Feeling Equipped For the Future

Harmon_Literature Review

My artifact for my blog submission is my literature review of ADD and ADHD. I chose this topic because I noticed that this condition has seemed to become more and more prevalent in society over the years. When I was in high school, I remember my mother continuously exclaiming how she didn’t remember growing up with anyone she knew having ADD and ADHD. I think that educators now have a better concept of what this condition is and what instructional approaches they can use to support student learning. I am a fairly new teacher and have only been working in education for a few years. I have had students with IEP’s and 504 plans and most of them were diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. I previously taught at a private school and they did not have any special education training for general education teachers. I found myself at many times feeling like I was simply maintaining these students’ behaviors rather than helping them grow. I tried many approaches, but often got overwhelmed by the students with ADD and ADHD.

The information that I gained from my literature review of ADD and ADHD was truly enlightening. The research helped me understand how this condition affects many important executive functions that students would naturally use in the educational setting. This helped me better understand the challenges that these students face and how I can help them still thrive. The research gave me practical ways to better support students with ADD and ADHD alongside instructional practices that I could implement in my classroom. All in all, I was embarrassed that I didn’t find the time a year ago to research this topic because it would have been immensely helpful in the challenges that I was facing as a new teacher. This research will make me a better teacher because I now feel equipped to help students with ADD and ADHD learn and grow. It gave me a perspective from the students’ point of view, and I’ve learned that that is always a good place to start in the teaching arena.

Lesson 5: Who Are My Students?

In this week’s lesson we explored the different tools that we can utilize in ePortfolios for students to showcase their work. In Dr. Barrett’s webpage, “Selecting a ‘Free’ Online Tool for ePortfolio Development” the components of WordPress confirmed that this is the correct platform for me to implement in my video production classes. Since I teach high school classes, the recommend usage for age appropriate students was from 7th – 12th grade. The 3 GB of storage that WordPress provides will be efficient for my students, especially since they will be housing their video projects on Vimeo and not taking up space on WordPress. The WordPress cons that Dr. Barrett described were that the program can be difficult for students to initially set up. However, I believe with the correct instruction and guidance that students will be able to complete the ePortfolio construction process. I think that the I should focus on making sure students have strict rules to follow rather than telling them to simply “create the pages however they would like”. I do not believe that the premium feature costs will be worth the outcome when compared with how much is available for free. I also do not have the classroom budget for an ePortfolio system, which is why free is my best option.

The use of an ePortfolio system for goal setting is an important feature in the classroom because I am already posting objectives for each day, unit and project. In the supplemental reading, “Module 3: Presentation of Evidence”, the author writes, “Then by focusing on the evidence in a learner’s ePortfolio the audience can encourage the learner to think about what they have done, learnt, planned or achieved. This process helps the learner to understand more about themselves and their learning”. For students to reflect on the evidence of their learning, they first need to have clear goals and objectives for their ePortfolio. I plan on incorporating the ePortfolio goals at the beginning of each video unit and project. Throughout the unit, students can continue to refer back to those goals and track their progress. At the end of each unit, students will be able to post their finished video project on their ePortfolio and then complete a blog reflection on how they met the objectives of the unit and project.

Through this lesson, I also was able to examine who my students will be and how to make the use of ePortfolios appropriate to best meet their needs. The ages of the learners that will utilize ePortfolios in my video production classes are 13-17 year old students. Concerning academic development, most of the students come into class with general knowledge of video production from what they have learned in social culture. This elective has a diverse range of learners from freshmen to high school students. These students also understand how to work with the technology that they are familiar with like multi-function devices. As I examine who my students are, it once again confirms the use of WordPress and Vimeo in my video production classes because it will provide an organized and interactive platform for their ePortfolios.

References:

Barrett, H. 2012. “Selecting a ‘Free’ Online Tool for ePortfolio Development”. http://electronicportfolios.org/eportfolios/tools.html

MOSEP Project. “Module 3: Presentation of Evidence”. http://electronicportfolios.org/mosep/MOSEP-Mod3-1.html

Discovering Similarities and Differences In Cinematography

Classroom Context:

As previously stated in my first implementation of an instructional strategy, the school that I have taught at is a private Christian school. Since I teach elective classes, they allow me to create my own curriculum by basing it around the school’s vision and goals. I have implemented the strategy of Identifying Similarities and Differences in my junior high technology class and my review of this strategy can be viewed here: https://joannakharmon.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/strategy-2-identifying-similarities-and-differences/

This class is filled with 7th and 8th grade students and the majority of the class is boys with an exception of a few girls. The goal of this junior high elective is for students to see a range of creative technologies such as the Office suite, graphic design, and videography. The objective is that students learn an overview of specific tools and programs that they can then dig deeper in through high school classes, which they will have the opportunity to take in the future. The students are coming into class with an understanding of technological devices but almost every student has no experience with the editing programs. Some students have used aspects of the Office suite but it is amazing to see how basic their understanding of these everyday programs are. The class is highly energetic and it is important to hold their attention so that they don’t miss any important information that they will need when stepping into class projects.

