Blog Reflection 7: Formative and Summative Measurement

Educators give assessments to students to both evaluate and prepare students for following subject material. There are two types of general uses for assessments. Formative assessments are also known as pretests, which allow educators to determine what the students know and understand to guide them in instruction. A summative assessment is considered to be the final test or a summary of instruction. Summative assessments are used for testing student knowledge of the learned subject material taught throughout the course. Both summative and formative assessments can be any kind of assessment such as, traditional, performance based, project, oral, and/or portfolio (Woolfolk, 2013, p.549). How these assessments are used and interpreted determine what type of assessment category it falls under.

I found this blog to relate to a meeting I recently attended regarding the way that Stafford County is weighting student performance according to specific departments. The meeting was to specifically target the areas that needed improvement to ensure that every student is receiving a fair grade distribution. Educators were experiencing different departments weighting their assignments differently. The outcome of the meeting decided that every subject should follow the following grade distribution.

  • Summative Tests: 40%
  • Formative Quizzes: 40%
  • Homework/Classroom Assignments: 20%

This type of distribution allows educators to use multiple formative assessments to assess student performance and prior knowledge. Students benefit from different types of assessments to boost their grades. I found this meeting interesting because of its relevance to this assignment and how students and educators are faced with different types of assessments.

References:

Woolfolk, A.E. (2013). Educational psychology (12th Ed). Pearson Education

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EDCI 506-School Law

Religion in the classroom is a controversial issue and many educators find themselves in situations where different religions can be brought into the classroom. As an educator, how can we stay neutral to these situations?

Last year, I completed an Earth Science long-term substitute position at the secondary level. I was instructed to teach the Big Bang Theory and introduce to the students the creation of Earth. Many students were interested in the scientific explanation as to why the Earth was created by something smaller than a single atom. Some students, however, strongly believe in a specific religion and believe that the Earth was created by a God. I received many questions from students and a few argued my information. I had to simply explain to the students that the state requires educators to teach students about certain subjects. I was at that moment battling the question I mentioned above.

I grew up in a Christian home and believe that God created the Earth. I was torn when it came to this subject because it is against what I personally believe in as an educator. However, I tackled this situation by telling students that I strongly respected their views and how important it is to believe and follow your family religions, however, in class we must discuss and learn about the scientific explanations as to how the Earth was created. I discussed with students the information and how it will pertain to upcoming tests and quizzes and how the information will tie into higher education courses. I found that many students understood my explanation and were respectful of the information and did very well in the subject area.

Through this experience, I have found that I was able to neutrally instruct students about a subject area that can pertain to all students, regardless of their religious backgrounds. I think it is important for students to believe in the religion that they choose, however, follow the guided subject material that the state provides. It was a great experience that prepared me for the diverse beliefs that students bring to the school on a daily basis.

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Blog #6: Ambiguity and Constructivism, EDCI 500

Learning has always been something I have perused and enjoyed. I believe that my motivation to learn and do well in school comes from within as well as from the outside. An individuals locus of causality refers to the extent to which individuals believe that they can control events that affect them (Woolfolk,  2013, p.431). After learning about external and internal locus of control, I believe that I’m motivated intrinsically and extrinsically.

As I progressed through college, I really began to notice my motivation to learn and succeed in school. I took multiple classes each semester to fill my schedule, including fulltime summer classes. This was a motivation that I connected to previous semesters and relating it to the success I achieved while staying busy. As I started to dissect this process, I started to understand that my motivation comes extrinsically due to the good grades and positive feedback I received while in college. This motivation was due to the factors outside of myself that I cannot change unless it is something that we can personally gain (Woolfolk, 2013, p.431).

