mardi 25 octobre 2011

The Importance of Rubric Language

For years, I have struggled with the value of rubrics. A well respected colleague of mine told me they were very limiting. When we add descriptors that quantify the information rather than qualify it, the value of the statement given by the student is justified merely by being there rather than by being accurate. Rubrics are not wrong. The language can merely be the obstacle that prevents students from learning from their experiences.

Jan Chappuis describes 3 types of rubric language in her "Seven Strategies" document. I have summarized the ideas below:

1. Descriptive Language

  • Ex: Display of information is accurate, mostly complete, and is mostly organized so that it is easy to interpret. It may have one or two small omissions.
2. Evaluative Language
  • Ex: Good display of information.
3. Quantitative Language
  • Displays three pieces of information.
In the descriptive language rubric, the student knows what he or she has done well and what needs to be improved. It is measurable in a way that the student can understand how to advance their own learning. 

Evaluative language lets the student know they did well. It does not, however, specify how the student has succeeded or what steps need to be taken in order to change the descriptor from good to excellent. 

Quantitative language limits the measure of the work to a number of items included in the work. It is not even clear if these items are accurate or noteworthy. Again, there is no direction for improvement.

It is obvious that it takes descriptive language to involve the student in his or her own assessment. It invites the student to be responsible for his or her own learning and to take the necessary steps to advance that learning. This encourages not only better grades, which are secondary at best, but also skills that will transfer to other areas of learning for this grade and any learning that follows, in or out of school.

dimanche 23 octobre 2011

Back to Portland

We are headed back to Portland for another ATI conference. How lucky am I to work in a division that values the work we do and supports the professional development we are willing to pursue in order to better our practices and the learning experiences of our students?

The November conference will focus on "Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning", by Jan Chappuis. I am plugging away at it so that I have a working knowledge of it before attending. So far, I have found that many of her theories and recommended practices are already a part of my belief system.

Much of what I am reading has already been shared with us at the Summer Institute with Rick Stiggins. This alone makes it a quicker read. I am continually confirming that I am on the right track with these strategies and that whether or not I knew why I was using them, they were based on sound research. What reinforces it for me now is that by reading the "WHY", the "HOW" becomes more purposeful.

I love the idea of developing assessment criteria with my students. The problem I encounter with this one is that it is very time consuming. In a school year where every minute counts towards covering as many of the curricular outcomes as possible, I am challenged with the value of the class time required to make this strategy worthwhile. I mentioned this same concern to Tom Schimmer at the Summer Institute and his reply (although based in a high school philosophy) was that at times, this criteria is given to the students and worked on from there. We simply do not have the time to invest in this step as in depth as we would like.

The contrast between a learning goal vs. a performance goal was also helpful to consider. I had never really differentiated between the two before, but it is important for the students to understand what they are LEARNING even more so than what they are DOING.

mercredi 13 juillet 2011

Assessment Training Institute Summer Conference

Here I am on my last night in Portland, Oregon, after spending a week with some of the great minds in the field of evaluation and assessment in education. What a rush this has been. The week has flown by and I have had the opportunity to engage in dialogue with Rick Stiggins, who is unfortunately retiring at the end of this year, Janet Malone, Ken O'Connor, Jay McTighe, and Tom Schimmer, among others.

The thing that has really resonated for me during this conference is the fact that I am definitely headed in the right direction. The theme was Classroom Assessment for Learning. I already believe in the sound practices advocated by the speakers we had the privilege to learn from. The message is not to encourage us to adopt yet another new procedure, but to analyze what we do and ensure that we are working in the best interest of the success of the child.

I am anxious to review my notes and start posting entries about the ideas and practices I can and will use in my own classroom. I love that this conference was offered in the beginning of July. This way, my work is still fresh in my mind and I also have a number of weeks to process the information before embarking on a new school year composed of great assessment practices that are research-based and proven to be effective for all students.

mercredi 8 juin 2011

La motivation des notes

Les bulletins provinciaux viennent finalement cogner à notre porte. Certains voient cette nouvelle demande comme un intrus, d'autre comme un invité longuement attendu. Je ne vois pas une fin à ce débat dans le futur proche, mais la réalité (au moins pour le moment) est qu'on ne peut pas le mettre à la porte.

