Differentiation Reflection; Replies to Peers in EDET 637, and A Valued Comment from One for Week 12

 

Week 12 Reflection for Differentiating Instruction through Technology

Instructor: Dr. Lee Graham

April 17, 2016

By Aleta May

Amy made a response to my post as shown below. Her comment to me was extremely helpful. We both designed a fractions unit, although she designed hers for 3rd grade students and mine were for middle school students. There is much overlap in the concepts we taught, and this week she shared a Brain Pop Battleship game link in her post that I will use with students on Monday after a review for a Tuesday unit post test. I shared a link with her, mathworksheetsite.com that I will be using to create fractions, numberline worksheets for students to use in conjunction with the game—after they have tried the game without worksheets. My goal is for them to notice where fractions (with smaller and larger denominators) fit on a number line; as well as to use this as a concept that applies to using a tape measure for real world applications; such as a measurement for carpentry construction.

Catherine got me thinking about how our assessments are purposeful when we reflect on our teaching, using this as a tool for monitoring and adjusting our instruction, as well as for students to take responsibility for their own learning! Kate’s post reminded me of the importance of keeping work at an appropriate level of challenge for students (whether they were high or low in that particular skill at the time). This is where behavior comes in. When students are appropriately challenged, their behavior changes from acting out, withdrawing, etc. to engage in the activity and learning! They feel successful.

Anastasia’s work with moon phases is such a beautiful example of engagement! When we look at astronomy, we see how very big the universe around us really is. Such a study as hers brings out the natural curiosity and questions kids have, when we listen. Now we are learning, or relearning, as teachers, that we can group students to research different aspects within their own groups of a topic, and share with other groups—like reading parts of an article and sharing out with other groups—jigsaw reading, and reciprocal teaching/learning.

Larissa also bravely focused on science. I was so inspired by her salmon life cycle and how that reaches out beyond to an entire food chain, that I researched and found a site for her students to practice the vocabulary of the food chain, as well as finding 3 to 4 minute video clips that shows a bear (carnivore) in action and asked a question as to whether the seagull and hawk become decomposers when they clean up the bear’s leftovers. Sara showed us how to teach heat conservation through hands on model building and thermal building. Sara and I teach students from very similar cultures, and attendance plays a major role in how we teach an ongoing unit with “come and go” student participation. However, they were obviously very engaged when they were shown putting models together and speaking about their project.

There are more student peer projects I had the privilege to view and respond to. I have many educational websites bookmarked now, and I have learned so much from my peers in this class about how they apply the UbD plan. As I move forward to write my final reflection for this UbD unit and internship, I have a much better idea of where to focus my own. I got ideas for organizing my paper. Reflecting on many student projects this week provided me with a sharpened awareness of how to make appropriate connections between my UbD and the application of it through internship.

4-16-16 Amy’s Comment made to my Week 12 Blog Evidence Collected:

One Response to Week 12 Blog Evidence Collected for Final Project

  tessiesim says: 
. April 16, 2016 at 7:06 pm

Aleta, I see so many positive aspects of DI happening in your unit! I love how you state that on-task behavior is one way to see engagement and learning. I agree with this statement 100%, as this is something I normally struggle with in my math group, but I am seeing less behavioral issues currently with the UbD unit. You cite several examples of how you’re differentiating for your students (computerized games at different levels, multiplication facts work, individual teacher assistance with corrections) so that each can be successful. The fact that all are engaged and wanting to continue with the unit speaks to the fact that it is well planned and is meeting their needs. I like how you’re using their worksheets as formative assessments, helping you to plan the next day’s lesson. Your mention of a student’s grandpa being ill and this affecting his performance at school is an important reminder of how we have to consider students’ social/emotional needs as we plan our academics. It sounds like having a small group is letting you reach each student where they need it with fractions, and I like the way you highlighted specific evidence that shows learning.

Below are responses I made to several students in this week’s blog.

4-14-16

Catherine,

I think the real purpose of assessment is for both students and teachers. Students become invested in their own learning and can make suggestions to their teacher about what they need next in the learning process.

I found that by looking at their progress and talking with them about it, we needed to focus longer on the process of creating like denominators (and treating reducing fractions as a separate more detailed lesson step) a lot more than I had originally anticipated.

aletakmay

4-15-16 Kate,

The pretest really served your more advanced learner well! He/She was likely kept engaged by having an appropriate level of challenge. The way you focus their attention on the physical appearance of organisms and “who” is not in the micro-habitats seems interesting to me as well. Are they drawing the different organisms and labeling unique features in their journals?

