Monthly Archives: November 2010
Today we had several classes participating in our Turkey Trade programs. The video conference portion focuses on students identifying similarities and differences. My hope is that we can use this face-to-face time to get students using accurate, descriptive language with their peers.
Here are some of the observations that I heard today.
- The feathers are the same.
- The eyes are black.
- The face is similar.
- They are both turkeys.
- The waddle is different.
- The feet don’t look the same.
- The feathers are bigger.
What strategies can we add to challenge the students to use more descriptive, thoughtful language? This is a great program and is replicated in many ways, but it is not reaching its full potential for learning.
Anyone have suggestions for prompts?
This fall we have had quite a lineup of careers that students could learn about. Last week, we had Walter Abercrombie in the studio with us. It was a popular program and the students were quite excited to talk with a professional football player.
The five classes had great questions prepared for Mr. Abercrombie. I learned a great deal about playing in the NFL and what type of support creates success in life.
- What do you do if you need to go to the restroom during a game?
- Did you play Pee Wee league football?
- As a student athlete, did you get adequate support from both the athletic department and the university when you were at Baylor?
- Did you have a job before football?
- What was your favorite part of playing football?
- Was it hard to leave Waco to go live in Pittsburgh?
My students are so into sports right now, especially the boys and they loved seeing someone who did that for a living. It was great for them to see the correlation between education and success.
Many thanks to Mr. Abercrombie for his time and sharing his passion for education with our students.
I love Landmark Challenge because it takes what I believe to be effective learning principles and puts them in action. The power of video conferencing is in the engagement and interaction of the students and this project has a great deal of learning before the video conference connection and then application/review of that learning during the connection.
Thanks to Linda McDonald for creating this fantastic adaptation of Janine Lim’s MysteryQuest.This year, I added research guides thanks to the influence of Christie Rickert’s work in Hays Consolidated.
Some adaptations that I made to the original format.
- Reformatted the note-taking guides making them vertical (portrait) which allowed for larger squares for second grades to make notes.
- Provide teachers the choice of large or small note-taking guides.
- Provided suggestions for how to group students for program preparation.
- Only allow three classes at a time.
- Added the local timekeeper as a job. (This student counts to 10 silently at the end of a clue to allow the other classes time to write.)
- Minimize emphasis on presenting clues as a skit.
All of our clues were written and spoken. We had a mixture of teacher-made and student made. As you can see from the examples below, clear and effective clues work really well through the video conference systems.
Most of our classes zoomed in on the student holding the clue. All classes did a great job of zooming and checking to make sure that the other classes could see what they were sending clearly. Here is a befor and after of a good zoom.
After the students had solved the “mysteries”, I quizzed them over all 10 landmarks and these students had done a great deal of research and could identify all ten and tell me something about each one.
Kudos to our teachers, students, and coordinators. A job well done!
Last spring, I tried out Audible.com and got an audio version of Nurture Shock by Po Bronson andAshley Merryman.
The central premise of this book by Bronson and Merryman, a Washington Post journalist, is that many of modern society’s most popular strategies for raising children are in fact backfiring because key points in the science of child development and behavior have been overlooked.
Here is a summary of the book.
Praise of children is a fascinating concept to me. I see children in schools praised for sloppy work, poor effort, and as peer pressure to get other children to conform. “Thank you, Alyssa, for sitting so quiet and still while we wait for the rest of the class.” We tell children they are wonderful, fantastic, smart, brilliant, and other over-the-top adjectives, but how does all of that lavish praise work with motivation?
The work of Dr. Carol Dweck is referenced in Chapter 1. Here is a summary of the study referenced. This was given to 400 5th graders. I found it thought-provoking and enjoy the author’s description of his attempt to change how he praised his own children.
||Smart Praise||Effort Praise|
|Students were given an easy puzzle to complete.||Praise: “You are so smart at this!”||Praise: “You worked really hard at this!”|
|Students given a choice:
a harder puzzle that they will learn a lot from trying or another easy puzzle like the first one.
|Majority selected the easier puzzle.||90% selected the harder puzzle.|
|Students given no choice.
Had to take a difficult test that
|Sweated and looked miserable.||Involved with trying. Assumed they would be capable. “This was my favorite test/puzzle so far!”|
|Students were given a puzzle
as easy as the first one.
|Successful completion decreased 20%||Successful completion increased 30%.|
Some interesting comments about this research.
- Emphasis of effort gives students a variable they can control.
- Emphasis of innate intelligence takes the control away from the student and there is no good way to explain failure. (If I am smart and I fail or do poorly, then I must not be smart. If I worked hard and failed, then I can look at how I worked.)
- Emphasis of innate intelligence can convey the idea that if you are smart, you don’t have to work hard. (Think: Gifted underachievers)
- The findings were demonstrated through all socioeconomic groups.
- The subgroup whose achieve collapsed the greatest was the brightest female students.
Interesting read. Listen to you as you praise your own children or students. Are you fostering higher achievement or creating the foundations for learned helplessness?
We are excited to kick off our Landmark Challenge for 2nd Grade. This program is specifically designed for second graders.
There will be three classes in each connection with the students actively engaged during the entire connection. Some teachers get very creative in creating backdrops and such for their classes. This is not required. The majority of classes use a simple visual to show the clue so that it makes it easier for the other classes to take notes on the information.
IMPORTANT: When the students are presenting their clues, have another student silently count to 15 while the clue is being shown. That will give the other classes time to write.
- Welcome and tech check
- Class A presents 6 clues. (Classes B and C take notes.)
- Class B presents 6 clues. (Casses A and C take notes.)
- Class C presents 6 clues. (Classes A and B take notes.)
- Think Time (about 20 min for 2nd grade)
- Clarifying questions (Must be answered YES or NO. Do not give away your guess.)
- All sites make guesses.
- All sites reveal their landmark.
- Round robin review of ALL landmarks.
- Round of applause and good-byes.
How to Present Clues
- The coordinator put a chair at the front of the room to stabilize the poster and zoomed in a bit more.
- One class prepared their clues on copy paper and look what a good, tight zoom can do!
- Another teacher printed the clue out very LARGE on 8.5 x 11 paper and glued it to construction paper to add stability for the students.
- Zoom the camera in.
During the Connection
- All students should individually take notes.
- During Think Time, they can work in pairs to write down what they think each answer is.
- Teachers are actively monitoring and teaching during the connection.
- As a group, develop one clarifying question for each site.
- Prepare some type of “reveal” of your mystery landmark.
Thanks to Linda McDonald from Katy ISD for creating such a fantastic project for second grade students.