Les bulletins pour le cycle primaire (et jusqu'à la 6e année) ne changent pas beaucoup la façon de faire dans notre école. Les sujets sont divisés en compétences exigées par les programmes d'étude et on prend note des habitudes de travail et de comportement de l'enfant. On avait déjà la bonne idée. Cette démarche appuie la recherche qui nous démontre que l'évaluation de l'enfant nécessite une mesure de la progression de ces compétences et que le niveau de rendement se mesure uniquement sur son atteinte (ou non) et à quel point, des compétences mesurées.

Le secondaire semblait être le seul regroupement qui ne suivait pas la recherche de pratiques exemplaires en évaluation (ou plus spécifiquement dans le rapportage de l'évaluation). On donnait un pourcentage (qui représente la somme collective des travaux, tests, examens, et tout autre forme d'évaluation) pour identifier l'élève à ses parents. On ne décrivait pas l'élève, ses forces, ses faiblesses, ni les suivis à faire. Le sujet n'était pas décomposé en compétences mesurées, donc je questionnait la signifiance du nombre. Le nouveau bulletin n'a presque pas changé pour le niveau secondaire. On ajoute quelques points de comportement, mais autre que cela il demeure vague et faible en communication du vrai profil de l'élève.

La plus grande contraverse, cependant, était aux niveaux 7 et 8. Dans les quelques dernières années, on avait vraiment fait du chemin. On avait aboli les notes en pourcentages, selon la recherche, et on avait embarqué dans un système d'évaluation qui appuie le développement non seulement de l'enfant, mais aussi de l'enseignment de cet enfant selon ses besoins.
Les pourcentages offrent une motivation externe (donc moins valable). Le plus grand défi qui se présente à ce niveau est celui de la motivation. Les élèves ont arrêté de poser la question de la valeur des travaux. Au lieu de la fameuse, "Est-ce que ça compte?" on entend, "J'apprécie les commentaires. Je sais comment améliorer mon travail." Ils sont moins inquiets de l'étiquette et plus axé sur l'apprentissage. Je croyais que c'était notre but.

Mon plus gros problème avec ceci est que nous sommes les professionnels dans le domaine de l'éducation. J'ai fait ma recherche. J'ai appliqué les pratiques fondées dans cette recherche et j'ai aidé à mes élèves à cheminer dans leur apprentissage au lieu de se concentrer sur une étiquette numérique. C'est intéressant que ce soit ceux qui ne sont pas formés dans le domaine de l'évaluation qui me disent comment la faire.

Alors la prochaine fois qu'ils auront besoin d'un médecin, est-ce qu'ils diront au médecin comment procéder ou lui feront-ils confiance en raison de son expertise?

mercredi 1 juin 2011

Seven Practices for Effective Learning by Jay McTighe and Ken O'Connor

November 2005,
Volume 63, Number 3
  This article is a must read for all teachers. One of the biggest problems I face as a teacher is the amount of professional reading I would like to do versus the time I have to get it done. I would love to see more articles like this one, where the essential points are made in a short article that gives a clear picture of what effective teaching looks like.

The practices described in this article list principles of what education is meant to be. I believe most teachers are in agreement with what is proposed here, but many become overwhelmed with the other demands we face (lesson preparation, assessment and evaluation, parent communication, coaching, report writing, extra-curricular activities) and experience real challenges when it comes to putting them into effect.

To begin with, the article defines the three types of evaluation used throughout the course of the teaching and learning process. Each has a role to play in assessment.

  • Diagnostic assessments: are primarily used to get to know your students. Once we know who we are teaching, lessons can be created to meet their needs. By using diagnostic assessments, we discover what the students already know, what they understand correctly, what they misunderstand, and what their interests are, among other important facts.
  • Formative assessments: are used to provide the necessary feedback to give direction to learning. This is the part the student does or understands well and this is what needs to be done next to continue on the path towards mastery. It also provides the teacher with information about the progress of the students in order to offer individualized guidance in the learning process.
  • Summative assessments: give a portrait of what the student has learned by the end of an instructional segment. It defines the student's standing after instruction, practice and collection of summative evidence has taken place.
The Seven practices for effective learning are listed as follows:

  1. Use summative assessments to frame meaningful learning goals.
  2. Show criteria and models in advance.
  3. Assess before teaching.
  4. Offer appropriate choices.
  5. Provide feedback early and often.
  6. Encourage self-assessment and goal setting.
  7. Allow new evidence of achievement to replace old evidence.
Each of these practices are described in such a way that the reader can see it as a living thing in the classroom. The examples provided are real and believable. I found it easy to visualize each of these practices in my classroom. They are not really a new way of thinking, but a reminder of what we all know to be true.

