Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, I had the opportunity to continue my work at a FABULOUS school in New Mexico. In working with the instructional coach and principal, we decided to do a bit of a “flip” learning experience – observe then learn the concept rather than learn the concept then observe.
First a bit of background. This is an elementary school that I have been working with for several years. This year our focus has been refining classroom management (focus) and fully implementing active student engagement – student to teacher and student to student (tasking) in order to move to implementing depth of knowledge.
Tuesday, I observed every teacher for student engagement (follow up) and for depth of knowledge. The focused rate (students sitting where they are supposed to be and not bothering anyone), for the teachers at this school is AMAZING! The overall average was 92%!
Wednesday, I met with teachers in grade levels. They each received their individual data. I then trained them on Depth of Knowledge with them utilizing their own data. They analyzed what had gone well especially with active student engagement (follow-up) and then as they learned about depth of knowledge, they were able to refine their data to incorporate the higher order thinking into their taught lesson.
They learned about depth of knowledge by:
1. Highlighting the verbs they use regularly in yellow and also identifying the depth of knowledge verbs they use synonyms for in pink. They created a plan to use the “correct” verbs so students recognize the task on a core test. Each grade level also suggested five verbs for the preceding grade level to emphasize.
- Teachers read an article on Depth of Knowledge and then taught each other the essential elements for each depth of knowledge (1 – recall, 2 – skill/concept, 3 – strategic thinking and 4 – extended thinking) that are “keepers” for their grade level.
- Teachers then returned to their data and infused higher order thinking into the taught lesson and planned for future lessons.What an enlightening day.
Today, I was in Texas for my fifth day at a high school. I have largely focused on the 17 ELA teachers in this VERY large school! We started our work in October with initial drop-in diagnosis. We then moved (from this initial diagnosis) to focusing on Tasking (active student engagement). Next we focused on prioritizing and differentiating core standards. Teachers learned about differentiation in planning and differentiation during the act of teaching. Today our focus was Depth of Knowledge. I then spent time observing in many, many, many classrooms. WOW! I saw HUGE growth in active student engagement! Way less “teacher talk” and way more active student engagement. I saw teachers using proximity not only for behavior and assessment – but also for having DOK 3 (strategic thinking) conversations with individuals and small groups of students.
These teachers are 100% committed to differentiating their teaching to meet the needs of all learners and infusing higher order thinking into strategies for all levels of learners.
Now, I’m at the airport headed to St. George, UT to do demo lessons tomorrow. Yup, the flight layover is the airport closest to my home…
I was in New Mexico, working with a VERY motivated group of teachers at a small school. Our topic was Depth of Knowledge – what it is and how it affects test scores. One activity that teachers did was to identify the terms in each of the four levels of Webb’s Depth of Knowledge that they use frequently, terms they use synonmys for, terms they may want to use more frequently and terms that would LOVE the grade level preceding them to foot-stomp. Teachers examined their practices and thought about the last round of testing, monitoring students taking the test, watching students give an incorrect answer and knowing that the student did know it – AAAHHH! Is it possible the student missed it because they didn’t know the vocabulary – the test said to cite evidence and the teacher had been using show me in the text? Did it say tabulate and the teacher had been using figure? Had the teacher been using a synonym? Hmmm. Something to ponder. Today (Friday), we will be going back to our December work with our prioritized, differentiated core standards and determining what DOK level is expected by the core and then infusing DOK levels into our Learning Targets. It’s going to be an intense – hard and deep thinking day! Just the kind I really love – with (as I said previously) a VERY motivated group of teaches!