Creating Reflective Teacher-Practitioners in the Midst of Standards

Authorship: 

Mullin, Joan
Cashell, Dorothy

To teach is to change. Or at least to try to. . . . We want to make a difference. But what kind of difference, what kind of change? And, more specifically, who is supposed to be changed, in what ways, and how much? (Kameen 3)

Introduction

NCTE has been actively working to communicate effective writing theories and practices in nationwide conversations with the College Board and state and federal governing bodies.[1] Yet there is still a gap between research on writing and legislation enacted through state standardized tests. In order to lead teachers to use outcomes assessment or standards, states often require renewal processes of licenses and certificates, satisfied through a single course or workshop series. Many of these offerings, conceived, constructed and presented as singular and separate events, are insufficient, leaving teachers without guidance or support in the actual integration and implementation of what they may read, discuss, and learn as participants: a discussion of Vygotsky’s “zone of proximal development” in July may not provide a teacher with enough exposure to facilitate application in October. As a result, teachers may be hard pressed to keep track and make use of theoretical advances as they strive daily to keep abreast of the external demands on their teaching. They are reduced to “approach[ing] the matter of what to do by reducing the infinite number of new situations into familiar terms, then handling them with familiar strategies” (North 33).

In an effort to remedy just this situation, the state of Ohio has funded for a number of years a program whose goal is to provide quality continuing education for teachers. The aim is to use up-to-date research to help teachers improve students’ critical thinking and to better prepare them for both the rigorous Ohio Graduation Tests (OGTs) and college. The summer institutes for teachers, each designed by a university in collaboration with a local school district, are generated and taught through the Ohio WINS (Writing Institute Network for Success) grant, under the aegis of the State Board of Regents. With the Ohio Academic Standards at the heart of their inception, the summer institutes immerse the teachers in current writing and educational theories, giving participants real opportunities to evaluate and integrate the state guidelines into research based practices for their classrooms.

This article examines in detail one such summer program whose multiple objectives included using technology to teach writing across the disciplines in order to meet state standards. New and veteran public high school teachers across the curriculum earned graduate credit in this two-week intensive class that addressed their anxiety about the new OGTs: a series of tests that would require students to display writing ability in every discipline tested. At the heart of the summer courses, though, was the understanding “that the assumptions we make and the theories we hold have a powerful effect on what and how we teach” (Hillocks, Teaching 29). So while the courses allowed the participants to create real projects that used technology to incorporate state guidelines and new concepts into existing lesson plans and classroom activities, it also worked at unpacking teachers’ unexamined theories about students, learning, and writing.

With intense study and discussion in the summer courses, followed by group and individual support throughout the school year, the teachers who took part in the University of Toledo Ohio WINS Summer Institute had the opportunity and support to examine old assumptions and new theories, old standards and new guidelines, and to change their classrooms so they were consistent with both theory and state standards. The project also provided an opportunity to give feedback to those in Ohio responsible for testing and to the Board of Regents who make policy; this feedback loop created a small but important communication link for the state through grant project reports based on the teachers’ responses in the classes.

Course Design and Reflective Practice

The course was comprised of two separate classes and teacher populations. The morning group, new to our summer institutes, focused on using writing to teach content and meet state standards; the second group, comprised of teachers who had taken the first class the previous summer, focused on assessment. For the first week, the writing to learn class met face to face every morning, and the assessment class would meet every afternoon. Each class was invited to spend whatever time they were not in session using the computers in the library (where we had our classroom) or in the Writing Center across the hall. The second week of each class was virtual. As is outlined further on in this article, teachers became totally responsible for posting their work, critiquing each other’s posts, and collaboratively conducting class.

