Tag Archives: learning progressions

Establish goals to focus learning – Reading Workshop 5th Grade

What if we design a lesson to orchestrate productive discussion, critique the reasoning of others, grow as readers and writers, and deepen understanding through reflection?

The 5th grade team invited me to co-labor with them to help our young learners deepen their understanding of reader’s response journals. As a team, they are focused on implementing and deepening their understanding of Wiliam and Leahy’s  five strategies in Embedding Formative Assessment: Practical Techniques for K-12 Classrooms :

  • Clarify, share, and understand learning intentions and success criteria
  • Engineer effective discussions, tasks, and activities that elicit evidence of learning
  • Provide feedback that moves learning forward
  • Activate students as learning resources for one another
  • Activate students as owners of their own learning

From our Instructional Core work during Pre-Planning, we are working to  establish goals to focus learning.

The 5th Grade team drafted the following learning progressions to make their thinking visible to our new students. As a team, they have established these goals for students. (Level 3 for I can establish goals.)

How might we use these established goals to focus learning? What student outcomes should we anticipate, and what teacher moves should we plan based on prior experience?

At their invitation (#soexcited), I facilitated a lesson on using the drafts above to improve and strengthen reader’s response journal entries while modeling the use of assessing and advancing questions to focus student learning. (Level 4 for I can establish goals and Level 3 for I can focus learning.)

Here’s the plan:

And, the slide deck:

These learning progressions are in each student’s reader’s response journal so they can use them in class and at home.

It was a crisp 30-minute lesson. All of our anticipated outcomes presented during the mini-lesson.

We wanted our students to learn more about

  • making their thinking visible to another reader,
  • adding text evidence to support their ideas,
  • including details that support understanding,
  • participating in productive discussion,
  • critiquing the reasoning of others,
  • growing as readers and writers,
  • using learning progressions to improve their work.

After reading one of my reader’s response entries, our students’ frustration at not having read Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis surfaced during  their feedback loop to me. This offered me the opportunity to ask their teacher if he or she would have read every independent reading selection made by his or her students. It was a strong “ah ha” moment for our students.

The students’ comments could be categorized in themes. Samples of our students’ reflections are shared as evidence of effort and learning.

  • An ah-ha for me is that my teacher has not read every single book in the universe.
  • I learned to pay attention to text evidence and explaining my text evidence so the reader understands why I added the quotes and page numbers.  I also learned to pay attention to visuals and formatting.
  • I don’t know what an ah-ha moment is. (Oops! Needs more instruction and time to learn.)
  • I know that everyone has not read the book and that I need to add enough detail for people who haven’t read the book.
  • An ah-ha for me is that I think that adding the definitions was smart because I didn’t know some of the words.
  • I learned to pay attention to science experiments. (Yikes! Needs more instruction and time to make sense of the task.)
  • I learned to ask myself if it makes sense and if another person could understand.
  • I learned to ask myself “how can I improve this? What details should I add?”

We know this is not a one-and-done event for our students and our team. We learned about our students and know what me should work on next. We must continue to practice making our thinking visible and hone our skills to use goals to focus learning.

Our school’s mission calls for us to deepen students’ educational experiences and empower students as agents of their own learning while we help them build strong academic foundation.  We strive to make our thinking visible to each other and to our students.

What is to be gained when we make our thinking visible to our students and use established goals to focus learning?


Wiliam, Dylan; Leahy, Siobhan. Embedding Formative Assessment: Practical Techniques for F-12 Classrooms. (Kindle Locations 493-494). Learning Sciences International. Kindle Edition.

 

 

Teaming: Deepen Understanding to Strengthen Academic Foundation

How might we learn and grow together? How do we connect ideas and engage in productive, purposeful professional development (aka learning experiences) around common mission, vision, and goals? What if we model what we want to see and experience in our classrooms?

Influenced, inspired, and challenged by our work at Harvard Graduate School of Education’s 2016 session on the Transformative Power of Teacher TeamsMaryellen BerryRhonda MitchellMarsha Harris, and I set common goals for faculty-learners.

