Teachers, Technology and the Common Core Transition: Hope & Meixsell

Meixsell & Hope

Meixsell & HopeShanika Hope and Susanne Meixsell opened with a guided imagery task: visualie a highly effective teacher, then ask yourself what you see, hear, what are the kids doing, and what is the teacher doing? Post to your stick notes and then report out. Some answers: students voices, conversations, student engagement, problem solving, kids are doing. What do you hear: enthusiasm, a buzz, laughter. What is the teacher doing: facilitating, asking questions, moving up and down, engaging with students. Research suggests engagement is critical, as well as leveraging background knowledge to scaffold upward, and 21st century skills. After reporting out, participants engaged in a Think-Pair-Share to define key instructional practices: engagement, contextual learning, and 21st century skills. IF you were an administrator, how would YOU know these best practices were happening?

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT ANSWERS: students exhibit responsibility for their learning/life; inquisitive beyond answering questions. Shanika noted that if classrooms do not create relevancy with active purposeful engagement, then students drop out.

Transformation happens one wobbly step at a timeAUDIENCE CONTEXTUAL LEARNING ANSWERS: must leverage what students bring into the classroom by creating what they know and then enduring sustained understandings are scaffolded by the teacher; use schema with classroom skills; articulate experiences for relevancy; multi-media create/compose experiences for student sharing; bring students’ voices to the classroom.

AUDIENCE 21ST CENTURY ANSWERS: it’s not the tech tool–it’s taking common best practices and relating it to useable tech tools; we live in a global economy/society and we need to understand specific literacies: government, citizenry and bring these to the classroom. Remember: transformation happens one step at a time until you are satisfied with what you are creating.

Feeling overwhelmed? Participant responses from teachers and administrators concurred. Best audience statement: “I feel like I’m riding a bus and I can’t get off.” Common Core Standards in English require a plethora of requirements that almost overwhelm. So how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Students are digital natives because they are not afraid to pick something up (a tech tool), but what we as educators bring to the equation is strategic purpose. So our educational stretch goal is to find what works for what purpose. Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it must be embraces as the next best Web 2.0 tool.

Given 2 examples, one verbal and the other visual–the recognition moment was instantaneous for the latter. Immediate comprehension. Student comprehension increases when they can make connections and that happens almost instantaneously with non-linguistic representations. But how can you KNOW that your students understand concepts? Make them producers. Dual-coding theory states that when images complement text, comprehension increases. When you develop video in support of comprehension and vocabulary instruction, you can choose to use digital technology for non-linguistic comprehension while connecting to common core content literacy standards. When students can think and work and create like, for example, a scientist, they have gateway access to greater levels of understanding by making relevant connections.

THE AHA MOMENT: as a teacher, combine linguistic and non-linguistic instruction in daily lesson planning and add that to content literacy common core standards. For content literacy, engage students in drawing for summarization;use iPad/iPhone apps and/or computers to blog non/linguistic content; project lab strategies–a CA initiative; for vocabulary: word + image + video.

Technology offers multiple modalities and capitalizing on them can increase engagement. Be role models all year, but especially toward the end of the year. If the teacher is tired, students are tired. Remember what you model. Make learning relevant. Students understand brands and what it represents. We are educational brands.



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  1. Sheryl A. McCoy said:

    Thanks for sharing the teachers’ experience focusing on Common Core standards. I hope that opportunity clarifies their teaching.

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