My joy of advanced sections during the August Reading Institute at the #TCRWP centers around the thoughtful and deliberate choice of sections to meet my needs. As soon as I saw this title I was hooked because of the focus on “progressions” and “independence”. Transfer is always in the back of my mind as well. If a student doesn’t transfer the literacy work to both other content areas AND life, a lot of time has been wasted for minimal gains.
“Using Learning Progressions and Performance Assessments to Increase Student Skills and Independence” – Kelly Boland Hohne
On Day 1, less than 30 minutes into our first session, we were unpacking a strand. In a group of five other new friends, digging deeper into the meaning of just one reading strand with this process:
Unpacking a strand – do 3 things
- Study between the levels of the strands and note differences. What is the key work of this level?
- Try to put into own words or use keywords from description.
- Try to imagine how that would look in a student’s writing about reading or talk or what it would look like if the student is doing that work.
I appreciate so many things about the #TCRWP Institutes as the brilliant staff developers each have a different style. And though my brain felt like it was melting, I was so excited (and yet a bit apprehensive) about digging into this work immediately. As in one strand with gradual release (Teacher modeling, Group Practice) and then a second strand in our group with constant check ins and support (if needed). All On Day One! I think this was the point where I tweeted out that I was getting my $$$ worth at #TCRWP. However, it could also be where I first thought it, but had zero seconds to actually tweet it out! The pace is not for the faint at heart!
When dealing with the progressions: Do I have to do everything listed in the level to be “in” the level? (Have you ever had this question about the rubrics or the checklists?)
No, No, No. You just need to do more than the previous level. This is why demonstration texts are critical. If and when you make the thinking and the writing visible, students can figure out how to rise to the next level. However, teachers do need to unpack these strands themselves for deep understanding. Making a copy of someone else’s chart does NOT give you the background knowledge to help a student. After all you, as a teacher, are more flexible when you understand the tool which is why you need to do this work yourself.
Where might you begin? Which progressions stand out?
Focus on some key strands to begin with because they are repeated a lot (via Kelly Boland Hohne):
Literal – Envisioning/Predicting
Interpretive – Character Response/Change
Interpretive – Determining Themes/Cohesion
Analytical – Analyzing Parts of a Story in Relation to the World
Analytical – Analyzing Author’s Craft
We worked on these topics in small groups. Our group focused on “Character Response/Change”, What does this look like across grades? What would a demonstration piece of writing look like across the grades? Here’s what the draft of my chart looks like!
As we use the chart, it’s highly probable there will be some revisions. It’s also possible that there will be continued discussion about “quantity” and “quality” of responses. Those are some of the common issues in trying to measure/assess learning. The key is to:
- Make a plan.
- Think about the information you plan to use.
- Work collaboratively to consider theories about student work.
Making the invisible visible in reading comprehension is a lofty, noble and worthwhile goal. It CANNOT be handed to you in a book, a set of standards, or even a set of progressions. The meaning comes from digging into the work.
What work are you doing to build students’ independence?
How will you know you are on the learning journey?
How will you know when you are successful?
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?