Showing posts with label Bloom's Taxonomy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bloom's Taxonomy. Show all posts

What is Mastery Learning?

Each fall, there is always some new demand I have to make sure is part of my instruction. Moving three years ago to a new district is was innovation and tieing everything to the real world. It really wasn’t about moving students but what they would face in the real world. Well, after a year, I found you can have both.

Many innovations include elements of more established strategies for which do move students--like Master Learning.

So what is it??

The concept is simple: Students master concepts and skills before going onto other learning. How do you know they mastered it? You give them tests. If they do not reach mastery, then they go back and study and take the test again until they pass it. Benjamin Bloom, of Bloom's Taxonomy fame, came up with mastery learning in 1971.

I had noticed that because of the limited time I had with my groups, I always had a couple who need way more time than the everyone else. I also discovered that some of the basic skills had not been taught as I had been told. (You know how some IEPs are written.) I realize that part of the difficulty is that I am required to move these guys, no matter how big the gap.

What it looks like in my room?

Most mastery learning models stress the importance of giving quick and targeted pre-assessment to all students before beginning instruction to determine whether they have the prerequisite knowledge and skills for success in the upcoming learning sequence.  I do monthly progress monitoring and I give them the grade level assessment but also the grade under. I’m looking for the skills they don’t have. I’m also looking for data to support they have mastered the previously taught skill. I don’t have time to get both pre and post assessments. ( has reading and math K-6. It’s free, has norms, and students can take it online.)

For students whose pre-assessment results suggest deficiencies, mastery learning teachers take time to directly teach them the needed concepts and skills. In other words, I break the skills down and teach just that subskill. When they have that one I move on to the next. In math, skill accuracy is king. With my reading groups, if my group of 10s is working on picture clues--I’ll use two or three-word books to focus on picture clues or reading what is written. When that skill is mastered go back to 10s and move to the next skill they need to work on. (When working on skills go back to an easier level. This is important when working on comprehension skills, so they are using all their energy on decoding the text.)

To help students out, I rely on learning targets. I post them and they always reference the bog outcome. We talk about what it looks like and in some cases what it sounds like. I find this helps everyone get real clear about what their job is.This has saved me more than a couple times when an administrator pops in.

As a teacher, I’m not going to tell you this makes planning an easier for me and I find I have to be very clear about the steps needed to do a task. Backwards planning has become key when I’m planning. Backwards planning also helps make sure I’m hitting IEP goals.

Mastery Learning helps me balance focusing on students’ strengths and interests. Together, IEPs and mastery learning helps students to work on weaknesses and a customized path that engages their interests and helps them “own” their learning.

Mastery Learning can also give students the chance to build self-advocacy skills. I encourage students when they don’t understand a step or are lost “where are you confused?” If they everything, I try to get them to be more specific. This helps them focus on their own learning but also helps guide my own instruction to fill in that hole before moving on. We all think primary students are too young to self-advocate but how many times are will serious thinking about adding it to an IEP.? (stepping stones now)

The Hard Part?

The extra planning and comes with analyzing data. Some days I feel I’m drowning in data. But I have found if I’m truly teaching to IEP goals, then I’m progress monitoring IEP goals too. I don’t teach random stuff that has nothing to do with IEP goals. I only teach the IEP goals. The 30 minutes that student is out of his classroom, he is working on his IEP goals. Backwards planning and data dialogues help to ensure I’m hitting that target.

The key is to make sure that mastery learning is targeting the small skills needed to meet a larger target. By doing this, I can innovate how they demonstrate mastery--sometimes this is with technology and sometimes it's with STEM tasks.

At the end of the day is student growth. My goal is to work myself out of a job.

Until Next Time,

November Show & Tell

Today, I'll linking up with Stephanie from "Forever in 5th Grade" for her monthly Show and Tell about what's been happening in my room. It only seems like yesterday I was welcoming students back from Summer Break and now I"m thinking about January. AHHHH!!!

A big thing I have been working on this year is getting students to get and receive authentic feedback.  Launch comes from John Spencer and AJ Julian. I went to Summer PD and learned about Launch and liked the idea but really wondered how I would make it work in a 30-minute IEP based session. At the same time of this presentation by AJ, my district rolled out a Design Thinking Cohort. Here's the thing--this idea was a direction I was hearing I needed to move my instruction to score really well on my evaluations because of the student voice, choice, and feedback. Even as a special education teacher these three ideas are the cornerstone of my evaluation.

One thing I found was Design Sprints. Here they only have 30/45 minutes to build 2 prototypes and give each other feedback.  I make sure to have time to do a group debrief but we don't do the whole cycle. I would love to have more time to do the whole cycle but to really hit student voice, choice and feedback--not sure I really need to carve time to do the whole cycle with my students.

Design Sprints also break up the day to day work they do as well. The pumpkins were done a couple of days before Halloween Parties. They loved the change of pace.

The other place I build in student voice and choice is in their daily work. My 3rd graders are working paperless while they read a short chapter book. This is their targeted guided reading time. All their assignments and work is turned in using Seesaw. I create the reading response directions using different apps, so they can move to something other than Chatterpix or Explain Everything to complete their assessments.

