Tagged “Critical Thinking”

Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Using Engaging Learning Strategies to Connect School to the Real World

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Learning is active, engaging, and social. Students need to be engaged and motivated in their learning before they can apply higher-order creative thinking skills. They are most engaged when they themselves are part of constructing meaning, not when teachers do it for them. By encouraging students to meet challenges creatively, collaborate, and apply critical-thinking skills to real-world, unpredictable situations inside and outside of school, we prepare them for future college, career, and citizenship success.

In this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, we examine effective classroom instruction that embraces both high standards and accountability for students' learning. It can be project-based, focused on service and the community, experiential, cooperative, expeditionary ... the list goes on. These engaging learning strategies are grounded in instructional objectives, provide clear feedback, and enable students to thrive cognitively, socially, emotionally, and civically. You'll hear from

  • Shelley Billig, vice president of RMC Research and qualitative research team leader for the Broad Prize for Urban District Excellence. She staffed the National Commission on Service-Learning as the research partner; helped found the International Research Association on Service-Learning and Community Engagement; and has conducted national, state, and regional studies on service learning.
  • Jason Flom, a 5th grade teacher at Cornerstone Learning Community in Tallahassee, Fla. He founded Ecology of Education as a collaborative, multiauthor blog in March 2009 to give voice to a range of professionals working in the field of education. Flom is also the moderator for Edutopia's Green Schools Group and is a member of ASCD's Emerging Leaders Class of 2010.
  • Dorvionne Lindsay, a senior at Quest Early College High School in Humble, Tex., winner of the 2011 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. Lindsay interns at a small surgical hospital and will be a freshman in the pre-med program at Texas A&M University this fall, beginning her studies to be a heart surgeon.

What are the current challenges and opportunities to successfully implementing and sustaining high-quality engaged teaching and learning?

Klea Scharberg

Throughout February: Engaging Learning Strategies

Learning is active, engaging, and social. Students need to be engaged and motivated in their learning before they can apply higher-order creative thinking skills. They are most engaged when they themselves are part of constructing meaning, not when teachers do it for them. By encouraging students to meet challenges creatively, collaborate, and apply critical-thinking skills to real-world, unpredictable situations inside and outside of school, we prepare them for future college, career, and citizenship success.

Join us throughout February as we examine effective classroom instruction that embraces both high standards and accountability for students' learning. It can be project-based, focused on service and the community, experiential, cooperative, expeditionary ... the list goes on. These engaging learning strategies are grounded in instructional objectives, provide clear feedback, and enable students to thrive cognitively, socially, emotionally, and civically.

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Klea Scharberg

Assessment Roundup

We focus extensively on test scores and far too little on the whole child. We often choose one-size-fits-all fixes while ignoring solid research about the infinite ways students learn and children develop. The true measure of students’ proficiency and college-, career-, and citizenship-readiness must be based on more than just their scores on state standardized reading and math assessments.

We shouldn’t simply teach to the test. We need to teach for understanding, and assessments are tools to gauge that understanding. When used effectively, assessments can facilitate high levels of student achievement by providing ongoing information about students’ grasp of key concepts and how to enhance their learning to help them meet or exceed academic requirements. States, districts, and schools should provide a more comprehensive picture of student achievement through multiple assessments of and for learning.

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Paula Mirk

Implementing and Assessing the Ethics Standards

The subject of ethics is a great opportunity to explore learning without the burden of standardized tests because (so far) the topic is considered a difficult one to measure in discrete bubbles on an answer sheet. So, this dimension of our schools and curriculum is relatively safe from the assessment wag-or-dog controversy other subjects present. Take advantage of this opportunity! In any class, in any subject, teachers can feel free to explore their students' values-based reasoning skills without worrying about "covering the material." The more teachers do so, the more they will find that such exploration deepens understanding and contributes to content, rather than slowing things down or feeling like an indulgent add-on.

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Klea Scharberg

How Do You Assess Understanding and Learning?

In this video, two educators discuss informal assessments in the social studies classroom. What are the ways you deal with assessments in the classroom?

