Category Archives: ISTE coaching standard 2

The Coaching Cycle and Time Management

Establishing trust when starting a coaching relationship is key before all else but once this trust has been built and the framework is sturdy, what does the cycle of implementation and learning look like as well as the wrap up and reflection? Diane Sweeney has created the Results Based Coaching Tool (click link to have access to the template!) to help educators and coaches plan the cycle of learning from a student based perspective.  Key elements of this cycle are:

  • Pre and Post Assess to Identify Growth Across a Coaching Cycle
  • Understand How the Teacher and Coach Grew by using Exit Questions
  • Plan for Students Who Didn’t Meet the Goal

Using the Results Based Coaching Tool combined with the general cycle framework provided by Corwin, can help give the educator and coach a sequence of steps to follow to help stay on track.  In addition, providing time for the coach and teacher to reflect before they start the next cycle with the new learning and ideas they gained together will help to deepen the coaching relationship and in turn deepen student learning – especially for teachers who are new to having a coach and for a coach that is new to coaching.

Corwin – A Sage Publishing Group
Example of coaching cycle – Corwin – A Sage Publish Group 

While researching this topic, there was a variety of ideas of how long coaching cycles generally are. Of course, this depends on the goals, desired outcomes and bumps along the way.  This led me to think more about the time management skills that are necessary for coaches to set up a successful coaching cycle and for the cycle to be implemented in full. Time is of the essence when it comes to anything in education because a lack of time (and efficiency) can quickly erode good intentions and exciting ideas and instead, cause a break down between the planning process and actual implementation. A key digital tool that seemed to be important is an easy to use online/collaborative calendar to help all parties plan accordingly with the hectic schedules that are part of teaching and coaching. Nicole Turner maps out a way to manage time more efficiently in her blog post, Time Management for Instructional Coaches ~ What Should I be doing?. Big takes aways she mentions are:

  • Weekly reflections and goal setting
  • Making a calendar and schedule that takes into account all parties and easy access
  • Staying organized – using tracker sheets to organize who you meet with, what you talk about and the many notes you gather as a coach

These may seem like simple steps but coaches can quickly get overwhelmed, especially when they are meeting with multiple teachers or teams. Thinking through HOW you will do the steps above before starting the coaching relationship will help a coach be ready from day one and builds trust right away with who you are working with by showing them you are on top of the logistics so they do not have to be. 

Having a clear cycle explicitly in place and a time management system planned out, will help coaches to better meet ISTE Standard 2f. Coach teachers in and model incorporation of research-based best practices in instructional design when planning technology-enhanced learning experiences because everyone will be starting the coaching relationship from a clear and concise starting point.  This seems especially important when working with teachers who may be resistant to coaching. If the cycle and planning of time is a framework that takes into account the life of a teacher being coached, then the teacher will feel understood and be able to have input where they want but not have to be heavily involved in the logistics, which can result in ‘just another thing I don’t have time to do’. From this established starting point, the coaching sessions have the opportunity to dig into revising and strengthening lessons so that planning can be innovative and student-based…and realistic and doable! 

Resources:

Corwin. Coaching Cycle, What Does It Look Like? Retrieved from https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/coaching-cycle-what-does-it-look-like 

Sweeney, Diane. (Oct. 28, 2018). Measuring the Impact of Coaching Cycles. Retrieved from https://dianesweeney.com/measuring-the-impact-of-coaching-cycles/

Turner, Nicole (Feb. 19, 2019). Simply Coaching and Teaching. Time Management for Instructional Coaches –  What should I be doing?. Retrieved from https://simplycoachingandteaching.com/blog/2019/2/19/time-management-for-instructional-coaches-what-should-i-be-doing

Don’t Forget Discourse

For module 3 in our EDTC 6105 course I focused in on ISTE Coaching Standard 2f:

f. Coach teachers in and model incorporation of research-based best practices in instructional design when planning technology-enhanced learning experience. 

