212: Discussion Techniques (2 of 3)

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Discussion Technique 3 of 6: Buzz Groups
  • What this is:
    • Groups of 4 to 6 students who are informally gathered in order to quickly discuss a couple questions prior to sharing responses to the whole class.
    • The buzz group discussions are aimed at exchanges of ideas, not at developing consensus.
  • Preparation:
    • Design discussion prompts that are aimed at uncovering concepts, not facts and that can stimulate open-ended discussions.
  • Procedure:
    • Forms groups, announce norms and time limits.
    • Ask group members to exchange ideas in response to prompts.
    • Check in on teams to see if time limits are too long or too short.
    • Ask students to share their key ideas to the whole group.
  • Online implementation
    • Set up discussion forums for each prompt.
    • Require students to respond twice in each forum – once to the original prompt and once to another student’s response
  • Variations and Extensions:
    • Ask students to use buzz groups to generate questions, share information, or solve problems.
    • Hold more relaxed buzz groups that do not respond to specific prompts, but discuss assigned readings in general or general course topics.
    • Snowball discussion – At the conclusion of each buzz group discussion, have 2 buzz groups combine and engage in a larger group discussion.  Then have these combine and discuss until the whole group = whole class.
  • Implementation Tips:
    • To avoid students going off on tangents, use engaging prompts and time limits.
    • Be prepared to follow up buzz group discussion with related key issues – in case these issues did not come up in buzz group discussions.
    • Snowball Discussion tip – announce the format ahead of time and its purpose – to generate a lot of ideas in a short amount of time
    • Ask each buzz group to report out their most important idea that was not already mentioned by another buzz group representative
    • If buzz groups addressed different prompts, a member from each buzz group can form a panel.  The class can question the panel in order to learn the ideas generated by each buzz group.
    • Following buzz groups, follow up with Directed Paraphrasing.  Ask them to summarize the key points of the discussion for a student who was absent that day.
Discussion Technique 4 of 6: Talking Chips
  • What this is:
    • Students are each given a set number of chips.
    • They participate in discussions by surrendering one chip each time they speak.  They can only speak while they have chips.
  • Preparation:
    • Gather chips – playing cards, poker chips, paper clips, etc.
    • Design a discussion prompt that can stimulate open discussion.
  • Procedure:
    • Form student groups.  Hand out 3 – 5 chips per student.
    • Ask students to participate equally in the discussion and use the chips to track each person’s contributions.  Each participant surrenders 1 chip per contribution and can not talk after he or she runs out of chips.
    • When the chips are done, can redistribute chips and repeat protocol with another discussion prompt.
  • Online implementation
    • Waiting for all students to respond prior to leaving another comment can be very inconvenient and unwieldy.
    • Instead, set ground rules for the number of length of responses and enforce repeated violations with private messages.
  • Variations and extensions
    • Give each student chips of a different color.  Ask students to examine the colors in surrendered chips and reflect on how discussion has gone.
    • Can suggest that students current a chip every 3 to 5 minutes in the discussion
    • Give each student 1 chip and do not redistribute chips until all are surrendering.  This version could be good for brainstorming discussions.
    • Instead of chips, assign a record to keep a tally of students’ responses using a tally checklist.
  • Implementation tips
    • This protocol can be good to structure discussions on controversial topics and within teams that do not tend to have full participation of all team members in team discussions.
    • Use this protocol to build insight into the ways teams have discussions
    • Use sparingly because it can lead to superficial conversations if overused.
    • After the discussion, have students write a reflective essay that has them reflect on their performance during the discussion and set goals for improvement.
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Structuring discussions to ensure active participation by ALL students can have numerous benefits for students.  Students can learn how to explain and clarify their ideas, become aware of their assumptions, learn multiple perspectives, and connect new and prior knowledge.  Teachers can encourage students who are used to having a passive role in learning activities to become active participants of discussions by implementing  protocols that  promote active participations for ALL.

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Preparation Steps
  • Decide what learning activities can benefit from discussions
  • Select the discussion style that goes best with the type of ideas targeted for discussion
  • Design a discussion prompt that can elicit multiple responses
  • Design a followup activity that can be used to process ideas generated by discussions
Early Implementation Steps
  • Implement the discussion protocol of your choice
  • Implement another activity that promotes reflection upon or furthering processing of information gathered by discussion activity
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Decide which discussion protocols are the most effective tools to practice speaking / thinking in the targeted discipline and incorporate these into class routines
  • Use student feedback to refine implementation of protocols

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211: Discussion Techniques (1 of 3)

 

