Sunday, March 27, 2011

Update to Great School Websites

Enjoy an update to Great School Websites.

Springfield Township High School Libguide - Lots of great videos and links for podcasting, video making, mindmapping, wikis, blogs, and much more.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ways to use CPS student response clickers

This will hopefully provide teachers in SLP with a number of great ideas on how they could use their CPS clickers.
  1. Homework: Plug the answers to a couple homework questions into Fast Grade, and then engage a student managed mode as the students enter at the beginning of the day. You'll see who is doing their homework, and who is doing it right without having to grade the entire homework assignment. Do some of the questions non-numeric answers? Make some different multiple choice answers for that question.
  2. Matching worksheet: Got a worksheet that has students matching vocabulary from a wordbank with sentences? Just number the vocabulary in the wordbank, and then have the students put in numeric response for each sentence. For example, if they have a sentence that says "The coldest season." and "winter" is labelled 3, then they would enter "3" for their answer.
  3. Daily Math Practice: Plug in the answers to the daily math practice through Fast Grade, then as you go over the questions, engage a Teacher Managed Mode, have students enter their answers for each question, and go over questions that students seemed to struggle with. The best part? If you have assigned clickers to students, you'll have a record of what students struggled with what question, which will help you determine which students need support from volunteers and Title 1, or if you refer the student to Special Ed.
  4. MCA Test Practice: Have your students put in their answers for each question. Go over the questions that students got wrong.
  5. Formative Assessments: Have your students put their answers to a formative assessment into their CPS clickers, and then you can quickly determine what areas during the unit you will need to focus on. You can also use it to create flexible groups or to differentiate in your own classroom.
  6. Summative Assessments: Why spend your time grading, when you could spend your time analyzing your students achievement, and determining what areas you need to focus on. Work smarter, not harder!
  7. Math Workbook answers: As you walk around during Math work time, it might seem like most students are getting a problem right, but to know immediately, start a verbal mode test, and have students enter in their answer to a representative question. You don't even need to turn on your projector, as you just want a quick idea of how they are doing on the work. If a lot of people are struggling, you can either pull those students back to work with you, or stop independent work time and go back to working in a group.
  8. Student Feedback: Keep the students engaged by having them rate their fellow students as their present. One teacher is having students listen to make sure the students included at least 3 details about their topic. Just start a verbal mode for each student and make sure you keep notes of the order students went in.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Update to Best Links for Smartboards and Mobis

Just added to the Best Links for Smartboards and Mobis...

BBC - KS3 Bitesize Science: Interactive videos narrated by a pleasing British voice. Fantastic science, and very engaging!

Update to Best Links for Smartboards and Mobis

Just added to the Best Links for Smartboards and Mobis...

BBC - KS3 Bitesize Science: Interactive videos narrated by a pleasing British voice. Fantastic science, and very engaging!

Response to Why Gender Matters

Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences

By Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D.

Reading Response

As I was reading the last chapter “Beyond Pink and Blue” in Why Gender Matters a couple of quotes struck me. Some matched with my experience, while others I questioned. None-the-less, Dr. Sax has provided an excellent starting point to reflect on the past 30 years in gender identity.

Quote #1

"We need to recognize that our society lost something in the process of dismantling opportunities for boys to learn from adult men in an all-male setting" (238-239)

I think this is absolutely true. All one needs to do is look at the rate of adults achieving post-high school degrees. From 1959 to 2009 males 18-19 years old enrollment in college increased 3 fold. Not bad, but not great when you consider that female enrollment increased by 450%. Women now are enrolled in college at a ratio of 6 to every 5 male students.[1] This is but one statistical example of the economic and societal impact of “dismantling the opportunities for boys.”

Quote #2

"Those kids will learn how to solder copper wire to metal posts, but a genuine connection between the generations is less likely to be established" (239)

This quote felt too much of an opinion without any support. Looking through the footnotes and the paragraph around this quote, I could not find any support. Dr. Sax was referring to robotics class being co-ed, and that this reduced the connection that students will feel to the older generation. I just did not see how this statement could reasonably be arrived at from his prior statements.

