Saturday, March 21, 2009

Toons and AR work: getting to know our LCs

Cartoons to get to Know Someone
When we were first given the syllabus for 665, we had to create a Learning Activity that would be a small part of a larger course in which we would work at using the planning of Understanding By Design. My group spoke right away of what we wanted to do, and after talking with Melissa, came up with some greater clarification and direction that we wanted to proceed. We all decided that for us, Virt Camp was something although meant to be well designed, lacked design. So, we put our head together to create a new improved vision for Virt Camp or an introductory camp like it. What we soon realized, given our LA was that our focus and G7’s focus were very similar. We both valued getting to know people in our groups before we opened up to them. They created a really fun activity that I can see using in my own classroom not just with getting to know others.

As students of OMET, we are conducting research in our field of work. Each semester, we are asked ot switch learning circles in which we learn, support, and challenge one another’s research work. The challenge in switching LC’s so much is that you have to relearn someone else’s project and how far they have come. In order to make that process simpler and more clear, G7 developed a cartoon acitivty where I would create a toon of my AR without captions, then in our LC we would exchange toons and another of my LC members would add the captions to go with my AR work. The three toon programs we could use were ToonDoo (web-based), BitStrips (web-based) or ComicLife (download free trial software). We were also asked to read an article about building trust in online learning circles.

It was fun to see the hard work some put into their toons and as usual how others would not contribute. This was a fun activity and was nice to see a bridge between our 665 class and 638. I thought their activity was very effective as did Margaret because she is adding this as an activity to assist in our LC work.

The followed their activity with a survey for us to complete looking at the connections between this activity in their essential questions and learning goals. I think it did an effective job and is something I am going to use in my own classrooms.

Real World Economics

Saving for the Future...
After working on the large activity of learning a foreign language, I was worried about how big in scope each groups’ Learning activity would be. Luckily, the following group created a very meaningful and relevant activity for us to learn about real world economics.

Their group assigned each student a profession and a salary. We all had the common background that we were all single and no children. We were then to figure out a savings plan for ourselves in light of our current US economic situation considering rent, insurance, utilities, grocery, etc…. This assignment was interesting in many ways because we all had ot step out of our lives and consider what it would be like to be another individual earning either more or less than we do now. The activity asked for us to learn Budgetpulse and create charts that demonstrated what we would spend and what we would save. We used these charts for a discussion that followed.
I enjoyed this activity a lot and thought the relevancy for today’s adults and youth was quite meaningful. We could all learn, especially with the numerous software applications available, to budget appropriately and learn the power of saving. Additionally, the follow up questions that were asked created a nice discussion for us to examine our current practices in spite of what we learned.

Finally, the group concluded with a survey asking about the connections between their essential learnings and the activity itself. I was really impressed with the overall plan of their lesson, the execution, the follow-up discussion and the survey.

Learning a Foreign Language

The Furious Five had ambitious goals for their learning activity asking the students to learn a foreign language, prepare a travel itinerary, learn a new piece of technology, and write paragraphs in the foreign language about all of this. The developed a wonderful learning cite that would guide us students throughout this journey. I shared the site with our foreign language teacher in order to provide another tool for their tool box to use at school.

Some of the aspects of their LA I really enjoyed were the number of interactive and informative tutorials to assist the learner throughout this adventure. The tutorials working your way through Busuu was helpful and necessary so that time could be concentrated on the assignment itself. Also, I really enjoyed all the mapping their website provided. Whenever you had a question, there was a point of reference that could be found on the website to answer your question.

Challenges included the scope of the assignment. I felt for a one week assignment, this activity was well beyond what you would learn or be able to do in a classroom. The time just to make it through the tutorials, and writing paragraphs was considerable. I am just unsure of how realistic the assignment was.

Overall, I was glad at the variety within the activity. I could take the learning as far as I was interested in pursuing and I think that is essential with a large activity such as this. I wish there was more participation in the discussion boards when I reacted to my participation in order to conduct more of a dialogue. What I was impressed by and influenced my approach to my LA was how attentive the leaders were to your answers. I took away their attentiveness and applied it to my groups LA.

