Planning Assessments

For the unit “Our World” and the topic on Environment I will be assessing my students on several objectives, and making sure they up hold to the IB Standard “The MYP emphasizes the importance of research to build and present knowledge through its emphasis on inquiry.” In this lesson students will have to research to build and present their knowledge through the basis of inquiry. They will need to answer the question of what factors negatively impact the environment. Students will gather evaluate, analyze and integrate information from a variety of sources. They will also provide their own ideas or opinions that are supported by facts or details, organize their research and their opinions through note-taking in order to present their conceptual learning with their peers. Finally present their knowledge of their topic through practiced communication and collaboration with their peers.

I am going to focus on the measurable objectives to be addressed and the formative assessment tasks I will be using to assess their knowledge.

  1. Research & Note Taking – Find information on the negative impacts on the environment. Think of solutions to solve these problems. Compile all information in your notes.
  2. Share your research and solutions with your group members. Discuss your solutions with your group and collaborate to determine which solutions are achievable or plausible.
  3. Transfer your research and solutions to written form. Use a blank template to write a short essay.

In order to achieve the objective listed above, I will use  different kinds of formative /summative assessments to critique their knowledge of the subject.

Assessment #1: Formative

The teacher will walk around and note on pre-made sheet if the students have chosen at least 3 negative impacts and provided examples. They also need to use their research to help them come up with solutions that may help the environment. Students will have to decipher what information is most useful and how to organize it in note taking form. All that is being assessed at this moment are their facts from the research they have conducted. Student’s solutions will be assessed by their peers later on.

 Assessment #2: Formative

The teacher will walk around and listen for which groups are collaborating and communicating well, as well as presenting their solutions and making sound arguments for which solutions are achievable or plausible.  Students will receive participation points and will be recorded on how well they communicate with their peers and collaborate on making changes to their solutions.

 Assessment #3: Formative

To prepare students for the final project the teacher will give students a blank template for the students to write a short essay on their research and solutions. The teacher will be looking for any changes or improvements to the solutions they first proposed from communicating with their classmates on the most achievable ones. Students will be assessed in IB Standards on Criteria D: Using language in spoken/written form. Since it’s a formative assessment I will give students a mark from A to D where I would usually give them an 8 depending on how well they performed each strand.

These three assessments will help me decide if I need to revisit the topic to ensure they have met the objective or if I can continue on with further inquiry into the unit.

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Understanding and Applying Standards: Reflection

We have completed three assignments for this module on lesson planning. We effectively learned how to do backwards mapping, unpack a standard, and create SMART objectives.  These three assignments have been helpful as to having a deeper understanding of how I can implement these during planning sessions and successfully in the classroom.

The first assignment was unpacking a standard. I went through the standards in the IB Programme Standards and Practices document to find standards that correlated well with my current unit and my personal aims. However, I will admit, I think using IB standards for this assignment was much less specific than it would have been if I was using state standards, such as Common Core. IB writes standards for schools all over the world, and they are for general age groups (Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, Diploma Programme) instead of specific grades. However, despite the non-specific points of the standards I chose, I found this exercise to be helpful in breaking down the big ideas of the standard. Instead of just reading the standard and taking away the general idea, it helps to pin-point the specifics.

The second assignment of this week was backwards mapping where you write the areas you want the students to be proficient in, the assessments, and planned activities before you start the unit. At my school, we do something very similar as backwards mapping, where a small group writes a unit planner in the weeks before a new unit begins. If we know the objectives of our unit, the specific activities, and the way we plan to assess the students throughout the unit before we begin, it keeps our lessons focused. However, IB encourages teachers to keep the possibility of flexibility in the event that students want to further pursue an interest instead of going on to a different topic. I do believe if you write the objectives prior to beginning a unit it helps to keep you incredibly focused on the goals, but you should maintain a bit of flexibility.

The last assignment of the week was writing 5 SMART objectives. Writing these objectives were very beneficial to me because, while I have already been writing objectives in my lesson plans, I used very similar action words every week in my plans. Using the ‘EFFECTIVE USE OF PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES FOR LEARNING AND ASSESSMENT’ paper, I was able to get great ideas for writing better objectives.

