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Learning in the Fast Lane

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rhonda dobson

on 5 March 2017

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Transcript of Learning in the Fast Lane

Chapter 1 - Acceleration: Jump-Starting Students Who Are Behind

1. Think about a class you took that posed significant challenges for you.

2. What do you believe was the primary cause of your struggles in the class? Was it: prior knowledge, interest level, vocabulary?

3. As you struggled through the class, how did your behaviours related to the class change? Consider your attendance, level of enthusiasm, and engagement.

4. What strategies did you employ to help you either succeed in the class or simply survive the experience?

Chapter 2 - Standards Walls: Transforming Standards into Clear Learning Goals
Chapter 3 - Success Starters: Sparking Student Interest Right Away
Chapter 5 - Vocabulary Development: Implementing a Strategic Plan
Chapter 6 - Student Work Sessions
Chapter 7 - Student Motivation
Chapter 8 - Scaffolding: Providing What's Missing Just in Time
Reflect on an occasion, in or out of the classroom, when scaffolding helped you master a skill or concept.
Chapter 9 - Why Are Some Students Still Failing, and What Can We Do About It?
Learning in the Fast Lane

Suzy Pepper Rollins
Chapter 4 - Formative Assessment and Feedback: Checking Student Understanding Minute by Minute
Drawing from your previous experience how do higher- and lower-achieving students respond differently to graded assessments?
What is Acceleration?
Why Does Acceleration Work?
How to Accelerate Students?
key prior knowledge is provided ahead of time, enabling students to connect to new information

skills are hand-picked just in time for new concepts

student learn on time with peers

self-confidence and engagement increase

academic progress is evident
1. Generate thinking, Purpose, Relevance, and Curiosity

2. Clearly Articulate the Learning Goal

3. Scaffold and Practice Essential Prerequisite Skills

4. Introduce New Vocabulary and Review Prior Vocabulary

5. Dip into the New Concept

6. Conduct Formative Assessment Frequently
The Need for Clear Learning Goals
Components of Standards Walls
Concept Map
TIP Chart
Student Work

social Darwinism
atomic number
expected value
point of view
fallopian tubes
What are we Learning?
Standards Walls:

Display Learning Goals and patterns of learning in a clear progression

Standards Walls are like a directory at a shopping mall saying "You are here!"

Questions to Consider:

1. What are the disadvantages of only posting curriculum expectations?

2. At what point(s) in the lesson do you state the learning goals?

3. How does a visual display of a unit's learning goals help students make connections and better understand the content of the unit?

4. How can the display of student work accompany the learning goals in your classroom?
The Power of the Opening Minutes
Students are most apt to remember what is taught at the beginning of the lesson (primacy-recency effect)

If students are not introduced to new concepts until the middle of the class, their working memory is tapped out

Short Term Memory
- information is retained for 20 seconds (if not stored, information is lost)

Long Term Memory
- information must categorized and cross-referenced with existing knowledge

Types of Long Term Memory
Procedural Memory
- memories associated with muscle actions that are stored in the spinal cord (walking, driving)

Episodic Memory
- memories associated with the autobiographical storage of our life (what did you have for dinner last night?)

Semantic Memory
- storing specific facts and information we intentionally want to store (can choose to keep it or not)

Why Success Starters Work
new knowledge is connected to prior knowledge so information is retained in
long term memory

connection is stronger if there is emotion involved

Success Starters should:

Connect to prior knowledge
Hold high interest, real-world relevance, and value for students
Be explicitly tied to the expectation being taught
Engage every learner
Answer the question "What's this got to do with me?"
Be fast-paced and time conscious
Set up the lesson, including the purpose for any assigned reading
When appropriate, employ concrete examples before abstract concepts

it takes knowledge to gain knowledge, and it takes knowledge to remember new knowledge much more effectively.

1. Role Playing

2. Surveys

3. Prediction

4. Questioning

5. Brainstorming

6. Concrete Representations
1. Attendance and administrative items

2. Homework

3. Students without supplies

Effective Success Starters Elements
1. This is interesting!

