Theory to Practice Discussions Post

This is Just the Discussion Question

Theory to Practice

Major emphasis at both the state and federal levels has been placed on the use of educational programs and practices based on scientifically based research. This impacts practicing educators in the areas of curriculum, instructional strategies, professional development, parent involvement, and all federally funded programs.

  • Why is it important for school leaders to examine and understand the evidence base and the theory behind educational practice?
  • What are some ways you can expedite the process of obtaining this information?
  • In addressing special populations, how have the data helped to influence your choices

Respond 1

It’s important for school leaders to examine and understand the evidence and theory behind educational practices and strategies because they’re setting the tone and expectations behind data-driven decisions that should be occurring within the school. Moreover, “Some evidence has shown that school effectiveness is strongly associated with the effective use of data at the classroom and school levels” (Anderson et al. 2010; Calman 2010, as cited in Verbiest, 2014, p.66). Therefore, by modeling the behavior and using data to make decisions school-wide and encourage collaboration, principals guide the teachers to make data-driven decisions within their own classroom. Understanding theories behind educational practices and strategies provides more insight to those leading the school and gives them opportunities to motivate their staff: “A focus on working with data means that school leaders stimulate, in a critical sense, teachers to generate data, give meaning to data and use data with the aim of improvement” (Verbiest, 2014, p. 69). Again, following any data discussion should be collaboration so analysis and understanding can truly occur.

Professional development and the use of sources such as What Works Clearinghouse can help teachers and leaders obtain information on strategies and practices. School leaders, and even teachers, can have professional development focused solely on obtaining and analyzing data: “Effective professional development programmes need to create a safe environment based on professionalism and respect, in which the enthusiasm that encourages principals to want to use data and the confidence in using data can grow” (Verbiest, 2014, p. 68). Having training sessions for leaders and teachers regarding data collection and analysis will help expedite the process. In addition, the use of trustworthy resources such as What Works Clearinghouse can be helpful as well. This source can help teachers/leaders “search for appropriate research that deals with issues being addressed in the school improvement plan to identify scientifically based research” (Zimny, 2019, Week 4, Slide 5). Using this source, teachers could look into the programs, assessing how they were implemented and try out the strategies in their own school or classroom. This source is very helpful in the process of finding helpful sources.

In our district, we’ve done district-wide book studies, department book studies, and PD days focused on data and what we want to implement during the school year. For district-wide book studies, each teacher was given a copy of a book over the summer for the past 3-4 years; we’ve read Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck, Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor, and Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton. Within the high school English department, we read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. At the beginning of this school year, we had a PD day focused on Webb’s Depth of Knowledge and how to implement the stages in our classrooms. Throughout the year, our principal started each staff meeting with a quote or a focus from the book of the summer and had staff members present types of lessons built reflecting aspects of the book at the staff meeting. The ideas and theories are carried out throughout the year and are also referred to years later as well. Regarding Miller’s text, we met as an English department and discussed aspects of the book and how we could possibly implement them in our classes, and which ones may not work; it was a great discussion of ideas and opinions based on Miller’s theory for her classroom.

When looking at improving schools, “Using research and documented best practices to make informed decisions is a key part of the school improvement process” (Zimny, 2019, Week 4, Slide 4). Therefore, the school leaders need to model this data-literate behavior so everyone understands the importance behind the decisions and the reasoning.

Verbiest, E. (2014). Becoming a data-wise school leader: Developing leadership capacity for data-informed school improvement. Journal of Contemporary Educational Studies / Sodobna Pedagogika, 65(4), 64–78. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspxdirect=true&…

Zimny, J. (2019). School Improvement. [PowerPoint slides]. American College of Education. EL5703. Week 4: Creating the plan, Part 3: Selecting improvement strategies, Slides 4 & 5.

Respond 2

Educational leaders need to examine and understand evidence-based practices. As our society is pushing to find new innovative ways to improve differentiated instructional strategies, educational leaders need to utilize data to evaluate those processes. Niemeyer, Casey, Williamson, Casey, Elswick, Black, and Winsor in 2016, stated “Data allow progress monitoring at the individual, class-wide and building levels, while providing an opportunity for teachers to adjust teaching strategies and make instructional modifications as needed” (p.334). Data allows educational leaders to analyze the specific data used in evidence-based processes and align them with their specific school needs and demographics. With the large number of evidence-based programs, which insist on improving teaching and learning, educational leaders need to utilize research to make educated decisions, which will positively impact their schools. When educational leaders analyze different evidence-based practices with their specific school needs, they have the opportunity to effectively implement programs, which will improved educational processes and improve student academic achievement.
Educational leaders can do a few things to expedite the process of obtaining information about the effectiveness of evidence-based practices. Educational leaders can utilize their network of administrator friends and neighboring districts, by asking them about evidence-based practice they have implemented. Doing this allows educational leaders to gather information about each program, which can be beneficial to the effective implementation. This also gives educational leaders important information on how the evidence-based strategies work with similar populations as the school you are leading. Educational leaders can also utilize resources, such as What Works Clearing House and other reliable resources to identify scientifically-based research in regards to evidence-based programs. As educational leaders utilize data and research-based decisions, they can positively impact educational processes and student achievement.
Gathering and analyzing data can help improve educational processes in regards to special populations. Data analysis provides educational leaders with important student population information including, ethnicity, gender, regular education students, and special education students. Our school ahs noticed a large deficiency in the achievement between our regular education students from those students receiving special education services. Utilizing this information enabled our educators to collaborate and come up with an action plan to improve student learning and close the achievement gap. When educational leaders effectively analyze disaggregated student data, the chances of improving student academic achievement increases.
References:
Niegmeyer,K., Casey, L., Williamson, R., Casey, C., Elswick, S., Black, T., Winsor, D. (2016) Using data-informed instruction to drive education: Keeping catholic a viable and educational sound option in challenging times. Journal of Catholic Education. Vol.20 Issue 1 p.333-348

