Prepared Especially for the Professional Learning Community of the MONTANA EDUCATORS’ INSTITUTE by Dan Mulligan, Ed. D. June 2010 Principle #1: Know the Learner The Mental State of: Montana Educators in June Benefits of Focus Activities • Help students focus and pay attention • Eliminate distracters • Open “mental files” • Provide choices • Encourage self-directed learning Algebraic Logic Puzzle Use your number sense to discover the value of each shape. Puzzle 1 Discover the value of each of the shapes. The total weight is 32. Clue: - 2 = + Rules to remember: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. The right and left sides of each horizontal beam must balance. Each shape has a unique and consistent weight within the puzzle and no shapes weigh zero. There are no ‘useless’ clues. All weights are either one- or two-digit, positive whole numbers. A piece hanging below the fulcrum does not affect the balance between the left and right arms. Although this piece has its own definite weight. Size of pieces has no relation to weight. There are three parts to any research-based lesson: •Beginning – ‘check for’ and ‘build’ background knowledge of each student; (BL) •During – teach and actively engage each student in new content – making connections to prior knowledge; (DL) •End – check for understanding - provide each student with an opportunity to summarize (in their own way) and practice the essential knowledge and skills conveyed in the lesson. (EL) Matter! Page 12 Structure BL #2 SAMPLE Pre-assessment that includes differentiation Personal Learning Goals • I will recognize the benefits of obtrusive, unobtrusive, and student, and student-generated assessment; • I will understand strategies to create assessment for learning and assessment of learning; • I will support my peers by offering constructive feedback to improve their efforts; • I will create assessment samples that will best elevate learning for my students; and • I will enjoy working with my colleagues! Types of Classroom Assessments • OBTRUSIVE Assessment – instruction/learning STOPS while students ‘take the assessment”; • UNOBTRUSIVE Assessment – instruction/learning continues as the teacher observes students performing a task; and • STUDENT-GENERATED Assessment – students generate ideas about the manner in which they demonstrate understanding. Premise of the Workshop As the United States continues to compete in a global economy that demands innovation, the U.S. education system must equip students with the four Cs: 1. critical thinking and problem solving, 2. communication, 3. collaboration, and 4. creativity and innovation. "For as long as assessment is viewed as something we do ’after’ teaching and learning are over, we will fail to greatly improve student performance, regardless of how well or how poorly students are currently taught or motivated." Grant Wiggins, 1998 MOVING from ETCH-a SKETCH Learning Learning is a process … not an event! to Each STUDENT UNDERSTANDING Unobtrusive Assessment Build the Tallest Freestanding Structure: The winning team is the one that has the tallest structure measured from the table top surface to the top of the marshmallow. That means the structure cannot be suspended from a higher structure, like a chair, ceiling or chandelier. Things to Understand Build the Tallest Freestanding Structure: The winning team is the one that has the tallest structure measured from the table top surface to the top of the marshmallow. That means the structure cannot be suspended from a higher structure, like a chair, ceiling or chandelier. The Entire Marshmallow Must be on Top: The entire marshmallow needs to be on the top of the structure. Cutting or eating part of the marshmallow disqualifies the team. Use as Much or as Little of the Kit: The team can use as many or as few of the 20 spaghetti sticks, as much or as little of the string or tape. The team cannot use the bag as part of their structure. Break up the Spaghetti, String or Tape: Teams are free to break the spaghetti, cut up the tape and string to create new structures. The Challenge Lasts 18 minutes: Teams cannot hold on to the structure when the time runs out. Those touching or supporting the structure at the end of the exercise will be disqualified. Ensure Everyone Understands the Rules: Don’t worry about repeating the rules too many times. Repeat them at least three times. Ask if anyone has any questions before starting. The FINDINGS • Kids do Better than Business Students: On virtually every measure of innovation, kindergarteners create taller and more interesting structures. • Prototyping Matters: The reason kids do better than business school students is kids spend more time playing and prototyping. They naturally start with the marshmallow and stick in the sticks. The Business School students spend a vast amount of time planning, then executing on the plan, with almost no time to fix the design once they put the marshmallow on top. • The Marshmallow is a Metaphor for the Hidden Assumptions of a Project: The assumption in the Marshmallow Challenge is that marshmallows are light and fluffy and easily supported by the spaghetti sticks. When you actually try to build the structure, the marshmallows don’t seem so light. The lesson in the marshmallow challenge is that we need to identify the assumptions in our project – what students must know and be able to do, how we will know when they understand it, what we will do if they do not understand it, what we will do when they understand it, the real student needs - and assess them early and often. That’s the mechanism that leads to effective assessment innovation.