#diffimooc SurvivalCraft Week 2

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So exciting to be part of a course that is using MinecraftEdu.  Students are working hard to create mazes based on the book “Maze Runner”.  Hopefully soon the teachers in my district will use it as an educational tool too.

I posted on the SurvivalCraft community reminding teachers about some of the Diffi Tools for Scenario 2 in both the books.  Students from the Diffimooc course feel free to advertise about your tool of the community.

Reflection Week 13

This week Jon and I hosted the Titter session. We geared our questions towards assessment and student motivation. I started off the session with a Google form quiz. I also shared the add on Flubaroo and how it can grade a Google form. Jon finished the session by asking questions. I felt the session went well. I enjoyed getting ideas on how other teachers try to motivate their students especially when it comes to assessment.

I have been working on my UbD it is geared for elementary about 1st-3rd grades. It took me awhile to decide on a subject and an essential question for my UbD. I think the hardest part was creating a PBL unit. At first I wanted to create a unit on using Sphero’s. One of the teachers I work with has 10 Sphero’s that she has been wanting to use and hasn’t had time to figure them out, so she asked me for help. They are basically balls that you can code to roll and change color. I had a hard time thinking of how to incorporate it into a PBL unit, what my “real world” essential question(s) would be. The other thing that steered me away from doing a unit on Sphero was that they are expensive to purchase. I won’t be using one in my classroom anytime soon, so I wanted to create a unit I can use next year. For my PBL UbD I chose a topic I am familiar with, planets. My unit has students researching whether or not humans can live on other planets and if they cannot what attributes make it impossible for us to live on another planet, i.e. weather, atmosphere, temperature.

#diffimooc Week 13: Assessment and Motivation

Essential question: How can I use both formative and summative assessment to enhance (or at least not interfere with) intrinsic motivation?

In Great Performances: Creating Classroom-Based Assessment Tasks by Larry Lewin and Betty Jean Shoemaker there are ideas on how to assess and use activities like oral presentations and projects. The authors describe ways to set up clear guidelines and expectations when doing classroom based projects. It’s important for students to know and understand what they are being assessed on. It’s also important for teachers to help students stay on task and meet a timeline when working on projects in class.

As stated by Popham (2014), “Criterion-referenced measurement revolves around clear descriptions of what a test is measuring (p.65)”. Assessment should help educators determine their students’ educational needs. My district is looking at adopting Northwest Evaluation Association’s Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test. MAP offers many different reports and resources teachers can use to help guide their teaching. One problem I see teachers could face with MAP in my district is a lack of training on how to use the MAP assessment reports/resources appropriately. Another problem I see teachers’ facing is whether or not the MAP test aligns with the standards we are expected to teach. As stated by Bond (1996), “The validity of the score in these decision processes depends on whether or not the content of the NRT matches the knowledge and skills expected of the students in that particular school system.”

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Cauley, K. M., & McMillan, J. H. (2010). Page 2.

According to Wormeli (2010), formative assessment is the most important aspect of assessment. He states formative assessment has the greatest impact on student achievement. Wormeli concludes that students can learn without grades, but they can’t learn without the feedback that comes from formative assessment. He suggests that teachers should spend at least the same amount of time as they do on creating summative assessments on creating formative, if not more.  While watching the Rick Wormeli in the YouTube video Rick Wormeli: Formative and Summative Assessment I started reflecting whether or not I use enough formative assessment in my classroom. In the video Wormeli also talked about the importance of feedback and how it’s the descriptive feedback that helps motivate students. I appreciate that technology has made it easier for me to formatively assess students. Resources like Kahoot, Socrative, Nearpod, Google Forms, etc., have made it possible for me to quickly assess where my students are and their needs and the students enjoy using technology, which helps with student motivation.


Bond, L. A. (1996). Norm-and Criterion-Referenced Testing. ERIC/AE Digest. Retrieved from: http://www.ericdigests.org/1998-1/norm.htm

Cauley, K. M., & McMillan, J. H. (2010). Formative assessment techniques to support student motivation and achievement. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 83(1), 1-6. Retrieved April 17, 2015 from http://www.greatschoolspartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/FormativeAssessmentTechniques+Motivation.pdf

Popham, W. J. (2014). Criterion-Referenced Measurement: Half a Century Wasted? Educational Leadership, 71(6), 62-68. Retrieved from: Egan Library http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eft&AN=94925708&login.asp&site=ehost-live

Lewin, Larry, and Shoemaker, Betty Jean. Great Performances: Creating Classroom-Based Assessment Tasks (2nd Edition). Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD), 2011. ProQuest ebrary. Available: http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2081/lib/uasoutheast/reader.action?ppg=106&docID=10488667&tm=1428975832182 Web. 17 April 2015.