Our methodology was to model the pedagogy we wanted teachers to adopt, one that not only encouraged incorporation of the state standards and writing to learn practices, but would also influence the culture of teaching at the school at which these teachers taught. For us, this meant balancing the teachers’ needs for ready answers to their questions about writing with our desire to challenge their assumptions about teaching. We did this by teaching about, as well as engaging in, collaboration and reflective practice and by incorporating teachers’ knowledge of their own contexts rather than speaking generally about theories and giving recipe-type activities for them to use. Teachers came to the classes prepared to work on units in any one of four categories: one with which they had not been satisfied; one that they had to teach, but disliked themselves (often because they had to fulfill a state standard); one that, despite their enthusiasm and student success, was difficult to teach; or a new unit they wanted to create.

The first step, though, was to place teachers into student/novice positions, rather than student/expert positions. Since teachers are used to being in the expert position, they easily privilege their previously held assumptions about students and learning, as well as their experiences as they have been filtered through those assumptions. So teachers were first asked to complete a reflective writing about a student with whom they have had a difficult time, one they thought they failed, one who they wished they had not had in class, or one they still wonder about. Teachers then read an article such as Richard Graves’ “What I Learned from Verle Barnes,” (the assessment class) or Chapter 1 of Frank Smith’s The Book of Learning and Forgetting, “A Tale of Two Visions,” (the writing to learn class) and wrote their first reflective reading responses to the text. These articles challenged participants’ assumptions about how they had been taught to teach and why they teach the way they do. In small collaborative discussions, we all discovered that there was a gap between what we like to think of ourselves as teachers and what we practice in the classroom. When asked later to read and reflect on their previously written profiles of difficult students, teachers found evidence of the gap between what they want to believe about teaching and how they are enacting their philosophies during their interactions with students:

My grading policy, for example, has always been such that a certain type of student would succeed by it, and another would fail. In other words, I discovered that my grading policies might have been a bit prejudiced against students who were different from myself! (literature teacher)

I found myself mulling over not only what I wanted to teach, but also what the best strategy was to get my students to learn it for themselves. (literature teacher)

This movement, between personal/professional reflection and teacher-as-student, was followed by an attempt at application: teachers were asked to consider the question, “Given this research, given your reflection, given the way students might feel/think, what are the implications for your project?” One project became shaped by being

placed in situations throughout these two weeks that forced me to feel much like my own students must feel in my classroom. You helped me remember what it is like to feel uncertain, uncomfortable, and out of control. (science teacher)

And another teacher decided that next fall her

students will share their reflections with the class, and we will discuss any previous knowledge that may have led them to make these assumptions. (science teacher)

Retooling a unit on the environment, a teacher had indicated that her “biggest problem last year with students was their inability to look deeply into an article that dealt with issues of the environment.” Students would stop at summary and not take a position. This time, she decided, “the first few days of school I would have the students performing some inquiry based activities that might help take the fear and unknown out of reading science articles.” In this way, the teacher’s unit plan project in the institute helped her conceive of specific ways of improving her classroom practice.

Through daily reading responses, collaborative discussions, course design, and research the teachers brought to class, we, the instructors, took a facilitative position, one where learners could be engaged and “the teacher” could guide rather than expend effort on testing for ideas. In this way, teachers saw us become learners along with them, rather than just givers of knowledge. What we made explicit in this class is how our knowledge contributed to, opened up, and allowed a space for further knowledge building; we modeled a classroom built on mutual inquiry and growth. This nurturing environment played an important role in teachers’ constructions of their projects:

I was reminded to give the classroom back to the students, allowing them to discover and have the desire to discover new information and generate new ideas. One specific [on-line] chat that I found most meaningful was when we discussed how teachers should be more like coaches, where they find a strategy that works for the class and then allow the students to step forward on their own. (literature teacher)

The metaphor, “teachers as coaches,” was the class’s revision of our metaphor of “teachers as facilitators.” They didn’t like the word “facilitator.” The math teacher-football coach suggested the alternate image—one that, to us, has negative consequences for high school students (as well as positive ones); however, it was their chosen image, and therefore we all adopted it for the remainder of the institute. This was one of many lessons in reflection and collaboration for us all. Without such a collaborative environment, we agreed, teachers can too easily privilege their own interpretations and metaphors, forgetting that it might be the 50 th time they’ve taught The Scarlet Letter or Avogadro’s number, while it is their students’ first. Students have to find their own points of entry to new knowledge and build their own vocabularies to express these new understandings. As Hillocks writes, “What is essential is structuring the learning environment so that students can gain entry to the ideas and materials and can contribute to the group’s and their own understanding of whatever is at issue” (66).

