EDU 6529 – Video Analysis #2

            The video I selected was taken during a read aloud in a first grade classroom. The description of the video indicates that the read aloud was intended to be a vocabulary lesson. I chose this video because I am also a first grade teacher, and frequently use read alouds to teach a variety of subjects. While generally I found that this teacher had effectively planned her read aloud to teach vocabulary as she intended, I did find areas of her instruction that I believe could be improved.

            First, the teacher did not clearly state the objectives of the lesson. While I think that sometimes when using a read aloud for a lesson it is best to not explicitly tell students the objective before beginning, I think for vocabulary instruction students could have benefitted from understanding the learning goal. According to Dean et al. (2012), teachers should clearly communicate the lessons objectives, and connect these objectives to future and previous student learning. The teacher shown in this video failed to follow this recommendation from Dean et al. In the future, I would suggest that the teacher explicitly tell students that they will be studying the vocabulary in this book and connect the learning to a previous lesson on vocabulary, or to a future activity that will reinforce this learning.

            Another strategy that I felt the teacher could improve upon in order to enhance the lesson was the use of nonlinguistic representations. While the story itself had pictures that the students could see, I think a vocabulary lesson would been more meaningful if the students were asked to create picture to represent the meaning of the words discussed during the lesson. Dean et al. (2012) states that incorporating opportunities for students to create pictures “provides opportunities for students to represent their learning in a personalized manner” (p. 71). Next time, perhaps by including an opportunity for students to draw a representation of the vocabulary words would lead to increased retention of the words’ meanings.

            While the strategies described above could use improvement in future lessons, there were many strategies that the teacher used effectively. One strategy I felt she used well was questioning. The teacher provided opportunities for students to answer open-analytical questions, rather than only asking closed questions. When students could not accurately state the meaning of the vocabulary word she also used effective cues to lead them to discover the correct meaning. Effective cues and questions are recommended by Dean et al. (2012) because they help students to access their prior learning which helps them learn the new material.

            Next, while this is not a strategy we have read about in Dean et al., the teacher also used informal assessments effectively. By having students turn and talk with a partner about the vocabulary word, the teacher not only increased student engagement but also provided herself with an opportunity to assess student understanding by listening to student discussions.

            Overall, this teacher made effective use of a short read aloud by targeting vocabulary. By stating the objective for students and by including an opportunity for students to draw nonlinguistic representations of their new vocabulary, the lesson could be further enhanced to benefit student learning.

 

Dean, C. B., Hubble, E. R., Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). Classroom Instruction That Works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plnDSYAiNPA

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EDU 6529 – Generating and Testing Hypotheses

According to Dean el al. (2012), there are many subject areas in which educators can integrate activities that lead students to generate and test hypotheses. Integrating activities that lead students to generate and test hypotheses can help students develop deeper understanding of content. By evaluating and analyzing what they know and what they see occurring, students develop increased understanding. Engaging students in generating and testing hypotheses also often leads to increased student engagement because often activities that include hypothesis testing are more interactive.

 In my own classroom, I have used the problem solving approach to teaching students to generate hypotheses during social skills instruction. Often when teaching my first grade students about positive social interactions I will use a problem as a starting point for conversation. Students then discuss in pairs the pros and cons of possible responses or solutions to the problem. I have also engaged students in using the experimental inquiry approach to generating hypotheses. During our science unit on force and motion, almost all of the activities were designed to lead students to generate and test hypotheses and analyze the results. Towards the end of the unit, after students had developed knowledge of force and motion they developed their own hypotheses using balls and ramps and decided how best to design an experiment to test their hypotheses. This was a great exercise not just in developing hypotheses but also in scientific experimentation and “fair” testing. The last method Dean et al. (2012) recommends that teachers should integrate to teach students to generate and test hypotheses is the investigation approach. In this approach teachers lead students in investigating a solution to a scenario or hypothetical situation. This is an approach that I have used only rarely with my first grade students.

 While generally I do incorporate activities into my teaching that lead students to generate and test hypotheses, I think I could continue to strive to include these activities in different subject areas. Also, Dean et al. (2012) recommends that teachers vary the ways in which they have students generate and test hypotheses. This is another area I feel I could improve upon since I rarely use the investigation approach. Because my use of this strategy is not yet consistent across all subject areas and I could increase the variety of approaches I use teach hypotheses testing, I would rate myself a 2.5 on the rubrics provided by Pitler and Stone (2012).

 Going forward, to improve my ratings on the rubrics seen in Pitler and Stone (2012), I plan to begin to integrate hypothesis-testing activities into other subject areas such as reading and writing. This change along with including investigation activities, will improve my instruction on generating and testing hypotheses thus improving student outcomes.