If I had to recommend an article on exemplary teaching practices and effective use of evaluation and assessment, this one would be it.

mardi 31 mai 2011

TFO - Une ressource sous utilisée

Depuis des années, on nous encourage de prendre avantage de la ressource TFO - une collection de vidéos éducatives pré-sélectionnées qui appuyent toute une gamme de sujets et de thèmes de nos programmes d'étude. À chaque année, j'y fais ma mission et à chaque année, je manque de temps.

Le facteur qui est le plus difficile à surmonter ici est celui de l'accès. Je n'ai pas accès de la maison, qui est mon lieu de préparation majeur pendant l'année scolaire et surtout durant l'été. C'est la raison pour laquelle je n'ai pas avancé plus loin jusqu'à maintenant, mais en essayant de visionner deux ou trois vidéos par semaine avant de quitter à la fin de la journée, je viendrai à bout de mieux employer une ressource valable.

Les avantages se prononcent bien plus nombreuses que les désavantages bien sûr. Les vidéos (au moins celles que j'ai eu la chance de visionner) comportent un français qui est généralement à la portée des élèves. Il y en a plusieurs qui sont animées par des enfants et des ados, ce qui rend l'établissement d'un lien encore plus facile pour nos élèves.

Une série que je découvre présentement est Active-toi. Elle contient un grand nombre de vidéos qui donne une mission à un petit groupe d'élèves d'effectuer une recherche et de trouver une solution à un problème actuel, que ce soit l'intimidation dans nos écoles ou la pollution globale de l'eau. En visionnant, la classe suit les étapes de la résolution de problèmes et pourra l'ajouter à sa banque de stratégies de recherche.

J'ai créé un blogue ( ) pour pouvoir organiser et commenter les vidéos que je visionne afin de rendre ma recherche plus efficace d'année en année. J'ai hâte de mieux développer mes cours avec cette ressource indispensable. Je vois bien comment il sera facile d'ajouter ces emissions dans ma planification inverse des thèmes variés. Il faut simplement avancer à petits pas afin d'effectuer le trajet.

vendredi 15 avril 2011

Leyton Schnellert - Part 1: The Big Ideas

Leyton Schnellert
Leyton Schnellert was one of the most dynamic presenters I have had the opportunity to hear. His session was one of my choices, but I had not decided until I heard a colleague rave about what he'd heard from others who'd seen him present. (And yes, he's as visual as he is vocal.) Convinced, I stayed and am very glad I did.

Summarizing his ideas and methods would rob some of them of the attention they deserve. I want to refer back to these ideas and will therefore break them into separate articles to make it easier to revisit them later.

I want to start with what he referred to as The Big Ideas. When dealing with courses such as Science and Social Studies, it is so easy to slip back into the textbook and let it guide me in what I choose to teach. I mean, most of these textbooks are designed with the provincial curriculum guides as the blueprint so why reinvent the wheel? As I listened to him talk about meeting our students where they are at and identifying their strengths and needs as learners, I can decide which skills to target in a purposefully methodical way. This will be discussed in a later article.

Getting back to the Big Ideas, this is where the light went on for me. I could easily picture the process he suggests.
  1. Working in collaboration with a colleague, take a look at all the general and specific outcomes for a specific unit of study. This is perfect for school who already engage in PLC (professional learning communities) groups.
  2. Separately, then together, decide which 3 or 4 BIG ideas need to be addressed. These should relate to both the learning outcomes identified in the curriculum AND the social issues or topics of interest that apply to the students.
  3. With the Big Ideas in mind, identify the skills that need to be built into the unit.
  4. Now that you know where you want to go, plan the road map you will follow in order to get there.
  5. Formative assessment will be a part of each of the pit stops along the way.
In my afternoon session, Karen Hume made reference to this same idea. She said that when you start with the actions instead of the desired result, you are not focusing on the skill that you wish to develop but in the final product. When I start with the end in mind, everything I plan will be for a reason.

