Sunday, September 29, 2013

DOK is more than just a verb... (37)

Here is your lifelong learner hit list for the week:
5). How to trust your students

BONUS: (each building was emailed by Mr. Jones in the technology department about the wonderful opportunities available via this platform). Take time to get signed up and check it out!

Depth of knowledge level is NOT determined by the verb, but by the context in which the verb is used & the depth of thinking required.

DOK is not about difficulty... it's about complexity.
It's very difficult to list the names of every U.S. president... but that is level 1 DOK simple recall.
It's very complex to describe the relationship between Abraham Lincoln's presidency and President Obama's presidency as it relates to the societal trends happening during their presidencies... that is a level 3 DOK. 

Same verb but 3 different DOK levels
DOK 1: Describe three characteristics of metamorphic rocks (simple recall)
DOK 2: Describe the differences in metamorphic and igneous rocks (requires cognitive processing to determine the differences in the two rocks)
DOK 3: Describe a model that you might use to represent the relationships that exist within the rock cycle (requires deep understanding of the rock cycle and a determination of how to best represent it)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

What exactly is critical thinking? (36)

1. Summarize. Extract and restate the material’s main message or central point. Use only what you see, read or hear. Add nothing.

2. Analyze. Examine the material by breaking it into its component parts. By seeing each part of the whole as a distinct unit, you discover how the parts interrelate. Consider the line of reasoning as shown by the EVIDENCE offered and logic used. Read “between the lines” to draw INFERENCES, gaining information that’s implied but not stated. When reading or listening, notice how the reading or speaking style and the choice of words work together to create a TONE.

3. Synthesize. Pull together what you’ve summarized and analyzed by connecting it to your own experiences, such as reading, talking with others, watching television and films, using the Internet, and so on. In this way, you create a new whole that reflects your newly acquired knowledge and insights combined with your prior knowledge.

4. Evaluate. Judge the quality of the material now that you’ve become informed through the activities of SUMMARY, ANALYSIS, and SYNTHESIS. Resist the very common urge to evaluate before you summarize, analyze, and synthesize.

Another way to think about critical thinking, is to think RED:

How do we ensure our students are given ample opportunities to think critically? 

Do the activities in our classes allow for thinking critically? 

How can we increase the number of activities that encourage out students to think critically...?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Don't give up... (35)

Here is your lifelong learner hit list for the week:

1). BYOD begins with trust and respect

2). Simple ways to use mood music in your classroom to amp up learning

3). An obituary for student desks

4). Undermining student improvement

5). My favorite mistake

You know that idea you shared with your colleagues...

You were so excited to share the idea and you spent plenty of time trying to figure out the best way to get this information out to your colleagues. You tried to put yourself in their shoes so you could make this idea relevant and applicable to what they were doing. You even found a couple additional resources to complement the idea you were enthusiastic about sharing. You envisioned their response and knew they would be greatly appreciative of your time and effort to share an idea you think would benefit their practice, and most importantly, their students.

Unfortunately, the way it played out in your head isn't exactly the way it played out in real life...

If you are new in your position or new in your district, or if you are just trying some new things and new approaches, you most likely know what it feels like to share something with such passion and enthusiasm only to feel as if your words were falling on the proverbial deaf ears.

It's not a good feeling, and after getting that feeling several times, it's easy to see how some educators decide to work in isolation and simply focus on doing "their thing" rather than the collaborative and open-communication approach we would all benefit from.

It may be tough not to, but the easy thing to do is to give up on sharing new ideas. New ideas cause people to feel uncomfortable because it is the unknown, and it's human nature to fear what we don't understand. Additionally, it's easy for the person who is sharing these new ideas to be ostracized and cast aside as someone who is "pushing" their own agenda.

What you might not realize is that even though it appears these new ideas are going unnoticed and that people are ignoring anything and everything you say, I can almost guarantee that a few people are taking notice. Even more so, I would be willing to bet they are secretly having conversations about these ideas and possibly even trying them out in their classrooms. 

This won't be evident (at first), but after a while a few pockets of "initiators" will begin to form. People who didn't hear the idea first hand will begin talking about this new approach because they are hearing it second hand from others. You might even get a nice email thanking you for taking the time to share. You might... 

You might also never hear anything. You might never know how this idea or how the time you spent talking about it affected those around you. Even though you might not ever know, is not an excuse to stop doing what you do...

Don't give up... 

We can't afford for you to give up. Our kids can't afford for you to give up...