Saturday, October 29, 2011

Objectives for Learning

Objectives and assessments should be identified to ensure that students remain on task and are able to articulate why the lesson is important and what goals are necessary for them to achieve. By identifying these critical take-away, you begin to think about essential learning outcomes and how relationships can be developed and built on main concepts. This is accomplished by looking at the standards of learning (SOLs) for your topic and deciphering what the big picture is and how best to identify the importance of this picture to your students. For example, below are two SOLs. Identify the take-away from each. Questions to consider:
• What are the most important concepts for students to understand from this unit?
• What is important for students to remember about this unit a year from now?
• What observable behaviours do I want students to demonstrate and which cognitive domains will be evident? Finally write a real-world problem to represent the algebraic expression.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Big Questiions - For a Successful Lesson

A big idea question could be: “How have money and other means of commerce taken shape throughout history and across different civilizations?” In the classroom, the teacher would lead a brainstorming session by posing this question and guiding students to think about how money and bartering have changed throughout societies. As students are brainstorming, the teacher’s role is to write all of the students’ ideas on an interactive board. Once students finish suggesting ideas, select students can come up to the interactive board to organize the collection of ideas into categories. Once the categories are organized, you can have students brainstorm possible sub questions for each category. Once sub questions are identified, as a collective group the class can then decide which questions and categories they want to work on and understand better. As the teacher, it is your responsibility to encourage students to identify key points about the topic that are of interest to them personally and to begin asking deeper questions to explore their interests further as they relate to the intended learning objective. Through this process of collaboration and investigation, students begin to understand the big idea of the lesson and the larger picture - their personal world.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Critical and Creative Thinking Processes

Much of the thinking done in formal education emphasizes the skills of analysis--teaching students how to understand claims, follow or create a logical argument, figure out the answer, eliminate the incorrect paths and focus on the correct one. However, there is another kind of thinking, one that focuses on exploring ideas, generating possibilities, looking for many right answers rather than just one. Both of these kinds of thinking are vital to a successful working life, yet the latter one tends to be ignored until after college. We might differentiate these two kinds of thinking like this:
In an activity like problem solving, both kinds of thinking are important to us. First, we must analyze the problem; then we must generate possible solutions; next we must choose and implement the best solution; and finally, we must evaluate the effectiveness of the solution. As you can see, this process reveals an alternation between the two kinds of thinking, critical and creative. In practice, both kinds of thinking operate together much of the time and are not really independent of each other.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Synthesis - The Ability to Put Parts Together

Some of the action verbs used to assess synthesis are the following: argue, arrange, assemble, categorize, collect, combine, compile, compose, construct, create, design, develop, devise, establish, explain, formulate, generalize, generate, integrate, invent, make, manage, modify, organize, originate, plan, prepare, propose, rearrange, reconstruct, relate, reorganize, revise, rewrite, set up, summarize.Some examples of learning outcomes that demonstrate evidence of synthesis are: 1) Recognize and formulate problems that are amenable to energy management solutions; 2) Propose solutions to complex energy management problems both verbally and in writing; 3) Summarize the causes and effects of the 1917 Russian revolutions; 4) Relate the sign of enthalpy changes to exothermic and endothermic reactions; 5) Organize a patient education program. Note that the verbs used in the above six categories are not exclusive to any one particular category. Some verbs appear in more than one category. For example, a mathematical calculation may involve merely “applying” a given formula or it may involve “analyzing” as well as ‘application’.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Evaluation - The Ability to Judge the Value of Material for a Given Purpose

Some of the action verbs used to assess evaluation are: appraise, ascertain, argue, assess, attach, choose, compare, conclude, contrast, convince, criticize, decide, defend, discriminate, explain, evaluate, grade, interpret, judge, justify, measure, predict, rate, recommend, relate, resolve. The following are some examples of learning outcomes that demonstrate evidence of evaluation are:
• Assess the importance of key participants in bringing about change in Irish history Evaluate marketing strategies for different electronic business models.
• Summarize the main contributions of Michael Faraday to the field of electromagnetic induction.
• Predict the effect of change of temperature on the position of equilibrium.
• Evaluate the key areas contributing to the craft knowledge of experienced teachers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Analysis - the Ability to Break down Information into its Components