When integrating technology into learning in the classroom there are many instructional design aspects that come into play. One such is student discourse. Creating a culture of productive student discourse and mindfully integrating it into technology-enhanced lessons provides opportunities for students to exchange ideas, ask questions, develop thinking processes, express understanding or misconceptions, and reflect on their learning. While technology like Flipgrid, Seesaw, Explain Everything, virtual field trips, pair programming are some examples of how you might use technology to elicit or enhance student discourse there are research-based elements that teachers can look for, plan for and/ or reflect on that will support students with discourse across the board. Throughout the rest of this blog post, I’ll dive deeper into elements of productive discourse as well as share strategies that technology coaches could use when working with teachers or model for teachers to use with their students. 

Hallmarks of productive discussions:

Michaels and O’Connor’s work emphasizes the ways teachers can support productive academic talk in the classroom. They outline hallmarks of productive discussions as such:

  • Everyone can hear and understand what is being said, so that every single student is part of the conversation.

  • The conversation is focused, coherent, rigorous, and leads to deep conceptual understanding.

  • Students are motivated to participate and want to go public with their thinking, feeling like they have a stake in the conversation.

  • Conversation is not just for good talkers; everyone has a right and responsibility to contribute.

  • The teacher guides students in practicing new ways of talking, reasoning, and collaborating with one another. 

 

Their research outlines 7 key elements of academically productive talk that makes the hallmarks listed above doable.

Elements of academically productive talk:

  1. A belief that students can do it

Establishing beliefs that all students are capable of deep understanding of concepts and that their ideas are valued is the first step in promoting productive talk. A strategy to establish and nurture these beliefs is through growth mindset discussions, activities, and reflections. This may include: learning about the importance of student discourse and how it enhances learning, building a community that values risk-taking and growth over competition, and setting and holding all students to high expectations and providing appropriate feedback, support, scaffolds or differentiation so all students are able to be successful. 

 

  1. Well-established ground rules

“A culture of talk is more likely to take hold when teachers develop a common set of discussion norms and limit the list to just three to five important ground rules.” (p. 6). Teachers should acknowledge the purpose of the norms and review them with the class before beginning their academic discussions. These norms can be established at the beginning of the year and evolve as the year unfolds. Anticipating norms that students may struggle with and planning time to review norms before students engage in academic discourse will help you and students keep them in mind during the discussion.

 

  1. Clear academic purposes

Teachers who orchestrate academically productive talk take the time to plan and prepare for discussions. Part of the planning process for a productive discussion includes teachers anticipating how the discussion might unfold. Micheal and O’Conner note that it is “helpful to articulate to yourself the key ideas you hope to bring forward” (p. 3). As well as expressing the academic purpose(s) to students verbally and visually helps them to understand the goals and direction of their learning.

 

  1. Deep understanding of the academic content

Facilitating productive discourse means you must be prepared, understand the concept(s), bring key ideas forward, and anticipate common misconceptions. 

 

  1. A framing question and follow-up questions

At the heart of productive student discourse is a “clear, open framing question, designed to spark multiple positions, perspectives, or solution paths that can be taken, explicated, and argued for with evidence” (p. 3). 

 

  1. An appropriate talk format

Thinking about how you want students to engage in academic discourse is also important. Different types of formats for student discourse include:

Whole group:

In this format, the entire class focuses on making sense around a shared problem or task. The teacher uses their understanding of the content and pedagogical knowledge to maintain a high level of focus and rigor. Students gather in a circle so that everyone can see everyone else to maximize listening, and make use of body language to show that they are listening (p. 7).

 

Small group:

In this format, students work in groups of three or four, or even partnerships of two, sharing materials and ideas and coming up with shared solutions (p. 8). Micheal’s and O’Connor state that for small group work to be productive, tasks need to be designed for group work, not tasks that can be done by one’s self. Other important elements of small group work include setting clear expectations for the intellectual work, a time limit, and an accountability piece. One strategy they shared was having the class make public what went on in each group to build a collective understanding. They also point out that you can use small group discussions to elicit ideas and thinking and then lead into a whole-class discussion. 


Partner talk:

In partner talk the discussion is usually brief (1-2 minutes) and done with a predecided talking partner. Teachers use partner talk strategically to listen in and either share out or lead into small group or whole-class discussions.

 
Different talk activities and strategies teachers can use in the classroom.