For the teachers in our Institute who were studying assessment and simultaneously being assessed themselves, their learning included thinking about how they could help their students understand the criteria by which they would be assessed (i.e., the standards) while moving them beyond merely meeting those standards; that is, we wanted to both model for them how students could actively participate in learning and have the teachers actually experience how that feels. Moving beyond standards through involvement in the learning proved a lesson for teachers’ own professional lives as well, many discovering that they too had become driven by grades (e.g., taking credit courses to get a raise; attending workshops to fulfill certification requirements). In the class on assessment, the math, science, history, and literature teachers all decided to use portfolios in their classes. They wanted to involve students in creating rubrics so as to provide “both the students and me with a way to document and respond to writing growth” (science teacher). One teacher who always gave students her own set of rubrics reflected that

although they receive a copy and are encouraged to refer to it when composing any written response, I am never certain, despite their hesitance to contest its various components, that students understand how their writing corresponds to the various degrees of mastery defined by the rubric. . . . I will say that a rubric designed and defined in collaboration with students would make all assessment, particularly assessment of writing, much easier for me, and certainly, less confusing and stressful for my student. (AP and literature teacher)

As teachers reflected on how they are in positions to collaborate with students to create a learning environment together, issues of authority and students’ voices were also addressed. These issues, so easily lost when formulaic writing is taught to students so they can pass standardized tests, became central to the teachers who wanted to foster thoughtful student writers through innovative approaches to assessment. As one literature teacher put it, “While my name is on the door, no learning will take place if I don’t make the students feel that their names are on the door as well.” In other words, students must feel some sort of ownership and personal power in the classroom in order to learn (and write) well.

Course Design, Writing and Technology

While we fully recognize the success of technology-focused summer immersion courses for teachers, this population has little summer time for such courses because of personal and/or professional obligations. Teachers often can’t afford, financially or physically, to spend two weeks or more in a technologically rich course either in town or at another campus, and then follow that up with continual practice and development. In the summer institute, we may have discovered a variant that works just as well. First and foremost, technology was not the focus of our courses. It became a method, a tool, a means to an end—i.e., teaching course material—rather than an end in itself. Web CT supported our intense, two-week sessions by providing a space for teachers’ daily reflections, one in which they could familiarize themselves with using computers without focusing on their lack of technical knowledge: instead, both groups thought and wrote about their teaching, state standards and course content. In this way, we were “emphasizing what [these] students are working on or can already do well, rather than zeroing in on errors and deficiencies” (Tchudi 17); that is, we weren’t “zeroing in” on their inexperience with computers, we were addressing their primary concern (and their motivation for attending the Institute): creating an active, enjoyable learning context in which they could motivate their students and meet the Ohio Standards. The computer acted as an important tool by which they could meet that goal.

The addition of technology to the course heightened the student position in which teacher-participants found themselves—despite our emphasis in the syllabus that “We will all be learning this together and laughing at all of our glitches together!” (See Appendix A.) we were aware from the beginning that the tech aspect could scare applicants from taking the institute. The teachers who did enroll complained about their lack of time to study technology and their inability to find support when they do; they articulated their fears (often well-founded as we discovered) of having their materials lost through lack of experience with technology; and some feared their status as model learners would suffer because they “just can’t learn that stuff.” In fact, three of the teachers new to the summer institute did drop the course within the first days: one because he admitted being threatened by the technology; a second because she said her pregnancy was making her sick; a third, the husband of the pregnant woman, because he believed he needed to support her. Both of these last two did state later that they were also afraid of the technology in the class, despite the low-key approach toward the laptops placed throughout our tech-savvy classroom and the first-day use of just minimal computer functions.