In this unit, I am introducing the art form of cinematography and begin by teaching students the basics of what makes a well-framed shot. I am implementing the strategy of Identifying Similarities and Differences by showing the students a range of different example clips. I will continue to allow time after each clips for students to point out the similarities and differences that they are seeing in these clips. Note that some of these examples will be beautiful shots, while others will be proof of what not to do.

Learning Goal Specification:

EALR 2. Visual Arts: The student uses the artistic processes of creating, performing/presenting, and responding to demonstrate thinking skills in visual arts.

GLE 2.3.1 Applies a responding process to visual arts.

Supportive Description:

This class has already learned about Office Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Adobe Photoshop. The students have been given many opportunities to express their unique perspectives by applying their growing knowledge and skills of these programs. Since the art of cinematography is quite different compared to the tangible programs that they have previously learned, this will be a concept that they will need to grasp that they can then put into practice. The strategy of Identifying Similarities and Differences is an excellent approach in this situation because it will help students better understand this new concept of being a good cinematographer. Dean et al (2012) states, “These strategies help move students from existing knowledge to new knowledge, concrete to abstract, and separate to connected ideas” (p. 119). Students will not only learn the main components of cinematography, but also how to create a good shot.

Outcomes Predicted:

The strategy of Identifying Similarities and Differences was actually applied in the context described above and did indeed have positive effects. I had the students watch a various amount of clips that not only showed styles of cinematography but also shots that were poorly executed. I utilized the white board and had students tell me what shots were similar and which ones were different. We then branched out from these similarities and differences and discussed the attributes that these clips did or did not have in common. Students discussed a variety of components such as close up dialogue shots that were framed well compared to scenes that had a tilted camera to create the effect of unease.

The students were also able to pick out the shots that were examples of what not to do. I was actually surprised by how easily students were able to recognize these and I think it is because students are very exposed to professionally made movies and television and naturally expect a certain look. I found that they could see that something was wrong, but could not fully express why because we had yet to introduce all of the proper academic language for cinematography. This provided an opportunity for me to guide the students through a series of questions that helped them discover the specific aspects of these poorly framed shots that had a negative effect on the end product. Students were then able to move into their first video assignment with an understanding of what to do and what not to do. In conclusion, the strategy of Identifying Similarities and Differences was an impactful approach in this junior high technology class because it gave students a context for the newly introduced skill of cinematography.

Artifacts:

  • Powerpoint Example: This is the Powerpoint presentation that I used to first introduce students to the concept of cinematography. It starts with some key terms and then ends at the segment where I showed cinematography examples for students to identify similarities and differences.
  • Strategy 2 Sample Lesson: View this sample lesson plan from my cinematography unit to see how I planned to implement the strategy of Identifying Similarities and Differences in this context.

References

My Video Project

Below you will find the attached PDF’s: my lesson plan, analysis and policy. The clip excerpt can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/69816780.
My small group has already given me a helpful review through Blackboard, but I would welcome any other comments. As for protocols for your review, I would ask that you create responses to the guiding questions and engage in discussion with each other. Look at all of the attachments so that you can best understand the school, students and the plan for the lesson. Please feel free to bring up new questions to answer to further review this project.
Guiding Questions:
1. What was done well and what could have been done better?
2. Which of the other strategies do you think would do well in a video production class where we are working with cameras and editing software on a daily basis?

Reading Reflection #5: Performance Assessments, Rubrics, Portfolios

Ch8 p. 209 #1: What do you personally consider to be the greatest single strength of performance assessment? How about the greatest single weakness?

I think that the greatest strength of performance assessment is that it allows for authentic student learning. This creates space for students to work with the subject matter in a way that forces them to “apply” their knowledge rather than simply memorizing and information dumping. Since many students are driven by grades, it is a popular habit to cram information right before a test to get a good grade, but afterwards the knowledge is soon lost. Performance assessment forces students to critically think about their learning and interact with information in a real-world context.

I would say that the greatest weakness of performance assessment is that it is very difficult to judge the “adequacy of student’s responses”. Since grades are so important in school and especially high school, they need to be valid. As the reading states, a performance assessment is based on “constructed response measurement procedures” where the student gets to come up with their response rather than selecting it from a test. Since each individual student is coming up with their own response, it is very difficult to create an even grading playing field that will accurately apply to a classroom of differentiated student responses.