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Benefits of Discussions:
  • Students formulate ideas and learn to communicate them effectively
  • Encourage students to think and speak in the habits of the targeted discipline
  • Students develop awareness of multiple perspectives, ambiguity and complexity
  • Students learn to challenge their own assumptions
  • Students practice being attentive listeners
  • Students have opportunities to connect new and prior knowledge
Challenges of Discussions:
  • Students may sit passively during discussions because they are used to doing this during lectures
  • Students are afraid to risk sharing their thoughts and feelings
Overcoming Challenging:
  • Reduce risk by dividing class into pairs or small groups
  • Establish frameworks that encourage active participation for all students
  • Give students time to reflect and rehearse their thoughts
  • Give students time to find others who agree with them before they go public with their thoughts
Discussion Technique 1 of 6: Think Pair Share
  • What this is:
    • Students respond to a prompt individually and then with a partner before sharing ideas with the whole class
  • Preparation:
    • Develop engaging prompts that have multiple possible responses
    • Develop a plan for gathering responses
  • Procedure:
    • Pose question to class and provide time for students to devise individual responses
    • Pair students and ask them to share their responses
      • If they disagree, ask them to explain and clarify their responses
      • If possible, ask pairs to develop a joint response to the prompt
    • Gather responses from each pair and share with the whole class
  • Variations and Extensions:
    • Export “think” step to out of class time by asking students to prep their response to a question outside class time
    • Give students time to write out their responses – Write, Pair, Share
    • Ask pair to share their ideas with another pair before sharing their ideas with the whole class
  • Implementation Tips:
    • Give students sufficient time to develop their individual and paired responses – use volume ofsxall group responses to gauge appropriate time for the latter
    • While reporting out responses to the whole group, ask each pair to share their most important point that has not already been shared by another pair
    • To encourage attentive listening, randomly call on pairs and ask them to summarize the previous pair’s response before sharing a new point
    • For challenging responses, pair this technique with the Minute Paper with a prompt such as what aspect of the prompt was the most challenging for you to answer and why?
Discussion Technique 2 of 6: Think Pair Share
  • What this is:
    • Students take turn sharing words/phrases that are brainstormed responses to a prompt – all students respond without elaboration or judgement.
  • Preparation:
    • Develop a prompt that can create a diverse array of possible responses
  • Procedure:
    • Divide class into groups of 4 or 6
    • Explain brainstorming purposes and norms.  One key norm is to avoid questioning or judging ideas.
    • Each group assigns a recorder
    • Individuals in groups take turns giving responses to prompt – they can take turns by moving clockwise around the group.  Groups do this for a set time limit for a set number of turns around the group.  Set constraints to ensure that all group members participate.
  • Online implementation
    • Could use threaded discussion or a tool like TodaysMeet
    • Establish norms such as – each post contains new ideas, do not address or disagree with previous responses, every students must post a responses before another student can post a second response
  • Variations and extensions
    • Can be used to structure other discussions than brainstorming ones in order to ensure that ALL students participate
    • Can use Round Robin logistics to encourage ELL’s to practice using academic words and phrases
  • Implementation tips
    • Reserve this strategy for straightforward tasks that lend themselves to quick responses such as: generating lists reviewing materials, and identifying obvious applications of ideas
    • Give students to opportunity to pass if they can’t think of new ideas.  Stop when all students opt to pass.
    • Model types of response for students who are not used to discussions.
    • Offer student time to write up their responses prior to starting the Round Robin discussion
    • Process techniques generated in Round Robin sessions using techniques such as Affinity Groups and Concept Mapping.

3-sowhatStructuring discussions to ensure active participation by ALL students can have numerous benefits for students.  Students can learn how to explain and clarify their ideas, become aware of their assumptions, learn multiple perspectives, and connect new and prior knowledge.  Teachers can encourage students who are used to having a passive role in learning activities to become active participants of discussions by implementing  protocols that  promote active participations for ALL.

 

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Preparation Steps
  • Decide what learning activities can benefit from discussions
  • Select the discussion style that goes best with the type of ideas targeted for discussion
  • Design a discussion prompt that can elicit multiple responses
  • Design a followup activity that can be used to process ideas generated by discussions
Early Implementation Steps
  • Implement the discussion protocol of your choice
  • Implement another activity that promotes reflection upon or furthering processing of information gathered by discussion activity
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Decide which discussion protocols are the most effective tools to practice speaking / thinking in the targeted discipline and incorporate these into class routines
  • Use student feedback to refine implementation of protocols
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210: The Case for Collaborative Learning

1-sourcesChapter 1 from Barkley, Elizabeth F., K. Patricia Cross, and Claire Howell.  Collaborative Learning Techniques: A handbook for College Faculty.  San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass, 2005. Print.