Knowing we needed to minimize such anxiety, we modeled technology-enhanced reflection by providing daily practice the initial week. On the first day in both classes, we introduced teachers to the variety of resources they could link to on our course web page ( Web CT). In addition to leading them through log-in and access routes, we encouraged them to play a bit by looking at the resources. Each class also then read an article and fulfilled one of the day’s activities by responding, in class, online, and posting their responses to discussion boards. What helped was the good humor with which members in each class laughed at their mistakes (especially one woman who kept freezing any computer on which she would work). However, as coaches, we found that the acknowledged position of ourselves as learners (new to Web CT) also modeled the ideal learning context wherein everyone is engaged in a common purpose: we all conquered our technological fears because the computers were a vehicle for our mutual desire to learn about writing and assessment.

Quite soon, students were helping each other, underscoring what each group of teachers had read about in their first online experience: that collaboration is a strong pedagogical method, and, as a teacher, it’s OK not to always be the expert. In fact, the act of stepping back and observing how students are teaching and learning from each other is a powerful reflective practice:

Education really is a process for all of us. Sharing the power and the wisdom in the form of cooperation and discussion is a form of respect for that process and for others who share the process with us. Once we begin to share, it becomes obvious that knowledge has many meanings and we all facilitate each other’s progress. (ESL teacher)

The technology, then, provided the means to a learning experience on multiple levels: it positioned teachers as learners, exemplified peer collaboration, lessened the burden of the professor as expert, provided time for us to reflect on our teacher-students, and modeled how to use technology. Later that first day, teachers in the both groups were told to

Read the material tonight and respond to the following: Nice theories, but how applicable is this to our students? Use the online discussion boards to post and comment on each other’s postings by class time tomorrow. In order to do this, initial postings should be up by tonight by 8:00 (for the morning class) or tomorrow by 8:30 a.m. (for the afternoon class).

This activity was not about learning the technology, not about thinking how cool it was, or even how they might use this with their students, but about teaching and learning in the act of doing.

Each day, we introduced both classes to another facet of the technology: we moved them out of our classroom to computers all over the library and Writing Center so they had to chat on-line instead of talking to each other face-to-face. Once we were assured of their comfort with chat rooms, we had them create projects together outside of class using the chat feature. These baby steps prepared them for the second week in which class would be completely on-line and in their hands.

While readings continued the second week, class was conducted entirely by teams of teacher participants. Each team was responsible for initiating online discussions with questions about the reading; each team, therefore, was learning to conduct class in an online environment. For many, these on-line discussions and even their planning chats proved significant to the development of their projects:

If you compare my earlier journaling with the chats that were held during the second week, I think it is clear that I have moved from an attitude of–“okay, sure, but how?”—to an attitude of “this is the way, and we can do it.” (math teacher)

Examination of the chats and discussion boards shows not only real critique, suggestions and collaborations about readings, assignments and projects in the making, but also reconsiderations of teaching philosophy:

Through all those [chat] session[s]—it reinforced the importance of relationships and trust that all learners need in order to learn anything. (chemistry teacher)

Much like Lad Tobin, I was frustrated with the writing of my male students and the topics they chose. During this particular discussion, a person said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” a quote that stuck with me. (literature teacher)

In our chats, we talked extensively about teachers being “coaches” and developing a classroom of independent learners. I learned from that chat that I will have to let go a little and let my students learn from their mistakes. I like the analogy that [a colleague] used: I can give the keys to the car to my students and call them on their cell phones to see how things are going. (science teacher)