As an example for that we can look for inter-relationships and ideas (understanding of organizational structure). Some of the action verbs used to assess analysis are as follows: analyze, appraise, arrange, break down, calculate, categorize, classify, compare, connect, contrast, criticize, debate, deduce, determine, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, divide, examine, experiment, identify, illustrate, infer, inspect, investigate, order, outline, point out, question, relate, separate, sub-divide, test. Some examples of learning outcomes that demonstrate evidence of analysis are:
• Analyze why society criminalizes certain behaviors.
• Compare and contrast the different electronic business models.
• Debate the economic and environmental effects of energy conversion processes.
• Compare the classroom practice of a newly qualified teacher with that of a teacher of 20 years teaching experience.
• Calculate gradient from maps in m, km, % and ratio.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Application - The Ability to Use Learned Material in New Situations

Some of the action verbs used to assess application are shown as follows: Apply, assess, calculate, change, choose, complete, compute, construct, demonstrate, develop, discover, dramatize, employ, examine, experiment, find, illustrate, interpret, manipulate, modify, operate, organize, practice, predict, prepare, produce, relate, schedule, select, show, sketch, solve, transfer, use. Some examples of learning outcomes that demonstrate evidence of application are:
• Construct a timeline of significant events in the history of Australia in the 19th century.
• Apply knowledge of infection control in the maintenance of patient care facilities.
• Select and employ sophisticated techniques for analyzing the efficiencies of energy usage in complex industrial processes.
• Relate energy changes to bond breaking and formation.
• Modify guidelines in a case study of a small manufacturing firm to enable tighter quality control of production.
• Show how changes in the criminal law affected levels of incarceration in Scotland in the 19th century.
• Apply principles of evidence-based medicine to determine clinical diagnoses.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Learning Outcomes and Assessment: Comprehension - Defined as the Ability to Understand and Interpret Learned Information

Some of the action verbs used to assess comprehension are as follows:
Associate, change, clarify, classify, construct, contrast, convert, decode, defend, describe, differentiate, discriminate, discuss, distinguish, estimate, explain, express, extend, generalize, identify, illustrate, indicate, infer, interpret, locate, paraphrase, predict, recognize, report, restate, rewrite, review, select, solve, translate.
Some examples of learning outcomes that demonstrate evidence of comprehension are:
• Differentiate between civil and criminal law
• Identify participants and goals in the development of electronic commerce.
• Predict the genotype of cells that undergo meiosis and mitosis.
• Explain the social, economic and political effects of World War I on the post-war world.
• Classify reactions as exothermic and endothermic.
• Recognize the forces discouraging the growth of the educational system in Ireland in the 19th century.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Regards from Jevgenija, Latvia

Hi Ana,
I have viewed your blog and tried to leave some comments but somehow could not do that. I think that you have done an excellent work, other teachers can crib and get innovative ideas for their lessons. I also attach some photos of you and us for good memories. Thanks for the photos. Keep in touch, with warm regards, Jevgenija

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Learning Outcomes and Assessment - Knowledge

Knowledge may be defined as the ability to recall or remember facts without necessarily understanding them. Some of the action verbs used to assess knowledge are as follows:
Arrange, collect, define, describe, duplicate, enumerate, examine, find, identify, label, list, memorize, name, order, outline, present, quote, recall, recognize, recollect, record, recount, relate, repeat, reproduce, show, state, tabulate, tell.
Some examples of learning outcomes for courses in various disciplines that demonstrate evidence of knowledge include the following:
• Recall genetics terminology: homozygous, heterozygous, phenotype, genotype, homologous chromosome pair, etc.
• Identify and consider ethical implications of scientific investigations.
• Describe how and why laws change and the consequences of such changes on society.
• List the criteria to be taken into account when caring for a patient with tuberculosis.
• Define what behaviors constitute unprofessional practice in the solicitor – client relationship.
• Describe the processes used in engineering when preparing a design brief for a client.
Note that each learning outcome begins with an action verb.

