Thinking Like an Assessor ~Module 5 Unit 2 Activity 2

While students are progressing through our unit on energy and magnetism certain assessments will be used in order to gauge students understanding and likelihood of remembering the information later on.

The unit on energy and magnetism is part of Strand 5-Physical Science, of the Arizona Kindergarten Science standards. The standard itself states PO 2. Investigate how forces can make things move without another thing touching them (e.g., magnets, static electricity).

During the course of this unit two forms of assessment will be used, formative and summative. The formative assessments will be conducted throughout the unit to check students’ knowledge as well as identify if a students is not grasping the material. The summative assessment will be completed at the end of the unit to gauge how much a student understands the topic of energy and magnetism as well as their likelihood of retaining the information.

One of the formative assessments I will use during the science unit will be a group dialogue on the carpet with student participation sharing information and ideas. Students will work will a partner on simple experiments to see how objects move without another thing touching them. Students will be given a blown up balloon and be told to rub it on their partner’s head and lift the balloon to see what happens. Partners will take turns doing this so both can see what happens to their hair when the balloon is rubbed and than lifted. Students will then be called back to the carpet and asked what they observed. I will write their answers down in a thinking map that will stay posted through out the unit. The same process will be completed the week after on magnets. With their partner, students will use the magnet to move a magnetic object through another surface (i.e. thick piece of paper) while not touching the magnets together. Students will also see what it feels like to put the wrong ends of the magnet together. Students will then come to the carpet to share observations, which I will write on the board. The goal of this early exploration and sharing of observations and ideas will help to branch out to further questions as to how these things occur. For this formative assessment each student will share at least one time with an observation and possible explanation as to what they noticed. This will help to make sure students are all addressing the same question and help any students who may be struggling.

For the summative assessment students will use information they have gained to create a poster board and oral presentation to summarize ideas. After 4 weeks students will have completed science experiments, data collection through observation, working with a partner to draw the experiments and write journal pages about what we have noticed. Students will be given a 12×18 size paper, markers, crayons, pencils, magnets and balloons to create their presentations. Students will first attempt to answer the question “how forces can make things move without another thing touching them”. Students will attempt to write 1 to 2 sentences answering the question (if students are unable to spell certain words sounding out is acceptable.) An example “The magnet can pull because it is strong.” Students will then draw a picture of their science experiment in which lead them to this conclusion. Students should incorporate appropriate vocabulary terms including pull, magnet, static, and energy. Students will present this information to their peers and myself. Students will ask at least 2 peers (different than their partner during the experiment) for feedback to complete the presentation. Students will be graded according to a rubric based on their retention of relevant information, oral presentation skills and their writing/illustration portions.

Through the use of both forms of assessment I should be able to gauge student understanding early on and identify students who may need assistance. With the use of the summative assessment at the end of the unit I will be able to understand which of my students understands the concept of energy as well as an idea into how forces can make things move without another thing touching them.

Applying Classroom Rules and Procedures -Positive Reinforcement

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As a teacher it is important to be prepared for student behaviors both positive and negative, as well as how to reward or reprimand them.

Below are examples of fictionalized children, kindergarten to first grade level, making choices in which they are given positive reinforcement as well as when children make choices in which they are reprimanded for breaking the rules.

At the end of morning centers two out of the four students using the headphones and materials in the listening center stay to clean up the area just like how they found it while the other two students head back to their tables and are getting ready to move on to the next activity. The teacher uses Action Step 1 verbal praise for all four students however she praises the two groups slightly differently. “I’d like to say thank you to a few of our friends for how they ended centers and got ready to learn. Thank you Suzy and Bo for heading back to your seats quietly and getting ready to learn. A super thank you to Camilla and John for cleaning up their center just the way they found it. That will really help the next people who use it!”

A student in Ms. Peters’ kindergarten class had been struggling on the playground with sharing the sand toys. He would frequently take the shovels and buckets from other students and run off laughing. The other students were getting quite upset and no longer wanted to play with the student. Finally another student said to the first how much it was bothering them that he would take the sand toys that they were playing with without asking because they would share with him either way. The first child seemed to have a breakthrough moment with his peers and went over and asked to share and they all played nicely together. The teacher, watching all of this, decided after school (using Action Step 3 Involve the Home in Recognition of Positive Student Behavior), to call the parents and tell them about the playground moment, reflecting positively on the choice the child made to share and work well with peers.

