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Classkick Certified Educators

 

Justin Johanson
HS English Teacher, Interventionist
Chicago, IL, USA

 

Certification Challenges

 

 
 
 

 

Assignment Creation Challenge

 

Evidence in Informational Texts by Justin Johanson

Text 1, Text 2 

Class Code:

RC39CX, 2PBYQ6

High Expectations:

Activities in this assignment have been designed to increase in complexity. The first activity is simply identification - a level one activity on the DoK scale - but the subsequent activities, citing evidence and analyzing informational texts, quickly become level three and level four tasks.

Objective/Assessment:

SWBAT cite strong text evidence from an informational text to support a claim.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text

Though students work in groups, they will be assessed individually for the answers on their Classkick assignment. Points are awarded as indicated on the assignment, specifically ensuring that claims are arguable, that evidence is drawn directly from the text, and that each student participates in the group presentation. Students will further be assessed on the objective through the culminating essay in this unit.

Varied Instructional Methods:

The instructional design intentionally allows for modeling, independent practice, and collaborative group work.

Students are intentionally grouped to provided differentiated instruction: while the first three slides are the same across both Classkick assignments for the purposes of the whole-group activities, Text 1 is significantly shorter and extra scaffolding has been provided for students reading Text 1 (link to audio, definitions, background information). That said, questions have been kept consistent so that students are working towards the same objectives.

Student Ownership of Learning:

While the beginning of the lesson includes some amount of direct instruction, providing definitions for key terms and modeling the practice of citing evidence in support of claims, the main learning activity is student guided and completed in collaborative groups. In this way, responsibility for the content is given to the students and students become the primary resource for their classmates' learning.

Any other information that is valuable to understanding the assignment, including plans for differentiation, thought process for meeting DOK/Bloom’s/SAMR levels:

The first three slides are intended to be used in the course of whole-class instruction. The first slide is used to introduce the concepts of Evidence and Claim; the instructor provides definitions and students complete the corresponding activity (Think-Pair-Share). While the first slide asks students to identify someone else's claim/evidence, the second slide asks students to write a claim of their own and to find supporting evidence. The instructor reads the text on the second slide and students are provided an opportunity to answer on their own. Afterwards, the instructor debriefs student answers and reviews the example on the third slide. 

Next, students meet with their group, read the assigned text, and complete the assigned questions. The fourth slide contains instructions to this effect. The fifth slide contains the reading, Text 1 or Text 2 depending on the group, and corresponding questions. When the groups have finished reading and answering questions, they should prepare to share as per the instructions on slide six. Before class ends, each group should be given a chance to present their findings.

Reflection:

Creating the assignment in Classkick stretched me to imagine what I could do with the unique capabilities of the platform. For example, when I was looking to differentiate, I instantly saw how easy it would be to find more ways for my students to interact with the text. The final product was a more interactive text with dictionary definitions for difficult words, a live dictionary link for other unfamiliar words, an audio version of the text, and some additional background info. I also realized that Classkick lends itself to easy ability grouping: I was able to provide this scaffolding to the students that would benefit by duplicating the assignment and making modifications where necessary, creating a roster for each group.

I did have a little difficulty formatting the assignment at first with the limits of the platform, specifically trying to change the size and color of the text or creating lines to break up the page. At first I couldn’t seem to break up the page to make the assignment visually appealing, but I found that importing PDFs and photos mitigated that problem. To create the first two pages I created handouts on google docs and downloaded them as PDFs. I did find that the iPad app allowed me to change the size and color of text, so I did some of the planning with both the computer and the iPad open, which was quite helpful.

The biggest lesson for the future is that using new technologies in the classroom can open up to new and innovative lessons. Being willing to try something new, planning in Classkick, turned this lesson on its head. Though I’m doing a lot of the same things I would be doing if I had some paper handouts, like modeling or collaborative group work, it gave me the ability to provide my students with more resources and allow them to interact with the text in new ways. It gave me tools for differentiation and in-class feedback that I don’t otherwise have.

 

 

Providing Feedback Challenge

 

Evidence in Informational Texts by Justin Johanson

Text 1Text 2 

Class Code:

RC39CX2PBYQ6

Explanation of Feedback:

The examples provided show examples of model work and student work that needed improvement and feedback given to each student. Feedback was specifically focused on the students' use of evidence.

How Feedback was Delivered:

Feedback was given in the course of the lesson, as students worked. Students were not required to have their work checked on the first two activities, but one student from every group was required to submit their work for review before the presentations.

Timeliness:

As feedback was provided during the class period, students had the opportunity to apply feedback to their work immediately. Actionable feedback was not applied in retrospect, but was part of students' learning in this activity.

Balance:

Feedback, both negative and positive, specifically referenced students' use of evidence. Feedback specifically referenced ideas about evidence presented in the beginning of the lesson to help students understand their progress in relation to the objective.

Suggestions for Improvement:

The feedback provided to students who needed to improve their use of evidence asked questions that would move them towards more effective use of evidence. In this way, students were shown exactly where and how they could improve.

Any other information that is valuable to understanding the feedback, including need for differentiation, thought process for meeting student needs: Using the app, it was possible to move through the class and monitor a wider range of students while still delivering focused, individual feedback to those students who most needed it, providing for the wide range of student needs in the classroom.

