Teaching Continuity and Change: Crowdsourcing My Lesson Idea

SI-Neg-46-859

I've been invited by the education department at the Smithsonian Institution to do a guest blog post for the museum’s blog using resources from Smithsonian’s History Explorer. I have an idea for a document based question (DBQ) that explores the historic perspective of continuity and change. I thought I’d “crowdsource” my idea to my readers for some feedback. 

Note: the post went live at the Smithsonian blog on Oct 4, 2010  

Premise: The student get to be the historian

I think we often “over curate” the historic artifacts and documents we share with students. For more on that subject see my post:  "Essential Question: Who is the Teacher in Your Classroom?" I want to use documents that students could investigate without much background knowledge. Visual images offer the broadest access for students and I found a great collection of historic bicycles in the “Smithsonian Bicycle Collection.” My lesson would include images of about five bicycles with a brief description and key details. Text description would be limited to allow students to explore the images and draw their own conclusions. I think it makes sense to provide pdf download of historic bicycle the material. I’ve also considered displaying the content as a Prezi – what do you think?

Analytic approach: Exploring continuity and change

Students need experience using a variety of analytic approaches across the curriculum. Continuity and change is a perspective that has a central role in historic thinking. In this lesson, students would be asked to view a series of images of historic bicycles and develop a model for analyzing the features – the elements that changed (size of wheels, gears) and those that remained relatively constant (human powered, seated posture).

Multiple level of Bloom: Moving from low to high
Students would begin with the lower level comprehension skills – what am I looking at? But would quickly move to analysis – what design patterns do I see in bicycles? Evaluation – which are important to my model? And creating – can I develop a comparative model to share my learning?

Relevance: Authentic audience, variable product, peer and self-reflection
I think the target audience for this lesson is middle – high school. I will prompt the students to design a way to explain their model to 3rd graders. (someone other than the teacher that will require them to consider audience and purpose) I won’t provide a graphic organizer. That would mean mean that I, not the students did the comparing. I’d like to leave it opened ended for students to develop their own graphic or text model to express what they’ve learned. Student would be invited to develop different models of comparison and be offered the chance to compare and learn from each others conclusions.

Extensions: Thinking more about bicycles continuity, and change

  • Consider how contemporary bicycles fit your continuity / chance model. Example – recumbent, mountain, fixed gear.
  • Design a bike
  • Apply the continuity / change model in another subject or discipline – fashion, architecture, musical styles, advertising, fictional characters… I could go on, but I hope you see the potential for learning.
  • Technology extension – Student could also be invited to view the world's public photography archives at the Flickr Commons using a  search by "bicycle." They could help describe the photographs they discover by adding tags or leaving comments. The collection includes works from the Smithsonian and other leading international photographic archives.

Image:
A.S. Wieners with 1887 Rudge Racing bicycle
Smithsonian Institution, Negative #: 46-859

The Reflective Principal: A Taxonomy of Reflection (Part 4)

reflective leader
reflective leader

Reflection can be a challenging endeavor. It’s not something that’s fostered in school – typically someone else tells you how you’re doing! Principals (and instructional leaders) are often so caught up in the meeting the demands of the day, that they rarely have the luxury to muse on how things went. Self-assessment is clouded by the need to meet  competing demands from multiple stakeholders.

In an effort to help schools become more reflective learning environments, I’ve developed this “Taxonomy of Reflection” – modeled on Bloom’s approach.  It’s posted in four installments:
1.  A Taxonomy of  Reflection
2. The Reflective Student
3. The Reflective Teacher
4. The Reflective Principal 

See my Prezi tour of the Taxonomy

It’s very much a work in progress, and I invite your comments and suggestions. I’m especially interested in whether you think the parallel construction to Bloom holds up through each of the three examples – student, teacher, and principal. I think we have something to learn from each perspective. I think each can contribute to realization of the new Common Core standards. 

4. The Reflective Principal

Each level of reflection is structured to parallel Bloom’s taxonomy. (See installment 1 for more on the model) Assume that a principal (or instructional leader) looked back on an initiative (or program, decision, project, etc) they have just implemented. What sample questions might they ask themselves as they move from lower to higher order reflection? (Note: I’m not suggesting that all questions are asked after every initiative – feel free to pick a few that work for you.)

taxonomy of reflection
taxonomy of reflection

Bloom’s Remembering: What did I do?
Principal Reflection: What role did I play in implementing this program? What role did others play? What steps did I take? Is the program now operational and being implemented? Was it completed on time? Are assessment measures in place?

Bloom’s Understanding: What was important about what I did? Did I meet my goals?
Principal Reflection: What are the the major components of the program?  How do they connect with building / district goals? Is the program in compliance with federal / state / local mandates? Will it satisfy relevant contracts? Is it within budget? Is the program meeting it’s stated goals?

Bloom’s Application: When did I do this before? Where could I use this again?
Principal Reflection: Did I utilize lessons learned earlier in my career? Did I build on the approaches used in previous initiatives? Will the same organizational framework or plan for implementation meet the needs of another program or project? How could my interaction with one stakeholder group be modified for use with others?

