Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Reading 2011 on Twitter

My copy of Classroom Assessment & Grading that Work just arrived.  This evening or tomorrow, I'll start the reading due Saturday, this year tweeting responses as I read with the hashtag #PIPreading.  If you're reading or have read Classroom Assessment, hopefully you'll help make this more than a one sided conversation.  I'll be searching Twitter for that hashtag, but if you'd like to leave your Twitter ID in the comments, I'll just follow you.  Mine is bleckley.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Summer Reading Schedule

So looking at the page counts we're dealing with, we've got 770 pages to cover in 10 weeks.  That's about 77 pages per week.  Hopefully I'm not the only one having second thoughts.

Classroom Assessment and Grading that Work
  • By Saturday, July 2, read through page 88.
  • By Saturday, July 9, finish the book.

Narrative Counseling in Schools
  • By Saturday, July 16, read through page 87
  • By Saturday, July 23, finish the book.

Comprehensive Classroom Management
  • By Saturday, July 30, read through page 76
  • By Saturday, August 6, read through page 155
  • By Saturday, August 13, read through page 254 (ouch)
  • By Saturday, August 20, read through page 330
  • By Saturday, August 27, read through page 428 (ouch again)
  • Saturday, September 3 - catch-up day if needed 
I realize this isn't ideal for those not on the west coast.  Should we knock out Marzano or Winslade in just a week to accomodate those who'll start school around August 20th?  Your questions, comments, concerns, threats, and tomatoes are are welcomed in the comments.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Twitter for Students

I've talked about it for sometime.  Last year, I even had my students choose user names and everything.  Next year, provided I find a place to work, despite what internet filters are in place, I will make this happen.

I don't think I'd use it in the same way Legaspi does here - it looks like all the discussion is happening on Twitter.  Seems like it could be used in addition to classroom discussion, as a sort of background chatter that continues after class.  And did you hear what Oscar Lorozia said about feeling valued and respected in the classroom.

Yeah, it's gotta happen.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Individualized Formative Assessment with Graphs Galore

I've blogged about this before, but recently I made some essential tweaks and stumbled upon the scientific basis for it from . . . wait for it . . . Marzano.  Bam!  That's right!  Oh yes, I most certainly did!  Get ready, as Tom Fuller would say, to pick up what I'm about to throw down1:

First, credit to Tonya for showing me this originally for use on OAKS, Oregon's state test.

Your students take a test.  In this case, it's a multiple choice test on identifying figurative language in Romeo & Juliet.  You spent a day or two going over the many different types of figurative language Shakespeare employs, using 2.2.1-30, where we first meet Friar Laurence (O'Brien, 1993, p. 156).  Then, you give them a short test on identifying some examples of simile, metaphor, personification, classical allusion, and soliloquy from Romeo & Juliet.

Now, if you're like me, you give your answer key to your student TA and ask her to mark wrong ones and put the total out of 13 at the top.  You just happen to check out Marzano's Classroom Assessment and Grading that Work from the professional development library on the same day.  You get home and sit down with a cup of tea for some easy reading, and get this:

(2006, p. 5)

And you're like "woah, -3% gain in student achievement!  That's not good!"

So the next day, you give your TA the tests again and ask her nicely to write the correct answer next to the ones she crossed off, explaining that it's not her fault, while she rolls her eyes.  Then you pop open Excel, because you want that .70 effect size.

So yeah, a class wide graph of their results.  That's cool.  You know what's cooler?  When every student gets a personalized copy of one of these2:

You know you need to hit simile through classical allusion on your reteach.  This student knows they need to study up on personification first, with a little bit of simile and classical allusion2.  You reteach, grade, graph.  The student gets a new chart that looks like this:

You get a new graph that looks like this:

A 24% improvement on similes, 30% on classical allusion, and 13% on soliloquies.  It feels awesome to know that your students can identify a simile or classical allusion written by the Bard over 80% of the time.  Not bad, but for the third test you know to prepare them by hitting metaphors and personification over the head since you're grading by proficiency, and your student is just a couple points below your required 10 out of 13.