#5: Do you prefer holistic or analytic scoring of student’s responses to performance test? And, pray tell, why?

At this point, I prefer a holistic scoring of student’s responses to performance tests. As I am growing and learning as a teacher, I realize that this viewpoint could change in the future. The reason that I prefer a holistic response to scoring performance tests is mainly because of the style of my classes. I teach technology/visual art classes where the classes are based around projects. These projects have enough flexibility for students to make them their own through their individual passions and interests. With that said, it is very difficult to analytically grade these projects. This is not to say that I lack a scoring rubric with specific evaluative criteria. On the contrary, I start each project by showing students what a complete grade would look like and also what a “going above and beyond expectations” grade might look like. A holistic approach to scoring works better in these classes because there is not always a right or wrong answer.

Ch9 p. 227 #2: Three purposes of portfolio assessment were described in the chapter: documentation of student progress, showcasing student accomplishments, and evaluation of student status. Which of these three purposes do you believe to be most meritorious? And, or course, why?

I think that the purpose of documentation of student progress through portfolio assessment is very impactful for a student’s learning. This teaches students to learn and grow, and to also realize that they are growing. I have seen so many light bulb moments occur in my students when they look at their previous work and realize how far they have come. Students do not always see this growth and can easily lose momentum in their learning because they “feel” that they are not making headway. However, when a teacher can show them evidence of their individual growth, it is highly motivating and encouraging for students.  This documentation of student progress also teaches students to be self-evaluative of their journey in learning, which I think is vital for their progress in the classroom.  This purpose of portfolio assessment is not only effective for a student to see his or her individual progress, but of course it is also highly beneficial for a teacher to assess a student’s growth in learning.

#4: If it is true that portfolios need to be personalized for particular students, is it possible to devise one-size-fits-all criteria for evaluating classroom portfolio work products? Why or why not?

This is a difficult question to answer because I believe that a consistent criteria evaluation can be done but I don’t think it will always fall into the “fair” category.  As I previously mentioned, I teach technology classes where most of the activities done in class are the students learning software programs through projects. When I first started evaluating these projects, I soon realized that they would be very difficult to grade. There were some gifted students who did an amazing job, but had used those gifts to goof-off during class and quickly finished it right before it was due. There were other students who put every ounce of effort into the projects, but did not have the same quality of work. In response to this challenge, I created a 3-part grading rubric that would focus on individual student learning. An example of this is as follows: 10-points for completion of the project’s requirements, 5-points for in class participation (involvement during lessons), and 5-points for effort (staying on-task during project time). This rubric sometimes changes based on the project, but the idea stays the same. I wanted to reward students for their hard work, and “hard work” looks different based on each individual student and their growth in my classroom. I think that an approach like this works well for evaluating classroom portfolio work because it does not compare one student’s work to another. Instead, it focuses on a student’s personal growth, effort in learning, and involvement in the class. After implementing these ideas, I saw a major positive change occur in my students’ dedication to the class, which was very encouraging.

Reading Reflection #4: Binary Choice, Multiple Choice, Matching, Short Answer and Essay

Ch6 p. 161 #1: If you were asked to take part in a mini-debate about the respective virtues of selected-response items versus constructed response items, what do you think would be your major points if you were supporting the use of selected response test items?

To start off, I would say that selected response items leaves more time for students to engage with the test material. With that said, if more students are able to complete more of a test in the time given, then the results would be even more reliable. Selected response test items create an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge through the use of comparing and contrasting the information. This situation not only furthers the students’ learning to better understand the subject matter, but also provides the teacher with a clear assessment of where students might be confused. For example, if students continue to mark the same wrong answer on a multiple choice test, the teacher would then be able to see where students’ misconceptions might have occurred. Finally, the use of selected response test items gives room for a great deal of information to be covered in an assessment. The more material that is given to students to test their understanding, the more results a teacher then has to learn from.

#3: Why do you think that multiple-choice tests have been so widely used in nationally standardized norm references achievement tests during the past half-century?

I think that multiple-choice tests have been used as the nationally standardized norm references achievement tests because it is a highly efficient way of collecting a mass amount of student data. As the reading explained, this method is also more reliable than other selected-response items. I realize that there are multiple opportunities for holes in multiple-choice tests, but they are still the most dependable option that currently exists for mass distribution. Another reason that I believe why multiple-choice tests have been widely used in nationally standardized norm references achievement tests is because it creates a consistent grading system. As long as a multiple-choice test has been effectively created with no accidental hints, it will be a reliable base for grading.