7. A set of strategic “talk moves”

Talk moves are general moves that can be used in any discussion, which strategically set students up to think, reason and collaborate in academically productive ways. “Research over the past 20 years and documentation of teachers who facilitate productive discussions has led to the identification of a small number of general talk moves that are remarkably helpful tools for making discussions work” (p. 10).

Talk moves teachers can use with students during discussions.

As a coach I think having these flow charts and talk moves is helpful when working with teachers and also as a tool to share with teachers and review when they are planning their lessons. Hopefully, as a technology coach I can better guide teachers on how to plan and implement student discourse into their technology lessons.

 A few interesting blog posts and resources I found around student discourse and technology:

Work Cited: 

Michaels, S. & O’Connor, C. (2012). Talk science primer. TERC. Retrievd from https://inquiryproject.terc.edu/shared/pd/TalkScience_Primer.pdf

 

Technology Coaching Guide

For module 2 in my EDTC 6105 course, I focused on indicator f in the ISTE Coaching Standard 2. The indicator focuses on coaching teachers in and modeling research-based best practices of technology integration into their planing. 

As a teacher, I’ll admit sometimes I don’t know the research behind the practices I’ve been taught or am teaching. As an elementary school teacher, I am teaching: math, science, social studies, technology, coding, engineering, reading, writing, health, social-emotional skills, art, and the list goes on. It would be overwhelming for me to try and delve into the research in each of these domains and be able to name them. As teachers, we are taught these best practices through our teacher preparation programs, through professional development, PLC’s and researched based curriculums. So I don’t discount that I have been taught these research-based strategies. What I wonder is how as a coach I can teach or model research-based best practices in technology that teachers will remember and could name. In order to achieve this, I need to ensure as a coach I have a process or procedure that includes these best practices.

Two research-based practices I know and am confident in using and modeling as a technology coach are TPACK and The Triple E Framework. If you are interested in learning more about those two frameworks and research behind them I linked a previous blog post here

In this blog post, I will share a technology guide that I created to use as a technology coach. It contains steps I may take, including the modeling and use of researched-based technology practices when I am working with teachers. The steps below have been shaped by my own experiences as a teacher working with coaches and collaborating in PLC’s and other PLN’s. I hope to use this guide as a starting point and anticipate it evolving as I continue to learn and grow.

Tech Coach Planning Guide:

 

Relationship Building

Check in to see how the teacher is doing as a person. 

Possible talking points:

  • How are you?
  • What’s new in your life? 
  • What’s something going well in your classroom?
  • Connect or check in on something previously shared. 

Establish/ Review Norms

Co-create norms together at the beginning of the partnership and review each time you meet.

Possible talking points:

  • Norms will help us to facilitate the work of our team and enable us to stay focused and accomplish our goals. 
  • Use the google form to co-create norms
  • As a reminder lets start with our norms. They are…

Agenda

Go over the agenda.

Possible talking points:

  • Does this agenda look right? 
  • Is there anything missing?
  • Is there anything we need to prioritize?

Understanding students 

Understand class and their diverse needs? May only need to establish at the beginning of the partnership, but can check in as needed.  

Possible talking points:

  • Tell me about your class? Any learners with diverse needs?
  • How are your students doing? What are their strengths and challenges?
  • Do you have any students you are concerned about?
  • What else do you want me to know about your class? 
  • Would you feel comfortable with me coming in to observe and/or work with them? Is there anything you want me to notice?

Teacher Goals

Discuss the teacher’s goals for the coaching partnership and for their classroom. May only need to establish at the beginning of the partnership, but can check in as needed.  

Possible talking points:

  • What do you hope to accomplish working together? 
  • How can I support you? 

Digital Tools

Discuss digital tools available for integration and set a goal for use. 

Possible talking points:

  • Do you have a digital tool(s) you are wanting to integrate into your classroom or instruction?
  • What level of integration do you want in your classroom by the end of the school year? 
  • What skills are applied to nearly all tools (e.g., saving a file, naming a file, finding a file, logging in and out of accounts)? Have your students mastered these basic skills?

*Evaluating Digital Tools*

Model or practice using TPACK and Triple E Framework to evaluate the selected digital tools.

TPACK Resources

Triple E Framework Resources

Final Decision/ Check-in

Check in that the teacher is ready to begin implementing digital tools.

