Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chapter 8

Which metacognitive skills/abilities are involved as students gain facility/knowledge in this domain? Think of an activity or lesson component that explicitly teaches one or more metacognitive and one or more problem solving skills.


If I were teaching a lesson about parallel lines (which I recently did) I would expect students to continually use metacognitive skills. Students have to learn to continually check themselves and  express their thought processes and answers to questions. 
To begin, I would make sure students had an understanding of parallel lines by applying it to a real life topic, such as parallel bars in gymnastics. After we had covered and learned the definition for parallel, I would have students explain why parallel bars in gymnastics are called parallel. This would allow students to verbalize their thoughts and also problem solve.
I would also have students participating in overt learning strategies, that is, drawing parallel lines on a paper. These are thought process that we can actually see. I would then have students list what made the lines that they drew parallel, another observable behavior. This would also aid students in increasing self-explanation.  

To increase problem solving skills of heuristics, with no step-by-step instruction, I would show students two lines that are not parallel and have them explain how they would manipulate them to make them parallel. This would cause students to really have a grasp on the concept and be able to problem solve. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chapter 7

Describe a constructivist lesson you would teach.


To begin, construction is a mental process in which a learner takes many separate pieces of information and uses them to build an overall understanding or interpretation.

**Note: I was actually taught this lesson in 6th grade and STILL remember it! 

To teach a constructivist lesson, I would begin by introducing the topic to my kids. Lets say we were doing a social studies lesson and learning about Ancient Olympics. I would begin by talking about our modern Olympic games and what those games mean for a country, etc. I would then introduce Ancient Olympics and explain that our modern Olympics are inspired by the Ancient Olympics. After spending a day or so collaborating about the Ancient Olympics and what kinds of Olympic events the ancient Romans participated in, we would try out these Olympic events! Constructivism is based on the belief that learning occurs as learners are actively involved in a process of meaning and knowledge as opposed to simply passively receiving information. I would divide my class into various teams, and have them participate in our own "Ancient Olympics" with events that are comparable to those that were involved in the Ancient Olympics years ago. This way, my students are actively participating and applying meaning to a topic that could otherwise be dull or boring. I think that this lesson plan captures the essence of the constructivist theory by providing opportunities for firsthand observation and engaging my students as active learners.


Which of these learning activities/skills lend themselves to student’s individual or group construction?  How might you structure learning activities that lead students to discover these skills/these principles?

To encourage students' individual or group construction, I would provide an expert's perspective by providing them with the concepts and other information regarding Ancient Olympics. I would then allow them to participate in our classroom "Ancient Olympics" that would allow them to experience these Olympic events first-hand after they have been given expert knowledge. I would also give students a conceptual understanding of the Ancient Olympics, where they can make connections between the modern Olympics that they are familiar with. Students would be encouraged to collaborate and engage in meaningful dialogue while participating the the events to come up with strategy. Although students will never engage in the Ancient Olympics outside of school, many of the skills associated with participating are authentic activities. Students can carry the skills of hard-work, team work, collaboration, etc. outside of the classroom and into everyday life. This activity will also create a community of learners where I, as the teacher, will collaborate with my classroom to build knowledge about the topic of Ancient Olympics through a constructivist lesson.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chapter 6

What are the essential skills and/or learning outcomes you want your students to know and be able to do that relate to cognitive learning? 


Personally, I believe that cognitive learning is so important while teaching and aiding the student in his or her learning process. Firstly, I would want my students to understand that many things are effectively learned by watching, touching, reading, or experiencing something. I would make sure to
let my students know that everyone learns differently, and people often think about and interpret things in ways that are really complex. With this being said, I want to give my students valuable information that is relatable and relevant, and the skills to be able to take a classroom lesson or topic and make it meaningful to them in a way that makes it easier to process. Since we are so selective about what we mentally process and lean from the influx of information we receive daily, I want my students to find ways to make meaningful interpretations of classroom topics. As a teacher, I know that I must remember that all students are not going to learn the information in the way that I present to them, so it is my job to explain things in different and creative ways that makes information more interpretable.

I found this really cool website, called Learning to Teach, Teaching to Learn that has a helpful (and short!) description of the cognitive approach to learning in children.

How might your knowledge of the memory processes guide your instructional decisions?