We can design and implement a differentiated action plan across our grade to meet all learners where they are.

But, how do we get there?

For a while, we will narrow to a micro-goal.

We can focus on the instructional core, i.e. the relationship between the content, teacher, and learner.

For today’s Pre-Planning session, a specific goal. At the end of this session, every faculty-learner should be able to say

We can engage in purposeful instructional talk concerning reading, writing, and math to focus on the instructional core.

Here’s our learning plan:

8:00 Intro to Purpose
Instructional Core: Relationship between content, teacher, student

Explain Content Groups tasks

8:30 Movement to Content Groups
8:35 Content Groups Develop Mini-Lesson

9:05 Movement back to Grade-Level Teams in the Community Room
9:10 Share Readers’ Workshop Instructional Core ideation
9:20 Q&A and transition
9:25 Share Writers’ Workshop  Instructional Core ideation
9:35 Q&A and transition
9:40 Share Number Talk  Instructional Core ideation
9:50 Q&A and transition
9:55 Closure:  Planning, Reflection, Accountability

We also shared our learning progressions with faculty so they might self-assess and grow together.

Today’s goal:
screen-shot-2016-09-10-at-10-09-44-am
Year-long goal:
Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 8.04.56 PM
When  we focus on the instructional core and make our thinking visible, we open up new opportunities to learn and to impact learning with others.

How might we deepen understanding to strengthen learning?

Visual: SMP-3 Construct Viable Arguments and Critique the Reasoning of Others #LL2LU

We want every learner in our care to be able to say

I can construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP3

But…what if I can’t? What if I’m afraid that I will hurt someone’s feelings or ask a “stupid” question? How might we facilitate learning and grow our culture where critique is sought and embraced?

From Step 1: The Art of Questioning in The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School.

By learning to insert feedback loops into our thought, questioning, and decision-making process, we increase the chance of staying on our desired path. Or, if the path needs to be modified, our midcourse corrections become less dramatic and disruptive. (Lichtman, 49 pag.)

This paragraph connects to a Mr. Sun quote from Step 0: Preparation.

But there are many more subtle barriers to communication as well, and if we cannot, or do not choose to overcome these barriers, we will encounter life decisions and try to solve problems and do a lot of falconing all by ourselves with little, if any, success. Even in the briefest of communications, people develop and share common models that allow them to communicate effectively.  If you don’t share the model, you can’t communicate. If you can’t communicate, you can’t teach, learn, lead, or follow.  (Lichtman, 32 pag.)

How might we offer a pathway for success? What if we provide practice in the art of questioning and the action of seeking feedback? What if we facilitate safe harbors to share  thinking, reasoning, and perspective?

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 8.51.01 PM

Level 4:
I can build on the viable arguments of others and take their critique and feedback to improve my understanding of the solutions to a task.

Level 3:
I can construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

Level 2:
I can communicate my thinking for why a conjecture must be true to others, and I can listen to and read the work of others and offer actionable, growth-oriented feedback using I like…, I wonder…, and What if… to help clarify or improve the work.

Level 1:
I can recognize given information, definitions, and established results that will contribute to a sound argument for a conjecture.

How might we design opportunities for intentional, focused peer-to-peer discourse? What if we share a common model to improve communication, thinking, and reasoning?

[Cross-posted on Easing the Hurry Syndrome]

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Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

SMP3: Construct Viable Arguments and Critique the Reasoning of Others #LL2LU

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 5.14.27 PMWe want every learner in our care to be able to say

I can construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP3

But…what if I can’t? What if I’m afraid that I will hurt someone’s feelings or ask a “stupid” question? How may we create a pathway for students to learn how to construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others?

Level 4:
I can build on the viable arguments of others and take their critique and feedback to improve my understanding of the solutions to a task.

Level 3:
I can construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

Level 2:
I can communicate my thinking for why a conjecture must be true to others, and I can listen to and read the work of others and offer actionable, growth-oriented feedback using I like…, I wonder…, and What if… to help clarify or improve the work.