Ch7 p. 184 #1: What do you think has been the instructional impact, if any, of the widespread incorporation of student writing samples in the high stakes educational achievement tests used in numerous states?

I would guess that the incorporation of student writing samples in the high stakes educational achievement tests has been effective for some students, but for other students it might have a negative impact. The reason that I bring this up is that some schools may not focus on the students’ use of writing samples. If students have not been given adequate practice and instruction of what a good essay looks like on the platform of a test, then I feel that would have a different effect on the test results. With that said, the implementation of student writing samples in the high stakes educational achievement tests would cause teachers to see a need that would have to be addressed. Teachers would probably then focus a great deal of attention of classroom instruction on how to produce a good writing sample on a test. Writing sample assessments would be incorporated into lesson plans and daily instruction so that students are prepared for the achievement tests.

#2: How would you contrast short-answer items and essay items with respect to their elicited levels of cognitive behavior? Are there differences in the kinds of cognitive demands called for by the two item types? If so, what are they?

After the reading described the different variations of challenges that short-answer items and essay items create, I feel that there is more room available for error with essay items. This is not to say that essay items are not an excellent tool, but it is instead to say that the implementation of essay items must be carefully put forth. I feel that the cognitive demands of essay items is a wider range because it not only asks students to use their knowledge of the subject matter, but also to use their writing skills (or lack there of). Should good writing and correct English be expected from seniors? Yes, but should it be expected from freshmen? No, because freshmen have not gone through the 3 years of English that they are required to take in high school.  Are some students inherently gifted in writing and would thus perform better in an essay test? Possibly. A short-answer item does not require the student to display good use of sentence structure, but instead has the main focus on the information that is being assessed.  This is not to say that I do not expect students to learn and implement English writing skills in school, but instead to show that there are differences in the kinds of cognitive demands called for by short-answer items and essay items.

Developing Expert Teachers

After reading this chapter, it is clear that a teacher’s competency is directly related to student achievement. In classroom discussion at SPU, we have talked a great deal about putting high expectations on students, as well as placing high expectations on ourselves as teachers. The “expertise” of the instructor, which Ericsson and Charness (1994) refer to, goes hand in hand with the level of expectation on the students (p. 215). This is also supported in standards set by the EALRs and GLEs. In light of this discovery, one must focus on becoming an expert learner in order to become an expert teacher. The text says that this capability does not simply come from good genes; instead it is developed by a “well-articulated knowledge base and deliberate practice” (Marzano, 2010, p. 216). As a learner with both a speech impediment and poor short-term memory, this reinforces the adage that hard work pays off when coupled with diligent learning.

Of all of Marzano’s (2010) nine types of lesson segments, the classroom routine events resonated with me because it is an area where I see room for improvement (pp. 218-219). In these reoccurring events, Marzano highlights the importance of both communicating and making learning goals, feedback to students, and consistent routines and classroom procedures (Marzano, 2010, p.221). Looking back on my first year of teaching, I could have been clearer about how I conveyed learning goals by taking more time to map out where we were going as a class. Since I move from classroom to classroom, I easily got swept up by the rush of setting everything up each day and many times forgot to explain the daily goals.  With that said, I wonder if there is an efficient way for teachers who move from classroom to classroom to have an organized space that maintains classroom rules and procedures? This difficulty no doubt exacerbates any issues a teacher has with setting the tone of the classroom and communicating the daily goals of class lessons.

At the end of the chapter, Marzano (2010) says that teachers should devote time to deliberate practice, and in this point I believe that “practice” is the key word (p. 238). He stated that this “must continue for about a decade” to reach the level of excellence he refers to (Marzano, 2010 p. 238). In reading this, I can see how a teacher could have the temptation to admit defeat early in their career while reaching for a goal so far away. What would some strategies be for a teacher to keep optimism and confidence in the midst of experiencing the ups and downs of a decade-long refinement? Also, this must certainly not mean that a teacher is done honing their craft after a decade.  Marzano (2010) communicates this later in the chapter writing, “One reasonable expectation would be that all teachers in a school district should improve from year to year” (p. 239). In making sure that teacher expertise is improving year to year, Marzano (2010) assumes that the ultimate goals are being met. This only further illustrates the need for educator involvement when designing state testing if this standard supposes to be reaching ultimate teaching goals.  As Marzano writes, “Even small increments in teacher expertise over time could translate into substantial gains” (Marzano, 2010, p. 239). I hope to find joy in the process rather than finding failure, and I hope to find opportunities to learn, grow, improve and eventually, ten years down the road, reach expert performance as a practiced teacher and diligent learner.

Marzano, R. (2010). Developing Expert Teachers. In R. Marzano (Ed.), On Excellence in Teaching (pp 213 – 245). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.