The Big Ideas become the questions we ask of the students. If I tell them what they will learn, there is no intention to learn. Inquiry questions help students think about the unit in a general way and develop the curiosity to want to know more. When they ask questions, they become engaged and take ownership of their learning. The student can take the wheel - and I become his or her navigator.

vendredi 1 avril 2011

Multiple Methods of Assessment - Volante

It is one thing to give a test to measure the learning that has occurred, but if the test is not representative of what and how the student is learning, it is inefficient and invalid. Traditionally, we have used what we were exposed to as students, but if we continue to rely on what we know without upgrading our methods with our research, then our research is pointless. Why do research if not to improve our results by applying it?

I believe rummaging through the curriculum guides would be a worthwhile experience for most teachers regardless of years of experience. It is easy to get into a routine by repeating the sheets and tests of yesteryear. The challenge is to continually search for other ways of reaching our students. We need to know them. What works for one group, may be ineffective with another. During my student teaching experience, I was a bit shocked that my cooperating teacher was using a very old program with her students. I thought surely there was something more modern she could be using. She explained to me that she had all the modern stuff and that this program was the one her students best responded to. Lesson learned. I have always remembered that the method I use is based as much on who my students are and what they need as it is on what my style and knowledge tell me to use.

The curriculum guides provide a multitude of assessment tools to be selected by the classroom teacher. If we go back from time to time and become familiar with them, we are expanding our own repertoire as well as providing more opportunity for students to demonstrate their learning.

When designing an assessment tool, we need to be aware of the skills we are measuring - not only the content. As a new teacher, a colleague once told me, "Remember, you are teaching the child - not the curriculum." It has always stuck with me and the content becomes secondary to the person when you realize that it doesn"t really matter what year a historical event occurred, but it does matter that a student has the necessary skills to find the year.

In summary, we need to be sure that what and how we are assessing reflects what the student needs to grow.

mardi 29 mars 2011

Learning Target Alignment - Volante

The second of the principles from Volante's document is that of learning targets. As obvious as this one should be, we often fall short of communicating the "why" and the "how" of an assignment to our students. We know what we want them to do, but failure to communicate this results in lack of understanding, lack of confidence, and feeling of inadequacy from the student. Often students fail in our eyes by no fault of their own. Papers are marked up and when they get them back, students finally understand what we wanted in the first place, at which point it is too late.

OK, so how do we set things up so that we all gain? We have filtered the essential learning outcomes from the curriculum guides mandated by the province and have created a comprehensive cintinuum that flows from grade 5 to grade 8. Step one complete. The problem is we need to realize there are more steps after this one.

Damian Cooper talked about tiered assessment, a way of allowing all students to reach their potential by setting them up in a way where they have assignment expectations laid out in the detail needed for various levels of independence. The worries I have about handing out the same assignment guideline to all my students is that my less-motivated (or less capable) students do not attain the expected results because they need a more step by step approach. They need to be told exactly what to do - there can be no room for doubt if they are to succeed. The same is true for the very strong students who are selling themselves short by working to the guidelines - instead of to their potential. They need the freedom to allow their work to take them in new and unexpected directions - regardless of what I may initially have had in mind.

As meticulously guided students become more confident and interested in the inquiry process and their own ideas, they graduate to the middle tier of assignment criteria and are less dependant on being told how to think and organize their work.

If I understand the learning target alignment correctly, I believe it means to align what needs to be done with the current level of achievement of each student to be sure students are guided to the required extent. The student's comfort level is not fixed as they graduate to the next level when they are ready. Every student receives the required teaching but how far they go with it depends on their level of readiness, which grows with the student.

lundi 28 mars 2011

Student-Centered Assessment - Volante

The first of the seven principles suggested by Volante is that assessment be student-centered. The ultimate goal is that we make students responsible for their learning and having them take ownership in the assessment process is the first step in seeing this through. According to his research, this approach will positively influence motivation and learning.

In order to enhance this motivation for learning, teachers should rely more heavily on formative assessment. We need to be continually engaged in dialogue with our students about what they do well and what they are lacking in order to be proficient in their work. Ken O'Connor stated that when we give a grade to students, nothing improves,  but when we give feedback, we can expect an average of 30% improvement from students. Volante included a list of things we can do in our formative assessment to encourage student engagement.