Bloom's Taxonomy and Inquiry

Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy, updated in 2001, can help you identify and categorize good questions to guide student learning. Within the taxonomy, there are six cognitive levels, and these move from lower- to higher-order thinking. The six levels are remembering (knowledge), understanding (comprehension), applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating (synthesizing). These six levels provide opportunities for teachers to incorporate inquiry learning into their lessons beyond the lower cognitive-level thinking activities, such as knowledge and comprehension that are centered on recitation and memorization. In order to develop critical thinking and good inquiry activities, you want to ask questions that provide students with opportunities to apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate important concepts and themes within the activity. This deeper investigation and exploration of topics allows your students to focus on differentiating and questioning different points of view and then synthesize the information in order to debate an issue or build a model.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Motivation and Inquiry Activities

In student learning, motivation is a key element, and this is especially critical with inquiry activities. Without student motivation, engagement will not happen and deep inquiry will not take place. When motivated, students are eager to learn, fascinated by their discoveries and enjoy asking questions. Motivation is generally either intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is internal and comes because we are interested in the material and want to do a good job. Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, comes from external factors, such as good grades or praise on an assignment. When you begin creating your inquiry activity, try to engage both forms of motivation equally. As shown in table 1.1, so that each inquiry activity builds on providing both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, you want to ensure that the activity is meaningful, authentic, and challenging and at the same time aligns with your learning standards. In order to create activities that aid in motivating your students, you want to make sure that the activity is meaningful and worthwhile. In developing class activities, it is important to ask yourself the following:
Why is this important for my students to understand? How does this topic relate to their interests? How does this topic tie into their future?

One way to highlight the importance of an activity and motivate your students is to provide connections to their current interests and concerns. For example, in a history class, have your students investigate how elections impact their lives. Voting can and does make a difference. It is critical to create an activity that connects your students to the content being explored and engages them in the discipline.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

21st Century Learning Methods

Equally important to 21st century learning is the application of learning science research and principles to learning methods and the design of learning activities, projects, assessments and environments. Principles of effective learning important to 21st century education practitioners include:
• Authentic Learning - learning from real world problems and questions
• Mental Model Building - using physical and virtual models to refine understanding
• Internal Motivation - identifying and employing positive emotional connections in learning
• Multi - Modal Learning - applying multiple learning methods for diverse learning styles
• Social Learning - using the power of social interaction to improve learning impact
A particularly effective learning method that incorporates these principles are group learning projects driven by an engaging, real-world questions or problems. These inquiry- and design-based, collaborative learning projects are a powerful learning method especially suited for building the essential 21st century skills-and-knowledge listed in the rainbow model above. Students in well-designed and managed learning projects often produce artifacts (reports, models, simulations, presentations, inventions, videos, etc.) that can be evaluated for both understanding of content knowledge and the proficiency level of a range of 21st century skills. Students’ collections of projects, often placed in structured electronic portfolios, can provide rich evidence for increasing competence and achievement over time.
Achieving a new balance of learning practice that supports an expanded set of learning goals and a broader definition of student success is a significant challenge to often change-resistant educational systems around the world. The interlocking support systems of education - standards, assessments, curriculum and instruction, professional development and learning environments - all have to shift together to provide a solid infrastructure for 21st century learning.
Schools, districts, provinces and entire national education systems are successfully moving toward a 21st century learning model, motivated by the need for an educated workforce and citizenry capable of meeting the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Learning Goals for 21st Century Students