While Ms. Jones is standing at the word wall reviewing sight words with her kindergarten class she notices two students on the carpet not paying attention and playing with something on the floor in between them. Ms. Jones has clear rules about actions on the carpet that are appropriate and not. The expectation for the class is that students should be facing the speaker, listening, watching and participating. Since Ms. Jones knows Action Step 4 is being a “with-it” teacher she is frequently looking around the carpet to check that students are watching, listening and participating. When Ms. Jones notices the two students distracted she beings to use a series of gradual actions to redirect the two students while not distracting the other 18. She first tries to make eye contact with the students. Since they are distracted and looking at the floor this does not work. She then uses a slightly more intrusive technique by moving closer to the students. This does get the students attention. When they look up and my eye contact Ms. Jones is able, with non-verbal facial expressions to redirect the students. She passes by the students with her hand out signaling the student to pass what they were playing with over. At the end of the less Ms. Jones speaks to the children quietly and privately and passes back the taken item reminding them to put it away.

It was March and school was two months away from being over for the summer. In Mrs. Quick’s kindergarten class the students were working on a craft that went along with the story they were reading about caterpillars. The craft required students to cut out circles to make their own caterpillar. One student, Tommy, was known for using scissors the wrong way, often cutting other things or materials. Mrs. Quick had several conversations with Tommy and had even spoken to his parents on an occasion when Tommy had cut the seat sacks their materials were kept in. During the craft Tommy used his scissors to cut another students finished craft in half and then throw the scissors in the air hitting another child in the head. Although they were safety scissors and didn’t hurt the other child it did scare them. Since Tommy had done two things with the scissors that were inappropriate Mrs. Quick felt no choice but to use Action Step 5 Use Direct Cost Consequences. Mrs. Quick promptly removed Tommy from the classroom having him spend a time out for a few minutes in a buddy classroom to think about the choice. When Tommy returned he and Mrs. Quick spoke about the choice and why it wasn’t safe or respectful. Tommy apologized to Mrs. Quick and the other students that were effected.

Below is a Gliffy Positive and Negative Flow Chart

Reference:

Marzano, R. J. (2010). The Art and Science of Teaching: a Comprehensive Framework for Effective Instruction. Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Setting High Expectations in the Classroom

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Having high expectations for students is something all teachers should do in order for students to thrive. When teachers have high expectations for students, students will start to have high expectations for themselves. Through the course of our learning this week we watched and analyzed three videos that each showed a different perspective on setting high expectations for students. The first video showed educator, Donna Migdol, working with 5th grade STEM students to make roller coasters. The second video had educator, Crystal Chen, teaching 3rd graders math in Chinese. The last video was educator, Roxi Shayne, teaching 9th grade students with the Whole Brain teaching method. While each teacher did a wonderful job educating their students, each video also showed different ways that teachers can set high expectations in their classroom that are attainable as well as challenging.

Academic Expectations-

Within all three of the classrooms it was evident that the teachers all held high academic expectations for their students. In Ms. Migdol’s class, student’s communicated and collaborated together building strong partnerships. The students seemed excited about the material and eager to try out what they had learned and practiced. Students also seemed engaged and not a single student seemed off task or distracted.There seemed to be a level of responsibility that was put upon the students to take their learning into their own hands.  Ms. Migdol’s also did a wonderful job with tying in the curriculum to a broader theme, incorporating budgets, technology, and working with limited constraints.

In the second video with the Chinese instruction of math for 3rd graders, the lesson delivery was a bit different, with only whole group instruction shown. In addition to watching the video, helpful cultural information was gathered through the article elaborating on the differences in how Chinese students are taught. In this video it was harder to see the high academic expectations being taught with the exception of 3rd grade students learning math in Chinese, which seems like it would be quite challenging. Although the teaching style in China lends itself more to whole group instruction it was difficult to get a sense of what the students were supposed to be learning and in which ways was the teacher hoping for engagement. Overall with this video I get the sense that the students do have high academic expectations because of the content they are learning it did not seem as evident of the high expectations from the educators instruction though.

The academic expectations in Ms. Shayne’s class not only seemed to be high but also conveyed a sense of the whole team, the whole body and the whole brain (hence the name).

Behavior Expectations-

In Ms. Migdol’s class behavior expectations were just as high as academic expectations. Students seemed to need very little reminder of what to do. Within their small groups each person had a job which gave them more responsibility while also serving a higher purpose of accountability.

The behavior expectations seemed a bit different in the second video as compared to the first. Although the video was much shorter the part that stood out to me was the frequency in which students called out without being called on. At least in my own classroom a standard behavior I teach and expect from my students is to raise their hand and wait to be called on in order to respect those around us. Im not sure if that behavior was something the teacher allows or not, however in my own classroom, it is made clear that hands are always to be raised in order to ask a question or share unless I let them know everyone can answer at once.

Although brief the third video was a great example of behavior expectations as well as procedures and norms. The class ran so smoothly that it was only natural that learning was occurring. I incorporate elements of whole body teaching into my own lessons. I find with kindergarteners and younger children in general this is a great method for not only conveying material but getting the material to stick. It was refreshing seeing this run in such an efficient way.

