It seems that not many students are always comfortable with the idea of thinking critically or abstractly about how they learn. What I mean by this is the fact that many students need to be taught how to think about their learning processes and, with practice, can articulate how the process works for them. This is important on many levels, and it specifically helps students understand their progress and achievement.
Standard T1 shows that the work is “informed by standards-based assessment (analysis using formative, summative, and self-assessment.)” While planning different assessments throughout my internship, I have spent a great deal of time researching both the Washington State Classroom Based Assessments and different standards for the social studies. Another important part of standards-based assessment is the idea that students are well-aware of the expectations for their performance. By giving students specific criteria, including a detailed rubric, they know exactly what to expect and know what they need to do to succeed. Not only are my lessons informed by standards-based assessments, but they are very intentionally planned in that the standards are deliberately chosen to help students create their own product that aligns with several state social studies EALRs.
In addition to providing clear expectations for students, it is important to me that students feel that they have the opportunity to succeed. I attempt to do this by providing a variety of options for students that appeal to different learning styles. While it is easy for me to simply lecture for 40 minutes about history, this is certainly not the answer for every class session. Instead, I have tried a variety of strategies and approaches to lessons to see how students react to them. During this time, student achievement, attitude, and feedback are all taken into consideration to see whether or not it worked well. Even within one class session, I have tried using multiple strategies spread throughout the class with shorter activities. This might mean that there is a short lecture followed by silent reading, group work time, individual responses, and class discussion. By using different strategies, students are engaged in learning as they need to be paying attention to the changes. However, this can take time to accomplish as some students may struggle with the changes in strategies. I have found that providing clear verbal and written instructions helps a considerable amount.
One strategy that seems to be both a great advantage and challenge is technology. Students are increasingly familiar with different technologies that can be extremely useful in the classroom, but there is also plenty of room for students to misuse time and resources when using certain technologies, like the internet or computers. I personally try to use different technologies as often as possible for several reasons. The first, and probably most influential, is the fact that students today are so used to technology that they come to expect it. Modeling good “digital citizenship” is extremely important today and I believe that it is one of my many roles as a teacher to show students how to correctly use technology. The other reason for using it is quite simple: it is convenient! After an incident where several students used information directly copied from the internet to write an essay, I have made it a point to give credit for all of my sources when I create a PowerPoint presentation or use photographs or other media in the classroom. By showing students the proper way to use technology, I can demonstrate to them the positive relationship between the use of technology and learning.