In addition, during the second week, all teachers had to post their developing final projects, provide feedback for each other in small groups, and revise. This was done through discussion boards as well as in chats. By this second week, other than feedback and occasional responses from us during the online class, teachers were in control of their own learning:

I believe it was helpful to have our classmates look at our work, critique it and give helpful suggestions. I was really struggling with the format. It was really helpful to see [two colleagues’ plans]. This just drives home the point again about the power of examples for our students . . . Not only are my students critiquing [each others’] abstracts [next year], but they are also helping with the development of the scoring sheet for the abstract. (chemistry teacher)

I feel more confident about deepening my practice because a colleague and I have talked online about her rubric for Senior Composition in light of Hillocks’ focus on argument and inquiry as the basis of all writing. (literature teacher)

Their expertise as teachers had reasserted itself in the new medium, and the classes continued quite seamlessly with the technology promoting learning rather than interfering with it:

I have learned so much about myself as a learner. I learned a new language in the past two weeks. And I was stressed as any ESL learner. Moving from the discussion board, where I posted reflections and pieces of the contemporary literature course in progress, to the chat room (I’d never been in one before), to the online readings was a continual learning curve. Learning to segue around the home page while communicating with my colleagues about our work as teachers of writing has given me the confidence to incorporate more technology into my classroom. . . . the on-line component has pulled me into the twenty-first century technologically.

The above quote comes from the literature teacher who managed to freeze the computers that she chose to use, yet she continued to work individually and with others on her unit. It was, after all “not about the technology; it’s never about the technology; it’s about learning” (Huntley).

Course Design, Writing, and the Standards

One of our first activities was to introduce all teachers to on-line note taking capabilities of Web CT, a potentially difficult task. We decided to set up practice in this skill by attaching it to a review of the Ohio Standards for both teachers’ respective disciplines and for writing. These are posted on the Ohio Department of Education website which involved an additional downloading activity. While this served as instruction in using the technology, our additional purpose was to demonstrate to teachers in disciplines—especially those focusing on literature—that writing standards can complement the pedagogy for teaching disciplinary content. Ultimately, each of the teachers’ projects had to demonstrate that they not only were meeting the standards for their own disciplines, but for writing also.

The Ohio Standards are detailed and, for teachers, both appreciated as guidelines for the OGTs and considered oppressive reminders . . . . Agreeing with Hillocks’s evaluation of The Testing Trap, our teachers felt that the standards often started on levels that many of their students hadn’t yet achieved. It also seemed impossible to “fit” all the standards into one year or one unit. However, both groups discovered, as a writing teacher in the Assessment group noted, “if we are effectively utilizing writing to learn in our classrooms we are going to be meeting the standards and proficiency requirements.” For them,

it was evident in chats that the OGT is a responsibility of every teacher. While there may be problems with the OGT that need to be addressed, we can still align what we teach and how we teach with the OGT. If students are taught the basics of critical thinking, then they can be a success on the OGT. (literature teacher)

After discussing the standards in class, in on-line discussions and in chats, the math teacher decided that she would “sit down with the geometry textbook and the standards, benchmarks and indicators to create a ‘map’ through the curriculum” using math portfolios to help students and herself reflect on their learning. The standards, like technology, became an essential part of the course and the teacher participants’ final projects because they were now an integral part of the teaching and learning process. Teachers found that the standards, no longer an oppressive force, fit into and supported what they had already planned: good teaching with sound course objectives that were supported with accessible and developmentally structured activities.