LA reflection Type A: Redoing Virt Camp

When we were first given the syllabus for 665, we had to create a Learning Activity that would be a small part of a larger course in which we would work at using the planning of Understanding By Design. My group spoke right away of what we wanted to do, and after talking with Melissa, came up with some greater clarification and direction that we wanted to proceed. We all decided that for us, Virt Camp was something although meant to be well designed, lacked design. So, we put our head together to create a new improved vision for Virt Camp or an introductory camp like it. What we soon realized, given our understandings of UbD is that this was going to be a challenge.

We are all opinionated members in Type A and all are outspoken in what we feel, but this has extreme advantages when working with others who understand you and want to do their best work. By meeting several times before Orlando, during and after, we were well organized. We put together a plan for introducing ourselves to one another before we would arrive at Virt Camp in order to have a better understanding of whom each individual is and why they would want to pursue their Masters degree with OMET. We addressed this issue in the broader learning goal of understanding what makes up a community of learners and how to do create a community of learners. Our learning activity can be found here.

I think we introduced the plan well in our initial email that Tanner sent out, and also sought out questions and clarification our group members would need by reintroducing the lesson again at the TI session. This way, we could make sure students understood the essential learnings that would be the focus on the lesson, why we wanted them to create the video, and hopefully, begin building the foundation for a community of learners. We introduced the essential questions first in our lesson design so that students could see the whole then break it down into parts as it would relate back to the whole.

It took some time to get people to participate in this activity as can be expected because three LA’s were all assigned at the same time. However, the videos that were posted were all fun to watch and interesting to see other’s reactions to each others videos. Some were of course higher quality addressing all the questions that were asked for them to put into the video in order to address the essential questions, but overall I think it worked well.

After the videos were posted, we asked the students to react to one another’s videos. This is one area where we were hoping to see not just acknowledgement and praise for each others efforts which could be the basis for building trust in a community of learners, but to also ask for additional clarification and understanding. Some did a good job of this, and others chose not to complete this aspect of the assignment at all. I think we could have put the students in smaller learning circles or taken their LC’s to have them react to one another’s videos in order to assist in reacting to videos. This way at least their would be smaller groups checking in on one another versus us.

As a final reaction from the group, we asked them to complete a survey to see their reflection on the assignment as well as its connection to our essential learnings. The survey results provided clarification on some aspects of the videos. Students who did a good job on their were frustrated by others who had not answered all the questions, and others who produced poorer quality videos expressed the challenge in being limited to 1 minute or of learning a new piece of technology. Some discussed the challenge of this being an opening activity at Virt Camp and would everyone have the expertise to know how to create a video. All of these are good reflection to consider when redesigning this lesson for another class or as Margaret has suggested for use in when we change LC’s.

I think it can’t be emphasized enough the importance of building a foundation to grow from when you are working in cooperative groups. Because we have all gotten to know each other this year, it has helped build that trust. But, could this trust have been established sooner if some of the techniques our group and G7 used? I think so.

Overall, I was happy with the Learning Activity. I wish we could have received some better quality work from all members, increased assistance from one of my Type A members, but regardless, we all completed this activity as a team, and building the foundation of a community of learners.