They are getting more used to giving themselves feedback in this system and have begun to get it to others. The work they turn goes in the hallway and is shared to an authentic audience. This has changed the quality of work they produce and they know t make several tries (aka prototypes) to get it just how they want it. I have chunked it out by chapter and given deadlines for when things need to be turned in so they aren't just spinning and have to get things done.

The big thing: The assignments target the chapters they have read but all the questions are based on Bloom's. Mind you they hate this but they rise to the challenge and figure out the answer and how they want to turn in the assignment. I do delete work that is not of high quality. (This is a very long and second conversation. But this solves my students who want to rush through everything.)

Here I have let go of everything. I conference with them just about daily--somethings it just a "Hey, tell me what your working on" or "Can I help with anything." I am a guide or somedays strickly an observer as they get the work done. (This is a huge step into--well I have no clue as I've never done anything like this. The big key to keep on going is 1--they are so happy to come to group each day. It's not a drag which in 3rd grade is can be a big thing for them. 2--the monthly grade level progress monitoring scores are raising. And 3--their chapter fluency reads and comprehension products student turn in scream growth. Mind you not all on my caseload an in this place. So we will see when their winter benchmark scores look like. I'm not stressed if they don't finish the book they are reading. I would to change it up and let them have more choice in what they are reading come January.)

The biggest voice, choice, and feedback task we did was before Thanksgiving Break and had a bonus of authentic feedback as well. This was a STEM activity creating a method to transport a turkey without harming it. So what that it was my father but the kids LOVED it! Having someone who worked in engineering and not be me was the coolest thing ever. They want him to come back. We're talking about something for January. Something STEM and something engineering related.

Here again, we only had 45 minutes to do the activity. Students created 2 prototypes and got authentic feedback from someone who worked in the field was the best.

With each of these, I was able to target student voice, choice, and feedback in a short amount of time. It looks very different with the other students I work with but my 3rd graders asked for their IEP time to be something different and the asked for something outside the box. I'm not sure if I will get to do a whole LAUNCH cycle with them but to create something where they know their voice is heard, they are challenged to think outside of the box too, and get and give feedback is a back deal to a group of 3rd graders who thought none of this was possible.

I don't know what is around the next corner of them this year but they have the skills to ask the questions and work through the challenges.

Until Next Time,

POW: DRA Comprehension Rubric

 This is the time of year where my team is working thought DRA's for their SLO (Student Learning Objectives) and figuring out what they are going to do when we come back from Spring Break.

A question teachers have been asking is what to do with the DRA rubric after they are scored. How do you use the information to plan instruction and next steps? (I always tell teachers to use the data they have to collect or they have created first before trying to figure out else they may need.)

When you look at a DRA rubric it is broken into two parts: oral reading (decoding and fluency and comprehension.) If you missed the first post in this series click here to get caught up.

This week, I'll talk about how and why I create targeted instruction around the comprehension part if the rubric.

I look at where the student scored on the rubric--taking note or strengths and weakness.

The Comprehension rubric is broken in 3 different skills--book knowledge, retell or summary, and higher order thinking questions.
In this case, a strength the student has is his book knowledge. With this book, it includes using the non-fiction text features as well. He struggled with retelling and the higher order thinking questions. (This would be a great jumping off put to collaborate with SLP to provide extra language support.)

When I start planning where I want to start, I make sure I have the students' previous small group work. I will use them to decide what the next steps need to be. 

This student's guided reading data shows he has been struggling with retells and I also have to provide several prompts. When I think about Bloom's Question Stems, I know retells are easier than reflection questions. (Bloom's Questions Stems: remembering vs evaluating).  This will be the first place I start.

When talking with his Speech/Language provider, she lets me know she sees the same struggles with retelling but she'd been playing with picture supports and was seeing more success. (This is both an accommodation but also a great skill for students to have. Going back and using the text as a resource. Think state testing or STAR assessment--students CAN go back to the text.) 

This made me think about my instruction and the types of books he was reading. He is currently in Fountas and Pinnell G's and H's. Since these books as still mostly pictures, copying the pictures and drawing pictures would be a good place to start. This would also support his language needs. 

To start with, I copied a couple pictures from the book. This would be used to model going back into the book to use it as a resource as I modeled retelling the story. These pictures than could become a graphic organizer like Thinking Maps (Flow Map). This could be paired with a Retelling Rubric below. Here the I'm only scoring the retell. I took it right from the rubric. During my modeled lesson, I will demonstrate a 4. I also model using the pictures from the books. Student's have to be taught to do this skill. In my planning, I will make a point of doing both before moving to drawing the pictures.