I found that even during school, there are so many time constraints. My small math group will complete a posttest on Monday. My plan is to use the same test problems that were on the pretest, but I wonder if it would be best to have multiple levels of evaluating what they learned. Since they did not know how to consistently convert fractions with unlike denominators before adding and subtracting them, this should be analyzed just as deeply (if not more so) than the ultimate goal of being able to reduce them as well.

I wonder if you could write about their reactions to the book(s) you read to them, either during the reading itself or at the beach as they examined differences between organisms in Alaska and beaches in other places. This seems like an evaluation of their understanding as well.

April 15, 2016 at 8:51 pm

Anastasia,

I have been collecting the radial visual worksheets my small group has been working on as well.

What a great way to use a KWL chart—it is a reflection chart anyway. I remember using this in a small reading group that I taught as a weekly measure.

What do your students use to put the moon phases in order? If this unit continued over time and in winter when it gets so dark during the daytime, it would be awesome to have them take camera phones or iPads out to get snapshots of the moon phases and date them; then ask questions about which side of the moon is shadowed over.

aletakmay

4-15-16

Genevieve,

If students were to bring their own device (BYOD), would they be able to incorporate Google maps onto these? I know some schools have a policy for BYOD, this might be a good example for the advantage of having their devices with them. Or was it an Internet filtering issue that you weren’t able to incorporate Google maps on the iPads?

What an excellent idea to incorporate art into your science lesson! When they matched the stages of the fish’s life cycle to definitions, they were getting plenty of practice with the vocabulary. This lesson will cross over into biomes (like the river, and on out into the ocean) where they will study the big picture of how each life cycle impacts the life cycle of other creatures.

The pictures with the sentences are so awesome! The matching stages of the life cycle to the definition is cool too.

I have not tried scanning in and attaching anything to the WordPress blog yet. It looks great! Thank you for providing that example.

APRIL 15, 2016 AT 9:05 PM

4-16-16 Sara,

I’m really glad I watched the watched the video link you put up about what you would have the students build. Now when I view your students insulating a house, I felt so proud for / with you.

We have attendance problems in our village school as well. Last month it was pike fishing. The ducks, geese and swans are just showing up since the middle of last week. Hunting for eggs. bird hunting. Our attendance sheet has—hunting, slept somewhere (meaning landed at a cousin’s house, stayed up late and sleeping in), and coming.

One student in my group is coming in tired. He lives with grandma/grandpa. Grandpa had a stroke recently and the student does a lot to take care of him. One girl told me last year that she stayed up all night to watch her grandma as she slept because she was afraid to sleep without being watched.

But—I must say, the video and pictures you posted speak a 1,000 words each. The students are engaged. They are willing to let you give them a sentence starter prompt to help them focus their speech on the content of the project and the why. We have very, very intelligent, kids, Sara J

But teaching around their lifestyle caused me to extend my unit a bit as well. I started a bit early to get that pretest data. And Monday will be review and post test. Out of 6 students, I am glad we only need to focus our assessment on 3. At this point, I have 3 students who are there consistently and can do this level of basic fractions work. My other 3 come and go, and 1 of these acts out a lot—so they are working on multiplication fluency and applying that to multiplying fractions now. Took some time, but I figured out what to do with them.

With your students building a project—it would be much more difficult to see the project partially built, and no student(s)! They are getting the concept of keeping the thermal energy in, from what the young man in the video spoke.

4-16-16

Amy,

The journals they had for reflecting their understanding makes me think about how important this step is. It is like they are going back and teaching themselves what they learned by writing or drawing what they learned. This helps students cement (fix) the understanding into their memory. The cake example is definitely something they can visualize in their mind; then hearing another student say that he wanted the piece with the smaller denominator brings their mind to a birthday party to ask themselves, “Why would this guy want that piece? He loves cake!”

Thank you for sharing the Brainpop Battleship numberline page idea. This looks fun. I work with students of a variety of ages. At http://themathworksheetsite.com numberline fraction worksheets can be downloaded.

The exit slip information that speaks to focusing on vocabulary sounds like perfect feedback. Since students were engaged, the one blurting out may be trying to get attention in part because students are more focused on the work than him/her.

The sentence frame you provided is excellent. Writing and speaking are both expressive forms of communication, so using that sentence frame for both connects their ability to see how these two are related. So often students will say, “I don’t know what to write.” Getting them to tell me what they are thinking is the start, as I start a word bank from their own speech, then we go back and write sentences.

For my older students who are learning very similar concepts, but being pushed at a higher rate, they gave me feedback yesterday that they miss the Dreambox math program we were using just before this unit. I am figuring out ways to use some of the time for this, another popular computer program called Alex, and continue converting and reducing fractions. The computer programs are individualized, so that is important as well to cover concepts they need to fill in the gaps they missed as building blocks for more math learning. The brainpop battleship numberline game has levels as well. This individualizes learning for your students.

