Tuesday, October 29, 2013

TEI Tuesday Tip for 10/29

Getting on board with "fill-in-the-blank" TEI questions

Take a look at the two sample science TEI questions. Students must “fill-in- the-blank” by providing the correct answer. Easy enough, however, this kind of free response answer is atypical of most multiple choice tests. Most of the fill-in-the-blank TEI questions involve numeric answers, but getting students to generate an answer based on correct  calculations and problem solving, requires practice. How can you have students practice this type of response while also building their endurance? 
Dry erase boards: Dry erase boards offer a fun, quick way to get ongoing feedback from students. They are reliable when the technology isn’t. The teacher can monitor student progress and adjust instruction by observing student responses on their mini-boards. They are a useful tool throughout each stage of instruction and can be used in many different settings.
I made a set of dry erase boards by purchasing one large sheet of  “shower board” (tile board)  at Lowe’s. When I explained it was for my students, they were willing to cut the board into individual pieces.  With nothing done to the edges, these inexpensive dry erase boards have lasted since their purchase 10 years ago. If you have a hard time finding this type of shower board, why not use plastic coated dinner plates, laminated folders or sheet protectors with heavy paper inside.

Google Forms: If you’ve never created a Google form, these can also provide an engaging way to have students practice filling-in-the-blank with a little more zip to the results.  A Google form can be used to collect information that is text-based or numeric-based. When students submit their answers on a Google form, the data goes to one spreadsheet that you can then use to view, sort and compare results.
Using a Google form isn’t something that you can only do in the computer lab setting. With only a few computers in your classroom, students can take turns completing a Google form as a quick formative assessment, check for prior knowledge or learning extension.
Here is an example of a Google form that you might use to get students thinking beyond one right answer.  The science question in the TEI sample asks the student to identify the number of carnivores in the woodlands habitat diagram. The Google form below asks students to identify carnivores in a variety of habitats.

Pose a question, respond using a Google form, then have a discussion based on their responses.
Here's to another day of "thoughtfully engaged instruction"!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

TEI Tuesday Tip for 10/22

Getting into the Groove with the Venn Diagram!

Take a look at the "drag and drop" TEI question from a 4th grade reading sample. The popular Venn diagrams that we see in TEI questions like the one pictured here, have been around since their origination in the late 1800's by mathematician, John Venn.

What makes these graphic organizers a powerful teaching and learning tool? The Venn diagram is a graphic organizer that represents the relationship between concepts, words and ideas. One of the characteristics of effective vocabulary instruction includes the use of linguistic and nonlinguistic representations. The Venn diagram challenges the student to consider similarities and differences when placing words/phrases in the appropriate circle(s). With practice, students learn to use a higher level of cognition to make connections between words placed on the diagram.

How do we train our students to become proficient at "dragging and dropping"? The reading SOLs require students to compare and contrast early on in order to demonstrate comprehension. Using a Venn diagram where students identify the similarities and differences, or having students create their own Venn diagrams, will help to build the critical thinking skills needed for thoughtfully engaged instruction.

Let's take a look at some creative ways to get  your students "doing TEI" with all kinds of Venn diagrams!
1. Hula Hoop Venn: Use inexpensive hula hoops on the floor and index cards or recycle old folders, to "drag and drop" comparisons into the Venn.

2. Whiteboard: Draw a Venn diagram on your whiteboard (or chalkboard). Use post its, index cards or recycled old folders. 
3.  Document Camera: The little post it notes work nicely with this. Print off a copy of a Venn diagram and place the post it notes under the document camera. Students can get a nice view of the diagram with a document camera.
Document Camera and Post It Notes
Document Camera with Post It Notes

4.  Interactive Venn Diagrams Online: There are now more options for creating Venn Diagrams online. Here are a few I find easy to use and engaging!
Read, Write, Think, Interactive Venn Diagram
Class Tools Venn Templates
Interactivate Shape Sorter
Teacher Led, Multiples Venn
Fuel the Brain, Venn Interactives
Cyberchase, Logic Zoo

5. Computer Software: My favorite for dragging and dropping is ActivInspire. Here is a template that you could modify for using to create Venn Diagrams.
Tei Tuesday Venn Flipchart

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

TEI Tuesday Tip for 10/15

The TEI tip for today spotlights one of our 6th grade teachers, Matt Johnston!
Matt finds that using technology can rev up the interest level as well as get students to use math vocabulary to discuss, question and understand the essential knowledge and skills that are part of the SOLs.