Level 1:
I can recognize given information, definitions, and established results that will contribute to a sound argument for a conjecture.

Our student reflections on using the Math Practices while they are learning show that they recognize the importance of construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

Jordan says “If you can really understand something you can teach it. Every person relates to and thinks about problems in a different way, so understanding different ways to get to an answer can help to broaden your knowledge of the subject. Arguments are all about having good, logical facts. If you can be confident enough to argue for your reasoning you have learned the material well.jordan quote

And Franky says that construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others is “probably our most used mathematical practice. If someone has a question about a problem, Mrs. Wilson is always looking for a student that understands the problem to explain it. And once he or she is finished, Mrs. Wilson will ask if anyone got the correct answer, but worked it a different way. By seeing multiple ways to work the problem, it is easier for me to fully understand.”

franky quote

What if we intentionally teach feedback and critique through the power of positivity? Starting with I like indicates that there is value in what is observed. Using because adds detail to describe/indicate what is valuable.  I wonder can be used to indicate an area of growth demonstrated or an area of growth that is needed.  Both are positive; taking the time to write what you wonder indicates care, concern, and support.  Wrapping up with What if is invitational and builds relationships.

Move the fulcrum so that all the advantage goes to a negative mindset, and we never rise off the ground. Move the fulcrum to a positive mindset, and the lever’s power is magnified— ready to move everything up. (Achor, 65 pag.)

The Mathy Murk has recently written a blog post called “Where do I Put P?” An Introduction to Peer Feedback, sharing a template for offering students a structure for both providing and receiving feedback.

Could Jessica’s template, coupled with this learning progression, give our students a better idea of what we mean when we say construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others?

[Cross-posted at Easing the Hurry Syndrome]

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Achor, Shawn (2010-09-14). The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work (Kindle Locations 947-948). Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

A lesson in making use of structure from/with @jmccalla1

Jeff McCalla, Confessions of a Wannabe Super Teacher, published some really good thinking about collaboration vs. competition.  In his post, he describes challenging his learners to investigate the following:

Which of these product rules could be used to quickly expand (x+y+3)(x+y-3)? Now, try expanding the expression.

Product Rules

Jennifer Wilson, Easing the Hurry Syndrome, and I have been tinkering with and drafting #LL2LU learning progressions for the Standards of Mathematical Practice. I have really struggled to get my head wrapped around the meaning of I can look for and make use of structure, SMP-7.  The current draft, to date, looks like this:

What if I tried to apply my understanding of I can look for and make use of structure to Jeff’s challenge?

Scan 1

Note: There is a right parenthesis missing in the figure above.
It should have (x+y)² in the area that represents (x+y)(x+y).

What if we coach our learners to make their thinking visible? What if we use learning progressions for self-assessment, motivation, and connected thinking? I admit that I was quite happy with myself with all that pretty algebra, but then I read the SMP-7 learning progression. Could I integrate geometric and algebraic reasoning to confirm structure? How flexible am I as a mathematical thinker? I lack confidence with geometric representation using algebra tiles, so it is not my go to strategy. However, in the geometric representation, I found what Jeff was seeking for his learners.  I needed to see x+y as a single object.

How might we model making thinking visible in conversation and in writing? How might we encourage productive peer-to-peer discourse around mathematics? How might we facilitate opportunities for in-the-moment self- and peer-assessment that is formative, constructive, and growth-oriented?

Visual: SMP-1 Make sense of problems and persevere #LL2LU

What if we display learning progressions in our learning space to show a pathway for learners? After Jennifer Wilson (Easing the Hurry Syndrome) and I published SMP-1: Make sense of problems and persevere #LL2LU, I wondered how we might display this learning progression in classrooms. Dabbling with doodling, I drafted this visual for classroom use. Many thanks to Sam Gough for immediate feedback and encouragement during the doodling process.

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 1.21.17 PMI wonder how each of my teammates will use this with student-learners. I am curious to know student-learner reaction, feedback, and comments. If you have feedback, I would appreciate having it too.

What if we are deliberate in our coaching to encourage learners to self-assess, question, and stretch?