Final Reflections

In their final reflective writings, all participants showed the influence of theories that called into question their assumptions about learning, teaching, and students. They also demonstrated that our low-key approach to teaching technology helped reinforce another of our objectives: writing is thinking. One participant acknowledges this importance in her final journal entry:

It seems as though I haven’t completely assimilated the information for myself. How will this newfound information impact not only my project, but my classroom teaching, and my approach to the students as well? This writing assignment may be my opportunity to work much of it out. (math teacher)

Focused writing demanded by the computer also undermined the usual conversation and storytelling that occurs in teacher workshops. While these narratives can be productive, they can also lapse into complaint sessions, especially when teachers are, as in this case, all from the same school. One of our very extroverted teachers and a long time participant in Ohio WINS usually stimulated extended conversations. When using the computer, she couldn’t talk; her effort and sense of time while using the computer caused her to focus her responses, thus making them not only more manageable, but also more useful for herself and others. On the one hand, her learning style involves free-flowing conversation, but on the other hand, as she recognized, “I really need to be more concentrated.” She realized that as others around her were working online, her lively talk would get them—and herself—way off task. Introverts, on the other hand, noted that they were not only “heard” in this new medium, but also were not as distracted by the conversations that usually swirled around them. As a result, one of the participants reflected on classmates, one extrovert and one introvert, as well as her experiences with technology during the course.

The first thing I relearned the first week was that I do not have all the answers. Even those whom we do not feel have any answers sometimes surprise us. I was surprised by [the extrovert] and [the introvert]. I had preconceived thoughts of them and one was completely shattered and the other shifted. It is good to shift perceptions. It was a good lesson. (business teacher)

When queried about their practices in May, eleven months after the institute, teachers claim that they have carried their projects into their classrooms, and, in one case “let go” by turning the project over to a student teacher. This literature teacher found he “learned so much [from the student teacher]; I think it worked better than I could have imagined it.” His ability to let go might reflect the teaching model to which the institute exposed him and indicate his new sense of teaching and learning as collaborative and interactive activities.

Most teachers report using technology, primarily in web searches and inquiry based projects, but the entire English department decided to purchase

a new program called Criterion where students can submit essays via the net and we can grade them from any internet connection. It is a great program and the kids have really responded to it—both learning technology and getting faster feedback to their writings classes. (literature teacher)

They believe they have moved their urban students “into the twenty-first century.”

Perhaps the most valuable lesson for us, though, was that one of the ways to introduce people to new concepts is to focus a little “off to the side.” To teach technology, we focused on reading, chatting or creating teacher projects. Rather than examining the standards in detail and creating projects to match them, we focused on writing to learn and on how these methods fostered the standards. In the process, the complex interweaving of writing, thinking, reflection, and computer use became integrated into teachers’ new ways of thinking. As was said by one teacher in the institute, “If we just focus on critical thinking and writing, our students won’t have to worry about passing a test” (math teacher).

Note

1 We thank the teachers at Rogers High School in Toledo, Ohio, for giving us permission to use their words in this article.

Works Cited

Cooper, Charles and Lee Odell. Evaluating Writing. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 1999.

Graves, Richard L. “What I learned from Verle Barnes.” Writing, Teaching, Learning. Ed.

Richard L. Graves. Boynton/Cook: Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1999. 113–17.

Hillocks, George. The Testing Trap: How State Writing Assessments Control Learning. NY,

New York: Teachers College Press, 2002.

—. Teaching Writing as Reflective Practice. NY, New York: Teachers College Press, 1995.

Huntley, Joan. Interview on IT. April 29, 2005

Kameen, Paul. Essays Towards a Rhetoric of Pedagogy. Pittsburgh, PA: U of Pittsburgh P, 2000.

North, Stephen M. The Making of Knowledge in Composition: Portrait of an Emerging Field. Upper Montclair: Boynton/Cook, 1987.

Ohio Content Standards. http://www.ode.state.oh.us/Academic_Content_Standards/acsenglish.asp (May2, 2005).

Smith, Frank. The Book of Learning and Forgetting. New York, NY: Teachers College Press, 1998.

Tchudi, Stephen. Alternatives to Grading Student Writing. Urbana: IL, 1997.

Appendix A

Successful Writers and Thinkers Through Successful Practices

(ENGL 5090)
June 7–18: Activities

MEETING TIMES

Class starts promptly at 9:00 a.m.; it is strongly suggested that students arrive by 8:45 to log on, organize work, etc.