2. This matters to me!

3. I think I can do this!
Role Playing
- allow students to make decisions
- critical thinking
- tap into prior knowledge
ex. How diseases spread
Example 1: Prediction Sorts
Sort into:
order in sequence
rank (levels, importance)

Example 2: Anticipation Guide
Do snakes mate for life?
Is their blood really cold?
Who are their predators?
Question Sun
Question Starter Cards
In what ways might ...
List different ways to modify ...
What would happen if ...
List different situations that ...
How might you design ...
Make a one-of-a-kind ...
What is another way to ...
What comes to mind when ...
Splash-Sort-Label Wall
- 1 idea/sticky note
- Sort Sticky notes into categories
- Students share categories with
the class
Alpha Brainstorming
Concrete Representations
- photos
- video clips
- manipulatives
- maps
Benefit from frequent, ungraded assessments that focus on helping students learn

Feedback for students/ teachers can make adjustments to instruction

When students can meet small achievements, they will have more confidence to keep trying when they are unsuccessful on other tasks
Boosting low-achieving students' academic performance
Feedback that does not produce results
artificial or undeserved praise

rewards (and punishment) are one of the least effective ways to improve student achievement

feedback focused on person and not the task

'right or wrong' without explanation
Effective Feedback
1. Learning Goals
2. Feedback is based on learning goal
3. Involve everyone (self, peer, teacher)
4. Immediate and frequent
5. Link to controllable factors (hard work, tenacity)
6. Encourage!
Reflect on a recent occasion when you received feedback on a task. Did it motivate you to work harder, or did it make you want to give up? What made the difference?
Formative Assessment Methods
1. Stick it!
2. Cubes
3. Bow Ties
4. Sorts
5. Student Whiteboards
6. Carousels
7. Communication Devices
How is feedback received?
Sticky Notes:
check for misconceptions

students have opportunity to adjust response

if used as a 'last check' for the day, instruction can be modified for the next lesson
write a topic (term, picture, symbol) on each side

students roll and (define, describe, give an example, etc.) of the side that comes up
students travel in groups (2,3,4)
chart paper posted around the room with various questions
each group records their response in a particular colour
Bow Ties:
Student Whiteboards
Venn Diagrams
Short responses
Create a metaphor

Sketchbook on iPads
Carousels (gallery walk):

Communication Devices
we need to know how each student is doing - more than "Everybody got it?"
Sticky Bar Graph

1. How do we ensure all students participate with full effort in formative assessment activities (i.e. if it's not for marks, what's the point?)

2. How do we help students use the feedback to improve their learning?

3. Which strategies have you used? Are considering? Will
What is the difference between incidental and academic vocabulary?

In your classroom, what challenges seem to result from inadequate vocabulary?
3 Challenges Affecting Vocabulary Development
1. Many Students Arrive with Vocabulary Gaps
connection to socioeconomic status
2. Students Face a Barrage of New Academic Vocabulary
3. Reading Is Not Enough to Build Vocabulary
Implementing a Strategic Vocabulary Plan
1. Multiple exposures are necessary to build true mastery.

2. The V in vocabulary is for visual.

3. High-impact vocabulary instruction engages learners in interactions with words.

4. Effective instruction focuses on words students need to know now.

5. Incidental vocabulary is important too.
"... students working cooperatively outperformed those working by themselves."

"... student motivation is higher when students work cooperatively rather than individually."
Guidelines for Direct Instruction
With a partner, choose 3 strategies that you use (may be related to Rollins or not) that are effective in generating student understanding and discussion

Are there any strategies that you feel would not produce effective results in your classroom?
Cooperative Learning
What motivates students?
1. Using Fig 7.1 on page 121 as a reference, describe a less than desirable student behaviour you have witnessed recently.

Did their level of motivation contribute to their behaviour?
Strategies to increase
student motivation
fall into two categories:

a) creating tasks that engage students
interesting and relevant
incorporate choice and social interaction

b) creating a safe learning environment
Make a positive connection with the students right away
model mistakes as a positive step toward learning
group students thoughtfully
communicate that students control their own academic destinies
provide positive feedback
establish short term goals
elicit feedback from students
provide evenhanded responses to classroom situations
nurture your own self-efficacy
How long do you talk without giving students a break?
What are the students doing?
Chapter 6 Reflection:
Are student being active participants in their learning?

Do you feel you are doing all the work?
What is one way you motivate students in your classroom?
What is one thing/behaviour/ habit that students do that is driving you crazy?
(in the classroom)
write on small white paper and crumple up
Chapter 7 Reflection:
Can a tweak in the
classroom environment


task construction

increase the level of student motivation in your classroom?
Scaffolding Devices:
Checklists and timelines
Scaffolding Strategies:
Reciprocal Teaching
Visible Thinking
Think of a student who is currently at risk of failing. What are the underlying causes of their struggle?
Some culprits may include homework challenges, lack of student motivation, or students' difficulty grasping content.
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