One could use this on more than just multiple choice tests.  Rubrics that were used multiple times throughout the year, like 6-traits, could be charted to show student's growth in writing and areas to improve.

To give you a jump start, here's the blank Excel file - I've left the formulas in so you can see how they work.  I'm also including all the materials I used for this lesson, just in case you want to use it for Romeo & Juliet.

Excel results graph
Figurative Language Study Guide
Figurative Language Test #1
Figurative Language Test #2
Figurative Language Test #3

Works Cited

Marzano, R.  (2006).  Classroom Assessment and Grading that Work.  Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

O'Brien, P., Roberts, J. A., Tolaydo, M., Goodwin, N.  (1993).  Shakespeare set free: Teaching Romeo & Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Macbeth.  New York: Washington Square Press.

1. My here intention is unbridled enthusiasm rather than any sort of pretentious arrogance.  Hopefully that's what's coming across. Go back.

2. The first time you make this in Excel, it does take some time - up to an hour depending on how savvy you are.  But once you have that chart created, you can just adapt it for every test afterwards.  Maybe 30 minutes for data entry, depending on how many sections you have.  I know time is precious, but try it once and go over the results in class with the graphs, and I think you'll see that it's worth it. Go back.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Summer Reading 2011

As I did last summer, I'll be doing some summer reading and blogging about three professional development books.  This year, if you care to read along, I'll be posting a reading schedule here in one week's time, and tweeting reading responses as bleckley on Twitter with the tag #PIPreading - I'll probably be more reliable with 140 characters than with a full post per chapter. 

Consider this your notice to track down the titles - links go to librarything.com, where you'll find a number of sources for finding these titles on the upper right side of the screen including Amazon, Abe's, and WorldCat.

Marzano, R. J.  2006.  Classroom assessment and grading that work.  Alexandra, VA: ASCD.

Another meta-analysis of best practice for the classroom.  Marzano compiles hundreds of studies on assessment and calculates the effect size of various strategies, helping readers determine what will best help their students grow.  I got a chance to peruse the first chapter this spring and have a great post scheduled to publish this coming Monday.  This is the science of teaching at its best.

Winslade, J. M. & Monk, G. D.  2007.  Narrative counseling in schools (2nd ed.).  Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

A suggestion from my partner Jennie from the place where social work and education meet.  Narrative counseling is talk therapy that places problems outside the individual - rather than the student has behavior problems, behavior problems affect the student.  "If we are located in a school story line as dumb, mischievous, or a bad egg, there is a tendency to live our lives according to the contours of the problem story laid out before us by such a description" (p. 3).  The objective of narrative therapy is to help the student rewrite that story line.  I would argue that teachers are the ones most responsible for writing the original story line to begin with, so who better to help the students rewrite it (besides Jill Griffin or other incredibly amazing school counselors)?

Winslade and Monk describe how to do a narrative therapy step-by-step, and how to apply it to different situations.  They also discuss bringing narrative therapy into schools and the resistance one might face.

I'm pretty gung-ho about this one, so if you find yourself skeptical, I'd appreciate having you read along and help keep me reading critically.

Jones, V. & Jones, L.  Comprehensive classroom management: Creating communities of support and solving problems (9th ed.).  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill Publishers.

This is the book on classroom management I should have read in college.  In January 2010, I read Marzano's Classroom Managment that Works, and while it gave me some quick, go-to strategies, it barely brushed the surface.  Comprehensive Classroom Management is certainly comprehensive.  It tackles the issue from a solutions-based, prevention viewpoint.  I only got a chance to read one chapter this year, but that alone made a huge difference in the tone of my classroom.

This one is $90 new and the cheapest I found used was $50, so you may want to do an inter library loan on this one.  I'll be reading it last, as I'll be waiting for a copy to come in from some distant college library as well.

Marzano, R. J.  2007.  The art and science of teaching.  Alexandra, VA: ASCD.

This is a bonus book if there's time before school starts back up.  More Marzano for the coffers.  Quite a title for such a thin book . . . we'll see if it lives up to it.