 

 

Dean, C. B., Hubble, E. R., Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). Classroom Instruction That Works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

 Pitler, H. & Stone, B. (2012). A Handbook for Classroom Instruction that Works. Denver, CO. McREL.

EDU 6529 – Teaching Students to Identify Similarities and Differences

 According to Dean et al. (2012), teaching students to identify similarities and differences is important because it helps them to make better sense of the world around them. Comparing was the first strategy Dean et al. (2012) discussed in regard to teaching students to identify similarities and differences. One way that I can implement this strategy with my students is to have them compare two things using a Venn Diagram. This can be done to compare story elements, characters, or in a science or social studies unit. Dean also recommends that teachers use classifying. This strategy involves students sorting things into different categories. This strategy could be used to teach students to sort words based on patterns students identify in the word, or to classify shapes based on attributes students identify. The last two strategies discussed by Dean et al. (2012) were metaphors and analogies. To teach metaphors to young students, Dean et al. recommends using stories that present metaphors. Analogies are the last strategy discussed by Dean et al. for teaching students a variety of ways to identify similarities and differences. Analogies can help students understand something new by comparing it to something they have prior knowledge about. When first introducing analogies to students, Dean et al. recommends that teachers first expose students to a variety of examples of analogies.

 Comparing and classifying are strategies for teaching similarities and differences that I have used frequently in my teaching. One area in which I use classifying is in teaching geometry. During this unit I engage students in many activities that require students to classify shapes. They examine the shapes and determine on their own what categories the shapes will go in. This allows students to recognize many of the attributes of different shapes, and they gain a much better understanding then if I simply listed the attributes of each shape for them.

The final two strategies discussed by Dean et al. (2012) were metaphors and analogies. To be honest, these aren’t strategies I have ever used regularly with my first grade students. After reading the chapter, I think I’d like to try introducing these to my students and see how it goes. The authors described a kindergarten classroom that introduced metaphors using a story. I think this is a great way to begin to develop young students’ understanding of this complex concept. By exposing them to metaphors and analogies at a young age, hopefully when they reach the upper grades they will feel confident creating them on their own to assist their own learning.

Because I am not proficient at including metaphors and analogies in my instruction, I would only rate myself a 2.5 on Pitler and Stone’s (2012) rubric for teaching students to identify similarities and differences. While I regularly incorporate comparing and classifying into my teaching, I have rarely used metaphors and analogies. Going forward I plan to try to incorporate these more so that I can improve my teaching and increase my self-assessment rating. This is important because by teaching students many different strategies for identifying similarities and differences, we will be setting students up for success in learning difficult academic content that will come their way both inside and outside the classroom. According to Dean et al. (2012), “students need to learn skills that allow them to apply existing concepts to new and unfamiliar situations, moving beyond ‘Right answer learning’ toward application of learning” (p.133). By giving them a variety of ways to identify similarities and differences, we are giving them the tools to apply their learning to new situations.

 

Dean, C. B., Hubble, E. R., Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). Classroom Instruction That Works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

 

Pitler, H. & Stone, B. (2012). A Handbook for Classroom Instruction that Works. Denver, CO. McREL.

EDU 6529 – Assigning Homework

According to Dean et al. (2012), despite research the impact of homework on student achievement remains unclear. While some researchers have concluded that assigning homework has significant effects on student achievement, others have found that homework has no effect on student achievement. In order to address this unclear research finding, teachers need to put thoughtful planning into the homework they create and assign.

Dean at al. (2012) makes several recommendations for designing homework that is most likely to have a positive impact on student learning. First, schools need to develop and communicate to students and parents a consistent policy on homework. By doing this, all parties involved will be on the same page regarding the purpose of assigning homework to students. Second, the authors recommend that teachers “design homework assignments that support academic learning and communicate the purpose” (p.103). This means that teachers should be careful that the homework they send home with students includes only skills and concepts that the students are already fairly familiar with. If students do not fully understand the concepts and skills present in the homework, it may lead to them developing misconceptions and learning the skill incorrectly. This is the opposite effect that homework is intended to have. The last recommendation given by Dean et al. is for teachers to provide feedback on the homework they assign. The most effective form of feedback for homework assignments is written comments. By providing written comments rather than a grade, students are able to use homework assignments as opportunities to work on improving their performance on the task.

 Based on the rubrics presented by Pitler and Stone (2012), I would give myself a rating of 3.5 for assigning homework to my first grade students. My students receive a weekly homework packet. This packet meets my districts policy for assigning homework in regard to the time commitment and content. The homework I assign contains material that students have already learned in class and should be able to complete independently, and I strategically choose the content of the packet based on the learning objectives that students are working towards in the classroom.