[Cross posted on Easing the Hurry Syndrome]

Assessment PD: #LL2LU Learning Progressions – a.k.a. Falconry – feedback

Yesterday’s session on assessment causes me to wonder…Are we afraid of cool feedback? I wonder if we so closely connect feedback to being evaluated that we miss opportunities to learn and grow.  What if we embed feedback loops in our routine? What if we make feedback a habit? Are we in such a hurry to “get ‘it’ done” that we miss opportunities to make “it” better?

What if we use peer feedback to improve our work and gain new perspectives?

I liked working in a small group and getting feedback from all other groups.

[I liked] More practice building levels and considering exactly what I want for our students to be able to do. Also, the collaboration was helpful–this time. I enjoyed working solo at first–I felt more comfortable thinking together with a colleague this time.

I like the challenge.  It’s difficult to look at your progression and try to make it make sense to your team and students.  The feedback opened our eyes to some, now obvious, flaws in our levels.

We can take the feedback that we received and use it to better our lessons and ways to level the lessons to benefit the variety of learners in the classroom.

If we find peer feedback useful and constructive, will we offer the same opportunities to our young learners by intentionally incorporating feedback loops into our lesson plans?

What if we indicate the target level of learning? (Can we?) How might we shift the language and learning in our classrooms?

This session really got us thinking about considering different perspectives when determining our students’ skill expectations.  It made us think about how to make assessment clear to learners and to those who will interpret the assessment information.

I loved breaking down the goals we have for our children into levels.  It makes it clearer to me how I can teach students of various knowledge levels.

When doing the exercise today, I realized I need to slow down and put myself in a Pre-Kers perspective and not an adult or parents perspective.

It was interesting to find out how others see our assessment levels, and it gave me incentive to speed up or slow down expectations for students at my grade level.

Students all have different ability levels and only rarely will you find a whole group at the same “level.”  We also need to help kids realize what they do know and where they need help.

I think that it was important to see the progression of learning and expectations written down on paper. Actually thinking about where we want our kids to be, how they’re going to get there, and what comes next is so helpful.

Through experiential learning, are we finding connections?

It was helpful in thinking about we plan our lessons and units and leveling up.  It was also helpful practice in writing I can statements…

Especially following conferences and progress reports, we are very aware of the necessity of clear expectations and plans of actions for parents and students.

[This] helps us collaborate on ways to differentiate the instruction.

I liked learning about leveling up and it helps me understand how to calibrate horizontally.

This session really got us thinking about considering different perspectives when determining our students’ skill expectations.  It made us think about how to make assessment clear to learners and to those who will interpret the assessment information.

How might we continue to find connections and experience growth-oriented feedback? What if we intentionally experiment with these ideas in our classrooms with learners?

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Assessment PD: #LL2LU Learning Progressions – a.k.a. Falconry

How might we coach our learners into asking more questions? Not just any question – targeted questions.  What if we coach and develop the skill of questioning self-talk?

Interrogative self-talk, the researchers say, “may inspire thoughts about autonomous or intrinsically motivated reasons to purse a goal.”  As ample research has demonstrated, people are more likely to act, and to perform well, when the motivations come from intrinsic choices rather than from extrinsic pressures.  Declarative self-talk risks bypassing one’s motivations.  Questioning self-talk elicits the reasons for doing something and reminds people that many of those reasons come from within. (Pink, 103 pag.)

For this Wednesday’s work on assessment, we will focus on writing leveled learning progressions.  Here’s the agenda:

.

What if we indicate the target level of learning? How might we shift the language and learning in our classrooms by making it easier to ask specific questions?

The seventeenth-century British statesman, scientist, and philosopher, Francis Bacon, who advanced the idea of the scientific method, said “Who questions much, shall learn much, and retain much.” [emphasis added]  Centuries later, one of the students quoted in this chapter made pretty much the same argument: ”You can’t learn unless you ask questions[emphasis added]  Unless you ask questions, nobody knows what you are thinking or what you want to know.”

