This is a link to an image in my G+ photos.
This is an embedded image from my flickr account.
This is a link to an image in my G+ photos.
This is an embedded image from my flickr account.
08 10 2012
It’s a changing world; how students learn trumps what they learn!
Sharing Some Ideas and Insights about Research and Information Fluency
Google wants users to sign-in (and this is starting to make students wonder why they need to do so and the implications such a policy has on providing them high quality content.)
In order to help teachers lead students through the RIF component of the TIP Chart, handouts have been created to simplify some involved concepts. Here are two examples:
www.sweetsearch.com (a search engine specifically designed for students, sites relevant and appropriate to students are selected by humans!)
www.blekko.com – uses slashtags (text preceded by a “/” forward slash,) that may allow easier categorized searches.
A Research and Information Fluency (actually ‘digital fluency’) module that shows promise: http://21cif.com/tutorials/micro/
For high schools, key indicators of student achievement are the Scholastic Aptitute Test (SAT) results with the most commonly cited measure being the average (or mean.)
How are students doing at Deep Run?
The DRHS SAT average for the seven years of testing juniors and seniors 2004/05 – 2010/11 is 1092.
The graph below shows the results by school year.
Fortunately we are in an upward trend yet we would love DR students to do even better. Cohorts Freeman and Godwin have higher achievement!
Practicing for the test improves test results and reduces student anxiety.
SAT Strategies Specifically for Test Takers:
Difficult questions count the same as easy questions so a recommended strategy is to answer the easy questions first! Generally speaking the easiest questions are at the beginning of each section.
It is better to answer every easy question than it is to answer all questions (as points are deducted for wrong answers.)
In the actual test, be sure to keep track of your time and bubble your test carefully!
Most colleges combine the best SAT scores to get a composite for each student.
All DRHS 11th graders have free access to the SATOnline course — those students are typically enrolled in the course through their English 11 classes.
A wealth of information on the SAT can be found in School Space > 2013 and 2014 Community Groups > PSAT, SAT and SATOnline folder.
Questions? Contact Mr. G. Metcalf at DRHS.
09 10 2011
Straight from the Source: — here’s a Google Doc Overview (from http://www.google.com/educators/p_docs.html)
And there is much more to Google Apps than documents; users can share calendars, create forms (to gather data), and create webpages via Google Sites!
HCPS Specific Information:
Google Docs works much better in Google Chrome (which is on HCPS laptops for secondary students and students. If you not in Chrome now, copy this post’s URL, launch Chrome and paste in the URL. (FYI, use the Star in Chrome to bookmark sites.)
HCPS staff members can log into HCPS Google Docs in two ways:
Upon logging in, users will be prompted to change their password. Google Docs currently requires user passwords to be at least 8 characters long.
Some HCPS folks may have already created a personal Google Docs account using their HCPS email address as their user name; upon logging in those users will receive a warning from Google that their account has been taken over by the owner of the domain (yes, Henrico County itself!) For more on what to do in that situation, check out this shared document:
2) Begin Exploring Google Doc Features (Small Team Choices!) 40 minutes
a) If you are interested in having students use Google Docs (specifically word processed documents) for powerful peer review purposes, explore the online Creating New Documents handout. Then have one person in the team create a blank document, name it and then share it with the elbow partner (giving the other person ‘edit rights’) so both can edit it together. Be sure to discover how to make a copy of the document and how to download a copy (e.g., as a Word document.) Hint: check out the File menu!
b) If you are interested in having students use Google Docs (specifically Presentations) as members of collaborative teams, investigate the handout on PPT2GoogleDocsAndBack . Then either follow the directions for making and uploading an existing PowerPoint presentation OR have one member of the team create a new presentation, name it and share it with the elbow partner (giving the other person ‘edit rights’) so both can edit it together.
c) If you are interested in having students use Google Docs to submit their own data from labs and investigations (in order create a larger set of class data), explore this tutorial.
d) If you are interested in giving students read access to your online Google Docs calendar, follow the directions in this tutorial.
Direct Instruction – Step by Step Overview of the Topics Above (60 mins)
Things to Cover Beyond the Topics Above:
What’s Next? Back at your school!
You can view the survey results here:
An Overview Article to Read –How Classroom Assessments Improve Learning
Introductions (and How Might We Do This Work?)
Who is Rick Stiggins and What Does He Say?
Here’s An Article You Can Share: What a Difference A Word Makes!
Oh no, not another Power Point Presentation…
Once the lessons were received, they were read and rated by members of the school’s Henrico 21 Review team (consisting of DR administrators, school counselors, librarians, two teachers – one a previous 2010 H21 award winner, the activities director and the instructional technology resource teacher.)
Each lesson was rated on an absolute scale of 1 – 4 for the four domains of the H21 rubric (Research and Information Fluency, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Communication and Collaboration, and Creativity and Innovation.) The numbers 1 – 4 correlate to Entry, Developing, Approaching and Target (measures of where the lesson is on an integration continuum.)
After the lessons were scored (by three to six readers,) the results were collated to composite scores (the average for each of the four areas above.) Teachers with the highest rated lessons across all four domains were encouraged to submit their plan and student artifacts to the county for further consideration.
