Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Reflection of Data in the Classroom

Thinking about your department's plan for data reflection (i.e. how learning targets are used and how data from formative assessments based on learning targets are tracked, reflected, gathered), share a student sample that was created in your classroom.

Attach a link to the student sample and explain the following:

  • How did the student gather, track, and reflect on his/her data?  Did you use a data tracker form, reflection template, or something similar?
  • Did the student explain how he/she met or did not meet the learning target?  
  • Describe the process that made this successful in your classroom?  If it didn't meet your expectations, what are you planning to change to make it more meaningful for the students?

Growth Mindset at MHS

Please read the article,  "Do We Really Have High Expectations for All?"

Respond to the following questions:
  • Do you agree/disagree with the author's statement "when we have high expectations, we treat students differently?" Why?
  • Do you agree with the thought that our actions reflect our expectations of our students?  Explain.
  • What are your thoughts concerning Robert Marzano's categories of our affective tone and academic content interactions (Chart).
  • What was your most important "take away" from the article?

Do We Really Have High Expectations for All?

by MiddleWeb · 07/28/2015
By Barbara Blackburn
Do you have high expectations for your students? I’ve never met a teacher who said, “I have low expectations for my students.” The challenge is that we sometimes have hidden low expectations of certain students.
One year, early in my teaching career, several teachers “warned” me about Daniel, a new student in my room. During class, he certainly lived up to (really down to) the teachers’ comments. Despite my efforts, my expectations for him became lower, with the words “They warned me” echoing in the back of my mind.
Right from the start, no matter what anyone tells us, we have to be on guard to ensure that we keep high expectations in place for every single student.

Our behaviors speak loudest

Of course we may believe in high expectations for all the kids in our classroom but not translate those expectations into actions that support our beliefs. Instead, our actions may inadvertently undermine high expectations for all. When this happens, you can be sure students are quick to notice.
Robert Marzano has spent decades researching effective teaching practice. He and others have found that when we have high expectations, we treat students differently. When questioning
students, we call on them more often, ask more challenging questions, provide more wait time, and probe for additional information.
How often do we fail to use these same strategies with struggling learners?
I know I made that mistake as a new teacher. Quinn struggled in my class, and nothing I did seemed to work. I ended up putting him in the last row of my classroom. As long as he behaved, I didn’t call on him or push him to participate.
Even though I said I expected all my students to learn, I didn’t really show that to Quinn. And he understood my message. One day, we talked about his performance in my class, and he said, “Why should I try? You don’t think I can do anything.”
That was an eye-opener for me. I was so focused on making sure he behaved and didn’t interrupt the learning flow that I didn’t challenge him. I was content to let him be a passive learner. My actions reflected subconscious low expectations.

The problem isn’t that we do not care

Another year, I had a similar situation with Clarissa. She was bright but had no confidence in her ability to excel. Her lack of self-efficacy caused her tremendous learning problems. She wasn’t willing to try to learn anything new or challenging.
I wanted to boost her confidence, so I provided easier work for her to complete. Instead of multi-step math problems, I gave her single-step problems. When we were reading, I allowed her to read easier books, many of which she had read before. I wanted her to feel successful.
I cared about her, but what I didn’t realize was that I wasn’t doing my job. I wasn’t teaching her to learn and grow—I was content to leave her in her comfort zone. By doing so, I also showed her I didn’t think she could do any better.
Once again, despite my comments to her that she could learn and that I had high expectations for her, my actions didn’t reflect my belief.
We have to match our beliefs about expectations to our daily actions in the classroom.

Which actions best define your expectations?

Many researchers have detailed specific actions we take that are reflective of low expectations. I’ve used Robert Marzano’s categories (2010) of our affective tone and our academic content interactions to provide a summary.low-expectations-table

The opposite is also true. When we have high expectations, we act in certain, converse ways. Which of these actions do you use?
Consider your students. Are any of the actions true for you with specific young adolescents? I’ve found that we sometimes act in these ways subconsciously, not even realizing that we are doing so. It’s important to be aware of the ways we act on high and low expectation so we can monitor ourselves, reflect, and make adjustments if needed.

Motivation leads to achievement

Teachers need to have high expectations for every child in the classroom – and never more so than when our students have low expectations for themselves. It’s critical that we examine our beliefs to ensure they do represent a view of success for our struggling students. Then we must examine our behaviors closely, using the observational data from Marzano and others, to determine whether we are putting our beliefs into action.
By making our positive actions match our high expectations, we not only motivate our struggling learners, we help them achieve at higher levels.

Reference: Marzano, R. J. (September, 2010). High expectations for all.Educational Leadership, 68 1. ASCD.


    Tuesday, January 5, 2016

    Chapter 2 - Checking for Understanding during Daily Lessons

    After reading Chapter Two in Leaders of Their Own Learning ,why is reflection necessary for student learning and teacher planning?

    Tuesday, December 1, 2015

    Leaders of Their Own Learning

    After reading Chapter One in Leaders of Their Own Learning and discussing learning targets in our Den Talks (PLC), what has been the greatest challenge when developing learning targets (either long term or daily)?  Explain.

    Friday, November 20, 2015

    2015-2016 Focus: #TeachingHOT

    #Teaching HOT is our instructional focus this year!  Teaching Higher Order Thinking (HOT) skills is essential for our students today.  Our common core standards and Project Based Learning (PBL) projects require higher order thinking.  In addition, many high stakes tests such as the ACT and ASVAB require higher order thinking.  The wording of these tests calls upon students to process, reason, seek evidence, reflect, and generate knowledge based on what they read/write, whether in a scientific context, mathematical context, historical context, etc., so it is very important to “explicitly” teach these skills within the classroom.  Furthermore, many students have jobs or will have jobs that require them to think “on their feet” or “outside of the box.”  

    It takes more mental rigor to plan for and teach higher order thinking within a teacher’s content area, but it is worth it for the students in the end.  Munford High School’s administrators, teachers, and students have bought into teaching HOT.  We discuss “how” to incorporate teaching HOT in our bi-weekly DEN talks.  For example, teachers share student work samples, and students are invited to the Den Talks to share how they are affected by learning in this way.  Teachers have opportunities to collaboratively plan and present HOT lessons with their peers. This allows teachers to gain information about HOT strategies that they might not have been privy to prior to the presentations.  Our teachers also have HOT word walls in their classrooms, which serve as an anchor chart throughout the day.  Our students live in a world where they are expected to think, and our goal is to provide them with the tools to help them do so.