 

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What do we mean by collaborative learning?
  • Essential features of collaborative learning:
    • Intentional design
      • teachers use intentional structures that encourage students to learn in groups
    • Equitable engagement / co-laboring
      • all group members are actively engaged and provide meaningful contributions to the learning task(s)
    • Meaningful learning
      • students working in groups deepen their understanding of course objectives
What is the difference between collaborative learning and cooperative learning?
  • Cooperative learning:
    • students cooperate to achieve a common goal / task
    • teacher retains traditional role of subject matter expert
    • often students are striving toward single correct answer or best solution known by teacher
    • emphasizes cooperative and harmony among group members
  • Collaborative learning:
    • based in social constructivism, knowledge is constructed by the development of a consensus among members of a group that includes students and teacher
    • teacher, along with students, is a member of a learning community that is co-constructing knowledge
    • unlike cooperative learning which emphasizes harmony, members of groups may engage in debate and dissent prior to achieving consensus
    • group work addresses questions with ambiguous answers – answers are subject to doubt and must be backed by judgements grounded in evidence
Formal, informal, abd base groups:
  • Formal groups:
    • work together for the duration of a learning task which may last from one class period to several weeks
    • accomplish shared goals, utilize varied strengths of team members, maximize learning for all
  • Informal groups:
    • temporary groups that last for one discussion or one class period
  • Base groups:
    • long-term groups with stable membership
    • aimed at providing long term support and sense of belonging to members
 
Five Essential Elements of Cooperative Learning Groups:
  1. Positive interdependence:
    • success of individuals and the group are intertwined
  2. Promotive interaction
    • students are expected to actively support each other by sharing knowledge, skills and resources
  3. Individual and group accountability:
    • students are assessed individually and and as a group
    • each member is held accountable to group goals
  4. Development of teamwork skills:
    • students are taught content AND collaboration skills
  5. Group processing:
    • group members reflect on their how they are collaborating and plan next steps to improve their teamwork
 
What is the pedagogical rationale for collaborative learning?
  • Some Benefits of Collaborative Learning:
    • prepares students for teamwork that occurs in future careers
    • actively involves students in learning
    • helps students appreciate diversity of perspectives
    • honors and utilizes individuals’ past academic / life experiences
  • Connection to Research:
    • Neurological:
      • students build their brains (develop more neurological pathways) as they interact with other people and ideas
    • Cognitive:
      • students learn by developing schemata – networks of connected bits of information
      • what students are able to learn is highly dependent on what they already know (current schemata)
      • active ideas (as opposed to ideas) are well integrated into schemata and can be related to new and old ideas and problems
    • Social:
      • zone of proximal development – what students are able to do with the assistance of teachers or more capable peers
 
What is the evidence that collaborative learning promotes and improves learning?
  • a lot of research has shown that college students grow more and are more successful when they interact with faculty and peers in / our of classroom on academic work
  • one of the most effective methods of instruction is students teaching other students
  • research has shown success with collaborative learning techniques over a variety of grade levels and subjects
  • cooperative learning arrangements have been shown to be more effective than competitive and individualistic structures – leads to better solutions, better transfer of knowledge, higher levels of reasoning and higher achievement
  • research has shown that cooperative learning seems to have best impact when groups are recognized based on the individual learnings of members
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Collaborative learning techniques help build students’ collaborative skills and help students deepen their knowledge with the assistance of their collaborative partners.  Collaborative learning experiences are “deliberately” designed to promote deeper learning, group/individual accountability, group processing, and active and equitable contributions of group members.  The 5 essential elements of collaborative learning (see above) can be used to design, evaluate, and optimize collaborative learning experiences.

 

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Preparation Steps

  • Research and design activities that promote the 5 essential elements of collaborative learning
  • Evaluate past collaborative scaffolding using the 5 essential element of collaborative learning – use this assessment to improve scaffolding
Early Implementation Steps
  • Implement scaffolding that teaches students the 5 essential element of collaborative learning and gives them practice / reflection opportunities
  • Design learning experiences that use collaboration to build content skills.
  • Give students opportunities to reflect on how their group processes are helping or detracting from learning and plan groups’ next steps
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Establish routines that promote 5 essential elements of collaborative learning
  • Provide regular opportunities throughout projects for students to give, receive and reflect upon collaborative feedback from their teammates.  Guide students to use this feedback to improve their collaboration skills.