Possible talking points:

  • Do you have any questions or concerns about implementing this tool into your instruction?
  • What are the goals that we are established?
  • Are they realistic based on time and resources?

Actionable Next Steps

Create the next steps. 

Possible talking points:

  • What are the next steps you/we need to take?
  • What specific steps must you or we need to take to achieve the goals set?
  • Do we need to communicate anything to admin or parents? 
  • Is there a planning format you would like to use?
  • When are we meeting next? What do we hope to have accomplished at this time? 
  • Would you like me to check in with you throughout the process?

Check-In/ Support

Check-in based on plan from action steps. 

  • Email, in-person formal or informal, over phone, text, etc. 

Reflect

At the next meeting reflect on the action plan and how things are going. 

Possible talking points:

  • How is it going so far? Any discoveries?
  • What were some of my most challenging moments and what made them so?
  • What were some of my most powerful learning moments and what made them so?
  • Is there anything you want to problem-solve or talk about?
  • Did we accomplish our goals? Is there anything we would do differently or that went well that we want to continue to do?

 

References:

ISTE Standards for Coaches. (n.d.). Retrieved July 29, 2019, from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-coaches 

Kolb, L., Professor. (n.d.). About the Triple E Framework. Retrieved July 29, 2019, from https://www.tripleeframework.com/about.html 

Kolb, L., Professor. (n.d.). Triple E Lesson Planning. Retrieved July 29, 2019, from https://www.tripleeframework.com/triple-e-planning-tools.html 

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Framework for Teacher Knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017–1054. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.523.3855&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Math and Technology

This year I have been reflecting on my math instruction. My class this year is unique in that I have about 50% of students preforming below standard and about 25% preforming two grade levels below standard. Additionally, this year I am pressed for time and find with time restraints and a classroom of diverse needs teaching math can be very challenging. Thus, for this module I want to learn about ways technology could help to meet the needs of all my students. I am going to specifically, focus in on the areas of: strategy development, fluency and automaticity with in computational skills (e.g., addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). I decided to focus on this area as research has shown that students who fail to develop these foundational skills are more likely to experience difficulties in math curriculum later (Miller, Stringfellow, Kaffar, Ferreira, & Mancl, 2011).

Number Talks

Research has show that student’s conceptual understanding aids their development in building their fluency and automaticity (Kling and Bay-Williams, 2015). According to Kling, fluency is developed when students have the opportunity to deliberately and explicitly move through three developmental phases by building reasoning strategies. Kling finds that children generally begin solving math facts through counting (Phase 1), progress to using reasoning strategies to derive unknown facts (Phase 2), and finally, develop mastery with their facts (Phase 3). If students simply memorize math facts as rote facts, they might fail to develop important conceptual understandings, which puts them at a disadvantage when attempting to engage in more advanced math work (Kling & Bay-Williams 2015). I found the analogy below helpful in illustrating the importance of student’s development of strategies and reasoning. Learning Scientist Claire Cook states:

Math is not about memorization per se —  “just as a master chef doesn’t go about selecting the right ingredients in the right amounts because he’s memorized recipes, but rather because he knows what he’s doing at that level without thinking about it too hard or too explicitly.” (McGraw Hill, 2019).

Number Talks are one avenue to build students conceptual understandings. They build students number sense and focus on student’s understandings of math strategies and abilities to reason when solving problems. Students just like the master chef from the analogy above do not solve math problems based on memorization but instead draw from a repertoire of strategies and reasoning.

How to use Flipgrid for Number Talks

With all that being said, Number Talks do not entail technology. Nonetheless, I feel that you could integrate technology into your Number Talks meaningfully into your classroom.  Using Flipgrid you could pose a number talk to students. Students then have the ability to listen to, process and formulate a strategy to solve the posed problem. After having formulated a strategy students can record and justify their reasoning on the Flipgrid. Students could also listen, interact, and critique other student’s responses. When thinking about implementing Flipgrid in this way I think that as a teacher you would have to be intentional about when you choose to use it and how you will address misconceptions and give timely feedback.

When’s a meaningful time for Flipgrid?