The learning goals include traditional core subject knowledge areas (in green), such as social studies, math, science, language, etc.; interdisciplinary and contemporary thematic expertise (also in green), such as environmental, health, financial and civic literacy; and three sets of essential skills (in gold, purple and red), applied to the learning of content knowledge:

Task for Project-Based Learning

• Divide into teams of two. Pair up with somebody close to your subject and/or grade level.
• Generate an essential question, link it to a content standard, and begin to create your project, using the above model as your guide.
a) Ask the essential question. If you ask a good question, many content standards will be addressed in your finished product. For example, you could ask, “If I could create my own planet, what it would need to support human life?” Students would have to research a lot of stuff to come up with the answer. What will tell you whether or not students have mastered the material? Have students help with developing a rubric for judging the quality and accuracy of their work.
Remember: Questions are the most powerful tool we have as educators. Make your question a good one. Everything else will flow from it.
b) Have a plan. Students will own the project if they feel they have a role in its outcome. Try to integrate as many subjects into the research as you can. For example, tie Greek mythology into a space project. Use art to draw your new planet. Write a poem about space. Design math problems and physics experiments. Present the space program in economic and social terms. Is the space race worth having if so many people go hungry? Be prepared to delve into new topics and ideas as they arise.
c) Create a timeline. Will your project take a day, a week, a month, or the entire year? Give students directions for managing their time. Teach them how to schedule their tasks. Make sure that students are successful, especially at the beginning of the process. You can make it more difficult as time goes on. Be careful about setting limitations. Insist that they follow the rubrics; refer to these written guidelines often.
d) Monitor progress. Designate student roles. Be sure to provide resources, especially good hyperlinks to research sites. Devise a way to determine individual AND group accountability. That way, if a member of the team falls short, hard-working individuals still get the credit they deserve. Keep your eye on the group dynamics. You hold the power to reassign students if things aren’t working out. Are your goals clear as to the final outcome? Will it be a paper, a slide show or a poster? What does a good piece of student work look like? Have some examples to share before the project begins. Be sure to archive good student work for future classes.
e) Assess the project. Whenever possible, have the students assess their own work.
Assessments can be summative and formative. Use both methods. A good rubric will make this task lots easier. Students like specifics, so put lots of thought into how you will evaluate projects and share these guidelines with your class.
f) Evaluate and reflect on the project. This is the time to share feelings and experiences. Students can help you be a better facilitator for future projects. This is also a good time to develop and plan for new projects and ask new questions. If everyone did their jobs, you should have a million new questions to ask!
Will your rubric be a process or product rubric? Does it incorporate a timeline? Is your project based on a term paper or electronic project? Did you link your rubric to the correct standards? Is it a process rubric or a content rubric? Above is a cooperative learning model to help you get started. How will you modify it to fit your own needs?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Project Based Learning Planning

1. Project Based learning:
• It is curriculum-fueled and standards-based.
• It asks a question or poses a problem all students can answer.
• It lets students investigate real-world issues.
• It fosters abstract, intellectual tasks that explore complex issues. 2. How does it work?
a. Pose an essential question. Is the topic relevant? Is it connected to the real world? This is where you begin your in-depth investigation.
b. Establish a plan. Which content standards will be addressed? Teachers and students brainstorm activities that support the inquiry. Involve students in the planning and project-building process.
c. Create a schedule. Design a timeline for project components. What will your benchmarks be? Keep it simple and age-appropriate.
d. Monitor student progress and work. Be a good facilitator and keep things moving. Have students refer to their rubric to keep them on task.
e. Assess the project. How will you assess the project? Use rubrics that address content, process, and timeline.
f. Evaluate and reflect on your success. Have individuals and groups present their report. Reflect on what went well and what could be improved. Share ideas that will lead to new projects.

Friday, July 8, 2011

What Is Project Based Learning?