This coming school year I hope to further improve the content of the homework packet I assign to students. While it is currently aligned to both the homework policy and classroom objectives, I would like to improve my students’ levels of engagement in the homework. In order to do this, I want to vary the activities sent home in the packet so that students don’t begin to feel that the homework is “boring” as the school year goes on.

 Dean, C. B., Hubbell, E. R., Pilter, H., & Stone, B. (2012). Classroom instruction that works: research-based strategies for increasing student achievement (2nd edition). Alexadria, VA: ASCD.

Pitler, H. & Stone, B. (2012). A Handbook for Classroom Instruction that Works. Denver, CO. McREL.

EDU 6526 – Video Analysis #1

As part of EDU 6526, I analyzed the teaching strategies used during a 3rd grade lesson on adjectives. I examined the video specifically looking for the instructional strategies we have learned in the course thus far. While there were a few strategies that the teacher was able to implement, generally I felt this lesson could have been greatly enhanced.

 There were a few strategies recommended by Dean et al. (2012) that the teacher tried to implement in her lesson on adjectives. The teacher introduced the lesson by reviewing the types of adjectives that class had already learned. Through this review, the teacher set the objectives for the current lesson. Setting objectives is a strategy recommended by Dean et al. because it allows students to better see the connection between what they are doing and what they are supposed to learn from the lesson. The teacher also utilized a graphic organizer in her lesson. In this case, I think the teacher used a graphic organizer as a non-linguistic representation, rather than an advanced organizer. According to Dean et al., students can benefit from using graphic organizers because it allows them to make sense of the knowledge they are acquiring using both words and symbols. This teacher also did a great job making sure this lesson was engaging for students. By including the physical Oreo cookie (rather than simply talking about one), students were engaged in the lesson and more motivated to pay attention as they anticipated the moment they would be allowed to eat the cookie. While this isn’t a teaching strategy I would use often, it points out the importance of designing lessons that are engaging for your specific class of students.

 While there were a couple strategies the teacher used well, there are many strategies recommended by Dean et al. (2012) that the teacher could have utilized to improve the quality of her lesson. First, the teacher did not include any opportunities for cooperative learning. The entire lesson was filled with interactions between the teacher and one student at a time. This left little room for an actual class discussion, or a small group discussion. If I were to do this lesson myself, I would have definitely had students work together as a group to complete the graphic organizer. According to Dean et al., by working together students are able to gain a deeper understanding of the content and are better able to retain what they learn. Additionally, having students work in cooperative groups gives the teacher time to move between groups to informally assess students’ understanding of the material presented in the lesson. By incorporating cooperative grouping, the teacher would have a better understanding of the effectiveness of her lesson, allowing her to plan her next steps.

 Another strategy I felt was lacking in this lesson was providing feedback and recognition. According to Deal et al. (2012), “Providing immediate feedback can encourage students to practice, and it helps them make connections between what they do and the results they achieve” (p. 13). The teacher in this video did not provide students with feedback other than stating “That’s a good one” (timestamp 3:17). She doesn’t further explain why the word was a particularly good adjective. To improve the feedback in this lesson, the teacher should offer more specific praise to students, rather than the generic praise seen in the video.

Generally, I was not impressed by the lesson shown in this video. I felt the teacher could have greatly enhanced the instructional effectiveness of this lesson by including cooperative grouping and providing specific feedback to students. She also could have deepened the level of questioning she used with her students, and had them discuss with each other. Instead, what was shown in the lesson was mainly the teacher talking and one student at a time responding. By including cooperative grouping, effective feedback, and deeper questioning, this lesson on adjectives could have been much more interactive, engaging, and effective.

 

 References

Dean, C. B., Hubbell, E. R., Pilter, H., & Stone, B. (2012). Classroom instruction that works: research-based strategies for increasing student achievement (2nd edition). Alexadria, VA: ASCD.

11kim89 (Producer). (2011). 3rd grade adjective lesson. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfWqRvrYfAQ

EDU 6526 – Summarizing

Summarizing is a very difficult skill for students to learn. According to Dean et al. . (2012), one reason summarizing is so challenging for students is because in writing we are often encouraging students to add details and elaborate. However, when we summarize a text we want them to do the opposite, which has become very counterintuitive to our students. In order to effectively teach the skill of summarizing, Dean et al. recommends that teachers: 1) Teach students to use a rule based summary strategy, 2) Give students summary frames, 3) Engage students in reciprocal teaching.