After having a whole class or small group Number Talk around a concept (eg., addition) students could go back and apply their new learning on a Flipgrid which may have a new related Number Talk or ask students to reflect or analyze the strategies they just covered. This offers students a chance to apply and reflect on their learning and allows teachers the ability to formatively assess what students know and which strategies or misconceptions students may have.

Addressing Misconception and Timely Feedback

If students are interacting or learning from others Flipgrid posts I think it is important for the teacher to give timely feedback to students. Especially in cases which students have misconceptions that may be perpetuated on the grid. However you decided to give feedback I think it would be powerful for students to then go back to their original post and address their misconception and/or add on new learning. This shows other students that making mistakes is part of learning and that as a class community we value growth mindset.

Other Online Programs

There are many types of programs out there (Prodigy, Front Row, Xtra Math, Khan Academy, Dreambox) that could provide students with practice and/or where students can apply strategies they have learned. Many online programs are adaptive, provide instant feedback and tend to have incentives or awards built in. These options may be helpful for students who struggle with math and could increase motivation and confidence (Outhwaite, Gulliford, and Pitchford, 2017). Additionally, these programs may provide the teacher with information and can be used a progress monitoring tool. Teachers can use the data from the programs to address misconceptions, review or teach strategies or concepts and set goals with students.

When choosing an online program do your research and be intentional. Using the SMAR model you could assess how to purposefully integrate the programs to meet your students needs. Additionally, if using the program as an intervention the National Research Council, has outlined many helpful components and states that math interventions be highly and correctly targeted to be effective (Burns, VanDerHeyden, and Boice, 2008).

How do you use online math programs or technology in your classroom? Do you have any programs that you’ve found beneficial to your students learning? Leave a comment below.

Supporting Technology Integration Within Schools

This quarter as part of Seattle Pacific University’s EDTC 6103 Teaching, Learning, and Assessment 2 course, I investigated the question: “How can I support technology integration in my school and assist teachers in using technology to engage, explore, create, and communicate in their classrooms?”

My goal is to find information and resources on strategies to support teachers on integrating technology into their classrooms. Currently my school is incorporating more technology and has asked if I will take the position of technology lead to assist teachers who may be struggling with the new technology and need guidance on how to integrate technology into their classrooms. Through research, my focus for this investigation was to cover the following ISTE Coaching Standard:

2E: Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences using differentiation, including adjusting content, process, product and learning environment based on student readiness levels, learning styles, interests and personal goals.

2h: Coach teachers in and model effective use of technology tools and resources to systematically collect and analyze student achievement data, interpret results, and communicate findings to improve instructional practice and maximize student learning.

Models for Integrating Technology

The TPACK Model

The SAMR Model

Barriers You May Face

While researching about digital integration in schools I found a chapter written by Michael Phillips that makes aware of two types of barriers teachers have been having when integrating technology within their schools.

First-Order Barriers

The Extrinsic Barriers to Effective Integration

  • Lack of access to computers and software
  • Insufficient time to plan instruction
  • Inadequate technical and administrative support

Second-Order Barriers

The Personal Barriers to Effective Integration

  • Beliefs about teaching
  • Beliefs about computers
  • Established classroom practices

The Think, Feel, Care Protocol

When integrating technology it is easy to focus solely on your own thinking, but Beth Holland introduces a new “protocol” that will help allow technology supporters to look at the situation from the receivers point of view. This protocol is called the “Think, Feel, Care Protocol” and incorporates the following questions:

Think: How does this person understand their position in the school and their role within it?

Feel: What is this person’s emotional response to the change/technology/idea and how it affects their position?

Care: What are this person’s values, priorities, or motivations? What is important to this person?

This strategy helps others consider the “different and diverse perspectives held by the various people who interact within a particular system.” (Harvard, 2015)

“The goal of this routine is to help others understand that the variety of people who participate in a system think, feel, and care differently about things based on their positions in the system. ” (Harvard, 2015)

Some questions you may need to reflect on before attempting to assist teachers who may be reluctant to implement technology:

1.”What is the greater purpose of the technology? ” (Holland, 2018)

In other words where would technology fit within their instruction. Many teachers may feel they are to busy to implement technology into every lesson, but may be more open to using technology as a response tool for assessments or a communication tool for parents.