REVIEW TEAM COMMENDATIONS:
We appreciate and value the ‘can do’ spirit in getting this difficult task accomplished!
REVIEW TEAM RECOMMENDATIONS:
Be sure to submit samples of student work!
Read and review the Henrico 21 Rubric as you evaluate your own lessson!
Please take the Henrico 21 lesson submission process (as well as the emphasis on 21st Century lessons at Deep Run) seriously!
Thanks for your time!
16 02 2011
1) As much as possible, allow numerous opportunities for students to work in teams in your classroom
2) Practice Quality Questioning, that is let your students do most of the communicating within your class – following both your lead and your prompts.
3) Provide lots of opportunities for students to engage in metacognition – thinking about thinking.
Learning about learning provides a greater return on teaching time. Students learn subject area content while learning about how people think. It is important for young people to realize that as human beings, we can think about and improve our thinking practices.
4. Use the new Bloom’s taxonomy (with its shift toward verbs) in defining, requiring and evaluating student thinking. For a visual explanation of the new Bloom approach, go here
We are now fully LIVE with Google Apps at Deep Run!
Teachers and students have the ability to create and share electronic calendars, documents and web sites with members of Deep Run and the global community.
These are exciting times!
Such powerful tools help students communicate and collaborate with their world in a decidedly 21st Century way! Promoting access to Google Apps is not without risk; yet this is an opportunity whose time has come!
What happens within DR GoogleDocs depends largely on the behavior of the Deep Run student body. Please show caution and maturity in how you use these online tools. Much more detailed info about DRHS Google Docs can be found in your graduation year community group in School Space.
If you need help, see Mr. Metcalf (5003) or email him (grmetcal AT henrico.k12.va.us).
26 08 2010
Is the 2002 DRHS mission statement still valid when the majority of teachers who work here now didn’t create the original document?
Rhetorical yet important questions:
Here is the mission statement — please read it and privately consider its meaning and relevance:
Impressive stuff, yet does the statement still speak to and for us? Exploring the many dimensions of that question is today’s task.
More rhetorical questions:
Overview of today’s activity: The DRHS faculty has been divided into five groups – selected classroom teachers have been asked to facilitate this process.
All 5 teams will use technology to ‘rank order’ the salient items within the mission statement as to their relative importance. Folks will need to work as a team and come to consensus. Then we can quickly compare the work of every team.
A couple of tips:
When you explore the program, work in teams of two to help each other figure out how to use the program.
When your entire group works on the final list, spend less time on the actual number than on the relative location as you advocate and listen to friends within your team.
Items near the bottom of the list may need to be ‘voted off the island!’
The team facilitator will help people log into the Intel site (you’ll need the link a user name and password): Once there you and your partner will be able to move the items within the list and easily compare your team’s list to the other four teams of teachers. After folks explore the process, the facilitator – or someone else in the group – will make the final moves for the entire team. (You’ll need a time keeper.)
Want more information about communication and collaboration? Start here
Teaching is a Herculean task; there is always too much to cover in too little time. Some educational researchers have referred to this lack of time as the “180 day rule” — teachers have about 6 full months to cover their content. Pep rallies, assemblies, tornado drills, standardized testing, etc., further erode time away adding to the dilemma and stress.
So one question that teachers must answer (or at least pay heed to) is WHAT to cover — since something has to be left behind. Making choices of what to teach is a thorny issue in an age of high stakes testing where the measurement of what students have learned is frequently determined by their performance on ~ 40+ multiple choice questions. Thus teachers frequently stress over what to leave out; a fear being that content not taught will be included on the state tests.
Over the years, content areas have developed pacing guides on what SHOULD be covered in a certain amount of time. Yet there is still too much to be taught in the content guides in order to prepare students for the high stakes tests. As an aside, objective test taking itself is a skill that can be developed and learned. Often test taking is a measure of reading comprehension as much as it is a measure of learned content. That elephant in the corner of the room doesn’t help lower teacher and student anxiety.
Little of the above is news to a veteran teacher and even less of it is any consolation; there is little wonder about the high turnover of teachers, especially among those teachers with five or less years of experience. The profession is losing many teachers just as they become more skillful, more knowledgeable and more effective in going about their jobs.
Trying to cover so much content (e.g., four thousand years in World History I, 10 billion years in earth science) frequently results in a race to impart facts. Such teaching and learning is not particularly rewarding. So not only is the issue WHAT to cover but it is also HOW to cover the content.
Certainly greater content can be covered in direct lecture style of teaching; however such a delivery method results in burned out teachers and disinterested students. Researchers point to the need to engage learners in uncovering content wth the teacher assisting in the process. Such uncovering of the content takes even longer!
Additionally, there is now pressure on schools to make sure students are prepared for the world of work and/or for additional education. The current pressure is a focus on the development of 21st Century Skills; those skills are frequently expressed as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, and tecnological fluency.
There are no easy answers yet asking the questions and starting the discussion helps. “In these uncertain times, how students learn is more important than what they learn.” As usual your mileage may vary.