 

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195: PBL Tips on Managing the Process

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At project start, make sure students are on the right track:
  • Help students brainstorm next steps (such as research plans) prior to beginning those processes
  • Hold early private meetings with teams while the rest work on other assignments (ex: background reading assignment) to vet and give feedback on their next steps and research questions
  • Require deliverables with early work sessions to make sure students are making progress and gaining momentum
  • Provide milestones, benchmarks and templates to support students in managing projects
Tailor grouping strategies to project needs:
  • Vary out grouping methods: student choice, teacher choice, random draw, etc
  • Aim for heterogeneous groups that team up students who are advanced with students who struggle
  • Grouping friends together works well with projects that require a lot of work outside class time
  • If a project requires a lot of different skills, may aim to form teams that include students who have those skills as a whole when combined in teams
  • Mixed method – students choose pairs and then teacher chooses which pairs to combine into teams of 4
  • Make grouping appear random even when it is actually very deliberate
  • Expert -> jigsaw teams – expert teams become very verses in 1 topic and then jigsaw teams are formed to include one of each type of expert
  • Use knowledge of students to create balanced teams
  • Sometimes when students choose their own teams end up with several strong teams and several unfocused teams
  • Could make students apply to be on teams
  • Have students conduct a team inventory of their skills and compare that to the skills needed to complete the project – if there is a mismatch they can lobby to switch team members to better align their team’s skills to the project
  • Fake Autonomy – group all students into 3-4 colors.  Students who should not work together share the same color.  Ask students to form teams that include one student of each color
  • Can have students submit 1st and 2nd choice for partners and try to honor their requires while forming balanced teams
  • Can have students rank their interests from a list of topics and form teams based on common interests
Plan how to accommodate the needs of diverse students
  • Plan in remediation time for students who don’t get it the first couple times
  • Have students develop a portfolio that crosses projects so they can access resources throughout the year
  • Use knowledge of students to provide different types / levels of support to different students
  • Students can get help from teachers, other students, the library, the internet, etc.
  • Try to allow for time for students to work with their friends or work on a topic they are interested in
  • For more on differentiating for various needs, see this article: Clustering student needs for more efficient planning
Intervene with students who are not carrying their own weight:
  • Sometimes let teams go through the firing process and then the student needs to work alone.  Or that students can produce a body of work and apply for a rehire from another team.
  • For teams that complain about team members not working, facilitate a meeting to renegotiate and tighten timelines.  Add more details to timelines including action item descriptions, action item owners, and specific deadlines.
  • Inform parents when their child is missing checkpoints and brainstorm together how to improve students’ project and self management skills.
  • Have individuals and teams reflect on group processes so they can become more aware and communicate to each other and the teacher about their group concerns and problems.
  • Brainstorm with teams who are stuck or off task on ways to become more motivated and focused.
Keep track of each group’s progress
  • Move a lot! Use the proximity effect (location matters more than content) to coach students working in teams
  • Set clear benchmarks and deadlines and have quick touch-in meetings to check on teams’ progress and answer questions and concerns
  • Let students complete a project planning form and then have a review meeting around that form.
  • Use checklists or 3×5 cards to record group observations
  • Instruct teams to maintain group folders that include all their logs and product artifacts.
Make sure groups keep track of their own progress
  • Instruct groups to meet and record who attended the meeting, what was accomplished, the meeting agenda, data, location
Keep public records of group progress:
  • Maintain a public accountability chart that shoes what benchmarks teams have completed – make this a graphic display that everyone can see
  • Allow time at the start and end of work days to set and track team goals
The Internet is only one information resources.  Students often need help to use it efficiently
  • Use school librarian as a project partner
  • Provide students with a starter list of helpful websites
  • Teach students how to analyze the content of websites and evaluate whether or not they possess the prerequisite knowledge to understanding the web content
  • Teach students how to evaluate the validity and quality of web sources
Technology can be a powerful tool; it can also crash and burn.
  • Trial and troubleshoot tech before using it in a project
  • Identify people who can help you troubleshoot technology
Don’t use tech blindly.  Select tech that enhances student learning
  • Select tech that addresses the meat of the project effectively
  • Before using a tool ask: What can be accomplished by this tool?  Can we do this using simpler tools?
  • Allow time to train students how to use selected technology.
  • Use tech only when it is appropriate and enhances student learning.
Don’t be afraid to make mistake
  • When mistakes are made, model how to fail forward by brainstorming solutions with students
Don’t be afraid of making mid project corrections
  • When students are missing essential info, let students know how / when class will get together to fill in the gap
  • Rethink timelines if you realize that students can’t meet the original timeline or are ready and willing to do more
  • When problems arise, hold a class meeting to debrief the situation and brainstorm and select solutions
  • Renegotiate expectations with teams that run into unexpected obstacles – focus new expectations on what’s critical to learn
Debrief project with your class and ask for project feedback
  • 2 questions:
    • What is of lasting value to the learner as a result of completing this project?
    • What is of lasting value to the community as a result of completing this project?
  • Show students models of good reflection before they start generating reflective comments.
  • Ask students
    • what didn’t work and why and possible alternatives?
    • what the fell they did well in the project?
    • what they feel didn’t go well?
    • what grade do they deserve and why?
    • are you proud of your end product?
    • how could end product be better?
  • Could gather feedback on overall project and specific end products on sticky notes
  • Keep student and teacher notes on project improvements in a secure place
  • Processing time is well worthwhile – set aside time for it
Reflecting on the Driving Question
  • Reflect on the driving question to review content and hopefully make long lasting learning connections