Class will not end before noon; teachers are encouraged to continue working in a UT computer lab, the library or the UT Writing Center (if there is space enough) during the afternoon/evening.

MEETING PLACE

First week—mornings: This course will meet face to face at 9:00 a.m. in Carlson 2000 (second floor IN the library).

Second weekmornings: Class will meet on-line three hours everyday from 9–12.

ATTENDANCE

Teachers are expected to attend every class every morning the first week and attend every on-line session in the morning during the second week: attendance expectations are no more or less than teachers have for their own high school students.

CELL PHONES

Please turn off phones, watches and other beeping and ringing equipment during class time.

BOOKS

for the class have been delivered to you: Engaging Ideas by John Bean (San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 1996) and Reflective Activities by Reid and Golub (Urbana: NCTE, 1999); handouts, on-line readings.

CLASS MATERIALS

You must have access to or be willing to use computers on campus that have updated software, and be willing to familiarize yourself with the Web CT environment. We will all be learning this together and laughing at all of our glitches together!

ASSIGNMENT EXPECTATIONS

You are expected to read everything according to schedule, write in your journals every day in response to your reading, produce short essays in response to classroom discussion (informal), collect materials relevant to your own class project, post your materials to our website, participate in on-line chat/discussion, and create a final project portfolio. You will be assessed on the following:

GRADES

Activity

%

Class interactions demonstrate that you have kept up with daily expectations; Active participation (not necessarily noisy) contributes to collaborative activities

27

Daily journal responses show engagement with the readings

16

Short essays and other informal writings evidence thoughtful critical thinking

12

Useful feedback in chat room/on-line discussions that supports and stimulates ideas

10

Individual research incorporated into well described, thoughtful, final project

18

Critical, well-researched portfolio/reflective letter (see final assignment’s criteria) effectively demonstrates learning in course

17

 

100

 Daily Schedule and Assignments

June 7

Objective: Answer—Why use writing in class if students can’t think (or write!)?

  1. Introduction to class
  2. Using Web CT as a learning tool
  3. Log onto Web CT: Making mistakes together
  4. Assignments from “hell”—why our students may not succeed.
  5. Discussion of What I learned from Verle Barnes” in On-Line Readings in your Web CT environment.
  6. Checking the assignments folder.

Remember: Be prepared to describe tomorrow morning to the group, the class, unit, problem on which you will work these two weeks.

June 8

Objective of the class: How to use writing to stimulate student thinking/learning

You must be familiar with WebCT for this class: come prepared to write, read, and apply readings to your classes.

Discussion of readings and real students in your classes.

Discussion of individual projects on which teachers will work.

On-line Journal introduction and discussion.

June 9

Objective is to answer: If what we are teaching is so important, why don’t students learn it?

Real time discussion of knowledge/memorizing basics in your discipline.

Group work on models for individual’s classroom.

June 10

Objective: How to Teach Our Concepts to all Learners

How do you read a professional piece? Reflect in on-line journal.

Presentation: Marcia King-Blandford—using the Internet as a teaching resource.

June 11

Objective: Bringing together the visual, verbal

Presentation: Joan Schooley: 9–11 The OGTs and the Standards

Looking at standards for writing http://www.seisummit.org/ode-stds.htm and individual’s discipline

Discussion of next week:

  1. On-line times
  2. Expectations of attendance
  3. Critiques
  4. Grade postings
  5. Final projects
  6. Final portfolios

Activities: June 14–18

MEETING TIMES

As arranged below in the day to day syllabus, or as agreed upon by the class and posted.

MEETING PLACE

Your computer—or the university’s. You can use any of the university’s computer labs for your work. If you use your home computer, make sure it can handle every aspect of the course.

ATTENDANCE

Teachers are expected to attend every class arranged on-line session during the second week: the expectations are no more or less than teachers have for their own students.

