What was your “Most Trusted Resource” for 2017?
Who do you turn to?
I listened to the local meteorologist this morning to hear that the temperature was -10 with a wind chill of -35. I did not turn to the Weather Channel. I did not want to see an entire country enveloped in cold. My little region with the ticker of church cancellations across the bottom of the screen was sufficient. It met my needs. I did not need a second source. I already had verification when Mya was outside for less than one minute. It’s cold! It’s REALLY cold! Right now Iowa is as cold as the South Pole.
So if the local TV weather and my dog’s reaction were “enough” today . . . how do I typically make decisions about resources? Here’s the process that I typically use with my criteria.
1. What’s my learning goal?
Begin with the end in mind. What is the end point learning? What do I want to be able to know and do after the use of the resource that adds to my knowledge base? Because I value this thinking, I often search for UbD resources, Understanding by Design – Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. Resources built on a UbD framework already encapsulate some basic learning principles that I value as shown in this ASCD resource. How well does this learning goal align with the standards, assessments and learning targets? How will I measure learning. All of these questions and more are evaluated in the UbD process!
2. Are the resources accurate, useful, efficient, and relevant?
Putting four criteria together is daunting because these can and should all be evaluated separately. But here’s the deal, if they aren’t all present to a high degree, the resource is really useless. Not needed. Not wanted. Not going to be in a “fixer-upper” pile as life is too short to be re-working resources that are not accurate, useful, efficient, and relevant.
3. Have the resources been written, taught, and vetted using a process/protocol to improve them?
How were the resources developed? Were they written by persons who haven’t been in a classroom since they were students? Or are they written and reviewed by teachers who are constantly striving to improve their teaching practices and who are willing to work collaboratively and diligently to appropriately give credit to original authors for their ideas? Was a template or framework used so developed materials align vertically within the content area and horizontally across grade levels and content areas? What information is available about the process? What information is available about the review?
What resources meet this criteria?
One FREE source is found with the Massachusetts Department of Education. You will need to create an account (good for 30 days) and agree to honor copyright – you can’t profit from the work! Here’s the link – doe.mass.edu
“Why these resources?”
- Massachusetts is getting results in literacy.
- This resource comes from their state department of education website and was the result of a collaborative process Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe and hundreds of teachers.
- You can begin by using a unit and adding or subtracting learning activities based on the needs of your students.
- There is a TRANSFER goal in every unit.
- Outcomes, Assessment, Standards, and Instruction are aligned. Resources are the last to be chosen. That’s a part of the UbD model!
- The resources are accurate, useful, efficient, and relevant.
- The materials reference sources and are not plagiarized intellectual property.
- The units only require a registration (and renewal after 30 days).
Check out the resources NOW!
Access to multiple grade levels can help you with pre-requisite skills and learning expectations!
Grade 2 Example ELA Units:
Grade 9-10 Example ELA Units:
What are YOU waiting for?
How could using these units as “mentor” units help you increase student learning?
What process are you using when you search for learning resources?
Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.
My One Little Word (#OLW14) for this year is
Our focus for curriculum development for all content areas is Wiggins and McTighe’s Understanding by Design (UbD). UbD is one of three models typically used in Iowa. Since June, we have worked with four different groups of ELA teachers and administrators to begin development of “units” through the UbD planning process. We have also worked with two content area groups on how to use the ELA Standards for all content areas as required by the Iowa Core Standards. Jay McTighe will be in Iowa next week for the fall ASCD conference to work with educators on unit design to improve understanding. What a great opportunity to increase our own understanding of UbD.
In the UbD model, what is transfer?
Grant Wiggins says it is the “Point of Education” as teachers plan, teach and assess for transfer including long-term goals. In a post that includes that phrase, Wiggins defines transfer as:
“[Transfer is] the ability to extend what has been learned in one context to new contexts. Educators hope that students will transfer learning from one problem to another within a course, from one year in school to another, between school and home, and from school to workplace. Assumptions about transfer accompany the belief that it is better to broadly “educate” people than simply “train” them to perform particular tasks.” (“Transfer as the Point of Education”)
Does transfer happen automatically?
As a teacher have you ever taught something, given students time to practice, used a formative assessment, but still had students fail the summative task? I think that the typical ubiquitous spelling list often led this category for many students. Transfer can only happen when there is reflection, analysis, and generalization from the lessons learned as “rote memory tasks” do not typically “transfer” learning.
So are hands-on projects conducive to “transfer” of learning for students?
Wiggins says, “The typical hands-on project – done for all the right reasons – does not assess for transfer if the student 1) gets help all along the way in completing the project, 2) the work is highly contextualized, and 3) little demand is typically made whereby the student must draw general and transferable lessons from the doing of this and other projects.” The thought that projects are often not about transfer can also be a reason to stop and think about the purpose of the performance task that is being used. Is it a new, real, and relevant situation? (“Transfer as the Point of Education”)
What does transfer look like?
In this UbD video, Wiggins talks about soccer and education. “The goal is not to see if they got what you taught; the goal is to see if they can use it when you are gone. The goal is NOT to be better at school.” Specific information about Transfer Goals can be found in this video by Jay McTighe. Additional articles and blog posts include:
So how does transfer fit into my life as a Reading Specialist? What are my expectations?
Considering Transfer and Professional Development. . . .
I will model a lesson / strategy / practice and then:
- Teachers will practice and use modeled lesson in PD..
- Teachers will use lesson in classrooms.
- Teachers will independently use lesson in other content areas/situations in their lives!
Considering Transfer and Students . . . .
Teachers will model a lesson / strategy / practice and then:
- Students will practice and use the lesson in class.
- Students will use the lesson in other classrooms where not taught.
- Students will apply the learning on their own, in any situation, without help!
Possibilities for transfer . . .
There are many paths for instruction, further work with UbD and even this post by Anna Gratz Cockerille, “Using assessment tools to teach transference”. with my “One Little Word” I am looking for transfer every day.
What is your understanding of “transfer”? Do you see teachers or students “transferring” their learning?