Reflection:

 
 

 

Facilitating Peer Feedback Challenge

 

Evidence in Informational Texts by Justin Johanson

Text 1Text 2 

Class Code:

RC39CX2PBYQ6

Explanation of Peer Feedback presented:

During individual work time, students were instructed to raise their digital hands each time they finished a page so that other students could check their work and to check the work of other classmates.

 
 

How the Peer Feedback Was Facilitated:

Before students worked with Classkick for the first time, students brainstormed and discussed norms for peer feedback. Class generated norms include, "be nice, but tell the truth," "correct mistakes," "tell them how to improve." Afterwards, debriefed best practices in feedback and decided on class norms. Students then had some practice giving and receiving feedback on the Classkick app.

Balance:

This is best captured through the class norm, "be nice, but tell the truth." While some students suggested "don't be mean," an astute class member countered by saying that it's more important to help classmates improve than it is to worry about their getting upset. In the end, we found this balance. These examples of student feedback show students' willingness to give constructive criticism.

Suggestions for Improvement:

While some students still struggle to move beyond correcting simple mistakes such as spelling or capitalization, we have worked on moving towards actionable feedback that focuses on large-scale issues. Students did well to reference the definition of claim as argument in the feedback examples, giving their classmates clear direction for improvement.

Reflection:

 
 
 
 

 

Differentiation

 

Evidence in Informational Texts by Justin Johanson

Text 1Text 2 

Class Code:

RC39CX2PBYQ6

Standards/Goals/Objectives:

SWBAT cite strong text evidence from an informational text to support a claim.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text

Knowledge of your students:

Of the struggling readers in my classes, several are most successful when they can hear the text while they read. Those same students, as well as a number of the English Learners, have also found success when key definitions are provided. On the other side of the spectrum, a several students have excelled thus far in the course and need a challenge when it comes to their reading.

Purposeful Design:

To address a variety of needs, this assignment uses ability grouping. Students who need extra challenge are assigned to Text 2: a longer, less familiar, more complex text. Students who need extra support are assigned to Text 1: a shorter, likely familiar text that has added scaffolding. Groups reading Text 2 are provided little more than an external link and are asked to use the digital resources at their disposal to best answer the questions provided. Groups using Text 1 are provided background information, a transcript of the speech with key definitions provided, and a link to an audio version of the speech. While the groups are working towards the same objective, the scaffolds provided to those reading Text 1 ensure that this is less a test of literacy or fluency than an actual test of the students' ability to use evidence.

Any other information that is valuable to understanding the differentiation method:

While this method of differentiation is a bit limited by the number of leveled groups provided for. That said, time reserved for individual work or collaborative group work allowed for individual attention.

Reflection:

 
 
 
 

 

Collaboration

 

Evidence in Informational Texts by Justin Johanson

Text 1Text 2 

Class Code:

RC39CX2PBYQ6

Explanation/Evidence of Collaboration:

Notes from the course team meeting regarding the Classkick Challenge lesson: 

 
 
 

Implementation:

The course team meets at least twice a week at during scheduled planning periods, but frequently meets more frequently in an effort to stay on the same page. Decisions made in the course team are based on the consensus opinion of the members, though teachers have the flexibility to make adaptations to individual lessons based on the needs of their classes.

Balance:

The opinions of each member of the course team are valued and sought out in each meeting. We rely on the expertise of each teacher, be it our Special Education co-teacher or our technology liaison, to inform our instructional methods. Rather than have each teacher do all the work, we divide the work equally among members of the team in order to capitalize on our unique strengths.

Analysis:

Discussion in team meetings is grounded in data from every class, though it is recognized that each teacher has a responsibility to serve the needs of their unique group of students. Teachers regularly share the results of common assessments to discuss student learning and to reflect upon past instruction.

Reflection:

It’s always productive collaborating with the team. Though we have different amounts of experience and significantly different teaching styles, working together had made us all better educators. Those different styles and experiences mean that we bring different ideas to the table, meaning we all become more flexible teachers. Classkick is a tool I recently brought to the team, and it’s our first time using the platform together. Some of us were a bit hesitant, but it has turned out to be a great experience. The recording I’ve submitted is the team’s reflection on the assignment I’ve submitted for Classkick Certification. The meeting went really well: everyone shared their opinions and we decided on a course of action together based on the data at hand. Working in a team meant that we were able to bounce ideas off one another and develop a plan going forward that meets the needs of our students. This time we all felt that students could use a bit more practice working with evidence, and that students who struggled with reading comprehension needed the most help. To better serve those students, we decided to implement writing practice that would not so heavily rely on reading comprehension while requiring students to use evidence.

A couple things could have gone better. I would have liked a bit more time to sort out the details of upcoming assignments together, but I trust my teammates to carry their weight. Also, it would have been ideal if we had more solid data from the assignment to inform our course moving forward. We talked about general impressions and rough data from initial grades, but we hadn’t had the opportunity to grade every assignment yet. We do have a significant amount of data from reading scores and prior assessments, so I am still confident that our decisions were well-informed.

For the future, it’s important to remember that bringing new ideas to the group, though sometimes intimidating, can have great results. Introducing the team to Classkick made this lesson a great success, and I’d like to continue innovating together moving forward.