Kids responses to cycle 2 feedback

What was the most effective part of the dual feedback you received?
Understanding what other people have to say(JO)
Where my mistakes and errors were shown to me so I could go back and fix them (BG)
I liked the two opinions expressed in ever feedback (AW)
Getting back two different perspectives of advice (MB)
The feedback was very helpful because most of the time if I didn’t understand something the feedback would help me and it was very detailed (GV)
Getting feedback from two people is very helpful to me. The most effective part of it has been getting information back on ways to improve writing from more than one person. (CW)
That there are mistakes or other opinions that just one person could not find (ML)
I got feedback from two different points of view (FB)
I found it to be interesting to have feedback from two teachers. It was kind of weird at first but it really helped later on. It helped me to revise my papers correctly and accurately (CO)
Most effective part about the dual feedback was that each teacher had different suggestions. And if one missed one mistake that I made the other teacher would catch it. (BS)
The most effective part of the dual feedback that I received was I got to see how two different teachers graded my papers, and what they thought. (AL)
I can always see what I’ve done wrong (MB)
It helped me look at different aspects of my paper in different ways, from different standpoints and it helped me perfect if you will my whole paragraph structure. (NK)
The most effective part was that I had a chance to hear from two teacher and what they thought was good and what was wrong. It was quite overwhelming (JL)
The most effective part of the dual feedback was the fact that if Ruggles missed something Smith could catch it and vice versa (OB)
Having two points of view to listen to and two different sets of advice, because if I didn’t like one idea I could go with a different one (NL)
I got to see what I was good at and what I needed to improve. It also helped me see what the teachers said and if I missed something they would tell me so that I wouldn’t get graded down on it. (BB)
The most effective part of dual feedback is that since two people were looking at the paper there was less of a chance to keep having to redo stuff that was missed the first time. (AS)
The most effective part of the dual feedback has been that my paper was more carefully looked over things that one missed and the other caught. Also I gave me the chance to see the opinions of two completely different people and apply the suggestions to my paper making it even better. (EK)
The most effective part of the dual feedback that I received was just the idea of having two different sets of opinions. You get to see from two different people with two totally separate writing styles what one thought you did good and another teachers opinion of what you did bad. (MI)
Probably the punctuation in my paper (ER)

What could have been improved about the feedback you received? Think about oral feedback, written feedback, and dual feedback.
Oral was ok, written needed to be more clearly, dual was good
More specific on the feedback and examples to help me fix it
I think I would have done better one my paper without two conflicting opinions
Feedback contradicted each other
Dual feedback wasn’t as specific as the oral was
The feedback that I received was very helpful tome. It was all good feedback oral, written and especially dual.
What could have improved is completely different thinking and not the same thing twice
Explain what you are saying more
I think that what could be improved is that on the feedback you guys could talk to each other so that you guys don’t put down all of the same corrections on the papers.
I really liked having the oral feedback. It made more sense to me when it was explained in person instead of having the mistake written down and not understanding it.
We needed more time because it was overwhelming to get so much feedback all at once.
On the dual feedback there are a lot of repeated things
I don’t think that anything needs to be changed about feedback. I don’t really see how you can improve anything on feedback, feedback is just comments left by teacher, usually just ideas.
The feedback was a lot to handle all at one and was a lot to fix. I thought it was way too much to fix and it was crazy.
I think the written feedback could have been explained more because I always have questions on the written feedback because either I can’t read it or it is not explained clearly enough. I like the oral feedback better because it is one on one and I can question right then and there. I like the dual feedback as well.
I think that sometimes the written feedback was hard to understand and a lot of times I had to ask about what exactly the writing meant.
Was explaining on why we had to change something in our writing. Oral feedback was good because they could come to our computers and show us what we needed. The written feedback was good because they would circle the things that had to be changed to show what was wrong. The dual feedback was not my favorite because it went by really fast and I didn’t get all my questions answered.
The thing that could have been better about the feedback in general is that it could have been more consistent. It just felt like I fixed all the mistakes on my paper just so that the next time we turned in another draft there was always more in the same place I had just fixed. I think it just needs to be more consistent.
Often I had to fix a part of my paper and then I would get feedback the next day instead of before I fixed it. It would have been more helpful if we didn’t correct the papers until we had the feedback from the day before back. That way we could use the feedback when we were revising our papers.
I think sometimes the feedback can be too harsh. I understand that it is important to criticize what was done wrong, but I think more ideas need to be given how to fix the problems.
I don’t think much could be improved I think Smith and Rugs did a pretty good job at covering everything we need to fix.

