Saturday, April 5, 2014

ED 726 Week 1 - High Yield Strategies

In this weeks ED724 class the focus was on best practices, but more specifically the high yielding strategies of teaching. As Robert Marzano's 9 strategies of teaching we're familiar to me, and although John Hattie's strategies were familiar, I was not aware of his name being associated with them in the field of education. It was interesting for me to delve deeper into and reflect upon Marzano's 9 Strategies for teaching and now learn about Hattie's suggested researched strategies that work. I also was not aware of the different ranking or percent yield that accompanied each one of these strategies. I have spent a lot of time this year working with a small group of fourth grade students in solving and creating math problems through the website Shooloo. And although a variety of strategies such as graphic organizers, storytelling, and homework & practice were intertwined into my lessons I did focus on one particular strategy. In order to teach and learn "the art of persevering" when problem solving my primary strategy was Hattie's problem solving teaching. This reflection lead me to think about something else that I learned this week from these two educators and that was; these high yielding strategies should not be used alone as suggested by both Marzano and Hattie. I also believe the use of technology enhanced my teaching and the student's learning in solving math word problems. Many teachers of math have experienced the reluctance from students to solve problems. However, I believe they became less intimidated to solving problems due to the fact that they understood the structure and flow of them by creating problems themselves within the framework of the technology website. Cheryl Lemke, executive director of the Milken Exchange on Education Technology, currently accelerating a national agenda for technology in schools through increasing public awareness, supporting new designs for teaching and learning, and reflecting on research and practice, says, "that the first way that technology can benefit students is that it can accelerate, enrich and deepen basic skills. Under the right conditions, students learn faster with more depth of understanding using technology (Salpeter, 1999)." And I felt this was accomplished by my fourth grade students, through the use of technology in that it enriched and deepened basic skills. In addition just last week, I teamed up with our 8th grade literacy teacher and Literacy coach to introduce, read, and discuss the novel The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. Please excuse my familiarity with the practices of teaching and learning in the literacy classroom as it is not my forte. However, the collaboration among the three teachers was very powerful. We used the website Glogster as a tool for students to post and respond to the book. It was highly engaging as we had 98% of the student's in eighth grade complete the 5 activities/tasks required after each read from the book. I felt as if our use of Glogster was an example of Marzano's strategy of using 5. Nonlinguistic representations such as mental images, graphs, acting out content. Also backed up by Lemke's who claims that the second way technology works in education is because it can enhance learning and engage students. "Technology can be a great tool for motivating and engaging students. Brain research shows that if students are engaged, they learn more. If we're able to connect them to real life situations, they're much more interested...what a powerful motivation technology is and what a broad range of skills- scientific analysis, communication skills, problem-solving- are involved." (Salpeter, 1999). By learning more about strategies that work this week I feel that I can enhance my own teaching and better support that of other teachers in my building in my role as a math coach.

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