LiD (Learning in Depth) Overview

Picture from http://ierg.ca/LID/
My inquiry is about a program called LiD (Learning in Depth). The purpose of LiD is to promote students to become experts about something in their school years. At the beginning of the year, students are given a topic that will be their own for the rest of the year. The website http://ierg.ca/LID/ is the main website for this program.
As a teacher you can choose the topics (there is a list provided) but really it can be ANY topic. Last year, my class had some such as birds, fish, bears, whales, arthropods, and spiders! She focused more on wildlife/nature topics and she even had one for herself! You can have students choose their topic from a hat so it feels like that one is their “chosen” topic or you can assign them to the students. The following link has a topic list (http://ierg.ca/LID/how-we-can-help/topics/).
The students really became experts on their topic by the end of the year, I would see students making connections to their life outside school or books they were reading. I would hear students say “That’s my LiD topic!” or “That’s ______’s LiD topic!” The students knew each other’s LiD topics by heart by the end of the year.
This post was meant as an introductory post to give you a sense of what my topic is, in future posts I will go over some activities, assessment strategies, and cross-curricular benefits to go with this program!
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Multi-Modal Classrooms

Hi Learners,

So the topic I picked for my inquiry assignment is Multi-Modal learning. I know it’s huge and I’m biting off way more than  I can chew, but already I am learning so much. Multi-modal learning means that information is being taught, absorbed and observed in a variety of ways, some of the more useful ones I am hoping to touch on throughout my own learning.

As I work on some readings tonight, one particular section popped up to me titled “Space and Time: What Might an Inquiry-Based Classroom Look Like?” (Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition, pg 26) and it hit me. Classrooms are probably one of the best visual ways to demonstrate to your class, and others, what your learning looks like on a regular basis. Educators spend hours laying out their classroom, figuring out the message they want to focus on for their year, what their personal goal is, and how they want their classroom community to interact. Each teacher will have their own opinions on how a classroom should look. Some will say that primary colours are a must because it represents the foundations of knowledge, others might say muted tones are best if you have a busy classroom so that the students are not overstimulated, still others will say they never use a “classroom” and prefer to do their teaching in an outdoor environment. Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition: A Resource for Educators provides some questions educators may want to consider while setting up their classrooms:

  1. Is this classroom conducive to learning in which students’ ideas and thinking are at the centre?
  2. How can I provide long periods of time for students to delve deeply into a topic?
  3. What values about learning does the physical classroom convey? For example. does the displayed work show  range of skills and levels of thinking, including errors and beginning ideas?
  4. Can all students find themselves represented in the materials and learning tools of this classroom?
  5. Have I ensured that each student’s thinking is visible in some way?
  6. Does the classroom set-up encourage students to connect their ideas with those that have gone before (e.g.. through archived discussions or the choice of books)?
  7. Are the materials presented in an undistracting, inviting, and aesthetically pleasing way that awakens curiosity?
  8. How can we bring “the outdoors in”, maintaining strong connections between classroom practices and the natural environment that is our focus?

Keep in mind that each educator has a variety of equipment and ‘stuff’ available at any given time. All of these questions are important to consider, but #1 and #5 particularly stand out in the case of multi-modal learning and the classroom. This is because #1 focuses not on the learner’s ability in a particular subject, but fosters the idea of developing a curiosity in the given subject, specific to that students’ thinking. #5 ensures the development of a classroom community, as well as equal and fair representation of each student’s work, even if it isn’t perfect. I would suggest that the teacher throw up a couple of his/her examples once students  have theirs up, to demonstrate that they too are in the process of learning.

A multi-modal classroom doesn’t have to focus on what ‘stuff’ you have available to the learners. It’s key to success is being able to recognize that there are different kinds of learners every year, and in every classroom, and figuring out how to represent that to your class in a variety of ways, whether that is visually, academically, or physically. If educators can keep the above listed points in their thoughts as they set up their classroom, the multi-modal classroom layout part is done, and the construction of multi-modal instruction begins next.

– Anna

Math Online? Independent Tracking and Development

As we as an education system move more toward independent, student centered learning, incorporation of technology is rationale. My research has been broken down into online resources that can aid in specific subjects. The subject in focus is Mathematics. A quick google search will reveal numerous ‘Math Fun Games’ or Tutoring sites, but how as do you implement these as a teacher within your curriculum?

First let’s look at a more academic use of math sites, such as Khan Academy. Khan Academy is a well known as an online resource, that has step by step tutorials for mathematics from Pre-Kindergarten all the way through to University courses. Khan Academies method varies from age but tends to follow a pattern similar to ‘watching a video or multiple, responding to an online quiz based on the videos you just watched’. The quizes can range from simple equation/ response, graphic representation, or word problems. Khan Academy has the ability to track a students progress. Using this tracking feature allows teachers, to remotely monitor a students progress. Having the ability to both, remotely monitor as well as have students work at their level of ability allows for a dramatic increase in student differentiation. Khan Academy is an individual math journey that helps relieve Peer Pressure and Comparison, as each student works at their own pace. Khan Academy, also offers an alternative way of explaining a concept that differs from the teachers, which offers students who are not understanding another entry point.

 

Math Games, and their use within the classroom have been a common backbone when using websites during math. A longer term, progress tracking game is a cite called ‘Prodigy’. It is a video game, interactive math game that follows a students ability, similar to a ‘Level Unlock’. Math Playground is a popular site that is integrated with Google Classroom. Having the integration of Google Classroom, helps the teacher monitor who is participating and at which level ability. Even if the main focus of Math Games, is not to develop and further their mathematical ability, it allows students to become familiar in a positive way with numbers and operations. Any opportunity for students to interact with numbers in a more subliminal way helps ease math anxiety, which is well documented in aging students.

