These are my notes from the presentation by Dr Rebecca Wilkinson (of Barlow Education Management Services) titled “Developing Student Thinking Skills for College, Career and Citizenship” at the “21st Century Learning: Transitioning to the Common Core” conference at Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma City on February 23, 2012. (Technically we’re in Bethany.) MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

This session is about students developing their thinking skills
– my dad was a Halliburton man, in the days when they offered shares to employees

We can’t just focus on content when we teach our students and think that is going to be good enough for them in their future careers

I want to talk about literacy and skills
– we used to just think about reading and writing
– when we start tackling common core skills we have to think about literacy in broader terms

Evidence-based writing
– most of the writing that has been happening in schools has been narrative
– writing opinion pieces in 1st grade and giving examples from what students have read to back up their opinion
– being able to explain something in science and give support from their readings
– literacy with speaking and listening

We are used to PASS having speaking and listening, but they had an asterisk * next to them
– we all know what that has meant: It wasn’t assessed, so therefore many teachers ignored/did not address those skills

Thinking skills

literacy with problem solving and technology

Many computers are used to doing ‘their programs’ on their computers, but don’t have many creative skills
– many younger teachers do bring a wealth of knowledge and skills

We know CCSS assessments will be online, grades 3-12

MY COMMENT: SO IT SEEMS FAIR TO SAY CCSS EXPECTATIONS ARE THAT STUDENTS ARE GOING TO NEED TO WRITE MUCH MORE AND MUCH MORE FREQUENTLY, BOTH OFFLINE AND ONLINE IN CLOSED AS WELL AS PUBLIC, INTERACTIVE SPACES. THESE ARE KEY REASONS WE NEED TEACHERS TO EMBRACE THE CONCEPTS IN “PLAYING WITH MEDIA: SIMPLE IDEAS FOR POWERFUL SHARING.”

Mathematics expectations for CCSS are deeper for even elementary school
– literacy in mathematics is key

MY COMMENT: I NEED TO SHARE A REGULAR PRESENTATION CALLED SOMETHING LIKE “DESIGNING VISUALLY POWERFUL PRESENTATIONS THAT HELP OTHERS LEARN BETTER”

I see CCSS as a pendulum swing forward to a more classical education

Kids know a lot of technology, but we need to make sure they know the right technology for the right grade level

MY COMMENT: THAT SPECIFIC COMMENT ABOUT TECHNOLOGY EXPECTATIONS IS INCREDIBLY INCOMPLETE AND INSUFFICIENT. WHAT, EXACTLY, IS MEANT BY ‘KNOW THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY FOR THE RIGHT GRADE LEVEL.” I ASKED ABOUT REBECCA THIS. HER ANSWER:

I talk to Eric Hileman about this often. I want the SDE or PARC to give me a list of the technology skills my students need at each grade level: at 2nd grade, at 3rd grade, etc.
– “we need to know what those fine motor mouse skills are and when they need to be mastered”

I RECOMMENDED (IN THE SESSION IN RESPONSE TO REBECCA’S QUESTION TO THE AUDIENCE) THE NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY STANDARDS FOR STUDENTS, WHICH WERE ADOPTED BY OKLAHOMA AND INTEGRATED AS PART OF OUR PASS STANDARDS. THESE ARE SPECIFIC FOR DIFFERENT GRADE LEVELS AND PROVIDE OUTSTANDING GUIDELINES FOR THE KINDS OF TECHNOLOGY SKILLS OUR STUDENTS NEED.

Beth Moore is staying assessment may be 50% multiple choice and 50% open answer, some people say it may be more like 60% and 40%

Now we’re discussing ‘thinking skills we have discovered in the new CCSS which should be prioritized and incorporated into classrooms”

MY COMMENT: WE OUGHT TO BRAINSTORM AND SHARE GREAT QUESTIONS WHICH SPECIFICALLY TIE TO GRADE LEVEL CCSS STANDARDS AND EXPECTATIONS. OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS AND QUESTIONS WHICH DON’T HAVE JUST ONE RIGHT ANSWER. QUESTIONS WHICH HAVE MANY SHADES OF GREY. SO MUCH GREAT LEARNING STARTS WITH GREAT QUESTIONS. THESE CAN AND SHOULD BE STUDENT GENERATED. I’M THINKING OF DR. MIKE MUIR HERE AND THE “PROJECTS FOR ME INITIATIVE” IN MAINE.

“I ran across a good website of good questions which are aligned to Bloom’s taxonomy, I told the teachers to print these off, laminate them and put them in their textbooks”

We need to shift the mindset in our schools: No matter what content area you teach, you are a literacy teacher!

Assignments are going to have to talk about depth of knowledge

Developing student skills
– require regular writing in class with thinking ‘outside the box’ as a means for managing feedback and assessment (i.e. grade random samples, present good models, use of rubrics to guide writing expectations, self-evaluations,

Huge mindset change for K-12 students: Don’t grade EVERY student assignment

MY COMMENT: I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THIS! TEACHING UNDERGRADS THE PAST TWO YEARS I’VE IMPLEMENTED THIS IDEA WITH ASSIGNED BLOG REFLECTIONS, STUDENTS WOULD HAVE RANDOM POSTS SELECTED FOR GRADING, BUT NOT EVERY ONE WOULD BE GRADED BY ME.

Good list of online writing and grading options:

Glencoe Online Essay Grader

Vantage Learning’s My Access Writing

Pearson’s Write to Learn

Terrible story related by a school administrator from SE Oklahoma: The vendor for Pearson’s Write to Learn refused to tell the school how much it would cost after the free trial period was over
– That is ridiculous! This kind of unethical sales tactics for schools should be highlighted, uncovered, and skewered by local as well as state/national media. :-(

Virtuoso iPad Teacher

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