Quote #3

The all-boys setting "frees up boys from typecasting and stereotyping of what it means to be a male." (243)

Dr. Sax is quoting Rick Melvoin, the head of the Belmont Hill School, an all-boys school. I think to my experience, which one should not draw any generalizations from, but does not necessary match up with this quote, although I say that with a caveat. I went to a co-ed school, but participated in a number of sports, which were all male. In those situations, it was even more masculine, almost a hyper masculinity. It was with females that I participated with the literary magazine and explored poetry, the arts and politics, topics that I did not broach with males on the sports teams. But perhaps this just reinforces what the quote is saying: in a all-boys setting, sports and the arts are on a more equal setting than in a co-ed setting. None-the-less, I consider myself very fortunate to have attended a co-ed school setting, as I don’t think I would have had as broad of friends or experiences in a all-boys school.

Quote #4

They found at coed schools, you don't need to ask a dozen questions to predict the girl's self esteem. You have to ask only one question: "Do you think you're pretty?" (245 - 246)

In 1993, researchers asked this very question at both co-ed and single-gender schools in Belfast, Northern Ireland. At single-gender schools, appearance was only one of many factors that went into self esteem. Not so at co-ed schools, where it was appearance that was the defining characteristic of a young woman’s self esteem.

Ultimately, this solitary quote should be enough move us to action in reexamining gender roles in schools and in society. If women have some many more opportunities in school, business and society, why does appearance remain such a crucial issue? And in the United States, most young women do not have the opportunity to attend an all-girl school until college. The women answering this survey were middle school, a crucial time period in their development. The feminist movement was among many other things, a movement to allow women to succeed on merit, and yet our female children are coming of age in a culture where they feel they must be attractive to be valued. And that, simply put, is wrong.

Sax,Leonard, M.D., Ph.D.. Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know About The Emerging Science of Sex Differences. New York City: Broadway Books, 2005.



[1] U.S. Census Bureau, Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division,
Education & Social Stratification Branch. http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/school.html

Updates to Great Webtools for Educators

Some websites that I'm going to add to Great Webtools for Educators...

Son of Citation Machine: quickly and easily create citation.
Diagram.ly: create diagrams.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

An amazing writing lesson with ELL students

Another Lesson Combining Metacognition, Writing, Speaking, & Listening by Larry Ferlazzo

"This week, after showing students a model of a persuasive essay, we had them write a short paragraph about a time they had to persuade someone to do something. In their paragraph, we asked them to use some of the key vocabulary words we had been learning (persuade, convince, reason, support, facts, etc.). Unlike the time I wrote about it before, this week students had to do more than just fill-in-the-blanks — they had to full construct their own paragraph. It’s a dry run for a more extensive persuasive essay they’ll be writing. We also took photos of students writing their paragraph, which we uploaded.

You can see and hear Bee’s example here. You can listen to Bryan, Mai Pa, and Payia. You can listen to many more here on our class blog.

The day after students recorded their paragraphs, we listened to them in the classroom. On small pieces of paper, after each one minute passage was played, all students needed to write what they liked about the recording, or describe the picture it made them see in their mind, or make a connection by writing what it made them remember (reading strategies we use and which we are also applying to listening activities). A student would then collect them all and give them to the student who spoke. While that was going, we would give specific feedback to the student (we’ve been working on pronouncing clearly and reading with “feeling”)."


This sounds like an amazing writing lesson. I definitely plan to take this model and use it with my students when I'm back to teaching.

Links For Marzano's Research about Smartboards

As I work on developing a method to assess how successful smartboards have been for the students of SLP, I have been reading up on Marzano's research. Here are some interesting links I've found about his research:

The Man Himself: Research reports from Marzano's research laboratory.

Review by Jonathan Martin: Looks at the various components of Marzano's research.

Article about research: This article does a nice job of summarizing the findings of Marzano's research.