* Topic/Theme Based
* Relevant to students
* Relevant to Educational Needs
* Involves a Major Problem which has no predetermined solution
* Should Challenge Students
* Inter-disciplinary/Inter-departmental/Involves different subjects
* Is a Shool, Community or Global Project
* Stdent led - Structured, Guided, or Open (Teacher is a facilitator)
* Involves Student Collaboration
* Involves Research, Sharing and Distribution of Knowledge
* Final Product, which is assessed
* Uses Higher Order Thinking Skills for Student Outcomes and Assessment
* Uses Information Technology

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Using Key Word Cipher and the Shift Cipher

A keyword cipher is a form of monoalphabetic substitution, being used as the key. The keyword cipher determines the letter matchings of the cipher alphabet to the plain alphabet. Repeats of letters in the word are removed, the cipher alphabet being then generated with the keyword matching to A,B,C etc. until the keyword is used up, whereupon the rest of the ciphertext letters are used in alphabetical order, excluding those already used in the key.

Plaintext: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Encrypted: K R Y P T O S A B C D E F G H I J L M N Q U V W X Z

With KRYPTOS as the keyword, all As become Ks, all Bs become Rs and so on. Encrypting the message "cryptography is cool" using the keyword "kryptos":

Plaintext: K N O W L E D G E I S P O W E R
Encoded: D G H V E T P S T B M I H V T L

Only one alphabet is used here, so the cipher is monoalphabetic.

The best ways to attack a keyword cipher without knowing the keyword are through known-plaintext attack, frequency analysis and discovery of the keyword (often a cryptanalist will combine all three techniques). Keyword discovery allows immediate decryption since the table can be made immediately.
In cryptography, a Caesar cipher, also known as a Caesar's cipher, the shift cipher, Caesar's code or Caesar shift, is one of the simplest and most widely known encryption techniques. It is a type of substitution cipher in which each letter in the plaintext is replaced by a letter some fixed number of positions down the alphabet. For example, with a shift of 3, A would be replaced by D, B would become E, and so on. The method is named after Julius Caesar, who used it to communicate with his generals. The encryption step performed by a Caesar cipher is often incorporated as part of more complex schemes, such as the Vigenère cipher, and still has modern application in the ROT13 system. As with all single alphabet substitution ciphers, the Caesar cipher is easily broken and in practice offers essentially no communication security.
We have learned at this course that Leonardo da Vinci has used the mirror language. Teachers and students have to retain that in transposition codes, all the letters remain the same but in a different order.

Here is our trainer's example:


What we know?

* It's a code in Modern English Language.
* 'Z' is dominant.
* There are different words disposed in this way:
- 2 letter words;
- 3 letter words;
- 4 letter words;
- 8 letter words.

What we need to know?

* Is there a key word? - not relevant
* Is it a sentence? - yes
* Word frequencies in the English language:
1) The most common letter - e
2) A single letter word: - a, I
3) Most common 2 letter words - of, to in
4) Most common 3 letter words - the, and
5) Most common 4 letter words - that
6) 'Q' is followed by 'u'.

Writing a News Report - Editor's Checklist

* Is the information grouped into logical paragraphs?
* Are the paragraphs in a logical order?
* Is there any unnecessary information?
* Is any necessary information missing?
* Are there any parts that you can't understand?
* Are a lot of the same words repeated?
* Can more precise words be used?
* Is there too much repetition of linkers like 'and', 'but', 'then', etc.?
* Do all the verbs agree with subjects? (e.g. she are is ...)
* Have articles ('the', 'a', 'an') been used correctly?
* Have the correct verb forms been used?
* Is the punctuation correct?
* Have all the words been spelt correctly?