The TEI tip for today includes a flipchart that has Matt's "Ratio-ing Skittles"
TEI Ratios Flipchart 
TEI Ratios Flipchart, pdf format

Here's to another day of "thoughtfully engaged instruction!"

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

TEI Tuesday Tip for 10/8

It's TEI Tuesday! As you teach and assess, you are continually making important decisions about what your students know and what they need to learn. Based on your observations and knowledge of the curriculum, you can then modify your instruction to meet the needs of your learners.  Assessing for learning is necessary for thoughtfully engaged instruction.

One of the tools that can help assess student understanding is IA (Interactive Achievement). While this is used for benchmark testing, it can be used by teachers to develop their own TEI questions for assessing student understanding.  IA, which is now called onTRAC, has the ability to create drag and drop, hot spot and fill in the blank question types. While this is helpful, the reports formulated in IA are what make this tool so valuable in creating thoughtfully engaged instruction.

If you aren't sure what your students know, it's hard to design learning that meets their needs. I will offer many opportunities to learn more about how to use IA during the month of October. Please join me to see how IA can be used to create TEI questions. These sessions are designed to give you a better understanding of the functionality of IA and the many ways you could use it with your students.

October IA Training at Sealston Computer Lab (138)

October 18
  • 7:45 - 8:30 am: Using onTRAC reports to create math quick checks (Fanya and I will show you how the reports can help you in creating a quick check assessment for math)
  • 4:00 - 5:00 pm: Creating a basic and TEI exam

October 24
  • 7:45 - 8:30 am: Using onTRAC reports to create math quick checks (Fanya and I will show you how the reports can help you in creating a quick check assessment for math)

October 28
  • 4:00 - 5:00 pm: Creating a section exam with TEI questions (Section testing is used to create multiple sections in an exam to control the use of certain tools in each section)

October 29
  • 7:45 - 8:30 am: Creating a section exam with TEI questions (Section testing is used to create multiple sections in an exam to control the use of certain tools in each section)
  • 4:00 - 5:00 pm:  How to create your own exam questions
October 30
  • 7:45 - 8:30 am: Understanding the reports in IA

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

TEI Tuesday Tip for 10/1

It's TEI Tuesday!! Time for a new TEI tip!
Attached is a flipchart with sample math TEI questions for grades 2-6. These questions are aligned with quarter one math SOLs. This flipchart opens in ActivInspire. ActivInspire is a wonderful, interactive program that can be used even if you don't have a Promethean Board.
Perhaps my best tip this week is my recent experience with using a wireless mouse. This very handy tool allows you complete freedom to walk around and observe your students when you are presenting information on your computer with your LCD projector. Of course, I believe one day we will have rooms equipped with interactive whiteboards.....but, until then, why not purchase an inexpensive wireless mouse? I bought a $12 mouse and it worked great (minus the few times it dropped) My coordination has since improved as I "walk and mouse". If you happen to be in the computer lab, you have the added bonus of being able to see what your students are doing on their computer screens, without being tied to the "teacher computer".
Using a wireless mouse, you can project these sample items and navigate through the flipchart. Try passing the mouse to students for them to answer. Of course, you can also recreate these items with paper, however, I believe it is always good practice to have them see the formatting as it appears on testing programs.
I am always happy for feedback after your use a flipchart.
Here's to a great day of "thoughtfully engaged instruction"!

TEI Tuesday Flipchart 001

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