Bloom’s Analysis: Do I see any patterns or relationships in what I did?
Principal Reflection: Were the implementation strategies I used effective for this situation? Do I see any patterns in how I approached the initiative – such as timetable, communications, input from stakeholders? Do I see patterns in my leadership style – for example do I over-promise, stall when I need to make a tough decision? What were the results of the approach I used – was it effective, or could I have eliminated or reorganized steps?

Bloom’s Evaluation: How well did I do? What worked? What do I need to improve?
Principal Reflection: What are we doing and is it important?  Does the data show that some aspects of the program are more effective than others? What corrective measures might we take? Were the needs of all stakeholders met? In a larger context, is the organization improving its capacity for improvement? Were some aspects of my leadership approach more effective than others? What have I learned about my strengths and my areas in need of improvement?  How am I progressing as a leader?

Bloom’s Creation: What should I do next? What’s my plan / design?
Principal Reflection: What did I learn from this initiative and how would I incorporate the best aspects of my experience in the future? What changes would I make to correct areas in need of improvement? Given our experience with this project, how would I address our next challenge? Have I effectively helped our school forge a shared vision of teaching and learning? And has it served as the foundation of this plan? If this project will hold teachers more accountable for student performance,  how am I meeting my responsibilities to provide the inputs they need for success? How can I best use my strengths to improve? What steps should I take or resources should I use to meet my challenges? Is there training or networking that would help me meet my professional goals? What suggestions do I have for my stakeholders, supervisors or peers to foster greater collaboration?

The Reflective Teacher: A Taxonomy of Reflection (Part 3)

reflective teacher
reflective teacher

Reflection can be a challenging endeavor. It’s not something that’s fostered in school – typically someone else tells you how you’re doing! Teachers are often so caught up in the meeting the demands of the day, that they rarely have the luxury to muse on how things went. Moreover, teaching can be an isolating profession – one that dictates “custodial” time with students over “collaborative” time with peers. In an effort to help schools become more reflective learning environments, I’ve developed this “Taxonomy of Reflection” – modeled on Bloom’s approach.  It’s posted in four installments:

1.  A Taxonomy of  Reflection
2. The Reflective Student
3. The Reflective Teacher
4.
The Reflective Principal

 See my Prezi Tour of the Taxonomy

3. The Reflective Teacher

Each level of reflection is structured to parallel Bloom’s taxonomy. (See installment 1 for more on the model). Assume that a teacher looked back on an lesson (or project, unit, course, etc) they have just taught. What sample questions might they ask themselves as they move from lower to higher order reflection? (Note: I’m not suggesting that all questions are asked after lesson – feel free to pick a few that work for you.) Remember that each level can be used to support mastery of the new Common Core standards.

taxonomy of reflection
taxonomy of reflection

Bloom’s Remembering: What did I do?
Teacher Reflection: What was the lesson? Did it address all the content? Was it completed on time? How did students “score” on the assessment?

Bloom’s Understanding: What was important about what I did? Did I meet my goals?
Teacher Reflection: Can I explain the major components of the lesson?  Do I understand how they connect with the previous / next unit of study? Where does this unit fit into the curriculum? What instructional strategies were used? Did I follow best practices and address the standards?

Bloom’s Application: When did I do this before? Where could I use this again?
Teacher Reflection: Did I build on content, product or process from previous lessons? How does this lesson scaffold the learning for the next lesson? How could I adapt the instructional approach to another lesson? How could this lesson be modified for different learners?

Bloom’s Analysis: Do I see any patterns or relationships in what I did?
Teacher Reflection: What background knowledge and skills did I assume students were bringing to the lesson? Were the instructional strategies I used the right ones for this assignment? Do I see any patterns in how I approached the lesson – such as pacing, grouping? Do I see patterns in my teaching style – for example do I comment after every student reply? What were the results of the approach I used – was it effective, or could I have eliminated or reorganized steps?

Bloom’s Evaluation: How well did I do? What worked? What do I need to improve?
Teacher Reflection: What are we learning and is it important? Were my assumptions about student background knowledge and skills accurate? Were any elements of the lesson more effective than other elements? Did some aspects need improvement? Were the needs of all learners met? What levels of mastery did students reach?  What have I learned about my strengths and my areas in need of improvement?  How am I progressing as a teacher?

Bloom’s Creation: What should I do next? What’s my plan / design?
Teacher Reflection: How would I incorporate the best aspects of this lesson in the future? What changes would I make to correct areas in need of improvement? How can I best use my strengths to improve? What steps should I take or resources should I use to meet my challenges? Is there training or networking that would help me to meet my professional goals? What suggestions do I have for our leadership or my peers to improve our learning environment?

image credit: flickr/duane.schoon

The Reflective Student: A Taxonomy of Reflection (Part 2)

reflective student
reflective student

Reflection can be a challenging endeavor. It’s not something that’s fostered in school – typically someone else tells you how you’re doing! At best, students can narrate what they did, but have trouble thinking abstractly about their learning – patterns, connections and progress.