The rules based summary strategy would be a system used throughout a school to teach summarizing. This way, as students move between classes or through grade levels, all teachers would have a cohesive expectation for what should be seen in student summaries. Summary frames are another useful tool suggested by Dean et al. (2012). Summary frames consists of a set of questions the teacher has selected, which will lead students to the key information. By answering the questions students will have all the necessary information to draft a summary. The final suggestion for teaching students to summarize is to have students engage in reciprocal teaching. This strategy gives students each a role to play in a small group (Summarizer, questioner, clarifier, or predictor). As students rotate through the roles, they are both deepening their level of understanding of the text as well as teaching others in their group.

Pitler and Stone (2012), offer rubrics for teachers to rate their proficiency level in teaching students to summarize. In their book, they present rubrics for each of the three strategies that Dean et al. (2012) recommended educators use to teach summarizing. I would give myself a rating of 1 for teaching both the rule based summary strategy as well as for engaging students in reciprocal teaching. I have not tried either of these strategies in the past to help my young first graders learn to summarize. Typically however, I do guide them through summarizing using summary frames therefore I would give myself a rating of 3 on this rubric.

Clearly based on my low self-assessment of a 1 on the rubrics for teaching the rule-based summary strategy as well as the reciprocal teaching strategy, there is room for improvement in my instruction in this area. Summarizing isn’t a huge focus at the first grade level because students are just beginning to develop proficiency in reading. Despite this, I recognize that summarizing is a important skill for students to learn because it plays such a large role in students’ academic success later on. This coming year I’d like to try introducing the rule-based summary strategy as well as reciprocal teaching into my instruction. I think even first grade students could handle these sophisticated structures if given adequate guidance, support, and teacher modeling. If teachers in the lower grades can begin to do more to teach students to summarize, hopefully teachers in the upper grades will see improvements with their students’ ability to produce a summary accurately and efficiently.

Dean, C. B., Hubbell, E. R., Pilter, H., & Stone, B. (2012). Classroom instruction that works: research-based strategies for increasing student achievement (2nd edition). Alexadria, VA: ASCD.

Pitler, H. & Stone, B. (2012). A Handbook for Classroom Instruction that Works. Denver, CO. McREL.

 

EDU 6526 -Advanced Organizers

Through the readings in EDU 6526 this week, we examined the instructional strategy of advanced organizers. Prior to completing the reading, I don’t think I fully understood advanced organizers. I assumed that advanced organizers were graphic organizers, which I already use in my own instruction. However, according to Dean et al. (2012), advanced organizers can come in a variety of forms, not simply graphic. Advanced organizers have been shown through research to be effective in helping students organize and make sense of new information. These organizers are most effective when presented to students at the very beginning of a unit or topic. In addition to the widely used graphic organizers, there are several other types of advanced organizers. First, there is the narrative organizer in which the teacher might use a story to introduce the topic and activate students’ prior knowledge. Another type of organizer is expository. This type involves the teacher carefully choosing photographs or videos to help students recall what they already know about the topic. The last type of organizer is called skimming. This strategy involves the teacher having students skim a passage before they read it in detail, in order to discuss questions students may have as well as what they might already know.

Reflecting on my own practice using the rubrics provided by Pitler and Stone (2012), I realize there is definitely room for growth in my use of advanced organizers. I consistently use graphic organizers, however, I rarely present them at the beginning of the unit as a method of activating students’ prior knowledge and helping them organize new information. Because I haven’t been implementing graphic organizers at the beginning of the unit I would only rate myself a 2 on this rubric. However, in regard to both narrative and expository organizers I would rate myself a 3 on the rubrics. I use these strategies frequently to introduce new topics, but I simply hadn’t previously recognized that this practice was considered an advanced organizer. The last strategy, skimming, is one I use frequently with my first grade students so I would also give myself a rating of 3. Since many of my students still cannot read, skimming usually means taking what we call a “picture walk” through a book. This allows students to recall what they already know and begin to generate questions about what they might learn based on the pictures they see.

Going forward, I plan to begin to incorporate graphic organizers as an introductory activity at the beginning of a unit. Through the information provided by Dean at al. (2012), I now can see the benefit of giving students a method of organizing the new information they are learning. In order for them to be effective, I will also make sure the organizers are designed in a way that communicates to students exactly what they are expected to learn.

 

Dean, C. B., Hubbell, E. R., Pilter, H., & Stone, B. (2012). Classroom instruction that works: research-based strategies for increasing student achievement (2nd edition). Alexadria, VA: ASCD.

Pitler, H. & Stone, B. (2012). A Handbook for Classroom Instruction that Works. Denver, CO. McREL.