 

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Effective (poor) project management can make (break) a project.  Students need support developing skills related to self- and project-management.  Setting aside time to scaffold these skills and using templates to reinforce / guides these skills will make students more effective at learning within PBL projects.

 

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Preparation Steps
  • Analyze standards and create related list of academic learning targets.
  • Create project products and expectations.  Create an inventory of skills students need to have to be successful in the project.
  • Create character learning targets that are skills in the inventory that students may not have yet.
  • Design scaffolding and templates for character learning targets.
  • Select and troubleshoot technology that advances learning
Early Implementation Steps
  • Set aside time in projects to scaffold character learning targets.
  • Provide feedback on templates that scaffold project and self management process in touch-in meetings
  • Provide opportunities for students to set and track their goals throughout the project
  • Facilitate a post-project reflection discussion to gather feedback on what worked and alternatives to problems
  • Use variety of grouping methods that enhance project goals
  • Select and use technology that advances student learning; scaffold the tech
  • Intervene / support teams / individual students who are struggling
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Ask upperclassmen to coach / mentor students in project management skills
  • Ask experienced students to design their own project planning forms
  • Use tech to update group accountability charts in real time
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186: Character Learning Targets

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The rubric categories for their habits of mind rubrics read like character learning targets.

 

Accessing information:
  • Uses a strategic approach to access information
  • Accesses a variety of information sources
  • Searches for a variety of perspectives
  • Uses information retrieval systems and technology
  • Asks appropriate questions about information access and validity
  • Seeks assistance when needed
Selecting information:
  • Searches key sources efficiently
  • Focuses on key sources
  • Selects key ideas from sources
  • Records information efficiently
  • Organizes and labels selected information
  • Clarifies information as needed
Processing information:
  • Draws connections between ideas.
  • Identifies and labels key information and ideas.
  • Organizes data and ideas.
  • Labels and categorizes notes.
  • Interprets information.
  • Summarizes information.
Composing a presentation:
  • Creates a convincing, authoritative arguments.
  • Exhibits creativity in composition.
  • Puts information in own words.
  • Develops main ideas and organizing concepts.
  • Provides sufficient evidence to support claims.
  • Provides examples and concrete details.
Making a presentation:
  • Uses visuals clearly and effectively.
  • Communicates and stresses main points.
  • Body posture projects confidence and authority.
  • Makes consistent eye contact
  • Enunciates clearly with appropriate volume
  • Makes minimal pauses and avoids filter words
Individual Task Management:
  • Solicits and uses feedback
  • Sets appropriate and realistic goals
  • Works independently with minimal supervision
  • Perseveres appropriately
  • Carries out tasks carefully and diligently
  • Meets deadlines
 Individual Time Management
  • Uses time effectively
  • Estimates time realistically
  • Establishes a schedule for completing work
  • Allocates time among tasks strategically
  • Stays on schedule
  • Completes tasks on a timely bases
Group Task and Time Management
  • Monitors group progress
  • Sets appropriate and realistic goals
  • Develops a plan for completing group work
  • Keeps track of materials
  • Maintains group focus on what’s important
  • Allocates time effectively
Group Process
  • Group members facilitate each other’s participation.
  • All group members participate in project work.
  • Work is distributed and completed.
  • Group coordinates well with other groups.
  • Group uses members’ strengths effectively.
  • Group members resolve conflicts successfully.

 

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Character learning targets. describe the skills and behaviors students need to learn and produce more effectively in projects.  Deliberately specifying, scaffolding and assessing specific character learning targets makes it more likely for ALL students to develop skills related to these goals.