In an effort to help schools become more reflective learning environments, I’ve developed this “Taxonomy of Reflection” – modeled on Bloom’s approach.  It’s posted in four installments:

1.  A Taxonomy of  Reflection  
2. The Reflective Student
3. The Reflective Teacher
4.
The Reflective Principal 

See my Prezi tour of the Taxonomy

2. The Reflective Student

Each level of reflection is structured to parallel Bloom’s taxonomy. (See installment 1 for more on the model). Assume that a student looked back on a project or assignment they had completed. What sample questions might they ask themselves as they move from lower to higher order reflection? (Note: I’m not suggesting that all questions are asked after every project – feel free to pick a few that work for you.) Remember that each level can be used to support mastery of the new Common Core standards. 

taxonomy of reflection
taxonomy of reflection

Bloom’s Remembering: What did I do?
Student Reflection: What was the assignment? When was it due? Did I get it turned in on time?

Bloom’s Understanding: What was important about what I did? Did I meet my goals?
Student Reflection: Do I understand the parts of the assignment and how they connect? Did my response completely cover all parts of the assignment? Do I see where this fits in with what we are studying? 

Bloom’s Application: When did I do this before? Where could I use this again?
Student Reflection: How was this assignment similar to other assignments? (in this course or others). Do I see connections in either content, product or process? Are there ways to adapt it to other assignments? Where could I use this (content, product or process) my life?

Bloom’s Analysis: Do I see any patterns or relationships in what I did?
Student Reflection: Were the strategies, skills and procedures I used effective for this assignment? Do I see any patterns in how I approached my work – such as  following an outline, keeping to deadlines? What were the results of the approach I used – was it efficient, or could I have eliminated or reorganized steps?

Bloom’s Evaluation: How well did I do? What worked? What do I need to improve?
Student Reflection: What are we learning and is it important? Did I do an effective job of communicating my learning to others? What have I learned about my strengths and my areas in need of improvement? How am I progressing as a learner?

Bloom’s Creation: What should I do next? What’s my plan / design? 
Student Reflection: How can I best use my strengths to improve? What steps should I take or resources should I use to meet my challenges? What suggestions do I have for my teacher or my peers to improve our learning environment? How can I adapt this content or skill to make a difference in my life?

Image credit: flickr/Daveybot

A Taxonomy of Reflection: Critical Thinking For Students, Teachers, and Principals (Part 1)

My approach to staff development (and teaching) borrows from the thinking of Donald Finkel who believed that teaching should be thought of as “providing experience, provoking reflection.” He goes on to write,

… to reflectively experience is to make connections within the details of the work of the problem, to see it through the lens of abstraction or theory, to generate one’s own questions about it, to take more active and conscious control over understanding. ~ From Teaching With Your Mouth Shut

Over the last few years I’ve led many teachers and administrators on classroom walkthroughs designed to foster a collegial conversation about teaching and learning. The walkthroughs served as roving Socratic seminars and a catalyst for reflection. But reflection can be a challenging endeavor. It’s not something that’s fostered in school – typically someone else tells you how you’re doing! At best, students can narrate what they did, but have trouble thinking abstractly about their learning – patterns, connections and progress. Likewise teachers and principals need encouragement and opportunities to think more reflectively about their craft.

In an effort to help schools become more reflective learning environments, I’ve developed this “Taxonomy of Reflection.” – modeled on Bloom’s approach.  It’s posted in four installments:

1.  A Taxonomy of  Reflection
2. The Reflective Student
3. The Reflective Teacher
4. The Reflective Principal

Taxonomy of Reflection by Peter Pappas

Educator Larry Ferlazzo writes: “I think Peter Pappas’ Taxonomy of Student Reflection is a brilliant way of looking at developing higher-order thinking skills through a new “lens.” It makes Bloom’s Taxonomy much more relevant and engaging to students than so many other Bloom’s strategies that are out there. And it can be an invaluable and simple tool for formative assessment — something that any teacher can regularly use in their classroom that only takes a few minutes. My students and I have used it for the past three years, I’ve strongly recommended it in two books, and prominently highlight Peter’s work in my blog.”

A Taxonomy of Lower to Higher Order Reflection

Assume an individual has just completed a task. What types of questions might they use to reflect on the experience? How might those questions parallel Bloom’s Taxonomy?

Bloom’s Remembering: Retrieving, recognizing, and recalling relevant knowledge from short- or long-term memory.
Reflection: What did I do?

Bloom’s Understanding: Constructing meaning from oral, written, or graphic messages.
Reflection: What was important about what I did? Did I meet my goals?

Bloom’s Applying: Carrying out or using a procedure through executing, or implementing. Extending the procedure to a new setting.
Reflection: When did I do this before? Where could I use this again?

Bloom’s Analyzing: Breaking material into constituent parts, determining how the parts relate to one another and to an overall structure or purpose.
Reflection: Do I see any patterns or relationships in what I did?

Bloom’s Evaluating: Making judgments based on criteria and standards.
Reflection: How well did I do? What worked? What do I need to improve?

Bloom’s Creating: Combining or reorganizing elements into a new pattern or structure.
Reflection: What should I do next? What’s my plan / design?

~~~~~

Note: A thanks to dear friend and colleague Patricia Martin, for sharing her thoughts on this idea.

 Take my Prezi tour of the Taxonomy

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