Over the course of the A-CW paper, do you think your writing improved? If so, in what ways? If not, why not?
Write a better essay get a better grade
I really do that think I just exercised my previous skills but I did learn about how to put quotes in and to organize a paragraph but my skills did not improve
I do not think my writing improved that much because I didn’t receive writing instruction on how to improve my writing in the future. I only got instructions on how to improve this paper.
My writing improved because I received feedback so I knew exactly what to do to make my paper better. I improved my grammar and structure
I would say that this assignment helped me a lot because I didn’t really know that there was so many steps to writing a paper.
Doing the ACW paper helped me improve my writing in many ways. Before that paper, I did not format papers very well. Now I can format the entire paper
Yes, I think my writing improved lots because before I started I did not know how to right a formal paper
I think my writing improved more because we did a lot of writing
I think that my writing improved. I learned a lot more about attention getter for an opener. So I had a new creative way to start off essays and paragraphs.
I think my writing did improve. All the feedback that was received was very helpful and even more helpful that it was from two teachers
I thought that my writing had improved. I improved in the way I put my writing together, along with learning the correct way to quote people as well as making a point to the paragraph
I think that it has because every time I thought I was done, you would always have more things I could improve upon
I think that with all of the papers we had to write and all of the research we had to do, I think that it made me think of some topics in a more broad spectrum if that makes sense.
My writing improved in the way that I think . I normally do not do papers that make you think a lot and this one was a challenge for me
I think my writing did improve over the course of the paper. I have become better at providing information …
I do think that my writing improved because as the paper progressed because I learned how to use the format better and what I should say when writing my paper.
I believe my writing had improved because I understand how to line up paragraphs better. I have also gotten better at quotes and citations. I am now good at understanding where to put the citations after the quotes.
I think that over the course of the paper I did improve my writing a lot because I learned about some of my common mistakes and because of all of this I could proofread myself better.
I think that my writing improved in terms of structure. We made sure that each paragraph had every part and that they all flowed together. Also we made sure that we all understood how to write each part.
I think that it has improved because from the start I found this assignment very challenging. It was hard to make everything flow and to keep my opinion toned down into a manner that was acceptable for formal writing piece which is challenging when your topic is something you want to change. Through this unit, and even still now I am working on my corrections I am learning more and more about the set up of writing styles.
I think it got a little better however, I do not think I’m an excellent writer.
What essential writing skills did you take away from the unit?
Better topic sentence, thesis, longer paragraphs
None except incorporating quotes and organizing paragraph skills
I learned how to write a 5 paragraph essay and stay on topic
Organization skills and structural skills. I learned how to write a paper in sections and how to write it in a good advanced form.
All the punctuation that I didn’t exactly know how to use
The things that has helped me the most outside of that paper and that unit is knowing how to format papers and more specifically the paragraphs in the paper
I took the skills of not saying I me my or you and also to write a formal paper
I learned the structure of writing a paragraph
I learned a lot about grammar and correction and revision. I now know how to efficiently revise and correct my paper and know the right grammar to use in some situations.
I think I got a lot better at the forms of my paragraphs and how to write them better and relate back to the topic sentence
The essential writing that I got out of the unit was the overall format
The most important writing skills I took away from this assignment would be proofreading
I learned how to keep the reader glued to the paper and really make my paper come to life with elements that are interesting to the reader, and it really make writing easier if you know how to put it all together in some sort of creative way.
I did not really take any essential writing things away from this thing.
An essential writing skill I took away from this unit were stating a position, writing a better thesis and overall writing better paragraphs.
Took away a new format for writing including the format for writing thesis and how to use quotes and research in my paper.
How to put together a perfect paragraph. Now I know how to do lead-ins and my topic sentence better.
I learned a lot more about grammar and things that should be written a lot because I learned about some of my common mistakes and because of this I could proofread myself better.
I learned how to write properly and in a certain format. Now if sometime in the future I need to write a paper like this one I will know how and I will have experience.
Opinionated and persuasive writing skills were taken away in my paper. When writing a formal letter, you do not want your passionate feelings and reasonings to come across rude.
How to form a position paper.

