Middle School Southfield, Michigan
grade language arts/social studies
9, Thinking About Thinking. Segment begins approximately 18
minutes into the program.
Primary Learning Objectives
By participating in the learning activities,
students should be able to:
- create a writer's notebook
- use resources such as magazines, books,
reference materials, and Internet sites to research a topic
- analyze and discuss their own writings
and writings of others, identifying main characters and
ideas, points of view, and possible intended audiences
- identify and discuss specific things
that help or hurt their own ability to learn new facts,
concepts, and skills
Students created writer's notebooks with collections
of thoughts, clippings and pictures about a subject they were
interested in. The students were assigned to groups and did
outside reading before sharing their work and discussing their
interests. They wrote essays about their topics, documented
their process in journals and presented their work to a group
of student teachers.
Learning Theories to Consider
- Learning and Transfer
- Multiple Intelligences
- The Structure of the Disciplines
Kathleen Hayes-Parvin assigns
sixth grade students to work on multiple tasks in collaborative
groups to reflect, write, receive, and give feedback to each
other in a teaching and learning environment. Students transfer
prior knowledge to new learning by making connections through
a format Hayes-Parvin describes as reading and writing from
"text to text, text to self, and text to the world."
As an example, she provides connections to new learning by
assigning students the task of reflecting on the "good"
teachers they have experienced in the past and to discuss
in their groups what makes the teachers so good. An exciting
conclusion for this assignment is that the students share
their thoughts and writings on "good" teachers with
a second audience of preservice teachers from the University
of Michigan. In another assignment she invites students to
read a poem written in a particular style before asking them
to write their own poem in similar style. In a culminating
assignment students write in journals about personal experiences
and discuss their writing with each other for feedback.
Although presenting to university teachers in
an interactive video- conference is very exciting and motivational,
Kathleen Hayes-Parvin demonstrates that the theory of Motivation
requires much more. She
creates interest by assigning her students the task of writing
about their personal experiences. When students share their
thoughts and writing with each other in an affirming environment,
their self-confidence is enhanced and they feel a sense of
accomplishment, and are therefore more motivated to learn.
The video conference also combines many familiar
student activities in new ways. As students prepare their
presentations they are experiencing Learning and Transfer
applying what they have learned in new situations.
In the classroom and in assigned groups Kathleen
Hayes-Parvin creates opportunities for students to excel in
multiple ways. Her understanding of Multiple Intelligences is modeled by the creative assignments she gives her
students. Each assignment allows students to demonstrate their
strengths. For example some students excel in linguistic Intelligence,
communicating their ideas wonderfully well, while others excel
in interpersonal Intelligence, thriving in small group experiences
where they notice and react to the moods of their friends.
Hayes-Parvin has organized her students' writing
tasks so they model the ways the professional writers work,
and are evaluated by the kind of criteria that writers would
use. By following the Structure of the Discipline
of writing, Hayes-Parvin is focusing on the most important
skills and knowledge her students should learn and apply.
Sequenced Writing Assignments:
Make a list of up to five key ideas from
each of the four learning theories presented: motivation,
learning and transfer, multiple intelligences and
the structure of the disciplines.
Next, try to identify a way the teacher applied each of
those key ideas as she planned and executed his learning
activities. For example, under "motivation,"
you might list, "learning activities are authentic
tasks teacher organized a presentation by class
members to college students, and that gave students a
tangible purpose to their projects."
You may find it useful to put your list in the form of a
table. We have provided templates in either Word
format if you choose to do this.
You may find that some key ideas from the learning theories
are not represented in the scenario. For now, leave a blank
space under them. You will also find that you are repeating
some of the things the teacher did because they are applications
of key ideas from more than one learning theory.
Review your list of key ideas and fill in
the blanks from Assignment A by suggesting things the
teacher could do to apply the key ideas you listed but
did NOT see represented already. Suggest other practical
things the teacher could do to incorporate key learning
theory ideas into her classroom activities.
Reflect on the completed table and record
your reflections about how the theories intersect or interact.
How might your own teaching practices take advantage of
what you see happening in this scenario?
As an alternative to these tasks, follow
the directions of your group facilitator or the teacher
of your class to write about this scenario and how one
or more learning theories might apply to it. Or decide
as a group how you might use it as a case for further
study and discussion.
Samples and tools to help you with the scenario
- Sample rubrics in html
format to assess your writings
sample for Scenario Four, Assignments A and B, (in PDF
format) to use as a model
- Templates in Word
format for the assignments