 

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Preparation Steps
  • Analyze products and rubrics in upcoming projects.  Determine the key skills and behaviors students will need to demonstrate to effectively produce these products.
  • Select a set of character learning targets that
    • describe key learning skills and behaviors
    • set is small enough to set aside time to scaffold and assess all of them
  • Research and design assessments and scaffolding for character learning targets
  • Communicate academic and character learning targets early in the project
Early Implementation Steps
  • Scaffold and assess character learning targets throughout the project
  • Use student self reflections to make students more aware of how specific activities are letting them practice character learning targets
  • Use feedback from student reflection to fine tune scaffolding for character  learning targets
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Incorporate effective scaffolding of key character learning targets  into routines
  • Use Assessments data base to design a variety of assessments for specific character learning targets

 

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181: Habits of Mind

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Persisting
  • stick to a task until it is completed
  • don’t give up easily
  • analyze problems and plan approaches to solve them
  • use a big tool box to solve problems
  • use self awareness to continue (switch up) effective (ineffective) problem solving processes
Managing Impulsivity
  • thinking before acting
  • being deliberate
  • develop plan of action before getting started
  • clarify and understand instructions
  • withhold judgement in order to develop understanding
Listening to Others with Understanding and Empathy
  • active listening skills
  • think through other’s perspectives
  • restrain own judgements, opinions and prejudices in order to be open to other’s ideas
  • monitoring one’s though while actively listening to another’s words
Thinking Flexibly
  • use intuition to solve problems
  • productive pauses in problem solving
  • tolerate confusion and ambiguity in a problem
  • use variety of tools to solve problems
Striving for Accuracy and Precision
  • value accuracy, precision and craftsmanship
  • double check / proofread products
  • review instructions, criteria and constraints
  • study models of great work
  • confirm product meets criteria
Questioning and Posing Problems
  • ask questions to address need-to-knows
  • probe for info and explanations
  • ask a range of questions
Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations
  • learn from experience
  • look to past for guidance in solving new problems
  • use processes to face new challenges
  • abstract meanings from experiences
  • transfer knowledge and skills to novel situations
Gathering Data through All Senses
  • uses all senses to gather information
Creating, Imagining and Innovating
  • create novel, original, clever or ingenuous products, solution and techniques
  • problem solving using many angles and approaches
  • use analogies to understand and play out different roles
Responding with Wonderment and Awe
  • enjoy problem solving and learning
  • seek out challenges
  • seek out and create new enigmas
Finding Humor
  • laugh at themselves
  • provoke higher order thinking: finding novel relationships, using imagery and making analogies
Thinking Interdependently
  • collaboratively problem solve
  • understanding need for and value of collaborators
Learning Continuously
  • confidence + curiosity -> find new and better methods
  • always striving for new learning, growth and improvement
  • see adversity and other experiences as opportunities to learn
These habits of mind have strong connections to the 6 Facets of Understanding.

 

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The following habits of mind describe the skill sets that people can practice to become excellent problem solvers.  Teachers can scaffold and assess these skills in order to develop students’ independence and to prepare them for lifelong learning and careers.

 

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Preparation Steps
  • Evaluate knowledge and skills of the course
  • Make lists that specify how students will apply habits of mind to be successful in your course
  • Create character learning targets based on content versions of the habits of mind
  • Prepare scaffolding and assessments that align to character learning targets based on the habits of mind
Early Implementation Steps
  • Implement scaffolding and assessments that align to character learning targets based on the habits of mind
  • Use formative assessment feedback to refine activities and to guide students to revise their understandings and products
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Collaborate with other teachers to develop vertical sequencing of instruction related to habits of mind
  • Develop routines that empower students to practice habits of mind

 

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180: Knowledge Age & enGauge 21st Century Skills

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Knowledge Age Skills
  • Creativity
    • new knowledge creation
    • new solutions to old problems
    • best fit design solutions
    • artful storytelling
  • Critical Thinking & Doing
    • problem solving – especially ill-defined problems
    • research methods
    • analysis
    • understanding of specific content knowledge
    • project management
  • Collaboration
    • cooperation
    • compromise
    • consensus
    • community-buildling
  • Cross-Culture Understanding
    • across various ethic, knowledge & organizational cultures
  • Communication
    • crafting messages
    • using media effectively
    • choosing right medium and genre for the message
  • Career and Learning Self-Reliance
    • Managing change
    • Growth mindset
  • Computing
    • basic computer literacy
    • selecting right tool for given tasks
 
  • Digital age literacy
    • basic scientific, mathematical and technological literacies
    • visual and information literacies
    • cultural literacy and global awareness
  • Inventive Thinking
    • adaptability
    • ability to manage complexity
    • curiosity, creativity and risk taking
    • higher-order thinking
    • sound reasoning
  • Effective Communication
    • teaming, collaboration and interpersonal skills
    • personal and social responsibility
    • interactive communication
  • High Productivity
    • Ability to prioritize, plan and manage for results
    • Effective use of real world tools
    • Produce relevant, high-quality products

 

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Teachers can use the Knowledge Age and enGauge 21st Century skills to target, scaffold and assess skills that will help students learn better and will empower students to practice skills that will prepare them for lifelong learning and careers.

