Tuesday, November 26, 2013

TEI Tuesday Tip for Tuesday, 11/26


WOW, you MUST check out this website! Allenteachers is "dedicated to building dynamic, affordable resources and applications for education." They have created some amazing, interactive resources that are formatted to simulate TEI questions. Their interactive assessment materials and resources  can be used to thoughtfully engage students in thinking as well as prepare them for the increased rigor on standardized testing.
Like any resource, the effectiveness lies in how you use it with your students. What connections are you building with your students to help scaffold their learning and strengthen their content understanding? Take a few minutes to play with some of the resources and consider how you could use them with your students. I think you will very pleased with how they are self-checking as well.
To be honest, this website makes me want to learn how they created these wonderful activities! Here's to another day of "thoughtfully engaged instruction"!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

TEI Tuesday Tip for 11/19

The TEI tip for today spotlights Sealston Elementary's Math Lab Coach, Rebecca Jones!

Rebecca finds creative ways to engage students in the math process skills that are part of the rigor behind TEI questions. She has found that Class Dojo is a great behavior management tool that encourages positive behaviors when working collaboratively. Getting students to use increased rigor requires that we give them opportunities to show growth through the struggles of thinking mathematically.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

TEI Tuesday Tip for 11/12

Hot Spots: All 'Er Nothing!

All 'Er Nothing is a catchy song from the1955 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Oklahoma. In this song, cowboy Will Parker makes it clear to his charming beau, Ado Annie, that with him, it's all 'er nothing! This reminds me of Hot Spot TEI items. With these questions, it's all or nothing! At first that sounds quite harsh, particularly to younger students, but why not give this Hot Spot Challenge a second thought. How can you cultivate a desire to make hot spot items a challenge that students buy into?

While I love the flipcharts with ActivInspire, I am often asked how you can track and record progress with TEI items on them. My focus for this TEI tip is on making the Hot Spot Challenge a part of these wonderful flipcharts. Like any good instruction, the key to getting students involved is designing a lesson that builds on their understanding. Just giving students hot spot after hot spot, might get, a bit "heated". At what point in your lesson is it the right time to practice hot spots?

Notice the progression of learning in the attached rounding flipchart. I have built in several ways to help students understand the process of rounding numbers. After they have had practice, they will use the Google form to take "The Hot Spot Challenge".  The Google form (seen below) will give you the kind of feedback that you can use to track how well students are doing with answering hot spot TEI questions.

You can create Google forms that use a script to grade the quiz or assignment. Here is a link to the directions, which makes this an even more appealing way to track progress.
Directions for creating self-grading quizzes in Google Docs.

Here's to another day of "Thoughtfully Engaged Instruction"!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

TEI Tuesday Tip for 11/5

The Answer Pad, Go Interactive feature, is an amazing online dialogue system that provides multiple ways to check for student understanding throughout teaching. Checking for understanding is essential to "thoughtfully engaged instruction" and is therefore, the focus of today's TEI tip. The Answer Pad is on my top ten list of techy teaching tools. I hope you will take some time to consider the possibilities you could have using it.

The Answer Pad is a "student dialogue system." It allows students to engage with the teacher in a BYOD environment. The Go Interactive feature has seven different ways to capture student understanding in the classroom: multiple choice, true/false, yes/no, thumbs up/down, fill-in, slider,  and template uploads. The Answer Pad works with most web enabled devices. It is perfect for the computer lab setting as well as laptops, iPads or other devices that can connect to the Internet.

With a free account, teachers can create up to 8 classes and 200 students! The developers of The Answer Pad continue to look for ways to upgrade the functionality of this program. The variety of feedback that you can obtain with this tool is worth taking the few minutes to create a free account for your class.

Take a look at this video clip to see Go Interactive in action.

Here are some ideas of how you might use The Answer Pad during teaching:
1.       Pre-Assessment: Before you begin a unit in your curriculum, use The Answer Pad to check your students’ understanding of key vocabulary terms or other concepts.  Identify those students who might already understand key terms and could receive enrichment.
2.       How Confident Are You? As you are teaching, it’s good to poll your students to see how confident they are with certain vocabulary words, processes and content understanding. Use The Answer Pad to get a quick overview of how confident your students feel about their understanding.
3.       Student Surveys: Do you need real time data? Use The Answer Pad to gather data from your students. 
4.       During Teaching Questioning: Use The Answer Pad for answers to questions. Students can answer questions with The Answer Pad  to give you an idea of how many students are reaching the lesson objective.
5.       Check Homework: Go over answers to homework using The Answer Pad.
6.       Mental Math: Use The Answer Pad to help develop mental math skills. Students can "draw" their thinking using The Answer Pad.
7.       Team Games: Play vocabulary games where students work in teams to identify, for example, parts of speech. Write examples of parts of speech on the board. Call out a word and decide as a team, the part of speech the word represents. Use The Answer Pad to record answers.
8.       Predicting: When teaching students to use context clues to predict a missing word, use The Answer Pad to identify what that word might be.
9.       True or False: Have fun with vocabulary and play a game where you simply state a word and its meaning. Students use The Answer Pad to identify if you are telling the truth or not.
10.   Student Opinion Polls: After reading a situation, scenario or problem, use The Answer Pad to poll students with possible solutions. Examine the data to see what students are thinking.
11.   Yes-No: Use The Answer Pad to explore student understanding of content specific vocabulary. For example,
a.       Math: Is it reasonable that 189 is about 200?
b.      Social Studies: Is paper an example of a consumable good?
c.       Science: Is a rolling ball an example of kinetic energy?
d.      Reading: Is a flier a type of functional text?
 Here's to another day of "thoughtfully engaged instruction"!

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