  • Give a pretest before a unit of study: This allows us to make necessary adjustments to the personal learning goals for each student.
  • Be aware of students who are in need of more assistance or practice. They will more likely need to be monitored more closely.
  • Continually revise instruction based on assessment results. If some students are not getting it, what do they need to learn in order to get it?
  • Convey strengths and weaknesses to students. Effective feedback will allow them to grow from where they are.
  • Match students in groups that will encourage growth. These groupings can become a ressource for students to use independently once they learn how to work together.
  • Allow opportunity for self-assessment. This is key in order for students to take ownership of their work. They are able to direct their own learning this way and they become responsible for what they have done and how they plan to grow with each susequent assignment.
Encouraging students to self-assess smooths the transition from the teacher being the director to the teacher simply guiding an independent worker.

All of these conditions make sense. Most would not argue that when a student becomes responsible for his or her own learning, he or she becomes a lifelong learner, capable of assuring continuous growth in life. I can picture it in my head, running smoothly, a motivation-filled classroom guiding the students to a state of independence they want to reach.

Conversely, I also have questions about how this motivation occurs when the inclusion of a student is not enough. How do we cope when a student dares you to make them care and then sets up camp behind a granite wall of resistance? And what of class sizes? When teachers are facing groups beyond 30 students, they are overwhelmed with duties leading to learning and other academic and behavioural issues. Teachers slip into survival mode and find it difficult to make the time to consult with each student in the goal of guiding their next steps.

vendredi 25 mars 2011

Principles for Effective Classroom Assessment - Louis Volante

I have had many interesting conversations with a number of colleagues throughout my career about assessment. Early on, I was overwhelmed and lacked confidence in what and how I evaluated. At times, I have been excited about the way I was evaluating, just to be straightened out by my peers who were able to see the whole picture. My vision of assessment was fuzzy at best. At long last, the blur is fading and lending way to a more focused view of where I am heading.

As a middle years team in my school, we have rummaged through the curriculum guides and filtered out the essential learning outcomes in the various content areas. I am increasingly aware that the content is less important than the skills and attitudes that accompany a lifelong learner - which is what we are encouraging after all. The content provides us with a means to explore and develop these skills as the student becomes more and more independent.

Having done this, we are finally on the same page (or at least in the same chapter) and heading in a common direction. We know what a student will experience from one year to the next and this continuum helps us to be aware of what other teachers are doing. Students will see their education as a continuous flow rather than bits and pieces of information thrown at them over the years.

So, I now know what I need to assess, things that matter. And I know that I need to assess for specific reasons. To be sure I am assessing for the right reason, I ask myself the three following questions:

  1. Will this assessment help guide me to teach better (or differently) in order to meet the needs of my students?
  2. Is this assessment useful to promote learning? That is, does the student learn from having experienced it and is he or she able to improve upon what has been learned for the next phase of learning?
  3. And finally, how does this assessment allow me to accurately report to parents on the achievement of their child?
The articles I have read and the seminars I have attended have common research evidence. They all seem to agree on the principles of assessment and attitudes which are necessary to create a healthy climate which promotes learning in the classroom. The latest article (by Louis Volante) focuses on these seven principles, which I list below. The articles to follow will discuss them in further detail.

The seven principles include the need for classroom assessment to be:
  • student-centered
  • aligned with clear learning targets
  • based on multiple methods
  • able to account for a variety of student skills
  • aimed at reducing bias
  • reliable and valid
  • efficient
Taking this research and applying it to my classroom will bring me closer to my whole picture vision that has been my aim for years. Knowing how to "look" is the first step in "seeing".

lundi 7 mars 2011

15 Fixes for Broken Grades - a Ken O'Connor Webinar

In my second Ken O'Connor webinar, 15 Fixes for Broken Grades, I believe I was able to confirm that much of what I already believe and practice in my own classroom is sound. I have questioned the way I teach, the way I pose questions, the way I assess and the way I report student achievement. I have summarized the essential learning outcomes from the various curricula I teach and students are aware of what and how they are learning as we explore the content. It is not about memorizing facts, but about understanding process. Science and Social Studies courses are not about facts and figures, but about skills needed to be that lifelong learner we are trying to help emerge.

This has led me to rethink not only how I teach, but what I teach as well. A research project on Ancient Egypt, for example, is not about knowing which date is associated to which specific event, but in leading the student to understanding the impact past events have had on the world. When students learn that some children were denied an education based on race or gender, they may appreciate the fact that they have infinite access to knowledge in a time and a place that values learning.

It's interesting that I felt much more involved in this second webinar by Ken O'Connor. Much of the information shared in the session was similar or repeated from the first one I viewed. This confirms for me, that if I understand more thoroughly a second or third time around, why would my students be any different? Although some students understand things the first time around, most need that repetition in order to help it sink in.