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Teaching and Assessing Meaningfully in a Standards-Based World

Great Performances

Post submitted by Larry Lewin and Betty Shoemaker, authors of Great Performances: Creating Classroom-Based Assessment Tasks, 2nd ed., where they tackle the sparkles and blemishes of performance assessments. With expertise in performance-based assessment, differentiated instruction, literacy, integrated thematic curriculum, and teaching comprehension with student-based questioning, they are influencing decision makers about both the importance and quality of great classroom-based assessments instead of high stakes standardized tests. Connect with Lewin by e-mail at larry@larrylewin.com and Shoemaker at dr.betty.shoemaker@comcast.net.

"Were all instructors to realize that the quality of mental process, not the production of correct answers, is the measure of educative growth something hardly less than a revolution in teaching would be worked."

—John Dewey, Democracy And Education (1916)

We have some great news! The second edition of our book, Great Performances: Creating Classroom-Based Assessment Tasks, has just been published. We would like to say that it is single-handedly bringing adequate yearly progress (AYP) to its knees. Well ... we can hope that it at least has influenced, and will continue to influence, decision makers about the importance of and quality of great classroom-based assessments as compared to high-stakes standardized tests.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

How Narrative Feedback Can Crush the ABCs

Post written by Mark Barnes, a veteran teacher and national presenter. His new book on what he calls a Results Only Learning Environment will be published by ASCD in 2013. Connect with Barnes by e-mail at mark@thepaperlessclassroom.com. This post was originally featured in ASCD Express.

The argument about the value of grades is one that continually vexes many teachers and administrators. Once educators agree that grades do more harm than good, the debate typically turns to a discussion about what is an appropriate replacement for them. "Study after study has found that students—from elementary school to graduate school, and across cultures—demonstrate less interest in learning as a result of being graded" (Kohn, 1999). How, then, does assessment exist without numbers and letters?

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Andrew Miller

Creating Rigorous and Relevant Assessments with Authentic Intellectual Work

When we ask students to do, perform, and produce, we must ensure that these tasks or assessments demand rigor and relevance. But let's be honest, sometimes these words are thrown around as buzz words in education or are difficult to truly internalize as teachers when we are design assessments. What does it look like to ask students to do rigorous work? What does an assessment that has relevance look like? I can make my own assumptions, but how do I know if my assumptions are truly asking for depth of rigor and relevance?

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Setting the Standard for Standards-Based Grading

Post submitted by Whole Child Blogger Matt Swift

At ASCD's Fall Conference in October, educator Mary McDonough used a variety of techniques while explaining the importance of formative assessment in standard-based grading. During her session, "Formative Assessment: Linchpin for Standards-Based Grading," McDonough had attendees share their own experiences and discuss the topic amongst themselves and presented a slide show with everything from detailed instructions to cartoons that related to her presentation. The discussion was lively, and the audience was engaged with the large amount of information they were receiving, but it all came down to one important point:

"It's good for learning," said McDonough of using formative assessment and standards-based grading. "And it's good for the students."

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

From Differentiated Instruction to Differentiated Assessment

Post written by Douglas B. Reeves, founder of the Leadership and Learning Center in Salem, Mass., and author of ASCD books on educational leadership. Connect with Reeves by e-mail at DReeves@LeadAndLearn.com. This post was originally featured in ASCD Express.

For all the ink that has been spilled regarding the issue of differentiated instruction, little has been said about differentiated assessment. There is no doubt that students come to school with a variety of backgrounds and learning needs, and Carol Ann Tomlinson (Tomlinson & McTighe, 2006) and others (e.g., Stefanakis & Meier, 2010; Fogarty & Pete, 2010) have documented the importance of the issue and the potential success of the results.

The devil, as always, is in the details, and as Schmoker (2010) recently noted, some teachers find the demands of creating different lessons for the learning needs of each student overwhelming. Here are some practical ideas for busy teachers who want to meet the different needs of students while managing the demands on their already busy schedules.

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