Sunday, November 25, 2012

Making Learning Meaningful


Overwhelmed is a good word to start with.  It's easy to find yourself in such a predicament.  Improving the quality of instruction is painstakingly slow.  I am thankful for cooperative teachers in my district.  Resistance is counterproductive.  The students end up being a casuality.  Haberman in this essay, "Who Benefits From Failing Urban Schools", discusses what he terms as miseducation.  He states some 14 million students in 120 of the biggest urban schools are suffering from a dysfunctional system.  The miseducated he writes will live shorter healthy lives with greater stress.  They in essence represent a personal tragedy.  The only way student learning can be improved is to reflect, share, and evaluate.  Based on our first quarter Literacy First assessments, 80% of our students K-3 are at risk.  All effort is being placed on reconfiguring our classroom instruction to allow for differentiated instruction through whole group and flex group instruction.  Whether working on increasing a student's understanding of inferencing, mastery of phonics skills, or the use of analogies for vocabulary building, the focus must be on making instruction meaningful. 

<div style='padding-bottom: 2px; line-height: 0px'></div><div style='float: left; padding-top: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px;'><p style='font-size: 10px; color: #76838b;'>Source: via Laura on Pinterest</p></div>


Educators are being required to meet a new standard of learning.  CommonCore will require students to develop new literacies reflective of the 21st century to demonstrate understanding. Learning must represent a variety of dimensions as opposed to being one dimensional.  Students will have to demonstrate learning through competencies.  How will we assess these competencies?  Linked here is a 21st Century Skills Progress Report scooped by Dennis Burris from a post entitled, "How Do We Measure A Competency?", written by Greg Miller.  This resource was shared during a Twitter chat using the hashtag #21stedchat by a teacher in Alberta. 


A sense of urgency must be shared among today's administrators and educators to accept the new standard of learning.  We must brainstorm about different avenues that will open the door for learning for our students.  Could the above poem, "Buying A Puppy", be downloaded onto iAnnotate and students highlight the inferences using tools embedded?  Could students create their own ebook that reflects vocabulary acquisition or a short screen cast explaining the differences between homophones?  Could students use Linoit to visualize better the sneaky e concept?  Students will have to be able to analyze, create, and apply.  This requires a deeper level of understanding.  How could we take the poem, "Buying A Puppy", and create a 21st century learning project?  Could students research the lives of service dogs for the physically and mentally challenged?  Could students create a blog that connects people looking for service dogs to people who train and provide service dogs?  I believe the new standards will challenge our students and make learning more meaningful. 

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