Having the variety of online resources helps both the teacher and students learn at their own level. Using Khan Academy or similar structured websites, can also help support students at home who require more time spent with operations to reach the ability of the rest of the class. It is an intuitive site, that EAs, ELL students, as well as parents can help their student succeed.

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Post #2: Where to Start…?

1) Assessment: You are going to need to know what  your students reading levels are, reading behaviours, strengths and stretches.  You can use the NLPS assessments we learned, reading records, and any another assessments that will help draw any useful information about your students as readers.
2) Making your groups: By your assessment, Group 3-5 students at the same reading level and similar reading behaviours together. You are wanting students to work on strategies that will help them develop as independent readers while also able to comprehend the story. By grouping students with students at the same level, they have the opportunity to build from their skill level while working with other students to deepen understanding and have conversations about the stories and problem solving strategies.
3) Finding the right fit: Pick a book that would be of interest to the students and is at their reading level. (Librarians can help you). Make sure each student has a copy of the book.  Every student will need a copy of the book so they can independently reading quietly to self as the rest of the group is doing the same.
4) Skill Focus: For each group of students, identify a skill(s) to introduce as a focal point of the lesson. Students are to practice this skill while they are reading the story for purpose.
5)Purpose of readingTeachers must set a purpose for reading. This helps build the meaning and comprehension of reading stories.  (i.e. what is the problem in the story? why is the character sad? Etc.) What are students to be looking for in the story? afterwards in the closing of the lesson, students are going to have a conversation about these questions and re-telling of story. 
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Peer Assessment in the Classroom

Peer assessment is great because it allows for collaboration and connection between students. In order for this type of assessment to be a positive experience in the classroom, it is very important that the classroom environment is very safe and open for all learners. Some students may have some anxieties about showing their peers their work so having the classroom be a space where everyone understands that we are learners and mistakes are welcomed helps to alleviate some of those insecurities. Educators can also help with this by choosing the partners ahead of time for the first bit as students get more comfortable with it.

Like many things it is very important for peer assessment to be explicitly taught to students and practiced often for them to really get a grasp on how to do it effectively. They will need to a good understanding of what language to use when assessing other’s work, reminders to check that their feedback connects to the success criteria and help going over what is supportive feedback and what is not. It is also extremely important for teachers to take ample time out of their schedules to allow for students to revise and edit after they have received their feedback. This revision period is where students are able to take the information they’ve gotten and use it to improve their work.

I have attached a video here that shows some student and teacher perspective on peer assessment and how it has impacted them. This video also offers some guidance around how to offer this to students, this is geared more towards intermediate students. They also touch on the use of “The Ladder of Feedback.”. This seems to offer a great structure for teachers and students who are new to peer assessment and breaks it down in a way that makes it seem easier to try out!

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Self Assessment in the Classroom

Self assessment works best in a classroom where students have worked on growth mindset and they know that mistakes are a way to learn. It is very important that students know what the expectations are for an assignment so they can effectively assess themselves. Learning intentions and success criteria building are so beneficial when trying to help students become stronger at this because it gives them prompts on around what to look for when assessing. It is valuable to start this type of assessment in your classroom at any age, having lower primary students constantly doing this kind of thinking will eventually encourage them to use it in more ways and set them up to be increasingly self starting and independent later on.

Starting to implement more self-assessment in your classroom can be very quick and easy. As we know think, pair, share is always a great way to have students interacting with each other and it gives the teacher an opportunity to listen in and see where students are. Rate 1-5 (1 means I don’t understand at all, five means I could teach this to somebody else) is another strategy that allows for quick feedback for teachers.  Another strategy is having visual tool to show where students are with a task like red, yellow or green cups signifying if they’re lost, doing okay or if they’ve got it. 3-2-1 is another great way to get a bit more detailed information from students, students share 3 new things they learned, 2 questions they have and one connection they made. This one is great because it can easily been changed around and if students are younger they can think-pair-share this with a classmate instead of recording it down on a piece of paper.

Here is a video that outlines self assessment, looks at the benefits and provides a few more tools for in the classroom!

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Post #1 What is Guided Reading?

Guided Reading is a small group session (3-5 students) that is lead by the teacher. These small lessons allow students to get more support on their specific needs for reading development. Students are grouped with other students who are currently at the same reading level and have similar reading behaviours. Guided reading allows the teacher to help students focus on a goal (reading strategy), practice reading for meaning (fluency and comprehension), and learning to problem solve, all by getting more support from the teacher and working/having discussions with their group. Guided reading sessions only last for about 20 mins and at minimum be scheduled once a week. The ultimate goal of guided reading is to build independent readers. 

by Clicking the Link Below, It will take you to a guided reading video of what a session generally would look like and unravel.

Video of Guided Reading

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Welcome!

Hello friends – 

Welcome to my experimental journey in blogging! I will be doing research and building resources towards my personal Inquiry as a beginning teacher – “How to Survive the First Two Weeks of the School Year.”

I plan to collect different ideas and strategies for how to set up a classroom for the beginning of the school year – the best ways to layout the classroom, management plans, strategies for creating a classroom community, relationship building and how to set up routines so your classroom can be well structured and promotes a sense of comfort.

So stay tuned, I hope to share with you regularly and would love to hear your thoughts and ideas as we learn how to navigate the craziness that is the first month of school.

Ms. S

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hey friends

Hey everybody! Welcome to my blog.

For my inquiry project I will be focusing on researching how to incorporate mindfulness in the classroom.

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oh look, a post!

bienvenue!

my inquiry topic will be focused on how we can teach critical thinking and consumption as a tool for metacognition. that’s a fancy way of saying: teaching kids how to think about things so they can be self-aware and, by virtue, better humans.

ask me questions and leave comments, i love attention!

mj

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