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I believe that I have surpassed the lower level of needs such as survival and safely. As a child, I believe that these needs were my most important and in order to move up a step I must feel content in those areas. Once in college, I believe that my motivation stemmed from Maslow’s three higher-level of needs; intellectual achievement, aesthetic appreciation, and self-actualization (Woolfolk, 2013, p. 434).  I believe that my motivation intrinsically and extrinsically came from these levels because of the constant searching for knowledge and understanding, curiosity, exploration and need for relationship meaning. Once I achieved these intellectual achievements, I wanted more which bumped me up to Maslow’s next level of aesthetic appreciation through the feeling of accomplishment and meeting psychological needs . Following aesthetic appreciation, I entered into self-actualization by receiving my diploma and pursuing a higher education. This motivation was derived from my need to fulfill personal creativity and to pursue my inner talent. Just because I have had bits of these levels, I have not completely fulfilled each level. With each taste from each level, it pushes me to want more and strive for an even higher accomplishment (Woolfolk, 2013, p. 435).

maslows-hierarchy-of-needs

 

Source: the New Existentialist

For a classroom that is organized and conducted from a constructivist perspective and includes ambiguous tasks, an educator must be sensitive to the students and their emotions towards these tasks. Students with anxiety issues have a general uneasiness, a feeling of doubt, and a sense of tension (Woolfolk, 2013, p.453). Educators must focus their attention on differentiated instruction and bringing activities to students that can uplift and motivate them to learn through positive experiences. According to Woolfolk’s podcast, students deserve a fair chance at learning. Educators can do this by different activities for different students based on their abilities (Woolfolk, 2013). Self-efficacy is more than building self-esteem, but it molds actions and outcomes of students, which ultimately builds self-esteem through accomplishment. If educators did not set reachable goals for students, they would have higher anxiety and hear in the classroom. Classroom management is the first step to create a positive work environment and one that shows students encouragement and a positive environment to work and study in.

References:

New Existentialist. Maslow’s Pyramid. Retrieved from http://www.21stcentech.com/transportation-part-6-the-21st-century-and-the-automobile-what-will-we-use-to-make-them/

Woolfolk, A.E. (2013). Educational psychology (12th Ed). Pearson Education

 

 

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Blog #5 Year-Round Schooling

The idea of having school through the course of an entire year brings many thoughts and questions into my mind. I have thought of this concept before as I continued through high school, but never saw it possible with the traditional approach always winning.

As a child, I felt that students deserved summers off and that they would not be able to function without an extended break. As I grew up and moved to college, I found myself taking full semester class loads throughout the summer and would ultimately have a year-round class schedule. I found that I enjoyed this type of learning because it was continuous and helped me to learn as much as I possibly could.

I believe that a year-round school schedule would work in our current school system as long as students receive multiple breaks throughout the year. I believe that parents would also find this effective because of the work schedule that they follow with their children and locating daycare. I also believe that if enough breaks were given throughout the year, families could still enjoy and plan their vacations. This would also give families more options as to when they want to hold their vacations depending on the season and location.

Maintenance of a school continues throughout the summer months and would not be detrimental to the budget to stay open. By using the building and school supplies all year allows schools to fully utilize their facilities and budget.  Administration also works throughout the summer months and would see that keeping school all year would benefit for all of these reasons.

Overall, I believe that allowing school to be year-round allows students to continue to be lifelong learners and build on what they have learned the previous grade. Students benefit from adding summer sports and having activities to do while their families are at work. It gives teachers the opportunity to build stronger relationships among students and allows everyone to still benefit from breaks throughout the year.

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Blog Reflection 9: Virtual Worlds, INDT 501

second-life-classroom

Photo Credit: Dean

This week we explored virtual worlds and what they have to offer in the classroom. After exploring different types of virtual worlds, I found myself questioning how I could use them in the classroom for instruction. Virtual worlds act like the real world…just.. virtual. People can interact through a virtual world and walk around like they would in their real life. Buildings, landscape, weather, and objects are also made to look real and change as they would in our world.

I found that in my subject area (business management) I could use virtual worlds for business interactions and discussion between consumers and business owners. It would serve as a tool to teach students how to communicate and run a business in the “real” world without the risks involved to actually start one on their own. I also started to think that it would be great practice for students to interview and conduct job searches. This idea would prepare students for questions involved during an interview and what employers would look for as they search for their first job.