If we have asked a question about a subject or concern, we are much better attuned to the information coming back to us.  We are, therefore, more likely to retain it.  (Rothstein and Santana, 135 pag.)

What if we empower and embolden our learners to ask the questions they need to ask?

Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path so we can challenge for ourselves. They provide us just enough insight so we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world, makes me want to step to the next higher level.  Great teachers somehow make us want to ask the questions that they want us to answer, overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome. (Lichtman, 20 pag.)

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Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

Pink, Daniel H. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others. New York: Riverhead, 2012. Print.

Rothstein, Dan, and Luz Santana. Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education, 2011. Print.

PD in Action: 4th Grade Math fluency and communication

More results from PD that causes action…It makes me wonder about learning design.  Are we designing PD experiences for teacher-learners and lessons for student-learners that cause action and gain traction? Do we see products of our PD learning being translated into classrooms? Do we see products of our classroom learning being translated into action?

Last week I wrote about mathematical communication at an early age after co-teaching 4th grade math. In the comments, Kato helped me refine a learning progression for showing work so that it was more student-friendly for 4th graders. Kato commented:

I would love to experiment with these levels in Fourth Grade. I like the levels about showing your work, and that they never say “show your work.” I find that that phrase overwhelms Fourth Graders (of all abilities) because they don’t really know what it means. Level 3 and 4 are good. I wonder if they are too wordy or have too many action steps to follow.

I’ve revised the learning progression as follows.

Level 4
I can show more than one way to find a solution to the problem.
Level 3
I can describe or illustrate how I arrived at a solution in a way that the reader understands without talking to me.
Level 2
I can find a correct solution to the problem.
Level 1
I can ask questions to help me work toward a solution to the problem.

Arleen invited me back to 4th grade math this week. As I arrived, the children were working on a Math Message. On the page with today’s Math Message, Arleen included the learning progression that she designed with Kato during the #LL2LU Faculty Forum PD session last week.

I was thinking about Kato’s comment I find that [the] phrase [show your work] overwhelms Fourth Graders (of all abilities) because they don’t really know what it means. How do we communicate how to show your work when the phrase show your work is confusing or unclear?

Arleen’s outcome for the children was about computational fluency.  My target for the children was about mathematical communication.  As we worked – Arleen presented questions and I modeled math communication – we observed the written work and coached.

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Look at the children’s work.  Do we know that we are clearly communicating both learning targets? Can we see evidence of learning in the work? I know I said (over and over) how to organize work and show what you know? Did they receive the coaching? Did our work cause action and learning?

Are the targets clear? Do we do enough in-the-moment formative assessment and coaching? Do we offer feedback that causes action and learning? What if we collect evidence and analyze the products of our work? What if we use artifacts of learners’ work to formatively self-assess?

PD in Action: #LL2LU Faculty Forum Oct. 30

PD causes action.  On Wednesday, October 30, we offered a session of Leading Learners to Level Up.  The next day, Kato Nims (@KatoNims129) sent us a message that her 4th graders are asking for levels? We are creating feedback monsters! Awesome.

Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 4.55.50 AM

While Kato and Arleen Honick wrote a math learning progression during Wednesday’s workshop, they quickly transferred their learning to a brainstorm for the 4th Grade Book Club evaluation. After calibrating the learning progression with the rest of the 4th grade team, Kato sent me an update to their E. B. White Book Club evaluation.

Today, Kathy Bruyn (@KathyEE96) sent the following action feedback about her learning from last Wednesday as well.  Notice that the children love challenging themselves and their questions were focused.  

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 7.06.01 PM Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 7.06.17 PM

I love that Kathy and Kato know and embrace that they are experimenting.  They are prototyping learning progressions, formative assessment, and communication strategies.  How often do our young learners see and hear their teachers learning? Kato and Kathy are discussing and showing our children what they are working to learn.  They model lifelong learning.

How might we improve the quality of communication in our classes? What if we take the time to write learning progressions that offer learners language to ask targeted, specific questions? What if we focus on growth – how to level up? How might we learn and grow together?

How might we impact confidence, advocacy, and success?