4-16-16

Sally,

The Pizzaz self-correcting worksheets are a great tool that avoids that circular effect of having students say, I’m done, turn it in, only to have to receive it back for making corrections—when students are rushing through work. However, it is true, that catching their actual errors helps identify exactly where the misunderstandings in math are, so the teacher can use a think-aloud lesson to walk them through the process. One thing about math, is that we don’t want them to practice errors, because going back and undoing the habit of doing it the incorrect way is hard to reconcile.

Maybe your student who did not want to make the corrections could see (but maybe not admit to you) how important it is to get the order of operations down as you take them to the next level. The students exceeded your expectations—nice!

I have a student who “shuts down” in math too. He will work if it has a low enough challenge for him—he improves at a much more gradual rate. The option is that he will refuse to work; and even start damaging items in the room. Although I realize his behavior is not only a result from math, but from live at home as well, I am thinking about why so many of our middle school students are behind in math. All I really need to do is take a look at that spiral math curriculum program they were in during previous years. It was supposed to teach concepts, vocabulary, and revisit concepts learned—but the revisiting does not happen soon enough, and concepts are not mastered before moving on. The concepts are better learned on Dreambox math program, in my opinion.

Sounds like you have done an excellent job of communicating to the students that they Can do it!

4-16-16

Sarah,

The different scaffolding levels for the practice sheets are an excellent way to differentiate. What a great variety of assessments!

My unit is going into next week as well. As I think about it, they will need Monday to review, before giving the post test on Tuesday.

4-16-16

Larissa,

I have never heard of the traffic light system. What a great way for students to find out who may help them. Communicating with colors is so quick and the ask 3 before me tends to create wandering around the classroom without any real knowledge of who to ask. Greens could also seek out the yellows, and the teacher may focus on a small group mini-lesson with the red group.

I found this at Bright Hub Education that has animal pictures next to the definition: http://www.brighthubeducation.com/science-homework-help/47420-food-chains-and-food-webs/

I found this also: https://www.spellingcity.com/view-spelling-list.html?listId=6074868   There is a list of words under 3rd grade: decomposer, transfer, producer, herbivore, carnivore, compete, omnivore, and food chain. I tried clicking on ominivore—and it said click to get a quick lesson. There is a brief podcast that explains what it means. I clicked on flashcards, and print—it gave options like front side, flip side, definition, sentence, etc. Here is what it gave me when I clicked: https://www.spellingcity.com/flashcards-spelling-game.html

They could play an inside-outside circle game (from Kagan) to practice the vocabulary. Here is the site with detail directions: http://wvde.state.wv.us/strategybank/Inside-OutsideCircle.html

There is a game feature here as well. I clicked on the test and teach game. The game was focused on spelling—carve out Mt. https://www.spellingcity.com/tnt-spelling-game.html When it gives me the word, it says the word, uses it in a sentence, then I type in the spelling word (producer, compete, transfer (sun’s energy/photosynthesis), herbivore, foodchain (the food chain involves transfer of energy between predator and prey), carnivore (uses it’s teeth to tear meat), decomposer (is typically a fungus that …); I got a score of 7/8 88% and an option to play Again or play another game. There is an online wordsearch as well. What I really wanted was

Although you have already thought of this and applying wordparts to actually understanding the food chain can be difficult to transfer, I think teaching the word vore = eat and teaching herbi = plant, carni = animal with teeth, etc. could really help as well.

http://explore.org/live-cams/player/brown-bear-salmon-cam-brooks-falls

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/weirdest-salmon?source=searchvideo

This one is a perfect 3 min video that shows salmon jumping, salmon under water, spawning, baby fry; a hawk coming in to clean up (likely ran off the seagulls), http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/weirdest-salmon?source=searchvideo

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/salmon_sockeye?source=searchvideo

This one shows the bear’s feet in the water trolling for fish. Once they start their own journey, the sockeye start to digest their own skin (although my husband, who used to be a commercial salmon fisherman, does not believe this; LOL, he likens this to a banana turning brown, and it is not because it digests its own skin).. It shows a female thrashing out a nest, laying thousands of eggs (return run in 5 years lowers odds of survival). Their death provides the gift of life

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/nature/live-cam-brown-bears/ If you have a smart board, this brown bear can be seen catching salmon – Pre-recorded live cam.

This is an off season view of Brooks Falls These 5 or 6 bears are patient carnivore predators. I wonder what those seagull predators are waiting for? Are segulls kind of like decomposers when they eat the left over salmon guts the bears leave behind?

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/alaska-salmon-forest-lex?source=searchvideo

Southeast Alaska Salmon Forests—ecosystems, original predator/prey eco system.   Salmon are born in fresh water, go to ocean then

Trees and forests are nourished by fish when they die. Fish nourish next generation of fish.