 

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Preparation Steps
  • Evaluate knowledge and skills of the course
  • Make lists that specify how students will apply Knowledge Age & 21st Century skills to be successful in your course
  • Create character learning targets based on content versions of the Knowledge Age & 21st Century skills
  • Prepare scaffolding and assessments that align to character learning targets based on the Knowledge Age & 21st Century skills
Early Implementation Steps
  • Implement scaffolding and assessments that align to character learning targets based on the Knowledge Age & 21st Century skills
  • Use formative assessment feedback to refine activities and to guide students to revise their understandings and products
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Collaborate with other teachers to develop vertical sequencing of instruction related to Knowledge Age & 21st Century skills
  • Develop routines that empower students to practice Knowledge Age & 21st Century skills

 

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179: SCANS Skills & Competencies

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Original Resource:
5 Workplace Competencies:
  1. Resources
    • knows how to allocate time, money, materials, space and staff
  2. Interpersonal Skills
    • work on teams
    • teach others
    • serve customers
    • negotiate and work well with diverse teams
  3. Information
    • acquire, evaluate, organize, interpret and communicate data
    • use technology tools
  4. Systems
    • understand social, organization and technological systems
    • monitor and correct performances
    • design and improve systems
  5. Technology
    • maintain and troubleshoot equipment
    • select the right technology tool for the right task
3 Foundational Skills:
  1. Basic skills
    • reading, writing, mathematics, speaking and listening
  2. Thinking skills
    • ability to learn, reason, think creatively, make decision and solve problems
  3. Personal qualities
    • individual responsibility, self esteem, self-management, sociability and integrity
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The SCAN skills were designed by the Departments of Labor and Education to help educators prepare students for the workplace.  Designing scaffolding and assessments around the SCAN skills will help students better learn content and practices skills that prepare them for lifelong learning and careers.

 

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Preparation Steps
  • Evaluate knowledge and skills of the course
  • Make lists that specify how students will apply SCAN skills to succeed in your course
  • Create character learning targets based on content versions of the SCAN skills
  • Prepare scaffolding and assessments that align to character learning targets based on the SCAN skills
Early Implementation Steps
  • Implement scaffolding and assessments that align to character learning targets based on the SCAN skills
  • Use formative assessment feedback to refine activities and to guide students to revise their understandings and products
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Collaborate with other teachers to develop vertical sequencing of instruction related to SCAN skills
  • Develop routines that empower students to practice SCAN skills

 

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178: Mapping Your Community

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Community Mapping
  • Students working in teams ask and answer questions about their community.  See below.
Community Mapping Questions:
  • What are the cultures in the community?  How many different cultures exist? Describe them.
  • What opportunities exist for learning and teaching?
  • What are the local enterprises that promote economic growth?
  • What are the local community organizations?
  • What citizen actions are taking place around critical issues?
  • What are the problem areas in the community such as noise, pollution, substandard housing, graffiti, erosion or trash?
  • What local political issues impact the community?
  • What local talents exist in the community?
  • What are the local stories?
  • Who are the most important people in the community?
  • Who makes decisions?
  • Who is the most respected, wisest, wealthiest, or most loved?
  • How do these people connect to teaching and learning opportunities?
Interviewing Community Members Questions:
  • What is important to them?
  • What are their greatest needs?
  • What environmental issues are important to them?
  • Who are the important people involved in those environmental issues?
  • What are the important relationships and partnerships?
  • How would a person who wants to help with the issue get involved?
  • What is missing in what we are doing?
Community Mapping Reflection Questions
  • What patterns or unexpected relations between features or systems did you observe?
  • What opportunities are there for teaching and learning?
  • What opportunities and resources are there to learn more about the problem / issue?
  • What opportunities and resources are there to find solutions to the problem?
  • Who else do we need to include to make our work most beneficial to the community?
  • How will you apply your new awareness of the problem upon returning to your program?

 

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Involving students in mapping the community can expose varied and unexpected learning opportunities that can frame future projects.  These ideas can be engaging to students because of their close relationships to their everyday lives outside of school. Student community mapping can be amplified by sets of well-designed questions aimed at getting students to dig deep and notice interesting patterns in their community.  See above for examples.

