Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How -To Tuesday - How to Have Enough Exposure to Material

In order to master a skill students must practice it. But just how much practice do they need?

Multiple exposures to content gives students the opportunity to become proficient with skills and aids in the developing of deeper understanding of the subject matter. In order for students to achieve 80 percent competency with a skill, students should be exposed to material 24 times (Marzano,Pickering, Pollock, 2001). It is also important to provide timely feedback to students during their practice. This will allow for early interventions before students internalize incorrect processes and knowledge (Hubbell, Kuhn, Malenoski, & Pitler, 2007)

I have seen the impact of multiple exposure to material first hand. We have begun curriculum mapping, creating pacing guides, and creating common summative and formative assessments at our school. I always have good intentions on covering material thoroughly with our students. However, I have realized that I do not always expose students to material for the amount of time that is necessary (24 times) before I test them. The above graph shows data from our first grade classroom. The bar graph show the percentage of students in our class who passed each assessment. In order for students to pass an assessment they must receive a grade of 70% or more on the assessment.

You may notice that a single bar on the graph may contain several colors. The base color represents the first time the students took a test. Each color on top of the base color indicates a retest. Students who did not pass the assessment the first time were provided more exposure to the content, and were then retested. It was amazing how much better the students did on a test with repeated exposure to material.

The bars towards the right of the graph that only contain one color, are from tests that have not been retaught yet. This content was taught at the end of the quarter, and honesty was a bit rushed through. We are currently working on providing our students with extra practice on those concepts.

We know that it is important to allow students time to practice skills. By providing them repeated meaningful exposure to material we help them increase their conceptual understandings of subject matter. I challenge you to take note of how many times you expose students to material before you test them on it. You may be surprised with your tally.

Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., Malenoski, K., & Pitler, H. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works.
Alexandria, VA: Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Marzano, R., Pickering, D., & Pollock, J. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Skip Counting

These two resources have been requested by our first graders. I love that they have figured out that they can request items for our blog. :)

We have been practicing skip counting to help get us ready for multiplication.

LearningPlanet.com has a fun counting game that is timed. The player is able to choose any number from 1 to 9 to count by. As you select the correct numbers to fill in the pattern, you advance to the next level.

As a class we created a game on Jeopardy Labs to help us review skip counting. See how many points you can score!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How -To Tuesday - Engagement

This week's Hot -To Tuesday is a link to the AZ K-12 Center's Blog. This blog is frequently updated with great information that you can immediately implement in your classroom.

A recent blog post, authored by one of our most loved educators and presenters, Tony Vincent is titled, Novelty and Variety Affect Engagement. This post has a few simple and stellar ideas on how to increase active engagement in your own classroom.

One of the ideas is to conduct a mock game show to review content prior to taking a test. Free templates can be downloaded to assist you in the creation of the game. You can even trick your students into reviewing the content by allowing your students develop the questions for the game show. Be sure to click on this link to read the entire post for yourself.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

23 "Techy" Tips for Not so "Techy" Teachers

View this embedded slide show for some great tips on utilizing technology in the classroom.

Telescopic Text

Telescopic Text can be used to teach the power of word choice.

The site begins with a simple sentence.
Then, as you click on the gray words, the sentence expands...

...and expands.
Each time the sentence expands the sentence grows into a more descriptive and elaborate story. This activity can allow your students to experience the impact that word choice can have on a story or message that they want to convey.

* This is another great resource that I learned about from iLearntechnology.com

Scholastic Story Starters

Scholastic.com has a tool to randomly generate a story starter. The story starters are a great way to liven up writing in your classroom.
My story starter was, "Write about a camping trip with a polka-dotted bear who can fly in the sky". If I happened to be unhappy with a section of my story starter sentence, I could click the spin level to change it. Imagine the creative stories that can be created with this tool!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

How -To Tuesday: Free Technology For Teachers

Most educators are excited about the role technology can play in enhancing learning. However, many feel unprepared to take advantage of digital tools in the classroom. One way to overcome anxiety is to seek out free and easy to use digital resources.

It is easy to become overwhelmed with the amount resources on the web. That is why I suggest beginning with one reliable resource and building from there.

The Free Technology For Teachers blog is a frequently updated collection of free online tools. Mr Byrne, a high school teacher from a rural school district, monitors this site. He will help you reduce your anxiety towards using technology in instruction.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Pinky Dinky Doo

PinkyDinkyDoo.com has become a favorite in our classroom.

This web site is based on the popular PBS show Pinky Dinky Doo. According to Sesameworkshop.org, Seven-year-old Pinky Dinky Doo is a pink-haired girl with a stupendous imagination. She’s very good at making up stories about everything from rude alligators to shoes made out of salami.

The website has fun activities for kids to take part in including word games, printables, story podcasts, videos, a place for students to create their own story podcast, and there is even a section for grownups.

Pinky, her little brother Tyler and their friends have helped us create story podcasts in our classroom. Each story has a definite sequence of events that are highlighted by discussing the beginning, middle, and end. Pinky also loves to use Great Big Fancy Words like “flabbergasted” and “exasperated,”. We love this part of each story because it reminds our class of the weekly vocabulary words that we are learning, and we love to hear the trumpet sound that is played before every Great Big Fancy Word.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Mad Libs - Grammar

Mad Libs is a fun grammar activity to play. You can play online through FunBrain.com.
There are a variety of story genres to choose from.

Here is a Mad Libs that we made in class. We hope you have as much fun reading it as we had making it.