What suggestions for improvement do you have for teaching the A-CW paper next year? What suggestions would you give to students next year in completing A-CW?
Make sure you get it right the first time
Not to do the paper period, (BG)…
I think that you should do more of the paper in class so that students can ask questions when they have them instead of later when they forget them
More work time and the project cut into a shorter amount of time…
It might be hard to find quotes for some of the topics they might choose.
Not to pile so much work on at one time. It is a very challenging paper and should not be rushed too much.
Give more work time to those who need it and let them use their I pods so the classroom stay quiet
Give more time
I would suggest that you expand more on the intro and how to do that. More time for each paragraphs
Improvement for a teacher on the paper would be to go at a little slower rate towards the end of the paper.
Give students more time to finish the paper
I wouldn’t change anything
Just turn it in on time
Do not do the double feedback thing because it is a lot to handle and a lot for a kid to try and fix on his won. Also he needs more work time with the teacher just one on one.
One improvement is to explain the difference between point to the paragraph and make the point. They are so hard to differentiate so it was hard for me to actually think of them and I didn’t actually add one of the two for some paragraphs
Would suggest that you have one on one editing time for papers because that helped me the most when I got one on one time.
The suggestions that I have for the teachers nest year is to give us a better explanation on our mistakes in our writing.
Stay on top of this work
For teaching the paper next year, I think more time should be spent on finding subjects to write about, exploring action plans.
This isn’t something that can really be taught. I think its important that the students pick a topic they are passionate about or else there will be no point in them even doing the job. SO your job as a teacher should be to motivate and inspire the kids maybe by showing them videos about problems throughout the world, read articles, anything.
Just let them know that although they might have the redo policy it’s still in their best interest to get everything in one time so they can be squared away for the due date of the paper.

What kinds of feedback were the most meaningful and relevant? Think about oral feedback, written feedback, and dual feedback.
Dual feedback
Oral, written and dual feedback is best because it gives a variety and two teachers can help you the more the better
Written most relevant
Written feedback- let me know exactly what I needed to do to make my project better and was very specific
Best feedback was the oral kind because I would understand it better
Written feedback was the most helpful. I always knew what was being asked of me because it was written right on the paper.
Oral and dual feedbacks were the most meaningful and relevant
Written feedback
Big errors like missing quotes and stuff
The most meaningful feedback was the oral feedback because I learn better when I hear it
Dual feedback because we got to see not only one but two different ways that people revised the assignment
The most helpful feedback was the oral feedback because I could argue and or show my side of the point instead of the teacher telling me what I did wrong
Like I said before, I think any kind of feedback and ideas and corrections are good for me as a writer.
Do your best speech
Oral feedback I think helps me the most because when I think of a question at that moment I can ask it and won’t forget about it. I think the oral feedback helped me the most and I work better that way. (OB)
Oral feedback because then the teacher can explain exactly what I could do to make my writing better.
Oral feedback- because when we had work time the teacher will be talking around the room for any questions that we might have on the paper and they will help us.
Didn’t answer
Dual feedback was the most meaningful and relevant because I got twice as many corrections and twice as many suggestions to make my paper better.
Written feedback that was more than a sentence explaining that you had a good start and just needed more work. That type of feedback meant the most and was the most useful because it doesn’t insult you and it shows you that you are getting there.
See question 1 response

Over the course of the semester, did you notice a change in Mr. Ruggles’ feedback? Think about oral feedback (1-1), written feedback, and dual feedback. Did his feedback improve over time? What suggestions would you have for his continued improvement in giving feedback?
It did but I can’t read his handwriting
I think didn’t improve, his feedback has always been great
I think that oral feedback from Ruggles was the best and it improved over time
Did not see a difference in the writing feedback I received, but it is ok because the feedback was great.
I am not quite sure but I think the feedback that he gave me was good
His feedback has improved over time. At first I did not always understand what it was he wanted, now I always know what he is asking me to do. He should always try to improve on feedback to keep his feedback getting better and better.
You can’t really change the way you think or feel about how an essay is written
I think it was the same the whole time
Feedback became more informative and helpful overtime.
I think his feedback did improve and got more detailed when he graded my stuff. Suggestions would be to keep doing what he’s doing.
He improved mostly on the written feedback.
I didn’t take into consideration the writing/ feedback of Ruggles. During the course of paper, I was more focused on my writing
I didn’t really get much feedback from him. I struggle with getting my work in on time this year.
He kept giving way too much feedback but in the long run it was helpful.
Mr. Ruggles feedback improved over time because at first it wasn’t really that much help because it wasn’t constructive feedback. Now it is better and it is easy to figure out what you need to fix. A suggestion I have is not to worry about being to mean about something and just write what needs to be fixed.
I didn’t notice any chance because I was more focused on my writing and how I could fix that, than Ruggles feedback. I think that it did not really change that much over time.
At the beginning of the year, he didn’t really help out much because he was new and didn’t really know what to do. Now he knows our class and helps us all the time on our questions that we ask
Both feedbacks were very helpful. I just thought that it was interesting that the two feedbacks were different sometimes. I think that it might be good idea for both to do 1 paper. Ruggles looks over it and makes corrections and then Smith looks at the same paper and just puts down anything else she sees.
I noticed a slight change in Ruggle’s feedback it got nicer and less corrective. I think that the more corrective the feedback the better because it tells the student what they need to do to make it better.
Ruggles feedback was good and very helpful. The beginning of the semester I think he was a little more lenient about the problems he found in the papers. But he has changed in a good way and now is down to the point which in the end helps out the writer the most.
Not really

