Friday, October 31, 2014

Learning Expectations for Students: How Making Thinking Visible Strategies Can Help

Establishing clear learning expectations for students is a critical part of the teaching and learning process. In order to achieve a true learning platform in your classroom, this must go beyond simply posting standards on the wall. The following are all important aspects of this process:
  •  Teachers deeply understand the content, context, and cognitive requirements of the standards
  • Teachers explicitly communicate learning expectations so students clearly understand them and can communicate and take ownership over their own learning
  • Teachers design learning tasks that closely align to the content, context, and cognitive requirements of the standards
  • Teachers and students monitor learning toward achievement of standards
While there are countless strategies that can help teachers design a culture around the learning standards in the classroom, the following Making Thinking Visible strategies represent best-practice instruction that will engage students in not only understanding the standards, but also interacting with, analyzing, and reflecting upon their learning progress:

Click "Read More" below to explore the strategies

Criterion-Referenced Feedback

WHAT: Criterion-referenced feedback is feedback that tells students where they stand relative to a target level of knowledge or skills.  Rubrics are effective tools for providing students with criteria that describes specific levels of performance for content. The criteria is informational in nature as well as process-oriented.

WHY: This type of feedback gives students more information about their learning than norm-referenced feedback, which tells them how their performance ranks relative to the performance of other students. Descriptive indicators help students understand exactly what they have done well and what areas they need to work on improving.

HOW: Teachers can use rubrics to provide criterion-referenced feedback to students, but they can also empower students to use rubrics to rate writing and other work products produced by themselves and/or their peers. This strategy is most effective when students work to explain WHY a certain rubric indicator reflects the work being rated. It is also effective to engage students in coming up with specific steps that can be taken to move the work up a level on the rubric.

Goal Setting
  WHAT: Goal setting strategies are designed to help students clearly identify learning targets so that they can track progress toward reaching those goals.

WHY: Research shows a consistent, positive relationship between setting goals and successfully performing tasks.  In fact, successful people attribute much of their achievement to their ability to set, monitor, and achieve goals. Providing students with a goal-setting process or sharing goal-setting guidelines with them can help them more efficiently set and monitor their progress toward their goals.

HOW: Below are several examples of templates and specific goal-setting strategies. In order for goal setting to be most successful, students will first need to understand the learning standards and have a clear idea of how they might demonstrate evidence of their learning. This is a strategy that should become a part of the classroom culture and will have more impact on learning if a consistent approach is used and if it is re-visited continuously throughout the year.

Goal Setting Templates

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Birdville ISD's

Venn Diagram

Venn Diagram (iOS app and/or web application) allows students to visually represent the similarities and differences between two concepts so that they may analyze connections and limitations. This best practice strategy causes students to apply knowledge and comprehension of content while analyzing the specific ways that two seemingly different concepts share characteristics. The Venn Diagram also helps students to visually evaluate the limitations of the comparison to draw conclusions about the differences between the two concepts.

The strategy will yield the highest results if a) students create their own Venn Diagrams, b) students discuss with one another or write about the reasons behind each component placed on the diagram, and c) students apply their completed diagrams to another learning task.

Click here to access more ideas for lessons that incorporate Venn Diagram