I found all of these exercises to be helpful in guiding me to write better and stronger lesson plans in the future and making sure I have structure in the classroom.  More importantly, it is a good reminder that my lessons should not just be fun and engaging lessons, but also have meaningful ways of assessing their knowledge.

SOURCES:

University of New Mexico School of Medicine. EFFECTIVE USE OF PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES FOR LEARNING AND ASSESSMENT. Teacher & Educational Development; 2005. PDF. Retrieved Aug, 2016 .<http://ccoe.rbhs.rutgers.edu/forms/EffectiveUseofLearningObjectives.pdf&gt;

 

Standards and Backwards Mapping

Last year my students studied a unit on the Environment. The unit was such a success that we will continue to use it for the new semester. The unit is called ‘One World” it comprises of three topics; Conservation, Wildlife and the Environment. This unit is tailored for Grade 7 to 8 students who have a Phase 3 (highest level is Phase 4) proficiency in the English language.

Throughout this unit, I will be applying IB standards to make sure I am following the correct practices and my students are reaching the desired outcomes.  “An IB education is an education for the whole person, providing a well-rounded experience anchored by values and outcomes described in the IB learner profile. IB learners strive to become inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective. These at – tributes of internationally minded people represent a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond intellectual development and academic success.” (Connecting IB to the Core. 2013) In order to highlight these values, I have chosen the following IB standards to focus on throughout this unit.

“The MYP emphasizes the importance of research to build and present knowledge through its emphasis on inquiry.” (Connecting IB to the Core, 2013)

 Students are required to demonstrate the ability to use a variety of media to organize and communicate their factual and conceptual learning.”(Connecting IB to the Core, 2013)

In order to achieve these standards, I will need to plan out my lessons using a scope and sequence that includes an emphasis on research, organization, and demonstrating conceptual learning.

At the end of this unit, the students will be proficient in these areas:

  1. Research to build and present knowledge through its emphasis on inquiry.
    1. Gather, evaluate, analyze and integrate information from a variety of sources.
  2. Use text-based evidence to support analysis and interpretation of literary works.
  3. Apply their research skills to a self-selected topic: Informative Poster on protecting wildlife.
  4. Present their knowledge of their topic through practiced communication and collaboration with their peers.
  5. Use a variety of media to organize and communicate their factual and conceptual learning.
  6. Collaboration, communication and information literacy.

 

These activities will help ensure the students are achieving the goals of the standard

  1. Learn how to conduct research. Read articles on negative impacts on the environment and provide factual evidence as well as their own perspectives to provide solutions. Students will be provided with articles on negative impacts on the environment. They will record the information they find that includes reasons and examples. Students will then use their research to help them come up with solutions that may help the environment. Students will have to decipher what information is most useful and how to organize it.
  2. Present their research with their peers and have a discussion about the solutions they would provide. Students will present their research on negative impacts on the environment only presenting a few facts. Then the class will listen to each student’s solutions for these impacts and provide their own solutions and discuss if these solutions are achievable or plausible.

 

By using these assessments, I will be able to determine if students are meeting the standard:

  1. Conducting Research on Wildlife & Conservation. To prepare for our final project I will assess the student’s ability to conduct clear and concise research and how well they organize their information for an informative poster. Students will research wild habitats and wildlife that are threatened. They will collaborate and summarize key issues that affect their habitat or animals. Then they will create an action list of steps people could take to reduce or reverse the problem.
  2. Written Opinion Piece on their Solutions. Students can transfer their research and ideas and opinions on solutions in written form. I will assess the students ability to transfer their ideas to paper and how clearly they explain the content they have studied.
  3. Informative Poster on Wildlife and Conservation.At the end of the unit students will need to create and informative poster using all of the research they have compiled and present it to their classmates. Students will share the issue and suggest action steps. Students will create a poster advertising the issues and suggested action steps. The poster should be colorful, creative, informative, and include an attractive slogan. This project will assess their ability to conduct research, how well they organize it, group collaboration, and their communicative presentation skills. Students will be marked using a rubric that focuses the criteria of “Communicating in response to spoken and/or written and/or visual text”. They will be given a mark out of 8 if they have:
  • responded appropriately to spoken, written and visual text in a range of familiar and some unfamiliar situations
  • interacted in rehearsed and unrehearsed exchanges on a limited variety of aspects within familiar and some unfamiliar situations
  • expressed ideas and feelings, and communicated information in familiar and some unfamiliar situations
  • communicated with a sense of audience and purpose.