Many teachers are still not clear on the difference between formative and summative assessment. The example noted above shows how the formative part of learning is essential in allowing the student to gain the knowledge and comprehension required to be able to advance to synthesizing information received. Once they have had the opportunity to process the information (content) and the way they learn (metacognition), the student is an active participant in his or her learning because he or she is aware of the learning that is taking place. At this point, summative assessment can accurately evaluate that learning has occurred and to what extent.

I am anxious to continue going through my notes in order to allow my own learning to sink in about evaluation. I am already looking forward to putting into practice much of what I agree with from this webinar. More to follow.

jeudi 17 février 2011

Damian Cooper: Talk About Assessment

I had the privilege of attending the Damian Cooper seminar today. It was engaging, fun and enlightening. There are many things I already knew; but knowing them and putting them into practice are two different things. Several aspects of his presentation made me think about the way I work with my students in my classroom and that some of them need to change in order to maximize their success as independent learners.

Assessment is our school goal for the year and I have really taken it to heart. I know what I want my formative and summative assessment to look like. Now, when I plan my projects and courses, having this assesment in mind will be what allows me to structure my units purposefully. Some of the ideas shared today come to mind when I consider these points about assessment.

1. Work With the End in Mind: My friend, Syd, has been telling me this for years and I have always had the intention of working this way, although intentions and reality do not always agree. Now that I can better imagine what I want it to look like in my classroom, I know how to go about planning it.

2. Tiered Assessment: We want all students to demonstrate proficiency of essential tasks at or above grade level independently. I love this definition because it is a reminder of our ultimate goal. Tiered assessment allows us to ensure we are reaching all students where they are at, and give them the challenge they need individually to proceed to the next level of their own learning. This requires a design that will give them all the guidelines they require to do so.

- One for students who are able to follow guidelines given and attain learning goals.

- One for students who are intrinsically motivated. They have fewer guidelines because these students are able to create their own challenge and take ownership of their learning. They simply need to be given their wings.

- Finally, one for students who need the motivation to complete the work, or who struggle with the required tasks. These students need more detailled how-to guidelines. This will help break down the task into manageable parts so that they will be able to succeed.

3. End of Unit Assessment: Another great project that was shared today was the End of Unit Assessment. This hands-on assessment measures success by the student's ability to use the skills focused on during the course, which includes a personal reflection that confirms learning. This will be one of my goals for my future units in several subjects.

The day held many Aha! moments for me. Overall, I think that I am on the right track. I have things to learn and put into practice to ensure that I am assigning things for a reason and that my evaluations are measuring something worthwhile. I loved the way Cooper summarized this idea. "I won't accept crap, therefore, I cannot assign crap." In other words, if the student's success is my goal, then I want to be sure that the assignments I choose are also worthy of their time.

I am anxious to continue to grow in this area, because as I do, so do my students.

samedi 12 février 2011

Feuille résumé pour l'évaluation d'un élève

Pendant son Webinar, Ken O'Connor a partagé une feuille d'évaluation employée par un enseignant. J'ai joué avec cette idée et j'ai créé une feuille d'évaluation qui donne l'aperçu globale d'un élève.

Sur cette feuille, il y a de la place pour 10 preuves par sujet et les domaines d'évaluation de notre bulletin pour chaque sujet sont inclus. Ceci me donne un aperçu de ce qui a été évalué ainsi que les domaines qui n'ont pas reçu assez d'attention.

Je vois l'image de l'élève instantanément donc, s'il y a un problème, il n'est pas perdu dans une feuille bourrée des données des autres. Je l'ai placé en attachement dans ma page d'évaluation. Je l'attache ici aussi.

Portrait de l'élève

lundi 7 février 2011


Il y a quelques semaines, j'ai eu la chance de jouer un peu dans un nouveau programme pour créer des organigrammes de recherche. Le programme Mindomo offre des options et des éléments qui permettent tout un enseignement et un apprentissage dans un sujet. En voici quelques uns:
  • L'organisation de l'information dans des catégories prédéterminées ou dans des catégories du choix de l'élève.
  • L'organigramme peut être changé selon le goût de l'élève.
  • L'élève peut attacher des textes, des images, des vidéos, et autres "gadgets" pour présenter l'information de façon originale et créative.
  • Offre une chance à l'élève de faire une synthèse de sa recherche en incorporant la technologie.
  • L'élève peut partager son travail avec un (des) partenaire(s) et en faire une collaboration.
  • Les partenaires peuvent communiquer par "chat" afin de partager leurs idées. Ils peuvent sauvegarder leurs "conversations".
  • Les liens des attachements gardent l'adresse de référence dans son menu.
  • Le lien peut être attaché aux blogues de mes élèves.
  • Juste pour en nommer quelques-uns.
Je n'ai pas eu la chance de tout essayer, mais il semble que ce programme est très valable pour des recherches à plusieurs niveaux et pour tout sujet.