 

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Preparation Steps
  • Decide when in the year you would like to involve students in community mapping.  A good time might be at the start of the year.  This could provide enough lead time to use discoveries from community mapping to frame future projects.
  • Revise questions above to generate specific questions that will uncover learning opportunities in the community that relate to your content and to upcoming topics.
Early Implementation Steps
  • Assign community mapping questions to students working in teams.
  • Require students to interview 1 to 2 community members to gather more information. (primary research)
  • Also require students to conduct secondary research to gain insight into some community mapping questions
  • Have students present their findings and future project ideas and their importance and potential impact
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Invite local community members to the classroom to describe how they work and their impact on the community
  • Use student discoveries to build new partnerships and to frame new projects that connect to community issues

 

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148: Social Skills

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EVIDENCE ON SOCIAL SKILLS:
  • Social skills improve academic performance in elementary, middle & high schools (most research focused on elementary school students)
  • Exact effects of social skills on academic performance is unclear
  • Social skills:
    • socially accepted learned behaviors that enable a learner to interact effectively with others and to avoid socially unacceptable responses (Gresham & Elliot)
    • cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, self control (Malecki & Elliot)
    • self-management, self-awareness, social awareness, relationships skills, responsible decision-making (CASEL)
  • Hard to isolate social skills from other non-cognitive factors that support academic achievement in the research
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SOCIAL SKILLS & ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE:
  • Research shows that social skills (+ other non-cognitive factors) improve academic performance
  • One theory – effects of social skills are indirect, act through academic behaviors
    • developing social skills helps students have less behavior problems resulting in more learning engagement and better performance
    • social skills helps students actively participate in learning activities
    • social skills act as academic enablers of good academic behaviors
  • Another theory – teachers value good behavior and reward it with good grades
ARE SOCIAL SKILLS MALLEABLE?
  • Behavior skill-building approaches lead to more enduring positive changes that programs that do not emphasize skills
  • Skills such as stress management, empathy, problem-solving, and good decision making can be intentionally developed in school-based programs
ROLE OF CLASSROOMS IN DEVELOPING SOCIAL SKILLS
  • Classrooms play an important role in shaping students’ social skills
  • Interpersonal, instructional & environmental factors affect students’ social behavior including
    • norms for high expectations and high support to meet expectations
    • caring teacher-student relationships
    • proactive classroom management
    • cooperative learning
    • safe classroom environments that reinforce good behaviors
    • students feel valued
CLASSROOM STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPING SOCIAL SKILLS
  • Teaching students to process, integrate, select and apply social-emotional skills in appropriate ways
  • Effective approaches involve
    • step-by-step approaches  that actively involve students in skills development
    • extended periods of time
    • clear and explicit goals
CAN CHANGING SOCIAL SKILLS NARROW ACHIEVEMENT GAPS
  • Research doesn’t indicate either way whether or not social skills will narrow achievement gaps in women and minority groups
  • Some troubling related research findings:
    • 57% of African American males are suspended – much more than any other race or gender (NCES)
    • Minority students may experience undue disciplinary action in school (Gregory et al.)
    • Race is strong predictor of the discipline gap
 
SUMMARY OF RESEARCH ON SOCIAL SKILLS
  • Social skills overlap extensively with other noncognitive factors
  • Without better delineation of social skills with other noncognitive factors it is hard to isolate the effects of social skills on academic performance
  • Social skills may be less (more) valued / practiced in schools that primarily focus on individual (cooperative) learning tasks
  • More research is needed that considers how classroom context affect how social skills contribute to student learning

 

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 Implementing social skills training can help students be more successful in a PBL environment that relies heavily on group work.   Social skills act as social enablers that help students better leverage learning opportunities.  Effective social skills programs tend to be administered by teachers, involve step-by-step demonstrations of skills, extend over time, and have clear and explicit goals.

 

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Preparation Steps
  • Identify what social skills will help students succeed in the conditionals of your classrooms.
  • Write character learning targets that describe desirable social skills in student friend language.
  • Research scaffolding strategies that relate to targeted social that help students with social skills.  See Agency and Collaboration articles for ideas.
  • Design a program that will teach students how to develop social skills related to character learning targets over an extended period of time
  • Build a positive safe culture that values the social skills that will be promoted and taught over the course of time
Early Implementation Steps
  • Implement a program that will teach students how to develop social skills related to character learning targets over an extended period of time
  • Use student reflections and observations to see if program is working and to refine activities
  • Use student reflections to help students become more aware of whether or not social skills are improving their learning experiences
  • Be mindful of how discipline interventions may or may not be contributing to a discipline gap due to gender or race
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Use student data to identify what social skills scaffolding strategies are the most effective and incorporate these into classroom systems and routines

 

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