AT: http://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Wildlife-Library/Amphibians-Reptiles-and-Fish/Chinook-Salmon.aspx I found what Chinook salmon eat: Diet:  Young Chinook salmon will eat small invertebrates, including crustaceans, and amphipods. Adult salmon dine on smaller fish.

http://www.defenders.org/salmon/basic-facts

Diet

In general, young salmon eat insects, invertebrates and plankton; adults eat other fish, squid, eels, and shrimp. Unlike all other salmon, the sockeye salmon has a diet that consists almost entirely of plankton.

Aleta May 4/16/2016 10:18:00 am

Sara,

I’m really glad I watched the watched the video link you put up about what you would have the students build. Now when I view your students insulating a house felt so proud for you.

We have attendance problems in our village school as well. Last month it was pike fishing. The ducks, geese and swans are just showing up since the middle of last week. Hunting for eggs. bird hunting. Our attendance sheet has—hunting, slept somewhere (meaning landed at a cousin’s house, stayed up late and sleeping in), and coming.

One student in my group is coming in tired. He lives with grandma/grandpa. Grandpa had a stroke recently and the student does a lot to take care of him. One girl told me last year that she stayed up all night to watch her grandma as she slept because she was afraid to sleep without being watched.

But—I must say, the video and pictures you posted speak a 1,000 words each. The students are engaged. They are will to let you give them a sentence starter prompt to help them focus their speech on the content of the project and the why. We have very, very intelligent, kids, Sara ☺

But teaching around their lifestyle caused me to extend my unit a bit as well. I started a bit early to get that pretest data. And Monday will be review and post test. Out of 6 students, I am glad we only need to focus our assessment on 3. At this point, I have 3 students who are there consistently and can do this level of basic fractions work. My other 3 come and go, and 1 of these acts out a lot—so they are working on multiplication fluency and applying that to multiplying fractions now. Took some time, but I figured out what to do with them.

With your students building a project—it would be much more difficult to see the project partially built, and no student(s)! They are getting the concept of keeping the thermal energy in, from what the young man in the video spoke.

 

 Jeff,

By having students watch you create examples, they could see someone think the steps out loud (think-aloud strategy). Then the step-by-step instructions brought them to trying it out together. The real world connections is what has been missing in math classes for so many years. I think textbooks try to cover this in the for of problem solving, but researching from preselected destinations is so much richer. Your group configuration seems so perfect.

When we are more observant of the processes are students use to get answers (right or wrong), we learn so much about how to analyze problem solving from the perspective of the student.

The way students come to you for making revisions and listen as you show them what they need to do to correct posters also shows you have built trust with them. I think going back and working on those errors is the teaching deeper rather than wider concept. Another way to word this is teaching to mastery. This seems especially important in content areas where one skill relies on a solid understanding of a lower skill.

The headings you used help me think about how to organize my final reflection.

4-17-16

Teresa,

As a special teacher, I was taught to analyze each math problem when I gave the Woodcock-Johnson test for academic achievement, the Key Math test, or other standardized individualized assessment. The overall score is more for norming (comparing with average scores across the country). To write the goals and annual objectives, and from there the group work sample plan, which resembles an UbD plan, we analyzed how the student came up with their answer (whether it was an error or not an error). The process for getting there speaks volumes about where misunderstands come from. Particularly, if the problem completed was a word / story problem, we asked ourselves to analyze the process they used in order to make a plan for taking them from what they know to perhaps an easier strategy for completing those problems. One standardized test I used to give even gave a rubric for helping the person giving the assessment to watch for certain steps students took. We were taught to observe the child’s behavior—finger counting (vs. automaticity) and getting lost in the process, mental math skills used that showed that the student almost came to the correct answer (therefore, the need would be not to focus on the process here, rather checking for ones own accuracy—self checking and awareness).

As I read about how you analyzed the pretests, this is exactly what special education teachers in my program were taught to do. Providing them with “scaffolding during the unit which consisted of and modeling and explicit mini-lessons” is using that information you gained from your analysis to teach and pair students up with one that can help them learn.

Isn’t the feedback and encouragement you provided what gives the student the ability to believe in themselves? I can hear a child thinking something like, “the teacher believes in me, I must be able to do this; she is sitting here patiently helping me!” This is contagious in a classroom too. Students mimic our attitude; in some cases, they may simply calm down in the positive environment that believes in each child’s ability to grow!

Any time you can get kids motivated to “read it again,” you are teaching them real comprehension skills—clarifying understanding! Thank you for the app idea: https://www.speakaboos.com I’ve already shared this with our full time sped teacher and daughter.

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