2. What are the teacher’s concerns? (Holland, 2018)

This questions refers back to the “Think, Feel, Care Protocol” I mentioned earlier. It is important to figure out what it is that is causing the teacher to feel uneasy with integrating technology in their classroom. This could be a multutitude of reason including,

  • They may not feel they have the time for technology.
  • They may not know how to use technology effectively.
  • They may feel overwhelmed with the use of technology.

3. How can the teacher make a gradual shift to technology? (Holland, 2018)

Keep in mind that when implementing technology we should encourage a gradual shift to others who are more reluctant. More often then not it is better to begin with one or two new programs or uses of technology in the classroom and be patient to see if and when the teacher is ready to implement more.

Resources

Common Sense Education. (2016, July 12). What is the TPACK Model?. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMQiHJsePOM

Holland, Beth. (2018, October 8). A Better Way to Integrate Edtech. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/article/better-way-integrate-edtech

Philips, Michael. (2015, June 10). Digital Technology Integration. Retrieved from http://newmediaresearch.educ.monash.edu.au/lnm/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Ch25-Phillips-Digital-technology-integration_p318-331.pdf

Spencer, John. (2015, November 3). What is the SAMR Model and what does it look like in schools?. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC5ARwUkVQg

Effective Peer Coaching

To use the word ‘coach’ to describe an educational coach almost seems like a misnomer. The term ‘coach’ implies one person has skills and insight that the other does not. Terms like ‘supporter’ or ‘collaborator’ seem much more fitting. Modern coaches and their peers “are learning with and from each other, as they co-plan learning activities, model, team-teach, observe, and reflect. This is a collaborative relationship that requires meaningful discussions about ways to improve teaching and learning [that] are likely to challenge current practices.” (Foltos, 2013) In other words, coaching is not a one-way street where one party is being spoon-fed tips and tricks!

The balance between coaching and collaborating is one that needs to be set early in the relationship. As part of collaborative norms for coaching, Foltos suggests using the concept of ‘joint accountability.’ Joint accountability can only occur after coaching pairs have both explicitly committed to norms for both their individual and collective responsibilities. The scope of this accountability may change depending on the task at hand. Is the coaching relationship a year-long one? Or is the focus narrow to a specific unit or new technology implementation? The scope and purpose of the collaboration should guide the norms being established.

Having norms in place can prevent the type of spoon-feeding or learned helplessness that can arise when teachers misunderstand the purpose of an educational coach. What this looks like on a practical level is the use of probing questions to guide the teacher through inquiry. The role of the coach in solving a problem is to help the teacher think critically and perhaps consider the issue through a new lens. Ultimately, “the collaborating teacher develops the answer that he or she brings back to the classroom to implement… [drawing] on what he or she learned with and from the coach.” (Foltos, 2013)

Another element critical to the success of a peer coaching relationship is the willingness and commitment of the participating teacher. A successful coaching relationship can only exist when the participating teacher is “open to collaboration and want[s] to improve teaching and learning. The willingness to collaborate and improve is essential.” (Foltos, 2013) Just as it is with young students, buy-in is critical. A teacher must be in a position of wanting to learn and willing to try new things. Likewise, the coach should not enter the relationship with preconceived notions and solutions. 

Giving teachers voice and choice in the coaching process is essential. While many districts assign coaches to teachers, this is not the best practice. Teachers should never feel they are “being punished and forced to change.” (Foltos, 2013). Instead, teachers can be given opportunities to partner with coaches who are interested in collaboration. This is where the term ‘coach’ can hinder the success of educational coaching. Shifting away from the model of having a handful of “expert coaches” working with a large population of teachers, peer coaching can be much more accessible and amenable to teachers. For example, an English teacher can coach a Social Studies teacher who is interested in implementing Close Reading in his/her classroom. Or a teacher who is passionate about assistive technology can work with the resource specialist in exploring new tools for students. 

Ultimately, a great deal of time and energy must be exhibited by both the coach and participating teacher in order to make the coaching relationship successful and beneficial for all parties. Though this can seem like a lot of work, the effort pays off when “…you can take risks and try out new ideas, instructional strategies, or different approaches to the curriculum and discuss the results with a trusted colleague.” (Robbins, 1991)

Sources:

Foltos, L. (2013). Peer coaching (1st ed.). Corwin.

