Sunday, October 26, 2014

RISE Up and Provide Meaningful Feedback to Students: RISE Model (Part 1)

Feedback is an essential element to learning, but why do many of us struggle with providing valuable feedback to improve student performance? I've struggled with this too. I recently read an article by Troy Hicks of Edutopia titled Make It Count: Providing Feedback as Formative Assessment, which provided me with valuable strategies to use to provide meaningful feedback to my students. We often think an Edmodo badge, a Google comment saying "Good Job," or a foil sticker communicates feedback effectively. Although, they are wonderful forms of feedback, how do we help our students grow?

In Troy Hick's article, he mentioned the RISE Model for  meaningful feedback and self evaluation. This model was developed by Emily Wray and was developed with Bloom's Taxonomy in mind.  Check out the different levels of her model below:


What does RISE stand for?

R - Reflect 

When we reflect, we use lower level thinking skills to make connections, agreements, or disagreements with the student work. A simple "I like how you described _____ because...." or "I agree / disagree with ___ because..." would be an example of Reflection.

I - Inquire

As we inquire, we begin using our understanding and analyzing skills. Instead of recalling information about student's work, we are looking for meaningful dialog. We are "seeking information and providing ideas through questioning." For example, we may ask students to think about another strategy, perspective, or way of doing things. 

S - Suggest 

When we suggest, we are asking students to analyze and evaluate their work with deeper meaning to make improvements to the work. For example, suggestions provide students with strategies to develop a deeper understanding and higher quality product.

E - Elevate

When we elevate feedback, we are inspiring students to develop higher levels of creativity and problem-solving skills. When I think of the Elevate level, I think of Carol Dweck's work on the Growth Mindset, to develop continual growth and expansion of ideas. As businesses constantly refine products, why aren't we giving students an opportunity to refine their work? Just a thought!

Conclusion:

Over the next few posts, I am going to provide you with meaningful and realistic tools to put this model into action! We will explore some tools that you know and others that you don't! Stay tuned!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

4 Classroom Management Techniques with Technology

If you are a teacher, then you are familiar with the term classroom management or how you manage classroom behavior. Many of us have routines and familiar ways of doing things; however, some of us find it difficult to manage classroom behavior when students have devices in their hands. This is a huge barrier in technology integration and causes many teachers to put away the technology all together. Here are some helpful tips: 

1. The Power of Proximity 

This one is pretty obvious, but proximity is still very important in managing student technology use - regardless of the device you use. Like the expression states, "when the cat is away, the mice will play." Make sure that you are in a position where you are near students and possibly can see student screens. If you see screens minimizing when you are walking around, there is probably a great chance there may be something questionable hidden on the task bar. 

2. Edit versus Read Only

A few weeks ago, I did a collaborative Google Presentation activity with my students. To make things work quickly, I created a presentation that allowed anyone with the link to make edits. As I was explaining the instructions, students were writing on the slides. If you are using collaborative  websites like Google Docs, Google Presentation, or even Padlet, you should get familiar with your permissions. This will restrict student access to view only, when necessary.

3. Screens Down

Many teachers struggle to get students to pay attention when they have a device in their hands. They give important instructions and students are often checking their email. Why not ask students with laptops to put their screens down? Why not ask students on PC's to turn their monitors off or "lock" their computers with Control, Alt and Delete. If students are on iPads, why not have them press the power button to "lock" their screens? You have important things to say, why not use these techniques? 

4. Guided Access (on the iPad)

Guided Access is an Accessibility Feature on the iPad (located in the General Settings in Accessibility), which keeps the iPad in a single App and locks students out of other apps.  First you will need to turn Guided Access on (in the Accessibility section of the General Settings). You will also need to set a passcode, which will allow you to exit Guided Access. 

 If you want to enable Guided Access, press the Home button three times. You will notice the Guided Access screen pops up on your iPad. Choose Start and you will no longer be able to exit your App without a passcode. To get out of Guided Access, simply press the Home button three times and enter your passcode. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

3 Tools to Organize Your Life and Classroom

Are you a list maker? We all use them for different reasons: to buy groceries, keep track of our to-do lists, or manage our day. Here are three great tools that you can use to keep yourself organized:

1. Wunderlist

Wunderlist is a great site and app available on IOS or Android devices.  I like that there are also desktop versions available for the PC and Mac. There is a free and paid version of this application available for users. Today I will focus on the free version.