extra-credit-endangered-species-project-kron-source.jpg3234909207_c594d5730c.jpg

Using backwards mapping, I can ensure that my objectives for each class, as well as my activities and assessments, all correlate to the IB standard I am focusing on for this unit.

Sources:

“Connecting IB to the Core.” IB Common Core and the Standards. International Baccalaureate Organization 2013. Retrieved from Web Aug. 2016. <http://www.ibo.org/globalassets/digital-tookit/country-specific-materials/common-core-ela-en.pdf&gt;.

National Geographic. “Human Footprint.” Human Footprint (2008): 1-9. 2008. Retrieved from Web Aug. 2016 <http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/lessons/14/g68/HumanFootprint.pdf&gt;.

Applying Classroom Rules and Procedures

In The Art and Science of Teaching Marzano shows that both positive and negative consequences have a strong effect on student behavior, but the greatest effect can be achieved through a combination of the two (2007). If we treat our new classes with all stick and no carrot, however, we risk alienating students and creating a cold and uncooperative class environment. Thus it is essential to formulate a strategy for applying classroom rules and procedures that is clear and balanced; early and consistent application of rules and procedures will best ensure adherence to behavioral expectations.

In secondary education there is a vast difference in student behaviors and suitable strategies between grades six and twelve. What works with a fresh group of sixth-graders may not chime with a difficult eighth-grade class, you can even have two identical grades showcased in “Tough Young Teachers” expecting the same reality but in return receive something completely opposite. Behavioral standards also differ from school to school, with students’ backgrounds and parental expectations playing a huge role in the class climate. Individual school policy can also affect the strategies for behavioral management that we choose to use, for example if there is a school-wide token economy or time-out zones for misbehaving students.

For the purposes of this assignment I will plan for my Eighth Grade English class at a private international school. I will assume that the students come from middle- to high-income families with a moderate level of parental involvement. In this kind of environment behavioral standards may be higher than in schools in disadvantaged areas, although one should not underestimate the factors of privilege and entitlement that can contribute towards complacency and low effort among some students. And, without question, an eighth grade class in any school will have its fair share of  misbehavior.

First, I will examine positive reinforcement, which in Marzano’s data has a greater effect size than punishment (2007). I believe this tells us something useful about positive and negative consequences: as teachers, we should be positive first and foremost, and negative only in response to non-adherence to and procedures. One of our primary goals is establishing a climate of care and concern, and this can best be achieved with a positive tone in our verbal and physical communication.

It is my belief that as students grow older, they should be encouraged more and more to meet high behavioral and academic standards for their intrinsic value, rather than for extrinsic rewards and punishments. Perhaps the best way to achieve this goal is through positive reinforcement, which can provide clear and constant reminders that adherence to rules and procedures is acknowledged and appreciated. When applying positive (or negative) reinforcement it is important to focus on behavior rather than innate qualities or characteristics. A useful strategy for positive reinforcement is “precise praise” from Teach Like a Champion (Lemov, 2010). In this strategy we distinguish between acknowledgement for students meeting our expectations and praise when our expectations are exceeded.