Norms and Procedures-

In the first video, with Ms. Migdol, it is extremely evident that norms and procedures were made very clear to students at the beginning of the school year. Students showed that they not only know how to work together but that they can learn from one anothers ideas in a collaborative and kind way. I was amazed at the conversations and ideas 5th graders were able to come up. Students were well versed in the teachers lingo with activities like “chime” as well. Students were respectful to each other as well as their teacher too.

In the second video, with Educator Chen it was a bit harder to tell when the norms and procedures were for the class. The educator seemed fast paced, and as is natural with other languages, seemed to speak very quickly. The children all seemed to know that they were supposed to stay on the carpet during the instruction. It was less clear the preferred way for students to answer as there was both students calling out and raising their hands.

Like the first video, Roxi Shanyes’ classroom ran very efficiently which seems to come from teaching explicit expectations from the very beginning. Students knew exactly what do to and were on task while also working collaboratively with peers. Students echoed the teacher and actively participated. This classroom and the whole brain method seem to be effective in developing high expectation thinkers.

-Megan Thompson

 

References:

(2012). Retrieved November 26, 2017, from https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/teaching-stem-strategies

Chen, C. (2011, June 13). Retrieved November 26, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7LseF6Db5g

K. W. (2017, November 23). Explainer: What Makes Chinese Maths Lessons so Good? Retrieved November 26, 2017, from http://theconversation.com/explainer-what-makes-chinese-maths-lessons-so-good-24380

Shayne, R. (2011, May 31). Whole Brain Teaching Richwood High – The Basics. Retrieved November 26, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iXTtR7lfWU&feature=youtu.be

Team, G. (n.d.). Roller Coaster Lab. Retrieved November 26, 2017, from https://edu.glogster.com/glog/roller-coaster-lab/1gku0vrn4cn

Establishing a Positive Classroom Climate

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Classroom Climate

An essential role of an educator, no matter the age of the student, is creating a positive classroom climate in which students feel cared for and respected. My goal as a teacher is to create a positive classroom in which students respect each other and myself while working as a team for the common good.

From as early as kindergarten children begin to develop a feeling towards school, some love school and can’t wait to go every day, while others dread it and can’t wait for the school day to end. As an educator, I must look inward to understand how much of that could be preventable, how much of that is because of me?

Looking inward isn’t the easiest thing. As a second year kindergarten teacher I have tried different methods to create and foster a positive classroom, some that worked and others that didn’t (I’ll go into that in more detail later). With each new school year and each new group of students it is hard to know what the dynamic will be between students until several weeks into the school year. As a teacher, one of the few things we CAN prepare for is our self. By this, I mean having universal systems in place for not only how the classroom with be run but how positive interactions will be fostered. While it might seem easy, I can attest from experience, it does take a little thought and practice.

Establishing a positive classroom climate for me, begins the moment I see my students for the first time each day. I try to make a point of saying good morning to each student, asking how they’re morning is, and giving them a high five while they are in their morning line on the playground. By taking just a few moments to greet my students my hope is that this sets the tone for the morning for my students, I appreciate that they are here and I genuinely care how they are doing.

Manners and kindness are big ongoing lessons in my kindergarten classroom. From passing out papers to giving feedback, students are shown a way to properly communicate in which all people walk away feeling better. Saying please and thank you with either words or sign language are easy ways to show your appreciation. Students in my classroom are encouraged to help a friend if they need it, to clean up an area even if it wasn’t their own mess, and to respect the working environment of others, all as a way of showing kindness. While manners could be a whole separate class for students nowadays, it is implemented in everything we do. With kindergarteners these are life long skills that take quite a bit of time and effort.

 

Valuing Different Cultures and Backgrounds

In my current classroom I have a slightly diverse make-up of students from different races and ethnicities. Through different themed lessons and readings I hope to touch on each of these backgrounds a bit more during the school year. Other ideas I have thought about or read in texts are including local community members and family members of students into the classroom to talk about their culture further. Decorating the classroom with images of like aged peers of different races and abilities is another idea to bring value to the different cultures and backgrounds within the classroom. At the kindergarten level, another way to express value for different cultures and backgrounds would be to take a field trip to a relevant location, in Arizona an example might be the Heard Museum, an American Indian Museum.

 

Relevance to previous activities

Creating a classroom climate of caring and concern for others will mean that bullying in any form will not be tolerated. While for kindergarteners bullying may seem like they are too young for the issue, students are never to young to learn on to treat others kindly and showing respect. A classroom climate of support and caring means students are trying to lift each other up instead of tearing each other down. No child should ever fear coming to school or feel unsafe. As an educator it is important to always check in with your students. Not just in terms of their IQ but their EQ (emotional intelligence). How are they feeling, what scares them, what are they excited for, how are others treating you and how are you treating others are questions I use to gauge how my students are feeling as well as what things I might be missing during the day. These are helpful things to keep in mind when thinking about a positive classroom climate.