Lately, I have been thinking about my own education and how I, as a student, have changed over time. In my K-12 education, I was a successful student who was “good at school.” I did what the teachers and adults asked, I followed their examples of how to solve problems (I could follow any procedure in math when I knew the formula and worked through a few with the teacher), I followed their rules (no running, no swearing, etc.), and was always considered a “good kid.” Once I went to college to get my undergrad and later my master’s degree, I realized I wasn’t as "good at school" as I had once thought.
When I look back at why this shift occurred, I realize it was because as a K-12 student I wasn’t as interested in the learning and understanding of what I did, as I was with getting good grades (I was a passive learner), having teachers and classmates like me (the 'relator' in me) and being labeled as a "good student" and friend. Now, don’t get me wrong: I did learn a lot during my K-12 years of education and I had a lot of great teachers, I just didn’t always strive to know or better understand the “why” behind what I was learning. I simply wasn’t motivated to do so.
| 1 |
A colleague introduced me to the book Drive by Daniel Pink. The first two chapters really hit me: they highlighted what we are doing in education now, noted what we can change, and identified why it is important that we do. Both chapters hit directly upon motivation. The chapters “The Rise and Fall of Motivation 2.0” and “Seven Reasons Carrots and Sticks (Often) Don’t Work. . .” tie into what we see in our classrooms every day, even though his book is spun more for the business-world. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend you do!
| 2 |
The Impact Homework (Doesn't) Have
Looking at ways to motivate students in the classroom and comparing it to what has been done in education for years, John Hattie explores the effect size of these different actions, noting if they have a positive, negative, or neutral effect on our students. As secondary teachers who we all likely taught in a system that was incentive driven, we need to start taking a closer look at what we are doing to motivate our students and to help them be active, life-long learners.
| 3 |
Three Key Motivational Elements: Autonomy, Mastery, & Purpose
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Robert Longley writes that, “The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution summarizes the Founding Fathers’ intention to create a federal government dedicated to ensuring that 'We the People' always live in a safe, peaceful, healthy, well-defended–and most of all–free nation.” It is important for us to know that the Preamble does not hold, grant, or limit any legal power. That being said, it serves a very significant and powerful purpose: to explain why we have and need the Constitution.
Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey, in their book The Purposeful Classroom: How to Structure Lessons with Learning Goals in Mind talk at length about the importance of establishing a purpose for yourself as the teacher and for your students, and that instruction and learning should be focused on learning targets rather than tasks. Memorizing the Preamble, to me, seems like a task; whereas, understanding what the Preamble represents and means to us as Americans seems more like a learning target.
My fear, for my son, is that the task of memorizing the Preamble will lead only to a surface-level understanding and it runs the risk of disengaging kids like my son who thrives on learning through understanding. Yana Weinstein, in her blog entry “Memorizing versus Understanding” points out, “using a deep [learning] approach, a student has the intention to understand. Information may be remembered, but this is viewed as an almost unintentional by-product.” This is the type of learning I wish for both of my children: learning through understanding, rather than by memory.
If you would like specific ideas for how to increase student understanding, replacing memorization-focused activities with those that increase students' learning-by-understanding, please reach out to your instructional coach or one of us here at C&I.
- Self-awareness: identifying emotions, accurate self-perception, recognizing strengths, self-confidence, self-efficacy
- Self-management: impulse control, stress management, self-discipline, self-motivation, goal-setting, organizational skills
- Social awareness: perspective taking, empathy, appreciating diversity, respect for others
- Relationship skill: communication, social engagement, relationship-building, teamwork
- Responsible decision making: identifying problems, analyzing situations, solving problems, evaluating, reflecting, ethical responsibility
Notice the first two are centered on the individual and the final three address interaction among individuals. This progression makes complete sense; how can a student manage their relationships with others until they are able to identify and manage their own feelings and self-perceptions?
25 Best Kids Books to Teach Social-Emotional Skills
50 Must Have Picture Books to Teach Social-Emotional Skills
Hearts and Minds: Picture Books That Strengthen Social-Emotional Learning
Social-Emotional Learning Diverse Book List for Grade PreK-8
- training in which an athlete alternates between two activities, typically requiring different rates of speed, degrees of effort, etc.
challenge and really enjoy it." -Shigeru Miyamoto
In regards to the new elementary math curriculum, you may want to organize a cohort that uses the Curriculum’s Teachers’ Edition as a Book Study for CEU’s. This gives you the opportunity to study and have professional dialogue as you “unwrap” your new curriculum together. The Office of Curriculum and Instruction will be offering as much math support and training as it possibly can. Please contact us with questions, concerns and ideas as to how we can best support your learning.