Over the course of the semester, how helpful was Smith’s feedback? Was the written, oral (1-1), dual feedback the most helpful? What was the least helpful? What suggestions do you have for Smith to help Mr. Ruggles with feedback?
Dual feedback was good
Same as above
Smith’s feedback was the most helpful in written form her oral feedback was the least helpful.
Smith’s feedback was great. She was really specific but a hard time reading her handwriting. Also, to read each others feedback so that they do not make the same corrections or contradict one another’s feedback because it gets confusing and is too much.
Smith’s feedback was very helpful to write the paper and I think that she could help Mr. Ruggles by maybe giving him some feedback on how to do things when he is teaching
Smith’s oral feedback was always the most helpful to me. Whenever we did not understand something, she would explain it to us and help us get started. The least helpful to me was the dual. This eventually got to be the best feedback I got, but at first it was new and got me jumbled. Keep giving Mr. Ruggles your best feedback and showing him things he needs to improve upon also things he is doing well on.
Over the course of the first semester Smith’s feedback was helpful but we didn’t get it very often
It was very helpful. I think Smith should show Ruggles how to explain his feedback
Pretty helpful most of the time. Some of the stuff got a little repetitive but that is ok in some cases because it could be a very obvious problem
Didn’t answer
Smith’s feedback was very helpful the most effective to me was the oral feedback because it helped me from falling behind in my writing. The suggestion that I would have for Smith to help Ruggles would be to keep on doing more of the 1-1 feedback because it helps people improve their writing skills.
Again the oral was more helpful
Same as above
It was helpful but once again a little too much to handle if I was going to read both teachers feedback.
Pretty helpful because I knew what needed to be fixed. Oral feedback is always the best I understand it more this way. Suggestion for Smith is to help Ruggles with feedback is show him how sometimes being what some people may thinking is mean really isn’t it is just being really helpful and makes them do better in the long run.
Smith’s feedback was very helpful because she is good at showing me what I should be doing better with my writing and how I should fix things that I do wrong. She is really good at helping me change what I have wrong.
Smith’s feedback is very helpful. The most helpful was the written feedback this is because she really isn’t our teacher right now but she was in the case of her reading and helping us with our paper. The least helpful was the dual because we didn’t really talk one on one with her. Suggestion- Smith teaching Ruggles how to control a loud and energetic classroom.
Both feedbacks were very helpful. I just thought that it was interesting that the two feedbacks were different sometimes. I think that it might be good idea for both to do 1 paper. Ruggles looks over it and makes corrections and then Smith looks at the same paper and just puts down anything else she sees.
Smith’s feedback was very helpful because it not only said what was wrong but she was willing to help you fix it and give suggestions of another way to write it.
Smith’s feedback was good and helpful. She was always down to the point to tell you exactly what you did excellent and what was done horrible which sometimes you really do need especially with big assignments like this. You want to be told about your problems as early as possible so you are not making them worse as you continue to go on with the assignments. The types of oral feedback that were the most helpful was one on one conference. I would maybe even suggest having a sign-up for this one time throughout the middle of the project.
I think both teachers did a good job letting people know what they needed to improve.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

LC week 10

I spent the better part of Saturday composing my cycle two report (otherwise known as part 2 of my cycle one)according to some discussions that I had with MR and with my LC. We had decided before to show the iteration of my AR work by splitting up my cycle one into smaller sections. I was taking the idea that because of the No D policy that lead to the multiple revision policy which lead to students creating their own rubric. In essence, my cycle one report would be a rather large document generating smaller subsections that each dealt with the topics.
However, as MR left feedback about my report, she thinks it would be better to go back and do it the way I had started it which was all within the same report. Oh well! Nothing like a good rewrite to refocus and solidify your ideas.