By allowing students to participate in a virtual world, we are conducting lesson plans that make learning a meaningful experience. We are welcoming inquiry in the classroom through the exploration of content (Coffman, 2012). Students see things happening in real-time, which not only teaches them the content, but in-turn incorporates life lessons.

Virtual worlds are also a great way to bring field trips into the classroom. Many school systems are experiencing budget cuts and are trying to figure out where to take money from. After exploring virtual worlds, I found that bringing a virtual world into the classroom allows for field trips to be minimized. It introduces students to real subject data without ever having to leave the classroom. It delivers the same quality instruction without having to take time away and ultimately saves money for the school and the students involved.

References:

Coffman. T. (2013). Using inquiry in the classroom: Developing creative thinkers and information literate students. (2nd Ed.). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education

Photo Credit: Retrieved on November 3rd, 2013 from http://www.he.k-state.edu/news/2008/12/12/barretts-class-meets-in-3d-virtual-world/.

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Blog Reflection 5: Teaching for Reflection

learning_experience-reflection2

Photo Credit: Langwitches

Discovery learning in action is highly important for our new generations of learners. The lesson plans conducted in Models of Teaching, illustrate two different methods of instruction. In the “presentation cum group”, students are engaged in the study of a botany unit that requires studying the textbook with tutorial help of their instructor. This approach is a traditional teacher presentation method. Another group of students are also studying a botany lesson but are following an inductive approach by using hands-on methods for learning about botany and how to classify specific plants.

Mrs. Baveja’s inductive approach allows students to make the subject material meaningful by expanding the students thinking into creative and critical thinking. Mrs. Baveja’s approach follows problem-based learning because students are pushed beyond retaining information from a textbook and must apply it to solve classifications from new or existing plants (Woolfolk, 2013). These students scored higher on the test than the cum group of students because they were taught to comprehend their research findings and apply them to the problem at hand. This type of exploration in the classroom in called inquiry learning (Coffman, 2012).

After reviewing the post-test, it is clear that the two groups had different results because of the instruction used to teach the same subject material. The reason the inductive group scored higher was because the test asked students to analyze more specimens and to name their structural characteristics. Mrs. Baveja asked her students to label, categorize, and make relations between plants based on their structural characteristics of roots, stems, and leaves. Since this is what they did in their instruction, the inductive students used what they learned to expand their knowledge. The cum group of students scored two times lower than the inductive group because they were not exposed to making the subject material meaningful, therefore stopping creative thinking.

References

Coffman. T. (2013). Using inquiry in the classroom: Developing creative thinkers and information literate students. (2nd Ed.). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education

Joyce, B. and Weil, M. (1986). Models of teaching. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon, pp. 40–41

Photo retrieved on November 2nd, 2013, from http://langwitches.org/blog/2009/05/13/it-is-about-reflecting-and-analyzing-our-teaching-practice/.

Woolfolk, A.E. (2013). Educational psychology (12th Ed). Pearson Education

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Budget Exercise, EDCI 506-02

During this week’s lesson, we explored a school budget. Our assignment was to cut the school budget by 20%. I have attached a letter written to the Board of Education for their next scheduled meeting with information and rationale as to where I placed cuts.I chose Stafford County Public Schools because that is currently where I live and work as a substitute. On my final page, I included my budget exercise worksheet. Cuts I made are written in red along with specific details as to why I chose to make cuts in that category. Our assignment was to assess categories that schools budget and as a superintendent make the final budget cut decisions. Please feel free to take a look at my decisions and rationale. I would greatly appreciate your input to my decisions.

 

Superintendent of Schools

Board of Education

Stafford County Public Schools

31 Stafford Ave.

Stafford, VA 22554

 

Brittany Miller

Superintendent

Mountain View High School

2135 Mountain View Road

Stafford, VA 22556

 

Dear Superintendent and Board of Education Representatives,

This letter addresses the announcement of educational budget cuts for Stafford County Public Schools. As the Superintendent at Mountain View High School, I have attached a complete chart categorizing areas that I would like to keep funding to and categories I would like to make financial cuts to.  This attachment provides specific details and is highlighted in red to easily understand where cuts were made.

