Thursday, December 30, 2010

CFU chapter 2

Well, it's holiday break... actually it's almost over. I've spent some great time with family and friends celebrating Christmas! I've also spent some time reflecting on school things, where to go next, etc. I've also read the 2nd chapter of Fisher and Frey's Checking for Understanding. So, let's dive into chapter 2 and see where we end up!

The title of chapter 2 is: "Using Oral Language to Check for Understanding" Fisher and Frey dive into defining oral language and also discussing the development of oral language. They show a lot of research (I've learned writers have to do that...) They also discuss some misconceptions of oral vs written language in poverty and gender. The discussion also flows into perceived skill vs actual skills. This specific portion was interesting to me, especially the part on the bottom of page 21,

"the amount of teacher versus student talk in a classroom varies by demographics of the students. In addition, students who live in poverty, are English language learners, have disabilities, or are otherwise at risk in school spend more of their time on basic skills and less time engaged in activities, lessons, or inquiry that fosters creative and critical thinking."

Wow! But if you think about how we teach students with disabilities, their time is spent with teacher talking, or working on worksheets. Their practice and learning is on rote memorization, not synthesizing thinking.

Next, Fisher and Frey discuss different methods of checking for understanding using oral language strategies. These include: Accountable Talk, Nonverbal Cues, Value Lineups, Retellings, Think-Pair-Share, Misconception Analysis, and Whip Around. To be honest, I had heard of about 3 of those. What I noticed about all of the methods was that they all included changing instruction based upon what students know. Ahah!! That's the key to any sort of assessment. If instruction and learning changes because of what data was collected, it's formative assessment. 

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