Margin Notes

Conversations About Artifacts of Learning- Inquiry Writing

Aug
15

This is a summary of this year’s final conversation about artifacts of student learning as part of our Visible Learning project with our colleagues Michelle Wuest and Shelley Hanson and their Grade 11 students at Leo Hayes High School.  You can read a description of the project here.

In order to make our own learning visible, we decided to follow a protocol based on the Project Zero See-Think-Wonder thinking routine to structure our conversations and capture our thinking and reflections.  We recorded the conversation and I have summarized our observations, wonderings, and reflections.

Description of Artifact

After brainstorming a list of their wonderings-questions they would like to know the answers to-Shelley’s students selected a question (from the list or on their own) to explore further in an inquiry writing piece.  Students were challenged to explore at least 3-4 different perspectives in their final pieces.

Shelley shared a mentor text with her students: “What Women Really Do in the Bathroom” which can be found on page 119 of Kelly Gallagher’s book, Write Like This or here. (more…)

Student Self-Assessment, Mentor Texts, and Single Point Rubrics

Jul
11

After meeting with Michelle Wuest and Shelley Hanson yesterday to continue our conversation regarding making learning visible, we have an idea that comes from Michelle’s classroom that we want to share with you.

Writing teachers are always looking for ways to foster students’ motivation and capacity to self-assess. As Sandra Herbst explains, “Self-assessment teaches students how to self-monitor, especially when it is informed by clear criteria and samples or models. Students who self-monitor are developing and practicing the skills needed to be life-long, independent learners.” (more…)

Conversations About Artifacts of Learning: Student Self-Assessment

Jun
12

How Do We Create Opportunities for Students to Self-Assess in Meaningful Ways?

This is a summary of our fourth conversation about artifacts of student learning as part of our Visible Learning project with our colleagues Michelle Wuest and Shelley Hanson and their grade 11 students at Leo Hayes High School.  You can read a description of the project here: Making Learning Visible

At the beginning of the quarter, Shelley Hanson had her students write specific goals in each of the ELA strands: Speaking and Listening, Reading and Viewing, and Writing and Representing. The experience shared below focuses on how Shelley created classroom conditions that invited students to reflect on their progress toward their individual goals for the Speaking and Listening strand.

After engaging in different types and formats of conversations since September, students were ready to transition from participants to facilitators.  As a whole class, students brainstormed topics of interest, which ranged from the minimum age for legal marijuana usage to the ethics of keeping animals in zoos. They were then able to choose the topic that most interested them and this is how small groups were formed – by a common interest in a topic. (more…)

The Talking-Writing Connection

Apr
18

A few weeks ago we hosted a supper meeting for a group of teachers who had been provided with a copy of Teaching Literacy in the Visible Learning Classroom. The premise of the book is that, “Every student deserves a great teacher, not by chance, but by design” and that we (teachers) need to know the effect of what we are doing in our classrooms in regards to student achievement. For example, the effect size for class size is 0.21 and the effect size for metacognitive strategies is 0.69. Hattie states that teachers should consider classroom work with an effect size of 0.40 and above when designing learning for students. Teaching is hard work. And if the hard work isn’t leading to an increase in student achievement, then we need to ask ourselves why we are doing it.

During our meeting, one point of discussion was the link between talk and writing. As explained by Hattie et al, as students improve their ability to have effective academic talk with their peers, their writing becomes more sophisticated. The researchers write, “After all, if students don’t get to verbally explain, pose questions, and narrate routinely, it’s going to be much more difficult for them to do so in writing.” The effect size of (more…)

Conversations about Artifacts of Learning- Padlet Curation

Apr
12

This is a summary of our second conversation about artifacts of student learning as part of our Visible Learning project with our colleagues Michelle Wuest and Shelley Hanson and their grade 11 students at Leo Hayes High School.  You can read a description of the project here: Making Learning Visible.

Once again, we followed a protocol based on the Project Zero “See-Think-Wonder” thinking routine to structure our conversations and capture our thinking and reflections.  We recorded the conversation and below are summaries of our observations, wonderings, and reflections. (more…)

Single Point Rubrics

Apr
09

As teachers of writing, we know that specific and timely feedback is necessary for the students we teach to progress as writers. The need to be able to name what moves they are making as a writer and get feedback on their decisions as they are writing, not after they have written. But this can often feel like an overwhelming task when you might only get through a handful of conferences during class time.

A few years ago, Michelle Wuest (SPR of English at Leo Hayes High School) shared a blog post from Cult of Pedagogy on single point rubrics. And in short time my ability to give feedback to students as they wrote was transformed.

As with everything you come across as a teacher, its use needs to be adapted to fit with the curriculum, the standards, and the unique needs of the students you teach. So with that in mind, here is an image of single point rubrics as shown by Jennifer Gonzalez from Cult of Pedagogy:

(more…)

Conversations about Artifacts of Learning- Write Like a Filmmaker

Mar
15

This is a summary of our first conversation about artifacts of student learning as part of our Visible Learning project with our colleagues Michelle Wuest and Shelley Hanson and their Grade 11 students at Leo Hayes High School.  You can read a description of the project here: Making Learning Visible

In making our own learning visible, we decided to follow a protocol based on the Project Zero See-Think-Wonder thinking routine to structure our conversations and capture our thinking and reflections.  We recorded the conversation and I summarized our observations, wonderings, and reflections.

 Description of Artifact

 Inspired by the opening credits of “Dexter” and the way the scene is set through a combination of long, medium, and short shots, Michelle created an assignment that invited students to “write like filmmakers.” (more…)

Making Learning Visible

Feb
09

We have been working on a collaboration with our colleagues Michelle Wuest and Shelley Hanson at Leo Hayes High School.  Inspired by Making Thinking Visible and Visible Learners, we have embarked on a bit of a professional inquiry guided by these key questions:

  • How can we create the conditions for students’ learning to be visible?
  • How can we/they document this learning?
  • What can we learn about teaching and learning from this documentation?
  • How can we make our own learning from this project visible to others?

Michelle and Shelley teach multiple grades but they both have Grade 11 English (more…)

Teaching Talk

Jan
26

Recently I had the opportunity to read Kara Pranikoff’s Teaching Talk: A Practical Guide to Fostering Student Conversation and Thinking which questions the traditional practices of classroom talk and asks teachers to re-think their role in that talk.

As teachers we know that conversation is a way students construct meaning and Pranikoff urges teachers to let students to become increasingly independent in their talk. She explains how the ultimate goal in larger-group conversations is for students to simply speak when they have something to say…like in the social talk at recess or at the end of the day when students are at their lockers. In these settings, students do not require an adult to mediate or monitor their discussion. This needs to be (more…)