Sunday, August 24, 2014

Using Innovation and Grounded Strategies to Engage Our Students

We are now entering our third week of school. We have already completed 8 days of the school year. Routines have been set, policies are clear, and now is the time for Innovation to be set free and Learning to SOAR.

With little under an hour that you have each day with your classes, you want to capitalize on every minute with the students. Think of ways you can "flip" your instruction so that the basic building blocks are introduced at home and then students "apply" those principles in the classroom. Encourage students to be critical thinkers that take the knowledge they have and apply it to new scenarios and new problems to solve.

There are many teaching strategies grounded in research that have shown over time to be the most impactful on student learning. I have focused on four strategies here. These are also the strategies that I am looking for in my class visits.  Using the strategies as a starting point, I will provide feedback and coaching to each teacher.

Teach for Success Strategy
What it Looks Like
Communicating the Objective
Research says…

Students who can identify what they are learning significantly outscore those who cannot.
--Robert Marzano                        
Teachers post, share, and clarify learning objectives so students know:
  • What they are learning
  • Why they are learning it
  • How this learning connects to previous experience or previous learning
  • How they will learn
Engagement Techniques
Research says…

Research at all levels of schooling has indicated that students learn and retain more when they have agency in their process and have opportunities to speak, listen, share, interact, reflect, and move.
               --Paula Kluth
Teachers actively engage students in the learning vs. being engaged in an activity.
  • Involving all students in classroom discussions through various individual and group strategies vs. raided hands
  • All students are required to interact with classroom concepts and skills even if only one or two students will respond
  • Students can describe success criteria and know what they are expected to do to reach mastery.
Formative Assessment
Research says…

The act of checking for understanding not only corrects misconceptions, it can also improve learning.
--Fisher & Frey

What evidence do I have that this is working or what evidence would convince me I was wrong in using these methods?
--John Hattie
Teachers engineer their classroom environment to continually elicit evidence of student understanding/learning on a daily basis.
  • Teachers use classroom questions, discussion and learning tasks as evidence of understanding or misconceptions for all students.
  • Teachers require student to think and use a variety of strategies to collect evidence from all students.
  • Engages all students to respond to a question(s) by signaling, writing, or performing in order to check for understanding.
Facilitate Student Interactions
Research says….
When students provide feedback to each other, they are forced to internalize the learning intention and success criteria but in the context of someone else’s work which is much less emotionally charged.  Activating students as learning resources for one another can, therefore, be seen as a stepping stone to students becoming owners of their own learning.  
--Dylan William
Students support each other as instructional resources in understanding and performing through a shared understanding of the learning expectations and success criteria.
  • Students assess each other’s work and provide feedback using classroom success criteria
  • Students talk through problems with each other to find common solutions or share ideas to solve problems
  • Students discuss issues with peers to reach a more complete understanding

For those of you that are visual learners, here are a few YouTube videos that show "flipped" learning in action. Yes, this can be done in high school!!

Many more great things are in store for Fairfield High!

Continue to be innovative, creative, and a model of excellence! 


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