Protect Instructional Staff and Personnel

You have asked for the budget to be dropped by 20%, leaving our school at a total of 88 points. To do this, I had to cut 22 points from various categories. I decided to keep full points in the “protect instructional staff” category. This was a strong decision I had to make, without our educators, we would not be able to effectively teach students. Under the “protect staff” category, I also left points at their full potential. We need full-time office assistance and part-time employees. Paraprofessionals are in high demand as well and substitute teachers. Without this financial budget, we would have open holes in our education system, making it difficult to deliver a positive education for all students. Along with this idea, I kept full points under the “protect building services” category. It is extremely important that we maintain funding to custodial staff and building repair and maintenance personnel because we want to continue to provide a safe and clean school for all individuals.

Limit Reductions to the Library

The library is a wonderful source for students and teachers alike to access information and research. I decided to keep full points for library staff. It is important for a school to maintain its library staff to keep current with books and research information. I decided to cut two points towards physical books because of the amount of information and access schools can have online. Books can be purchased for a lower price online and ultimately save space in the school by accessing them online. When I assign a research assignment to my students, they rarely use physical books from the school library, no matter how much I encourage them to use these books. These decisions also led to my reduction by three points to periodicals/journals. This is something that many high school students and younger grades do not use often. I think that these are major sources for higher education students. For our purpose, we can afford to cut this category significantly to keep other categories in our budget.

Protect Learning Resources

Academic technology is booming and becoming more and more present in our school system. We must maintain full points to support this change and continue to implement technology in the classroom. Textbook adoption is extremely helpful when it comes to subject content and keeping information up-to-date. I took one point off of this category because I do not see it implemented as much as it could be and I am afraid that funds are not being properly used. I kept full points for the teacher instructional category because this includes supplies used in the classroom by both teachers and students alike. It is important to maintain these supplies in the classroom because of their importance to instruction and learning for all ages. I decided to cut the field trip fund down by three points. As I do believe that field trips are a great way to deliver information and get the students involved, I have experienced that not a lot of learning actually takes place on these trips. I do believe that with the technology boom, field trips can be done virtually and produce a better learning experience done in the classroom.

Protect Faculty Services

Employee tuition reimbursement for college courses taken for license renewal or advanced degree is something that is very beneficial for educators. I ultimately decided to cut this funding down by two. I made this decision because as I am currently employed at Stafford County Public Schools, this option does not exist. Therefore, I do not see the sense in continuing to budget for this category. I also cut down workshops for teachers by two. This decision was based on the demand of workshops. It is low in Stafford County and I see few educators take advantage of these resources.

Protect Student Services

Student resources and programs outside of the four-walled classroom are great and should be kept to a certain extent. Athletic/recreation programs are a wonderful way to get student involvement and teach responsibility and communication between students. I decided to leave this category at full points. The student activity bus program is also very beneficial to students and allows students without a ride to partake in extracurricular programs with a way home safely. I also left this category at full points. The Parent Resource Program sounds like a wonderful program to have for parents, however, I think that a lot of that information can be accessed at a local library or at a parent/teacher conference. I decided to cut the funding by one, allowing it to still be available in moderation. Positive behavior support is important to maintain in the public school system and I left it at full points. Preschool special education was the next category on my list. I ultimately decided to cut this down by two. This category can be pushed to higher years and help place funds for educators who teach special education in K-12 grades. Summer school is a major help for students who are struggling in school. I lowered the points in this category by two because of the technology that is now available. NovaNet is a class that is currently available in Stafford County Public Schools. NovaNet allows students to take missed classes online during the school day and ultimately take away the need for “summer” school. After-school programs are currently available at Mountain View High School but are held by students themselves. This allows students to get involved and learn through running the programs. This also allows me to to cut this category by three.

