Writing to Learn in an Active Learning Classroom… OR Writing

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Transcript Writing to Learn in an Active Learning Classroom… OR Writing

Writing to Learn in an
Active Learning
Classroom…
OR
Writing without FEAR
Janet Batzli
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Biology Core Curriculum (Biocore)
Evolutionary theory made simple…?
Colored Paper Poll
Examine the cartoon. Based on your understanding of evolution by natural
selection, how did the long necked dinosaurs arise? Consider the following :
a.
Long neck dinosaurs arose because they needed to be able to eat leaves on
progressively taller trees with each generation. [YELLOW]
b.
Increase in neck length of dinosaurs followed an increase in stem height of trees, little
by little with each successive generation resulting in tall trees and long necked
dinosaurs.[CHARTRUESE]
c.
Following an increase in tree height, a genetic mutation induced by the environment
caused a change in the dinosaurs neck lengths allowing them to obtain food from the
taller trees. [ORANGE]
d.
With a large variation in neck lengths in dinosaurs and tree heights in the original
population, long necked dinosaurs could more easily obtain food, had higher
reproductive rates, and came to predominate over time.[PINK]
Goal: Explain Evolution by Natural Selection
Examine the cartoon. Based on your understanding of
evolution by natural selection, generate a biological
scenario that explains the change in neck length of the
dinosaur.
Write your answer in your carbonless notebook and be
prepared to report out.
Why is writing different?



How did your thought process differ in the two
problems?
Why have students write (vs. other types of
assessment)?
What are the challenges you and your students
face concerning writing in class?
Assessment Gradient
High
Ease of
Assessment
Multiple Choice, T/F
Diagrams, Concept
maps, Quantitative
response
Short answer
Low
Potential for
Assessment of
Learning
Essay, Research
papers/ reports
Low
High
Oral Interview
Types of In-Class Writing
1. Writing at beginning of class to probe subjectReflection or Engagement
2. Writing during class to refocus lagging
discussion or cool off a heated one--Mental
Yawn
3. Writing during class to ask questions or express
confusion-- Muddiest Point
4. Writing at the end of class to sum up a lecture
or discussion--Minute Paper
……Continued
5. Reading, reflecting and discussing
other students writing-- peer review
6. Revising previous writing samples
after instruction--rethink response
Sources:
John Bean’s Engaging Ideas: The Professors Guide to Integrating
Writing, Critical Thinking and Active Learning in the Classroom.
Jossey Bass Inc. Publ., San Francisco, 1996.
T. Angelo & P. Cross Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook
for College Teachers. Jossey Bass Inc. Publ. San Francisco. 1993
Benefits & Challenges of
In-Class Writing





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Increased attendance and engagement
Students process challenging concepts right away;
recognizing what they don’t know earlier, focusing study
Instructors are more cognizant of and focused on student
learning difficulties earlier
Students may not see benefit right away. Unless they are
given feedback.
Takes time (5 min write; 5 min feedback)
Do early/ often/ consistantly (≥ once/week) so they expect,
condition students
Evaluating Student
Writing
How do you do it--without being overwhelmed?

With efficiency?

With reliability and limited variability?

Feedback to students?

Without FEAR?
To grade or not to grade…..




No need to read & grade everything
Sampling
General feedback
Several students present work to class
And then there are Scoring
Rubrics……
The Wonders of Using
Scoring Rubrics


Tool for learning (both teacher and
learner)
Tool for evaluating students’
explanations
Scoring Rubric for In-Class Writing
Rating
General Approach
Comprehension
Exemplary- 5
Addresses the question.
States a relevant justifiable answer.
Arguments in logical order.
States relevant assumptions.
Acceptable style and grammar.
Demonstrates an accurate and
complete understanding of the
question/system.
Uses logical reasoning to build
arguments that support the
answer.
Adequate-3
Does not address the question
explicitly, although does so
tangentially.
Relevant and justifiable answer.
Key points present, but weak.
Argument could be better organized.
Uses acceptable style and grammar
(few errors)
Demonstrates accurate but only
adequate understanding of
question
Reasoning is somewhat flimsy or
vague; leaves much to
interpretation.
Less thorough than above.
Needs
Improvement
-1
Does not address the question.
Answer is not relevant.
Lacks clarity or logical organization.
Does not use acceptable style and
grammar. (many errors)
Does not demonstrate accurate
understanding of the question or
did not answer the question.
Lacks reasoning, is not logical, or
is inaccurate.
No Answer- 0
Student Writing Samples



Read students responses to the
“dinosaur problem”
Sort into piles according to quality of
responses
Rate from 1-5
How do you develop a
rubric?

Develop performance standards



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Goals: reasoning, critically evaluate info,
state assumptions, logically communicates
understanding of concepts
Look at student work and differentiate
levels of responses based on clearly
described criteria
Rate (assign value) the categories
Evaluate sample responses
Advantages to Scoring
Rubrics

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
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Improve the reliability of scoring written assignments and
oral presentations
Convey goals and performance expectations of students in
an unambiguous way
Convey “grading standards” or “point values” and relate
them to performance goals
Engage students in critical evaluation of their own
performance
Saves grading time, and improves assessment
Limitations of Scoring Rubrics

Problem of criteria

Feedback is not custom made for students


Conversion to letter grade; normalizing with non-rubric
graded assignments
Problem of practice and regular use
Scoring Rubric resources :
Arter, J. A. and McTighe, J. 2001. Scoring rubrics in the classroom: Using
performance criteria for assessing and improving student performance. Thousand
Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc.
Ebert-May, D. 1999. Field Tested Learning Assessment techniques, scoring rubrics
http://www.flaguide.org/cat/rubrics/rubrics7.htm NISE, Madision, WI
Session FeedbackMinute Paper
PART A
DIRECTIONS: Read the following questions, and write a brief answer to each one.
1.
What is most important point conveyed during the session?
2.
What is one new teaching activity you are willing to try?
3.
What is 1 question you have about the session?
PART B
DIRECTIONS: Read each statement in the scale below. Circle the degree to which you
either agree or disagree with it.
SD=Strongly Disagree D=Disagree N=Neutral A=Agree SA=Strongly Agree
1.
I was comfortable with the pace of the session.
SD
A
N
A
SA
2.
I found the content to be relevant
SD
A
N
A
SA
3.
I found the activities to be useful.
SD
A
N
A
SA