 

Precise praise is a quick and positive form of recognition that does not emphasize extrinsic rewards for good classroom behavior. Rewards will still have a place in my eighth grade class, but will focus more on academic efforts: merits will be awarded for exceeding expectations in a given task or assignment. In order to easily keep track of this reward system, I will use an online tool like We Chat – A Chinese app that hold many similarities to What’s App but with this tool I can post documents, mini videos of classroom discussions, and I have a group that consists of students and parents so everyone; especially the parents, can see their child’s progress in real time. This tool allows for quick and convenient positive feedback, with a feature for messaging parents to highlight behavior or effort worthy of praise. It is important to remember that a message sent to parents via an app like We Chat should not replace more proactive uses of home contingency such as emails and phone calls home; rather it should supplement those other forms of communication that we use on a regular basis.

I will use this point system to reward exceptional effort and behavior each midterm. The school may have a system for rewarding high achievements; in my secondary school students who received the most merits won a book voucher, which was presented at a special assembly to which parents were invited. This seems to me like an ideal format for tangible recognition, as it acknowledges high achievement without parading the “best students” in front of the rest of the class.

Below is a diagram of steps I will take to reinforce positive behavior in class

Diagram 1
Diagram 1

 

Next, I will discuss my strategies for correcting misbehavior with negative consequences. As stated above, I see negative consequences as secondary to positive reinforcement, and there are a few strategies that can be used before resorting to stricter disciplinary measures, namely: withitness, redirection, and “positive framing” (Lemov, 2010). Withitness refers to a teacher’s ability to be aware of what is happening in the classroom at all times and to notice the warning signs of disruption before disruptive behavior occurs. As a negative consequence withitness is a quick and subtle intervention that can involve proximity, eye contact, deliberate pauses, and other cues. It is a preventative measure that can be seen in the most successful classrooms, where triggers for disruptive behavior are averted before the disruption can happen (Lemoy, 2010).

Redirection is a technique that goes hand in hand with withitness. The cues listed above that the with-it teacher employs can all have the effect of redirecting a distracted student back on track. Cues for redirection can have significant benefits over more dramatic interventions, in that they cause minimal disruption to the flow of a lesson and maintain a calm and focused learning environment. Redirecting cues can be particularly useful when dealing with students with special needs who have trouble staying on task. A student with ADHD may have limited control over their disruptive behaviors, leading to frequent breaking of class rules and procedures.

Positive framing is a technique illustrated by Lemov (2010) that draws on what’s known in psychology as the “framing effect.” One of the implications of the framing effect is that humans are more likely to choose an option that is worded positively than one which is worded negatively (Framing effect, n.d.). Lemov describes positive framing as, “narrating the world you want your students to see even while you are relentlessly improving it, making corrections consistently and positively” ( Lemov 2010, p. 43). The key element to notice here is that the positive tone is used specifically to make corrections. Positivity should not obscure the correctional message, but rather frame it in a way that is more attractive to students than anger, sternness, or sarcasm.

Negative consequences for misbehavior will take place where withitness and redirecting cues have failed to avert a disruption. I will use positive framing to inform the student(s) of my expectations for acceptable behavior and tell them clearly and calmly that they’re on a first warning. I will record the names of students on a first warning on my own seating chart. If a student violates class after their first warning, they will be calmly notified that it is a second infraction, with a consequence of a lunchtime detention. In cases where misbehavior continues or escalates quickly to an unacceptable level (perhaps skipping the warning stages), a student will be sent outside or to a school time-out zone. In such instances additional consequences will be incurred alongside detention: meeting with a senior member of staff, speaking to parents, etc.

Schools often have specific systems in place for negative consequences. A necessary consequence for repeated misbehavior is a behavior intervention plan (BIP) that seeks to address a student’s individual needs. BIPs should involve a strong element of home contingency and are necessary to avoid a stalemate where the same pattern of misbehavior repeats indefinitely, causing frequent disruptions to the class.

Below is a diagram on the steps I would take for negative consequences in class.

Diagram 2 (3)
Diagram 2

Sources

Marzano, R. J. (2007). The art and science of teaching: A comprehensive framework for effective instruction. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Lemov, D. (2010). Teach like a champion: 49 techniques that put students on the path to college. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Framing effect (psychology). (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2016, fromhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framing_effect_(psychology)