Basically, the structure I will follow is that the report will be an overall focus of the iterations that took place as a result of instituting the No D policy. I will then break down the report into subsections only in the data analysis so that the data can be examined separately to see its effects upon the class and me as the teacher.

Also, in the reflection section of my report, I could break it up into various sections if I felt it worked well for my paper. I can see this being beneficial for a focused reflection, but sense each part of the cycle leads into one another, I feel like I often come away with the same reflections and questions about the process as a whole.

Impressively enough and I have to remember to pass this along to my students, MR commented about what great reflections my kids write. I was really proud of them hearing this compliment and hadn’t thought before about how good they are at reflecting. I have done reflections so much in my class and give my kids that class time to do them, so I hadn’t thought about how well done they are until she pointed this out. It really made me feel good, and I am excited to share the news with my students.

We also had a great conversation in our LC about writing as a reflective process and how important it is to write over and over again. Yet, in schools, we do not teach writing this way. We are so focused on the one time only assignment. And for me, that was especially my focus until this past year when I gave my students multiple redos. What a change for both me and my students.

Sadly, I learned that we have to change LCs again at the end of this semester. I really am not excited about that. It seems as though each time we start gelling and working together, then we have to move on. And especially, I don’t think it makes sense so close to our presentations because if the LC we are working with really knows our AR work, they could better assist us in making really effective presentations. I am not sure if a new LC with so short a time before our presentations can make that work. I need to trust in the process and last time when I was ambivalent about a new LC, it all worked out. I hope the same can come true again. Wouldn’t it be great if we could pick our own LC?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

LC Week 9

We began by listening to budget cuts from Abrash and my district. We are all feeling the crunch. It is really scary to think about cut backs for all teachers and administrators especially people we know.

I asked the group about spending time going over how they are feeling about their AR and work on cycle 2. Many of us are either feeling overwhelmed or can’t get a handle on where to go.
I talked with Matt, Tanner, and Abrash about the amount of data I had accumulated for what I thought would be my cycle 2 and 3 but unsure of how to write it all up and where to put all my cycle report information. Should I try to incorporate within each of my six week period studies a further analysis of the multiple revision work? Or should I write a “Part 2” of my cycle report to add at the end of my part one which would be the No D policy?

After some discussion and frequent explanations because I wasn’t being clear about what was in my head, we decided to divide cycle one up into the three parts would be the most effective and meaningful way to illustrate and present the results of my multiple revision policy and student generated rubric.

So, that leaves me with a lot of writing and analysis. I really wish there would be time to get this all accomplished. I did a lot of work with the multiple revision policy soliciting feedback from kids, completing a survey and personally interviewing students as well. Now I need to put all that together. Also, I need to think about the aspect with the student generated rubric. How am I going to assess that piece of the AR puzzle? I think the kids reflected on it somewhat, but I haven’t used it this semester with them because of my student teacher and their Change the World paper. Hmm, I just need to do some more thinking and reflecting I guess to pull this all together. Time would be nice too!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Dual Feedback Cycle 3 Round 3

Our last session of cycle three looking at comparing feedback on revisions of papers occurred on February 18. (I know this blog is way behind, but I thought I already completed it until I realized—oops, nope!). Randon and I meet to go over intr0-3rd body paragraphs and our feedback we had given with 8 papers.

This is the third time we have completed this and it is really interesting to see what are the presences, our growth from each other’s feedback and reflection, and what absences we see from one another. We reviewed the papers and looking overall, we noticed that we are pretty similar in catching punctuation and mechanical errors although it seemed that Randon would do really well on the first page or so of the paper, and would fall off after that point. When asked about this, he wasn’t sure why that was happening and also commented that he didn’t see why he needed to keep marking the same mistakes. I talked to him about our job being to help kids edit the papers and show the mistakes so that they can see what mistakes they are making. If we don’t mark it, the kids don’t recognize that it is a mistake they are making.