This is Just the Discussion Question

We live in a global, informational society infused with technology all around. To prepare students for the future, a variety of technologies should be integrated into science instruction. Through this integration, teachers help students gain a deeper understanding of and connection to how science and technology improve our daily lives.

In this module’s application assignment, you designed a lesson plan for life science. In this discussion, respond to the prompts below about your lesson and upload your lesson plan as an attachment to your original response. Then, use the prompts to critique the lesson plans of two colleagues.

  • Discuss types of technology that could be easily integrated into daily lessons in science.
  • Have you observed creative uses of technology in teaching science?
  • Describe the types of technology you have observed and/or discuss the barriers that might prevent the use of technology in science classrooms.

Respond 3

Technology is one of the fastest growing concepts that students are involved in. Children want to use technology as much as possible with their phones, computers, tablets, droids, you name it! As teachers, we should find something that interests students and use that as a motivator which is why integrating technology into every day lesson can be extremely beneficial for both the student and the teacher. Since technology is constantly advancing, there are unlimited possibilities when it comes to integrating it into the science lessons! When it comes to science in particular, teachers have come up with some very creative and hands on ways to use technology to help students “bridge the textbook concepts with what is actually in the real world around them” (American College of Education, 2019). When it comes to S.T.E.M. I have seen teachers use technology to create virtual labs, teach coding, incorporate the SmartBoard, virtual dissections, and create simulations. The SmartBoard is one of the easiest pieces of technology to use in an everyday lesson because there are so many ways to use the board that allow the students to participate as well as use hands on learning. I very popular and creative use of technology that I have observed was the coding process. The teacher gave each student a “Bee-Bot” that you programed to move around a map. The little kids thought this was awesome and it was a great introduction into coding on the computer. The teacher also used a computer program that helped the students learn how to code and then got gradually harder as the students progressed. Technology has many benefits when it comes to teaching but there can also be some barriers; depending on how educated the teacher is when it comes to using technology as well as the functioning of the technology can be an issue when trying to incorporate technology into the lesson. If a teacher does not know how to work the technology or is not properly educated on how to troubleshoot when problems come up it can take away from the lesson and hurt more than help (Guzey & Roehrig, 2016). There are often hiccups when it comes to working with technology which can be a time killer as well as a interruption in the lesson. Often times when the technology messes up, it takes up a lot of time to find the problem or fix the solution; teachers also may be solely relying on the technology for the lesson and if they do not have a backup plan then they might be in trouble. Overall, technology is an amazing thing and when used properly, can be a great way to teach students in a fun and interactive way!

References

Guzey, S.S. & Roehrig, G.H. (2016). Teaching Science with Technology: Case Studies of Science Teachers’Development of Technology, Pedagogy, and Content Knowledge. CITE Journal. Retrieved from https://www.citejournal.org/volume-9/issue-1-09/science/teaching-science-with-technology-case-studies-of-science-teachersdevelopment-of-technology-pedagogy-and-content-knowledge

Respond 4

Integrating technology into the classroom will speak to students in a language they understand. Children are growing up surrounded by technology, therefore by using it in the classroom we can create a connection for learning at school and at home (Ohana, 2009). As the society we live in becomes more digital, there is going to be a constant demand on our students to possess the skills necessary to navigate technology. Due to this demand, we as teacher must adjust out teaching styles to implement technology into lessons and assist our students in becoming digitally literate. As we expect this of our students, we must also become digitally literate ourselves (American College of Education, 2019). In order to educate students on specific programs and uses of technology we must first understand them ourselves.

Technology can be integrated into science lessons in many forms. First, the internet, Google and other online resources can be an excellent source for research. In all three of my science lessons I have developed for this course I have incorporated the use of online articles and video clips for student led research. Secondly, the use of online virtual lab simulations can be a substitute for lab experiments that are just not feasible to be performed in the classroom. In my life science lesson plan, I use an online virtual lab on ecosystems to help introduce the lesson and exploration lab. The use of a virtual exploration can be used in conjunction or in place of a physical lab experiment. A few other examples of integrating technology in science lessons can come in the form of online discussion boards, collaborative group projects using Google apps or listening to an interactive text.