You can quickly generate lists, tasks, sub-tasks, and even attach documents to your tasks that can sync between your devices. Set due dates and check them off your list as you complete them. There are filters embedded into Wunderlist to  One of the most exciting new additions to Wunderlist is the fact that you can add files from Dropbox!

2. My Shopping List

My Shopping List is an easy to use and free App available for the iPhone or iPod. You can quickly generate grocery lists with a few touches. Get started quickly by entering the name of the item, quantity, and category. I love using this list to help me keep track of all of those grocery items my wife needs me to pick up!

3. Remember the Milk

Remember the Milk is a great site and app available on IOS or Android devices. There is a free and paid version of this application available for users, but I will focus on the free version today. This simplistic interface can quickly generate a to-do list and establish priorities.

Like Wunderlist, you can quickly sync between devices, but I like the fact that you have the more options on how this site interacts with Gmail, Evernote, and Twitter. Need a reminder? Remember the Milk can send you one through Twitter!

Have more ways to get organized? I would love to hear about them!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Teach Your Students How to Google Search with Free Lessons from Google

What do your students do when they are searching for information? Do they know how to search by key words or do they type in an entire question? For example, if you gave students the task of finding the capital of Russia, what would they type? Would they type “what is the capital of Russia”? Would they refine their search with key words like “Russia capital”?

We all feel that effectively searching for information is a valuable 21st century skill; however, we may not be entirely comfortable with teaching our students how to do this. We may not be familiar with some of the search tools available to students to make searching effective and easy. Google has developed easy to use lesson plans and resources for teachers to use. You can find them here.

You will find valuable information like:
  • Picking the right search terms
  • Understanding search results
  • Narrowing a search to get the best results
  • Searching for evidence for research tasks
  • Evaluating credibility of websites

Lessons are differentiated by beginner, intermediate, and advanced. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Options Regardless of Device: Venn Diagram Maker (Part 1)

Just as today's classrooms are more diverse than ever, the devices available to teachers are more diverse than ever. Whether you are using tablets, laptops, Chromebooks, or Macbooks, how can you you manage the device diversity that exists? This series is filled with tools that can be used as Apps or on the web.

Read Write Think:

If you are not using Read Write Think in your classroom, you may want to consider doing so. It is a website filled with classroom resources, lesson plans, interactives, and professional development resources. Today I would like to focus on a tool many of us have been using since the dawn of time - Venn Diagrams. Let's check out Read Write Think's Venn Diagram Maker.

Why Use It?

Students have been using Venn Diagrams for ages; however, we sometimes forget that students may have difficulties with the tools we provide. Perhaps, they have difficulty writing in the template you provided them in class. Maybe they have fine motor difficulties or a broken wrist.

Perhaps this could be a tool to engage the unmotivated student. Maybe this tool is easier to use for your hands-on learners. What if you are trying to provide options for students to use high-tech and low-tech options in school? This is a perfect tool to help design learning experiences for all students in your classroom, without neglecting the needs of others. Best of all - it is simple and easy to use.


Step 1: Add Your Name and Title

This is the perfect tool for any classroom because you can use the web version or iPad App version. Today I will be focusing on the web version. Once you start the Venn Diagram Maker, you will need to add your name and title.



Step 2: Add Content

You can easily customize your Venn Diagram by adding circles, changing its color, and providing its name. Click on the New Item icon to add content to each circle. You will need to provide a label and item description.

For example, if you were talking about the Enron Corporation, you may use the label "Unethical" and then use the item description section to describe your answer. When you are ready to add your item to the diagram, click on the check mark icon. Then drag and drop your label, wherever you want it. When you are finished with your diagram, just hit next.

NOTE: You may notice that you will not see your item description. This won't appear until you print or save your diagram as a PDF. More on that next!



Step 3: Save or Finish

After you hit next, you will immediately see a preview of your diagram and several different options:

  1. Save Draft - if you are not finished, no worries! Save your draft as a .RWT file and work on it again. You can even send it to yourself.
  2. Save Final - save your diagram as a PDF.
  3. Share Final - you can have RWT send your file via email. No email address needed!
  4. Print Final  
Conclusion: 

Check this tool out and let me know what you think! Do you have other tools that you would like to share. I would love to hear about them!