A few things that we still need to work on in terms of giving feedback. One, we need to give feedback throughout the paper. Even if students are making the same mistakes, it is important to give thorough feedback since we are doing limited in class peer to peer feedback. With the peer to peer work, we need to do a better job training our students on how to give feedback. This could be an extension of this work into next year and their next writing assignment since they have seen Randon and I model feedback and they have reflected on the kinds of feedback they have received from us. Two, we need to work on using the same language as presented to the students. I used language that I used when I taught the kids first semester and Randon used language in his feedback when he taught the class. I think this might have lead to some confusion because I overheard students debriefing with Randon at their final writing conference that they were confused as to some of the terminology (explanation of quote, relate quote to point of paragraph, relate quote to thesis- Anne’s terminology v. Randon’s –quote says, point to the paragraph, make the point). Keeping our language similar would assist the students in their feedback and understanding. Three, we need to work on making sure we are bringing all their points back to the overall point of the essay. I think this was a struggle for Randon having never taught writing before. This is one are consistently where he would focus on details rather than the students making the big argument. Are they actually relating everything back to the thesis?

Randon does a really nice job of leaving a paragraph at the end of their writing discussing things he thinks they need to work on. I have not adapted to his style of feedback because I like giving point by point feedback within the paragraph. I can see both methods combined working well where the student has the point by point corrections within the paragraph and an overall paragraph at the end with further extensions. I can see Randon shifting to this method more of not just a paragraph at the end, but notes within the paragraph as well. Also, he started shifting to asking more questions of his writer and not just pointing out elements that were missing. One thing I learned from Randon is to make sure I am giving positive feedback as well as constructive criticism. Sometimes I get so focused on helping them improve, that I do not always compliment the things they have done consistently well, nice phrasing of sentences, or trying new styles with their writing.

Randon also commented on the process of dual feedback that this really helped to clarify grading and feedback. It helped to see why I give feedback the way I do. Modeling feedback and teaching someone how to give feedback and justification for grades is a lot more difficult than I thought. So many of my grading and feedback strategies have just been developed over time and to think about why I give feedback, how I give feedback and give grades has been a nice reflection. I needed to think while giving feedback and not just give feedback.

Moving forward, I can see one final reflection from the students on this whole process. They are each meeting with Randon to review their final papers and grade. I think when they are done, I want them to reflect on the feedback they have received in that final conference, how well did the feedback throughout the writing process prepare them for their final paper (this would include the 1-1 feedback, Randon circulating the room, dual feedback on their papers, and final conference with Randon). I also want Randon to reflect on the entire process. He has reflected after the first time we compared feedback (intro paragraphs) and after the last time we did this (intro -3rd), but I am anxious and interested to hear about changes he has noticed in himself, in the students about feedback and growing as a learner.

ED 665: Week 9

From your experience in OMET thus far, what design practice has resonated with you the most? Why?

I am not sure what would classify under design practice, but I think what has resonated so far with me has been the work with learning circles in all classes. We began our work with learning circles in Virt Camp, and this quickly transferred into our fall LCs and now we have our LC work in the spring. What has amazed me the most about our work with LCs has been how meaningful it has been. From LCs in our action research project to our LC’s that develop out of group work in our other classes, all have been useful. I was disappointed at first to have a change in our LC from fall because I received so much valuable feedback from my first LC group. They were such a tremendous influence on my AR work and thinking, it was always sad to think about leaving them. But now I can see the transferability of what I learned from them into my new LC group.
Thinking about the design of the classes with using LC’s I can really see the value of the choice. Not only are we all becoming experts, and we all have something to offer to one another, especially when everyone participates, but we are all growing and learning from the experience. Each of us brings a variety of experience and information/ learning to our discussions and assignments. When we open up ourselves to listen to those around us, we all grow and learn from the experience sometimes leaving with affirmations of your understandings, sometimes questioning your understanding, and sometimes leaving with more questions, or new realizations.
I think in this kind of online Masters’ program as well as any learning environment, so much can be gleaned from those around you. The learning becomes infectious, the questioning becomes standard, and we all flourish as a result.