In regards to the new elementary math curriculum, trust that “great care” was given in the development and selection of this curriculum. You may or may not have been a part of the articulation or curriculum adoption process. However, if you are a staff member in the Rochester Public School system, you need to know that many of your colleagues spent a great deal of time reviewing data, current best practices in instruction and content as part of a process to select this new curriculum. Every step of this process focused on what is best for our students. Believe that the articulation committee made the best decisions possible in the selection of this curriculum.
In my short time working for the school district, I have noticed there is never enough time in a day to teach all the things that need to be taught and there is an ever-present desire to find new resources. I have also noted the increasing number of blogs and information hubs, such as Pinterest, that have easy ready to use ideas.
As educators, we can be better equipped to teach our students about Indigenous people by taking advantage of events and professional learning opportunities provided by various education associations and societies. Here are some of the great upcoming opportunities, most of which happen on an annual or even more frequent basis.
- The Minnesota Humanities Center has a range of CEU opportunities. Upcoming “Drum & Dance” April 24th, Participants will receive 7 hrs. We just missed “American Indian Storytelling” this has 6 hours attached. “Teaching Bdote: Tools for Educators Teaching American Indian Content” is focused on Dakota people May 19th and is 4 CEU hours.
- St. Cloud State partners with tribes from around the state to facilitate a 5 day immersed learning setting called “Native Studies Summer Workshop for Educators.” This year it is June 25th – 29th and is located at the Lower Sioux Indian Community.
- Minnesota Indian Education Association hosts its conference in Hinkley Minnesota on November 14-16, 2018. All educators are welcome to attend. The keynote speakers and breakout sessions are fantastic. All of which are there to help better implement topics in the classroom or to better reach the native American students in our schools.
- Minnesota Historical Society has numerous resources designed for the classroom in conjunction with state standards. Including primary sources packets, classroom kits, books, and more.
- Native American Literature Symposium recently held an event at Mystic Lake. I was unable to attend, but heard wonderful things.
Think Alouds are one way that makes thinking visible for students. It seems so simple. Just talk about what you are already thinking. Yet it is extremely powerful for students. Teachers can model their thinking by making text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connections. Check out this video to see a Think Aloud in action:
If you would be interested in trying any of these out with students, reach out to an instructional coach, or I would be happy to come out and model them beside you.
Dove, M.G., & Honigsfeld, A. (2018). Co-teaching for English learners: a guide to collaborative planning, instruction, assessment, and reflection. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, A SAGE Company.
opportunity for students to think deeply, to create their own solutions, to build/write/draw/talk about their thinking! Students learn important mathematical concepts THROUGH problem solving. This is a mind shift away from the idea that we teach math concepts procedurally first and only then can they do problem solving.
- Jack has 8 marbles. Jill has 4 marbles. How many marbles do they have altogether?
- Jack and Jill have marbles. Jack has 6 marbles. If they have 14 marbles altogether, how many marbles does Jill have?
- Jack has 6 sets of marbles. There are 7 marbles in a set. How many marbles does Jack have altogether?
- Jill wants to put her marbles into containers. Six marbles can fit into a container. If Jill has 52 marbles altogether, how many sets can she make?
At every grade level we want to be sure that we are presenting students with practices that create a problem solving environment because that is where true learning and enduring understandings are taking place.
- Readiness-provides students with essential knowledge and skills necessary for success in the next class, course or grade level.
- Endurance- provides students with knowledge and skills that are useful beyond a single test, unit of study, or grade level.
- Leverage- provides students with the knowledge and skills that will be of value in multiple disciplines.
- Clear and understandable language for all stakeholders, and
- Can proficiency for this learning be clearly articulated?
Each grade and content area collaborative team will work to be sure each proficiency scale includes the fundamentals, specific word choice, and clarity allowing PLC teams to have the ability to asses, or build multiple common formative assessments based on the content of the proficiency scale.
|Details & Questions to Keep in Mind When Crafting Proficiency Scales|
|File Size:||17 kb|
“each classroom teacher makes the decision for what is covered and what is not. This can lead to curriculum by default rather than by design.”
“Collaboratively prioritizing the learning creates greater clarity around the entire teaching and learning process. Prioritized learning and the development of proficiency scales will sharpen the focus on what students should learn which promotes development of better assessments and helps identify which students will need more time and support. This kind of knowledge fosters more efficient planning and more efficient sharing of resources.”
Best Practices/ Tom W. Many Ed.D. and Ted Horrell Ed.D www.tespa.org
When asking students in the classroom to collaborate on a project or reflection sheet, consider allowing them to collaborate over Google or on a Prezi. You will be surprised by how quickly your students will pick up on these technology tools even if you don’t feel like an “expert” using the tool yet. Don’t let your lack of comfort with technology hold your students back. If they can demonstrate the knowledge on how to use the tool, given them the flexibility to do so!
Enjoy our Blog!
Members of the Elementary C&I team post useful tools, tips, and tricks on a weekly basis to help you help students.
Analysis & Inquiry
Instructional Learning Formats
Quality Of Feedback
Regard For S's Perspective