The use of technology in science is essentially endless, it just may take a little investigating to fully understand what online tools are out there! Barriers to the implementation of technology in the classroom can be due to cost, accessibility or lack of knowledge. Many school districts have recognized the need for technology in the classroom and have begun to implement device programs, however not all districts have. In a small rural community, I often observe in, the school lacks the finances to implement a device program for students. Due to this, the students’ access to technology and the teachers’ access to digital resources is significantly limited. On the other hand, just because a district provides the necessary resources, that does not mean all teachers fully utilize them. Lack of knowledge, or digital literacy, on the teacher’s part can limit the use of technology in the classroom. As I have mentioned above, if we are expecting our students to use said resources, we should become knowledgeable and literate in them as well (American College of Education, 2019). It we want to talk the talk, we must also walk the walk.

References

American College of Education. (2019). Module 1: How today’s students learn. Retrieved from https://ace.instructure.com/courses/1603046/files/94689340?module_item_id=21613643&fd_cookie_set=1

Ohana, C. (2009). Connecting with technology. Science and Children, 46(9), 6.

This is Just the Discussion Question

In 250 words, please respond to the following questions with your perspective based on what you learned this week based on the assigned readings. Refer back to the syllabus for important reminders about forum discussion etiquette

In today’s classrooms teachers are instructed what instructional models to use with students. Which model(s) Gradual Release or 5E’s: Engage, Explore. Explain, Extend and Evaluate have you use that students response was effective?

Respond 5

I am a 4th and 5th grade math teacher in the District. The model that is best aligned to what we do at my school is the Gradual Release Model. A typical math block is about 90 minutes long. The 1st 10 min we review homework from the night before and try to clear up any misunderstandings. Next is the focus lesson where I do my think aloud of different ways that I could solve a word problem. I read the word problem aloud highlighting key vocabulary that may help me make better sense of what it is that I need to do. Third, I draw a visual representation of what it is that I am doing. 4th, I solve all the while asking myself questions and explaining my mathematical reasoning. Last but not least I solve the problem and check my work using a different strategy to challenge myself and to make sure I have the correct answer. I give a short exit ticket. The students who performed very well on the exit ticket are allowed to go straight to the independent learning workstation. The students who are in the 70-80% range are allowed to work together in the collaborative station rotation. Here they are allowed to work together but each person has a distinctive roll.

Rolls

1. CNN – Reads the question– Just the straight facts

2. TMZ — Restates the question only using the juicy details– most important parts

3. The View — Everyone gives their opinion as what should be their plan of attack

4. Get Out Alive With Bear Grylls– Each person solves the problem on their own and explains to the small group what they did. As a group they come up with a consensus

5. Judge Judy–This is the person who takes the information from the consensus and explains the mathematical reasoning in a concise way using the appropriate math terminology.

The third group of students did not perform very well on the exit ticket and they work with me to further their understanding of the lesson. I scaffold a little more for this group as we solve problems I stop and ask the metacognitive questions out loud to help to them think about what it is that they have to do next.

All of these stations are working at the same time. For about 20 min. Each group rotates to a different station for 20 min. By the time of the 3rd and final rotation the higher group gets to the guided practice station and I work with them on a higher level of questioning that may be 1 to 2 grade levels above their class level.

In our particular rotation model of Gradual Release the fact that the class is actually divided into 3 smaller groups helps to ensure that when they are in guided practice they get the most out of it. I basing the groups on the exit tickets because it ensures that the groups are always fluid so there may be different ability levels in each group.

Respond 6

I will be up front that I am not fully confident I understood the material for this week, nor that I fully understand the question. I will give my best answer based on what I picked up from the material and what I think is being asked.

I do not think I have used the gradual release method with students. Perhaps I have used it on a small scale without intending to officially use gradual release. I have definitely used components of the 5Es in the classroom, though I’ve never intentionally used all 5 in the order listed.

The portion of the 5Es method that I have used the most and with great success in my classes is Engage. Since a lot of what I teach is moral theology, it is not hard to get students invested in the topics we cover. I will sometimes ask them to pair up and think of a moral conundrum to stump their peers and generate discussion. An example of a scenario students came up with is whether it would be morally permissible or good for a dad to sacrifice his life by donating his heart to a child dying of a heart condition.

As we know, teens emotions often run hot when it comes to questions of justice and right and wrong. Conundrums like this spark quite a few quick responses and debate among students.

Sometimes I ask students to cite examples in popular entertainment and music related to the day’s topic. This definitely gets them excited and engaged. I will have them assess the underlying, often unspoken beliefs presented by that artist or production. They really love digging deeper for themselves into the entertainment they consume regularly.

I also love doing Socratic circles. When my teenage students get to share their views and ask questions in dialogue with their peers about hot topics, they become quickly engaged. They feed off of one another in going deeper and deeper into an issue. I can almost see the lightbulbs above their heads. These are the moments that most fulfill me as a teacher.

I love the 5Es example in this week’s material that helps children think through for themselves the reasons why Hitler was voted into power when he was! Genius! I will definitely be repurposing elements from that lesson for my classes in the coming school year!


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