HELP ! Email questions to Joan by 4:00 p.m. the day of the assignments if you have questions about any of them (or call 419–530–4913).

Work to be completed for June 14

1. READ Engaging Ideas: Chapters 7. Use each of the 10 Strategies for Designing Critical Thinking Tasks in one or more activities for your project–you can design as many activities as you want; be sure to use all the strategies at least once. Save as an HTML (web) file and attach as a file and save in your own Student Projects file.

2. Look at Standards for writing and for your discipline http://www.seisummit.org/ode-stds.htm and take notes on how writing can help teach your unit/class. Copy your notes into a Word Document and save as an HTML document; submit as Homework for June 14 th.

3. Using all of the ideas, plus your reading for the weekend, create as far as you can a draft of your project for this class. These should begin to be detailed. Load it into your Student Projects file and send it to your Discussion Group for June 14 as indicated below:

  • Roxanne, Rick and Erika
  • Linda, Lori, Melissa

June 14: What do proficiency tests measure, and what do students need to know anyway?

9:00 a.m. On-line Chat: be there!

Work to be completed For June 15

  1. The following groups will arrange a time to be on-line and comment on each others’ rough drafts and complete their comments by 5:00 p.m. June 15. I will be able to view your discussions:
  • Roxanne, Rick and Erika
  • Linda, Lori, Melissa

The critiques should be useful and thorough; use our assessment tool.

  • Read Chapter 9 in Engaging Ideas: Using the “Typical; Small Group Tasks” (154–159) in Chapter 9 design one or more activities for your project using all the tasks at least once–you can design as many activities as you want, just be sure to use all the tasks. Save as an HTML Document and upload to the Discussion list for June 15 and as Homework.
  • Team 1 will lead the on-line discussion tomorrow, June 15, on creating groups for the classroom.

June 15

On-line discussion; Team 1 will lead our interchange.

Work to be completed for June 16

1. Respond in constructive, helpful ways to each other’s activities which were posted to the June15 Discussion Board topic. ALSO post your responses to these activities to me as Homework for June 16 by the deadline.

2. Read Chapter 11 & 12 in Bean: Think about how much research students should be able to do in high school at the level/discipline you teach?

3.Choose a research topic/ or design math/science problems that are pertinent to your class/unit/project: rather than use a textbook’s or previous ideas, invent your own out of the Toledo area for your students—real situations they recognize and can research locally. (For example, not a paper on environmental problems, but an examination of the Maumee River pollution.) Post this to the June 16 Discussion Board topic; be sure to label it “June 16 Draft.”

4. Team 2 will lead the discussion tomorrow, June 17, on research and plagiarism

June 16

On-line : Team 2 will lead our interchange.

Work to be completed for June 17

  1. Go to the individual project sites on the Discussion Board and critique “June 16 Draft.” in each other’s project site by 5:00 p.m. June 16. Your comments should be specific and helpful, asking for clarifications, making suggestions and complimenting.
  2. Read Chapter 13–15 in Bean and develop specific grading criteria for your project. Post to your Discussion Group as indicated below and as Homework.
    • Group1
    • Group 2
  3. Team 3 lead the discussion on assessment tomorrow, July 17

June 17

On-line: Team 3 will lead our interchange today.

Work to be completed for June 18

  1. Each group will respond to their members’ assessment plans by 1:00 p.m.: critique helpfully.
    • Group 1
    • Group 2
  1. Post your final project as Homework by 8:00 a.m. June 18 and to you project site on the Discussion Board for June 18. Be sure to name it as your final project: “June 18 Final Project.”

June 18

1:00 on-line chat: Joan facilitates:

  1. On-line write response: So what? What about next year?
  2. Critique of plans

On your own to be submitted by 5:00 p.m. June 18.

    1. Complete the Final Assessment of the class (in Homework)

Your Portfolios due on-line by 5:00 p.m. Monday June 21, 2004

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2007-09

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