Monthly Archives: June 2015

Module 4 Reflection- Problem-based Activities and Assessment

The two main ideas I reflected on and learned about in this module’s readings are problem-based activities and on-going assessments. Problem-based activities serve as an alternative to PowerPoint lectures, workbook activities, and other strategies that make the teacher the focus of the learning experience. One of the benefits of this is that “From a teaching perspective, the problem- based activity provides you with the potential to transcend from a textbook- centered learning approach to a more student- centered approach” (Coffman, 2013). Problem-based activities engage students on a higher level than tasks such as workbook pages, because your students are given a task that poses a question that is interesting and relevant. Giving students a choice about the “topic and content of the finished product” also adds to their motivation and interest (Coffman, 2013). When students are invested in the task, they will learn more from it and remember it long after the assessments are completed.image

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Coffman also encourages teachers to include assessments throughout units, rather than saving assessment for the end (2013). I feel that this strategy is more forgiving, as the learning process should be. It gives students a chance to reflect on what they are learning and the teacher to reflect on what needs to be reviewed, reinforced, or explained further. Too many students have had the experience of “trick questions” and tests that they dread and fear. Assessments aren’t torture devices but tools to help students and teachers in the learning process. This is why I think giving students the rubric at the beginning of the assignment and telling them this is exactly what you are going to grade them on helps clear up some of that anxiety and confusion.

References

Coffman, T. (2013). Using Inquiry in the Classroom: Developing creative thinkers and information literate students (2nd ed.). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Education.

 

Module 3 Reflection- Web Quests

What I love about Web Quests is that they are so adaptable. In my opinion they are more easily adaptable for the elementary grades than Telecollaborations or Web Inquiries, but that’s just coming from someone with my particular teaching style. Because I am in transition from teaching high school to teaching elementary, I found that as I read about Web Quests, I was not only thinking about how they would work in my kindergarten classroom, but also how they would work in my old 9th grade classroom.

Because kindergartners are learning to follow directions and should only be given directions in one or two steps at a time, I believe organizing the task and process portions of the Web Quest should be done differently than they would be done for higher elementary levels, middle school, or high school. Students should only be able to see one to two steps at a time so they do not jump ahead or get confused or overwhelmed. Just as Coffman (2013) says, “Your goal as a teacher is to ensure that these expeimageriences [investigating, questioning, collaboration, etc] are taking place and are appropriate.” We want the students to feel confident as they take on the role of investigator, however that may manifest itself depending on the subject being taught, and if they are not given directions and scaffolding in a way that supports that, the Web Quest was not designed successfully.

Thinking about ways Web Quests might be used in the 9th grade English classroom, the big research paper that they assign every year came to mind. The process includes teaching students how to evaluate sources, compile information, and present it in a research paper so that it proves their thesis. A Web Quest would be a beneficial introductory activity for the research paper because 9th graders are still learning about the research process and how to evaluate sources, so they would greatly benefit from the fact that the teacher chooses the sources that they use. The teacher could compare the strong, reliable sources she chose to specific examples of bad sources.

 

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References

Coffman, T. (2013). Using Inquiry in the Classroom: Developing creative thinkers and information literate students (2nd ed.). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Education.