Being a Reporter of the Events Spent in THE WAR OF THE WORLDS - task for the ITC International course participants

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series MERCURY THEATRE ON THE AI. It was performed as a Halloween episode of the series on October 30, 1938 and aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network. Directed and narrated by Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H.G. Wells's novel "The War of the Worlds".
The first two thirds of the 60-minute broadcast were presented as a series of simulated "new bulletins", which suggested to many listeners that an actual alien invasion by Martians was currently in progress. Compounding the issue was the fact that the 'Mercury Theater on the Air was a 'sustaining show' (it ran without commercial breaks, thus adding to the program's quality of realism. Although there were sensationalist accounts in the press about a supposed panic in response to the broadcast, the precise extent of listener response has been debate. In the days following the adaptation, however, there was widespread outrage. Besides, the program's news bulletin format was decried as cruelly deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast, but the episode secured Orson Welles' fame.
Welles' adaptation was one of the Radio Project's first studies. video

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Prediction Task for Inquiry Based Learning - Assessment Showing CHINA SYNDROME and Discussing the Video

Framework for 21st Century Learning

The Framework presents a holistic view of 21st century teaching and learning that combines a discrete focus on 21st century student outcomes(a blending of specific skills, content knowledge, expertise and literacies) with innovative support systems to help students master the multi-dimensional abilities required of them in the 21st century. The key elements of 21st century learning are represented in the graphicand descriptions below. The graphic represents both 21st century skills student outcomes (as represented by the arches of the rainbow) and 21st century skills support systems (as represented by the pools at the bottom).


The course “The World in Your Classroom Tthrough Project Based Learning“ was structured into 11 training modules, each of them focusing on the methodology used in teaching PjBL as applied to teaching English as a modern foreign language. At the end of the course the participants have expressed their evaluation about the effectiveness of the course filling in an inquiry and specifying to what extent their expectations have been fulfilled. Each module has incorporated aspects of English used in conjunction with cross-curricular subjects involving real-world global problems. The contact with participants will remain after the end of the course and the result of the discussed methods will be proved in European projects and they will achieve partnerships between their institutions. The various modules have incorporated ICT tools and resources and the methods entailed in collaborative problem solving. The participants have worked within a group instructional setting. Guidance was given on current theoretical knowledge without being lecture orientated. The trainers have guided, observed, listened, evaluated and provided feedback for each module. Concepts were examined with regard to cross-cultural awareness. This course focused primarily on Teaching English as a Modern Foreign Language. However, teachers of other languages were welcome provided that they were fluent in English. The organisational skills and competences acquired were given even by the titles of the modules: 1) Introduction to PjBL Methodology; 2) 21st Century Skills; 3) Designing a Project; 4) Using ICT Learning and Collaborative Tools; 5) Real-world Problems; 6) Products; 7) Cross-curricular Collaboration; 8) Generating, Defining and Categorizing Problems; 9) Learning, Sharing and Distribution; 10) Role of Facilitator/Leader/Manager; 11) Standards, Assessment and Global Project Workshop. Teachers have put the methodology of Project Based Learning into practice through various tasks using 21st Century Skills, ICT learning tools and web resources in order to design meaningful projects for their own schools. Besides, teachers have completed a project construction plan appropriate to their classroom/students’ requirements which they can update on their return home.

Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?


Bloom's Taxonomy According to Pirates of the Caribbean


21st Century Skills: How do we get there?


The Schedule of ITC Course

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Approval for Course in Prague

My Pre-registration Form

This is my Pre-registration form for the course THE WORLD IN YOUR CLASSROOM THROUGH PROJECT BASED LEARNING with Reference number CZ-2011-078-006, attended by me in Prague, July 3rd-9th, 2011, in ITC - International TEFL Certificate, in the frame of Lifelong Learning Programme – Comenius – mobility for teaching staff, having Mr. Tony Cox, British teacher, as a trainer. The objectives of this course are: examining the methodology of PjBL, provoking responses to problems which are real-world global issues, using ICT resources and learning tools, designing projects using 21st Century Skills, integrating English as a modern foreign language with cross-curricular skills, producing worthwhile products at the end of the project, assessing students using recognised standards, improving the English language skills of both teachers and their respective students and exchanging experiences and cross cultural practices in project management.