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Skills and Best Practices

Activity 1: Skills and Best Practices

Teaching to the Standards

Students learn more efficiently when they know the goals of a module and/or lesson. If students are aware of an intended outcome they know what to focus on. Critical thinking and production are enhanced when students have clear goals or targets as reference for their efforts.

Jay Mctighe and Grant Wiggins call for teachers to share the goal and/or standards with the students prior to teaching the unit. In the Understanding by Design Process they call for teachers to: “Inform students of the big ideas and essential questions, performance requirements, and evaluative criteria at the beginning of the unit or course.” 
http://www.sdttl.com/2002/ubd.htm

KWLH Technique

Students learn more efficiently when they know the goals of a module and/or lesson. If students are aware of an intended outcome they know what to focus on. Critical thinking and production are enhanced when students have clear goals or targets as reference for their efforts.

In order to engage in problem-solving or analyzing issues that will assist them in accomplishing their goals, students need to gather new information and link it to what they already know. This process is referred to as “constructing meaning.” Finding out what prior information students have about a topic/subject helps them bring meaning to any new information acquired. One strategy they can use to help them construct meaning is a strategy called the KWLH technique.

K – Stands for helping students recall what they KNOW about the subject. 
W – Stands for helping students determine what they WANT to learn. 
L – Stands for helping students identify what they LEARN as they read. 
H – Stands for HOW we can learn more (other sources where additional information on the topic can be found).

The KWLH Technique is just one of many graphic organizers that help students organize their thinking for decision-making and problem solving. This site will provide you with information on a number of other strategies: http://www.writedesignonline.com/organizers/

Reciprocal Learning and Teaching

In the Reciprocal Learning Strategy, the emphasis is on collaborative rather than independent learning. Students are taught to help one another. In this strategy students work together as peer partners, each functioning in turn as the “doer” and the “guide” in completing the task. Peer feedback doesn’t mean students “grade” each other or score papers. Instead the goal is for students to clarify for each other what is correct or incorrect.

The Reciprocal Teaching Strategy is a dialogue between teachers and students.

Reciprocal Teaching is an instructional activity that takes place as a dialogue between teachers and students regarding segments of the text. In this activity, the teacher and the students take turns assuming the role of teacher in leading the dialogue. This technique can be used in all subject areas for content reading and was originally designed to teach poor readers to use reading strategies employed by good readers to enhance reading comprehension. Students interact with the text to construct meaning. Readers utilize prior knowledge and experiences, information presented in the text, and their stance taken in relation to the text to derive their interpretations. Reciprocal Teaching helps poor readers develop these skills through the use of predicting, clarifying, questioning, and summarizing.

Source: http://www.curriculumfutures.org/instruction/a03-05.html

Some education researchers believe providing feedback is the most powerful thing that a classroom teachers can do to enhance student achievement. Peer feedback is underused, yet is highly effective and flexible.