get it or they are not paying attention.  ENOUGH!  ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!  We need to teach differently!  Students need to take ownership of their learning.  This podcast is about using test-savvy strategies to provide opportunities and structures that allow and foster student ownership of learning.  Test-Savvy Principle #1: Student Ownership