As I'm planning out the Retelling Skill Lessons, I keep in mind grade level expectations--no book but then I think about what skills the student(s) needs to get there. I also keep in mind, when teaching comprehension skills I may need to get easier books to work with. I scaffold out the list of lessons so I can see what I'm thinking:
1) Modeled: without resource making sure to reference back to the rubric (at least a couple of days over a couple of different books)
2) Modeled: with pictures from the resource to create a Flow Map (at least of couple of days over a couple of different books)
3)Shared: with pictures (if you are doing most of the thinking then go back to a modeled lesson)
4) Shared: with pictures (moving them to independent thinking)
5) Independent with support using the book or resource to retell.

I will need to make sure the student's score 4s before starting the process over with student created drawings.

Why spend the time teaching retelling a story using student created drawings? Because it is a more appropriate grade level skill plus students will come across books with fewer and fewer pictures as they move to harder text. Student created drawings can be used across all curriculum areas and move the student to take control of what they need to access the curriculum--self-determination at its finest.

The last step is to start teaching the skill. I will plan on reassessing the comprehension part of the whole DRA rubric using the blank DRA forms in four weeks to see if the student has made growth. If so than I would teach, how to answer the Higher Order Thinking questions at the bottom of the comprehension rubric or I will plan on reteaching retelling/summaries again. I love using the Reading Comprehension Stems I've shared below. It's a great jumping off point when I work on comprehension skills. I use them for progress monitoring both in writing and in conversation. If you're have not signed up for my Free Resource Library, click here. (Its super easy and besides did I mention it was free to join. Who doesn't love free!)

I'd love to hear about your favorite reading comprehension teaching strategies. Pictures and my bad draws always seem to make students laugh and grow as a reader.

Until next time,

Math and Common Core

Math has been challenging for me this year. I go into one class and pull out two other groups to teach/reteach math. Last year the comment that I got from evaluations was, "How is what you're doing helping students access core in a timely manner?"  Meaning, stop spending all your time filling in the holes and do it as your helping students understand core. Well-easier said than done.  But I had a light bulb moment early in the week, when I was talking with my coach about my math instruction.

I have to say it has been easier to do than I thought. My district has done most of the work for teachers. They have broken down each unit using Understand By Design: Backwards Planning. I can then take the unit and figure out what skills students must have to make through the unit and that is where I put my time when I'm working in small groups. I must admit this thinking gives me the time that I need to reteach skills that students should have mastered years ago. Using the Gradual Release framework, I have been able to at least help student's do better in math if not out-right master the content being taught. 

My building coach, has also been pushing back on my thinking to increase the rigor of my instruction by helping to redesign my learning targets to increase students depth of knowledge. I usually start my targets with an essential question--it tells them what I want them to walk away with at the end of lesson. In many cases for the last few weeks they have started with "Can I." She asked my if I thought my question got at the depth I was wanting and if it matched my lesson. The day she visited, students had to create two different graphs and find the measures of center, so they could interpret the graph but the posted essential question was Can I create the graphs. See the disconnect.

As we talked, she showed me a Common Core Resource that was a summary of math standards and questions I could use to develop math thinking. Between this resource and spending time making sure that lesson matches with the depth I'm wanting, should help me increase my rigor and help students get more out of what I teaching. I have shared this resource below. How do you increase and maintain the rigor for your students with exceptional needs?

Bloomin' Creating Apps

Bloomin' Apps has made it's way to creating. All with free apps. The fun my students had creating this examples was unbelievable. They can't wait to do it again. Students had to read and reflect before they could come anywhere near an iPad. The video was done using Gina the Giraffe, Talking Tom, and Roby the Robot. I've talked before about how the students created their scripts and then went to town. Word Mover is like magnetic poetry but free. The students used this app for their response. After reading about Extreme Weather, they have to create a poem using word association. Have a great weekend!

Apps We Love

Its been five months since I first laid my hands on an iPad. It has been a challenge (but fun) to find ways to bring them into small group interventions without them becoming a gaming station. My students love when I say, "We're going try this and hope for the best." They just grin from ear to ear and go along for the ride. I would say that my best lessons have happened after playing and after those days of "let's try this."

My plan for the coming months is to move groups to paperless. I think I've worked out the kinks and the students are done whining about having to move between apps and the web. I'm going to start with math because its a great way to create an electric journal--showing off their work. 

The apps that I have chosen depend on what I what students to do with them. The way I went about it is by Bloom's Taxonomy. I'm cheap. I have a rule: If an app doesn't have four plus stars and I have to pay for it-I don't buy it. I keep looking. My students have three favorite that were paid for--Explain Everything and MathBoard are on all the iPads, and iMovie (which is only on mine). I also stumbled  across a site that has many, many fabulous ideas on how to use free apps in a classroom. The Appy Hour Radio Show can be download from iTunes but having blog posts are very useful. This link will take you to beginning of the show.  

These are my students favorite apps. I've broken them out. This is not everything my students have but these are the ones we use on a daily basis.  One big problem, I had to work through was how students were going to share their work with me it we went paperless. I decided that we could use Evernote. We have a class account for Evernote for students to upload assignments to. 

I'm looking forward to getting back and moving towards a stronger integration using our iPads. Has anyone used Edmodo? Did you like it? Hate it? Have a wonderful start to your school year!!

About Me

Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.
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