 

Please take a closer look at my detailed chart of budget cut categories. These cuts were analyzed carefully with our student’s best interest in mind. I carefully placed budget cuts in areas that were not being used to maximize other categories to their full potential. My ending result consisted of a 20% reduction in the budget and a total of 88 total points for Mountain View High School.

 

Kindest Regards,

 

Brittany Miller

Superintendent

Mountain View High School

540-555-5555

 


                                BUDGET LIST

Points

20% cut

Protect instructional staff
Avoid layoffs of core content teachers*

10

10
Avoid layoffs of special subject teachers**

10

10
Avoid cuts to health benefits

6

6
Protect Staff
Teacher instructional aides

5

5
Full-time office staff **need them

5

5
Part-time employees subs?

3

3
Limit reductions to the library
Staff –research to find online materials/apply for  online books

3

3
Books Google/books online

5

2
Periodicals/Journals Not currently used

4

1
Protect Building Services
Custodial staff –do not want to run down school

3

3
Building repair and maintenance

4

4
Protect Learning Resources
Academic technology

5

5
Textbook adoption KEEP

5

4
Teacher Instructional Budget***

5

5
Field trips Great, but can be done virtually

5

2
Protect Faculty Services
Employee tuition reimbursement for college courses taken for license renewal or advanced degree Stafford-N/A

4

2
Staff development for teachers – workshops, support to attend conferences, etc.

5

3
Protect Student Services
Athletic/recreation programs

5

5
Student activity bus

2

2
Parent Resource Center (city Library)

2

1
Positive behavior support

2

2
Preschool special education

3

1
Summer school during school-NovaNet/online

4

2
After-school programs student ran

5

2

TOTAL

110

88-88

*      Core Teachers = math, science, social studies, math

**    Special Subject Teachers = PE, art, music, vocational, special education, etc.

***   Teacher Instructional Budget = maps, copy paper, markers, manipulative, etc

 

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Mini Projects 2-Timeline, INDT 501-01

Steps in creating a business timeline

This week as we explored new projects to choose from, I found myself a little overwhelmed and in a “creative block”. I have been struggling with creating projects that incorporates business material and connecting them to Virginia’s Standards of Learning. As I had a hard time creating the information, I found that the timeline activity would be the best fit for what I am currently covering in class. I decided to use Capzle to create my timeline around the different steps it takes to start your own business. It is important to understand the order of steps pertaining to starting your own business and that is when I realize this would be a perfect fit for my second mini project.

This week’s lesson, we learned about distance learning and how it can be in many different forms. Distance learning is the idea that an individual learns through the Internet using Web-based methods (Coffman, 2012). This chapter is directly related to our mini projects and I found myself connecting our current experiences with distance learning.

I am currently taking two online courses at The University of Mary Washington and am experiencing first-hand how distance learning plays out. I find that it can be very beneficial to today’s society and a way to speak the technology language of our upcoming generations. This idea of distance learning allows individuals to maintain a busy life that is trending while having the opportunity to further their education and learn.

As I found the timeline to be a great idea, I do think it would be a wonderful use for history or science. I found myself exploring the opportunities of using a timeline in business and found it would be very useful for students to create as a project. We just previously explored the factors of production and the entrepreneurship of Milton Hershey. It would be exciting for students to pick an entrepreneur and create a timeline of their success in inventing a common item we use today. Capzle was easy to use and understand.

For my mini project, I found it difficult to incorporate a lot of pictures when what I needed was text. Capzle did not allow me to do this directly onto a slide. I wound up creating PowerPoint slides with information I wanted to display. It was extremely easy for me to save them as a jpeg file and upload into my Capzle. This week I learned how important it is to use Web-based tools on the Internet to create lessons used for instruction and interaction across the globe.

References:

Coffman, T. (2012) Using Inquiry In the Classroom. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education.