Robbins, P. (1991). How to plan and implement a peer coaching program. Washington: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Tools to Evaluate 21st Century Teaching

Earlier in the EDTC program, I blogged about Future Ready Schools which is an initiative aimed at evaluating a district’s current progress in terms of meeting 21st-century learning goals. The feedback I received from my peers was that it seemed like an interesting program, but left little support for teachers wishing to independently identify their own areas of possible improvement. For this week’s post, I wanted to focus on evaluation tools available to teachers for self-assessment or coaches for mentor feedback. While many options exist for teacher feedback, my focus was on observation tools that support teachers in implementing 21st-century learning skills in support of ISTE coaching standard 2: “Coach teachers in and model incorporation of research-based best practices in instructional design when planning technology-enhanced learning experiences.”

Before considering frameworks for evaluation, it’s important to establish what is meant by the term ’21st-century learning.’ I found the above graphic from the Partnership for 21st Century Learning to be helpful in considering the interconnected skills required of 21st-century learning. 21st-century learning focuses on deep rather than shallow learning, opportunities for real-world problem solving, overarching themes that cross disciplines, and equipping students with the ability to process, filter, and synthesize information from a variety of sources.

 

Evaluation Tool 1: Council for 21st Century Learning

The Council for 21st Century Learning is committed to supporting 21st-century learning by offering consulting and training to districts and schools. Their work begins with a diagnostic to identify areas of need. Support is then provided through coaching, workshops, and presentations. One thing I find interesting about C21L is that they emphasize two components for successful implementation- in and for. Learning IN the 21st-Century involves the use of technology to process, interact, and publish information. Learning FOR the 21st-Century refers to the experiences and skill sets necessary to thrive when interacting with technology such as critical thinking and collaborating. C21L has publicly shared many resources on its website that are available for all teachers to use.

The following observation form is designed to be used by coaches or administrators when completing walk-through evaluations. The checklist format makes it easy to take note of the various elements within the classroom environment. I appreciate how comprehensive this list is. In addition to types of technology use (by both student and teacher), there are places for feedback on the types of instructional strategies being used, student grouping, and even levels of Blooms’ taxonomy. Instead of using this checklist solely for evaluative purposes, it would also be a powerful tool for teachers to utilize when planning or reflecting on a lesson.

Evaluation Tool 2: Strengthening Your Reflective Commentary

This tool was created by AJ Castley and included in various methods on the Warwick Learning and Development Centre for teachers to self-assess. The form provides teachers with 7 open-ended questions to consider their teaching across 3 areas: teaching, assessing, and curriculum design. Within each broad question are more particular questions designed to walk teachers through a deep analysis and reflection of what went well and what could be improved within a given lesson. Some of the guiding questions include “Why did you do it that way? How else might you have done it?” I thought this tool paired particularly well with the conversations my 6105 class has been having about probing questions (see my earlier post on Inquiry Method for Educational Coaching).

These questions on this form facilitate strong self-reflection for teachers choosing to use individually. The framework would also work well for coaches looking at ways to draw out reflection from a teacher. Another way to utilize these reflection questions is to frame discussion within a PLC about a lesson or unit.

Evaluation Tool 3: Learning Design Matrix

One of the resources shared in my 6105 class this past week aligns with my exploration of feedback tools. The Learning Design Matrix was adapted from Eeva Reeder, a frequent Edutopia contributor on Project Based Learning. Within the four-square matrix, teachers and coaches can consider elements of a 1) Standards-Based Task, 2) Engaging Task, 3) Problem-Based Task, and also how technology enables and/or accelerates learning of that given task. Rather than viewing the matrix as a comprehensive to-do list, it is helpful to choose several key elements and consider how a lesson you’ve taught or want to teach fits within those elements.

Coaches can use the matrix when evaluating a teacher’s lesson or unit or when assisting them in planning. One activity we completed in class was reviewing a teacher’s unit plan and reflecting on the unit in light of the matrix. My classmates and I found elements of the matrix being used in the unit with success and then considered how we could improve the unit plan using other elements from the matrix. It was an extremely enlightening exercise.