Memory, as defined by our text, is the ability to save something that has been previously learned. Since I plan to teach elementary students and I will need to cover so much information and focus on all subject areas, I will really have to come up with come creative and out-of-the-box strategies that will help students remember important information. Like the cognitive process talks about, we are more likely to remember something that sticks out to us or that we can connect to. I think that making personal connections and using real-life examples while teaching is a big key to students memory. If I can tell a funny story or use a catchy rhyme while explaining a topic, my students are much more likely to relate and pay ATTENTION to what I am saying. I am giving them the input, they are registering this information and paying attention, then this information will travel to short-term memory. It is then my job to have student work examples or explain the topic to me through journals, etc. so that they can process the information and store it in long-term memory. If I think back to my elementary years, the things that I remember most are the catchy phrases (such as Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492) and stories my teachers told to teach a topic. I think interaction is so important while teaching, and this also really encourages students to pay attention to the lesson taught. This way, they remember the information better because they were involved in the learning process and can make a connection, rather than just sitting and listening to their teacher speak. I will also really allow my students to practice what they have learned, rather than just moving to the next topic or activity.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Chapter 15

Turn to p. 559 in Ormrod’s text.  Now, imagine that you are meeting with Ingrid’s grandmother today to explain her scores on the recent standardized achievement test pictured at the bottom of p. 559.  What will you tell her about Ingrid’s performance? her strengths? her weaknesses? If grandmother asks you what she could be doing at home to help strengthen Ingrid’s skills, what will you suggest?


  First of all, I would begin with letting Ingrid's grandmother know how much I enjoy teaching Ingrid! I think that in a conference, it is so important to begin with a compliment to assure your student's guardian that you want the best for the student, just like they do.
I would show Ingrid's grandmother the computer printout showing all of Ingrid's scores on the standardized achievement test. This way, she would have a visual as I explain Ingrid's strengths and weaknesses.  I would begin by noting how well Ingrid performed in reading comprehension, science, social studies, and math concepts. I would stress that these are definitely some of Ingrid's strengths, especially reading comprehension, where she performed well above-average. However, I would also point out that Ingrid performed below average in spelling and math computation, which may be some of her academic weaknesses. 
I would suggest that Ingrid's grandmother work with her at night of her math computation and spelling. As a teacher, I would look at Ingrid's work and compile a list of words that Ingrid seems to have a hard time spelling that most children her age do not have trouble with. I would give this list to her grandmother and encourage her to work with Ingrid on her spelling nightly. Each week I would give her grandmother a new list of words to practice with Ingrid. I would also encourage Ingrid's grandmother to work with her on math computation skills. Again, I would send extra practice problems that we are working on in class home with Ingrid and encourage her grandmother to work with her a couple of nights a week. I would suggest a website about math computation strategies for her grandmother to read. This website has a lot of great pointers about improving math computation. I would also suggest websites, like Arcademic Skills Builder , that have tons of games in all subject areas to improve skills. This could really help Ingrid in both spelling and math computation. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Chapter 14

(14.1) Think of a lesson plan from your licensure area. Knowing that assessment is an integral part of teaching, explain at least four informal and formal assessments that you will use in your lesson plan to provide you with feedback and involve the students in assessing their own learning.


If I was conducting a lesson in third grade language arts, we might cover the topics of analogies. In teaching this, I would really want to consider the elements of informal and formal testing to assess my students understanding. Informal testing consists of spontaneous and unplanned observation while formal testing consists of preplanned and systematic attempt to assess a student's understanding.

I would teach the topic of analogies as a whole group, giving many examples and asking for class feedback.  After my explanation and while still in a whole group setting, I would give examples for the class to complete on the board. To informally test during this time, I might randomly call on students and see what they believe the answer to be. If there are students who get stumped or are not sure of the answer, I will know that I may need a little extra help. Another way to informally assess my students would be to break them up in partners to complete a worksheet pertaining to analogies. I could walk around and check their progress and accuracy to see if they are grasping the concept.

After the children had a chance to practice their knowledge of analogies, I may want to formally test them to gain a better understanding of their individual knowledge. I could pass out a small sheet of paper to the students individually, and put an analogy to complete on the board. On their sheet of paper, they could write what they believe to be the answer and set it on my desk as they leave the classroom. This way, I could see how each student is doing. Another example of a formal assessment that I could implement in my classroom is a standard end-of-unit test. They could individually complete a test assessing knowledge of the topic of analogies.

(14.2) Consider norm referenced assessment and criterion referenced assessment. Are there advantages to both? Are their disadvantages?


Criterion-Referenced assessment indicates mastery or non-mastery of specific topics, while norm-referenced assessment compares performance to that of peers. I believe there are both advantages and disadvantages to both types of assessment.

A main advantage to criterion-referenced assessment is that you know immediately what student's know and don't know, as well as which students are not performing as well as others. This way, teachers know that they need to reconstruct the lesson to better understand or that that they need to pull certain students away to further develop their understanding. Criterion-referenced assessment also gives a standard assessment so that all children are being tested equally. On the other hand,  a disadvantage of criterion-referenced assessment is the fact that there is no way to test all concepts so it isn't a completely accurate portrayal of student's knowledge.

A main advantage of norm-referenced assessment is that it shows which students are continually falling behind the average of the class. This would help teachers come up with a plan for a struggling student and have documentation of progress. Standardized tests, for example, show which school systems, classes, etc. are not performing the way that they should be. Norm-referenced assessments are really beneficial when collecting data. However, norm-referenced tests can be really stigmatizing. If a student doesn't perform well compared to other classmates, that student may feel uncomfortable and categorized. Norm-referenced assessment can also create pressure and stress within a class or school because they are being compared against someone else.