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Blog Reflection 4: Prior Knowledge, EDCI 500-02

The Calvaria major tree, native to the island of Mauritius in the western Indian Ocean is in danger of becoming extinct because of deforestation. Humans native to that area are using the unique tree for human needs. My hypothesis is that due to this rapid loss of the Calvaria major tree, humans are not replenishing their seeds and in turn the trees that are left are dying and unable to produce seeds. The old and dying trees are still left on the island because they have no use to humans as the young and plentiful ones did.

As I am approaching the island and working with my team of scientists, I would be very curious about other aspects of this tree and its environment. I would like to ask them how the water surrounding the island is and if it is polluted or clean. I would also like to ask how the weather is in the area compared to the amount of water the trees need to survive. I would be curious as to the surrounding animals and how they use the trees for survival. Most importantly I would be interesting in learning more about the humans native to the area and how they use the tree for human use and how often they may cut down the trees.

To solve the problem, I would like to look at possible solutions available in that location. If DNA could be recovered to produce a seedling to plant and replenish the Calvaria major trees than is that an option? Can natives replace the trees for another type of resource for their goods?

After exploring this module and learning about prior knowledge, I found myself recovering information that I have previously stored about rainforests and how they are becoming scarce due to human use. I directly related the two topics to form my hypothesis and come up with a solution to the problem. According to Anita Woolfolk, we can obtain previous knowledge through behavioral theory, cognitive theory, and constructivist theory (Woolfolk, 2013). Woolfolk believes that an individual can go through multiple stages and not just one with a topic. When exploring this activity, I found myself using the behavioral theory by understanding what the problem was asking of me. I used the cognitive theory to recall memory about what a hypothesis is and how I could relate rainforest deforestation to our problem. I used constructivist theory to make sense of the two and how they relate to form it into my own exploration.

I found that with this exercise I was able to see the use of all three first-hand. I saw it as a process and experienced myself learning through exploration. It was very unique to see myself recalling previous information and relating it to the lesson.

References:

Woolfolk, A.E. (2013). Educational psychology (12th Ed). Pearson Education

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Week 8 Reflection Blog Post: Mini Projects 1, INDT 501-01

This week in Instructional Technologies, we explored tools that allowed us to present subject material in a new and exciting way to students. These tools not only allow us a new and exciting way to present information, but they also allow for us to continue our mission to implement technology in the classroom as well as use inquiry in the classroom. These tools can reach out to students and make a lesson meaningful to them through differentiated instruction. Podcasts are being used for all levels of education and can be easily accessed by students on a multitude of devices (Solomon, & Schrum, 2010). They are an efficient tool that is easy to use and can be placed on different websites or software to provide voice/video instruction that can alert you when new material is available (Solomon, & Schrum, 2010). This is just one tool we explored this week that can become the link to creating engaging inquiry-oriented activities that would be impossible to achieve without integrating technology tools (Coffman, 2013).

I was originally going to create a podcast for my mini project but changed my mind at the last second to do a talking Avitar. I really enjoyed this activity and found it to be a different way to introduce someone to a topic or a webpage. I ultimately used mine as an introduction to my eportfolio. I had fun creating this Avitar because of the countless number of options it allowed me to choose from. I was able to pick what it looked like from the size of its nose to what it would wear. I also enjoyed the option that allowed me to use my own voice, a text-to-voice option, or different languages from around the world. I could see myself using this tool with my students as a project for an introduction to the class. I think it would be meaningful for students to create an account that contained a small snippet of information about themselves that they could share to the class. It would be enjoyable for them and also unique to them and what they are interested in. Ultimately it would provide useful information to the class about themselves and allow them to enjoy the activity. Tools such as the talking Avitar are useful for students in the classroom and easy to use for all ages.

Access to my Talking Avitar can be located on my ePortfolio page under the “About Brittany” tab, or you can access it at this web address:

https://sites.google.com/site/bmillerindt501/about-me

References:

Coffman. T. (2013). Using inquiry in the classroom: Developing creative thinkers and

information literate students. (2nd Ed.). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education.

Solomon, G., & Schrum, L. (2010). Web 2.0: How to for educators. International Society

for Technology in Education.

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