Il y a parcontre quelques problèmes.
  • Nous avons appris en jouant dans ce programme que c'est un programme "essai". Après que tu crée trois projets, tu es dirigé de t'inscrire et de payer. Ce programme a certainement une grande valeur, mais comment payer ceci comme école quand il nous faudrait un compte pour chaque élève?
  • C'est à voir s'il existe de programme semblables qui offre un produit aussi valable sans les frais.

dimanche 6 février 2011

Les blogues dans la salle de classe

Cette année, j'ai appris à utiliser un blogue. Au début, le fonctionnement me débordait et j'en avais un peu peur. Cependant, j'ai persisté et je suis rendu au point maintenant où chaque élève de ma classe a un blogue académique personnel. Il se sont bien amusés à faire le design de leur blogue et à ajouter des widgets de leurs choix. Il y a certaines attentes de ma part, mais autre que cela, le blogue est à eux. Ils savent que c'est un blogue académique et que les discussions sociales et autre n'ont pas de place ici. S'ils veulent jouer de cette façon avec un blogue, ils peuvent se créer un blogue personnel, qui n'est pas lié à la salle de classe.
On peut y ajouter tous les sujets et l'élève a le contrôle complet de son blogue. Ils doivent donner permission aux autres de visionner leur blogue - la seule exception étant moi, puisque je doit avoir accès afin de lire, évaluer et commenter leurs articles et projets.

Cette semaine, on les a créé et on a découvert quelques problèmes. En jouant avec les paramètres un peu, on a trouvé toutes les solutions afin d'avoir un plan de fonctionnement en place pour bien commencer avec cet outil d'organisation et de création de documents académiques qui font preuve de la réflexion de chaque élève.

La réaction de mes élèves a été très positive jusqu'à ce point et j'ai hâte de vraiment embarquer la semaine prochaine.

Maintenant que je me sens très confortable avec les paramètres et le fonctionnement du blogue, je vais écrire des feuilles de route pour la création et l'établissement du blogue afin de rendre l'enseignement de cette première étape plus efficace dans les années à venir. Je les placerai dans ma page d'organisation une fois qu'elles seront terminées.

Ken O'Connor - Webinar

Well, this was my first ever webinar (Ken O'Connor: How to Handle the Toughest Grading Challenges to Keep the Focus on Student Achievement) and it's great to know that these kinds of opportunities are available for me in areas in which I am ready to grow. I know where I want to go in evaluation and when I hear well-respected experts in the field confirm what I believe are great principles and best practices, I am encouraged. I now feel that I am going in the right direction!

The high points of this for me (although I have not reviewed in any great depth yet) were the following:

The difference between compliance and responsibility. I have always known there is a difference, but I love the way he explains it. I have even told my students about it so that they might be aware of what their actions really mean. He believes that compliance is when students do their work because they feel they HAVE to. If they don't, something will happen: failing grade, phone call to parents... Responsibility, however, is when students do the work because they choose to do it. They want to learn, or they know that they will understand by completing the work...

His 5 beliefs or guiding principles were also a good reminder of what we are really doing here.
  • We are working with children/teenagers NOT adults.
  • Schools should be educative: everything should focus on supporting learning.
  • Responsibility and compliance are NOT the same.
  • Fairness is equity of opportunity NOT uniformity.
  • We should strive to maximize intrinsic motivation and minimize extrinsic motivators.
We have a ways to go to get all staff members on the same page. We all want to go to the same place, but we don't all want to use the same mode of transportation. The unfortunate part is that some of the methods of transportation mislead you into believing that their final destination is the desired target. It's kind of like believing the ferryman will get you there if you pay him in advance.

I'm anxious to put some of these ideas into practice so that I can be an advocate for tested and proven strategies in evaluation.