Google Forms and the Power of Self-Assessment

Mention the word ‘data’ in a staff meeting and you’ll see teachers stifle eye rolls and sighs. Because we know what’s coming next…graphs and charts depicting test scores from the prior school year or quarter showing us all the ways in which our students didn’t meet the districts’ lofty goals. This isn’t the kind of data I want to talk about today. I want to talk about data that is meaningful and student-driven.

Data collection and analysis is part of the ISTE Coaching Standard 2h, “…model effective use of technology tools and resources to systematically collect and analyze student achievement data.” Being a self-professed Google junkie, I knew I wanted to cover Google Forms for this post. Then, after researching the many ways Google Forms can be used for data collection, I discovered a post on the blog Lindsay Ann Learning which suggested using Forms for student self-assessment. I’ve used Forms to gather and analyze multiple choice data, but this post opened my eyes to new ways to use Forms for data. It also challenged me to consider how I define “quality” data. Is it the percentage of students who chose the correct letter answer, or is it growth over time as defined by a much broader set of standards and demonstrated through reflection?

What is meaningful self-assessment?

  • A process in which students “1) monitor and evaluate the quality of their thinking and behavior when learning and 2) identify strategies that improve their understanding and skills. That is, self-assessment occurs when students judge their own work to improve performance as they identify discrepancies between current and desired performance.” (McMillan & Hearn, 2008)

Why student-driven data?

  • Students regularly provided with the opportunity to self-assess and reflect on their own learning are more likely to recognize the elements that led to success: hard work, effort, and studying. (Fernandes & Fontana, 1996)

New Data Idea 1: Collect data in the form of student reflection

To test out this new way of collecting data, I made a sample Research Project Self-Assessment in Google Forms. I incorporated the advice shared on Lindsay Ann Learning including using linear scales with an odd number of choices (to ensure no middle-line stances), incorporating open and close-ended questions, and writing questions designed to measure self-perception of learning. Here’s what data from that self-assessment might look like:

Class-wide data as seen from Google Form Responses tab

 

Sample student report with change over time (click to enlarge)

 

New Data Idea 2: Give the power of the rubric to students

Rubrics. I have a love-hate relationship with them. Why? They’re so helpful in understanding where a student is at and why, yet almost no student actually reads through them! That’s why I appreciated Jennifer Roberts’ idea. As part of her Memoir Self-Reflection (which you can make a copy of here), students must read through her rubric and rate themselves on each element.

Photo credit: Google Form ‘Memoir Self Evaluation’ made by Jennifer Roberts

Research supports the value of rubrics in helping students meet learning goals. As stated by McMillan and Hearn: “[P]roviding evaluation criteria through rubrics…helps students concretely understand outcomes and expectations. They then begin to understand and internalize the steps necessary to meet the goals.” (2008)

New Data Idea 3: Exit tickets for quick reflection

Exit tickets as formative assessment are nothing new in education. However, using Google Forms to streamline this process can help you easily gauge how students feel about their own learning after a lesson. Here’s a sample Exit Ticket I made. Taking a minute at the end of class to allow students to self-assess can inform instruction before you dive into assessments and projects with a large portion of your class potentially in the dark.

 

 

Next Steps

Self-assessment data should drive instruction in your class in the same way that traditional high-stakes testing instruction should. Below are some next-steps you might consider when using self-assessment data to drive instruction.

 

Sources

Fernandes, M., & Fontana, D. (1996). Changes in control beliefs in Portuguese primary school pupils as a consequence of the employment of self-assessment strategies. British Journal Of Educational Psychology, 66(3), 301-313. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8279.1996.tb01199.x

Google Forms for Data Collection. (2016). Retrieved from https://lindsayannlearning.com/student-data-google-forms/

McMillan, J., & Hearn, J. (2008). Student Self-Assessment: The Key to Stronger Student Motivation and Higher Achievement. Educational Horizons, 40. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ815370.pdf

Roberts, J. (2017). Self-Evaluation Google Form for Students. Retrieved from http://www.litandtech.com/2017/09/self-evaluation-google-form-for-students.html

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