Moss, C. (2013). Research on Classroom Summative Assessment. Retrieved April 17, 2015 from http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/50740_ch_14.pdf

StenHouse Publishers. (2010). Rick Wormeli: Formative and Summative Assessment. Video. Retrieved April 17, 2015 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJxFXjfB_B4

Reflection Week 12

This week’s Twitter season was fun, we played a Kahoot. I am familiar with Kahoot, one of my work colleagues shared Kahoot with me. I have used it a few times at the schools I teach at. Kahoot is a great formative assessment tool, plus it’s engaging the students love the competition of it. I was wondering how Kahoot was going to play out on Twitter, but Cynthia did a good job posting the questions.

I enjoyed the required reading this week. The chapters were easy to read and had useful information. As a mentioned in commenting on Scott’s blog I wish I would have read these books before starting my teaching career. I started my career working in rural village in AK. The village has a high SES and every student receives a free breakfast and lunch. Many of the things I learned, that the book discussed, I learned by trial and error. After reading this week’s chapters, I felt encouraged to keep my students backgrounds in mind. It’s so easy to get frustrated, especially around standardized testing time, thinking…why don’t the students know this by now?, I have taught this many times. Teachers need to remember each student comes from different backgrounds and home lives with varying prior knowledge and motivation to do well in school.

#Diffimooc Week 12: Brain-Based Learning

Essential question: What is brain-based learning and how can it inform problem based learning and differentiation? 

As stated by Jensen, brain-based education is best understood in three words: engagement, strategies and principles. In chapters three and eight of Teaching with the Brain in Mind discussed many of the ideas that we have already been reading about for the Diffimooc course. According to Jensen (2005), seven factors are critical to the learning process they are: engagement, repetition, input quantity, coherence, timing, error correction, and emotional states. The idea I kept coming back to while reading these chapters was the importance of getting to know our students and building relationships. In a classroom it’s important to remember that not every student learns the same, not every student is motivated by the same rewards, and students come to school with different prior knowledge. As educators if we want to assist our students in learning and understanding what is being taught we have to learn and understand the best way to teach our students. We have to be willing to try different strategies to motivate and engage our student’s learning.

In chapter three of Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do About It the idea of fluid intelligence is addressed. As stated by Jensen (2005), “Fluid intelligence is a context-independent, highly transferable skill that will serve your students well in the real world.” It’s fascinating to know that a student is capable of making counting money and making change in the real world but that student may not transfer that skill to paper pencil question, which makes it important for educators to teach concepts/skills in multiple ways/contexts. Using PBL in the classroom can help students understand that skills are being taught for a reason and it’s not just important to learn material to pass a test, but to learn in order to use that information in the real world and apply it to other concepts in life. Key Largo School in Florida bases the way they teach and use technology on the book How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Key Largo School uses different strategies and teaching methods to meet the needs of their students as seen in the video below.


Edutopia. (n.d.) Building a Better School with Brain-Based Learning. [Video]. Retrieved April 10, 2015 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BL2RchtFpVs

Jensen, E. (2005). Teaching with the Brain in Mind (2nd Edition). Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD). Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com

Jensen, E. (2009). Teaching with Poverty in Mind : What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do About It. Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD). Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com

Jensen, E. (n.d.). What is Brain-Based Learning? Retrieved April 10, 2015 from https://feaweb.org/brain-based-learning-strategies

Reflection Week 11

Wow this week was busy! I am in the OLTAK course as well as Diffimooc and we have been busy creating the teacher training website. I was in charge of collecting the diffi tools to share and post with teachers. During the Givercraft I was also in charge of the diffi tools and I asked classmates to email me their tool idea write ups, but I didn’t receive that many write-ups. Mia and I thought it would be best to have one spot for the diffimooc class to post their tools, so I created a Diffimooc Diffi Tools Google Community (try to say that fast 3 times).  Unfortunately using the Google Community did not increase the number of diff tool write-ups. I’m not sure what else I could have done to receive more responses. I tweeted about the community and Mia shared the link at the end of the Wednesday diffimooc Twitter session. I think Lee emailed everyone and tweeted. Maybe the diffimooc class should look at creating the tools weeks in advance and then meet with the OLTAK class about the best way to get the tool information to teachers that are doing the Minecraft experience. The plan for SurvivalCraft is to post all the diffi tools on the teacher training website and also have all the tools on the SurvivalCraft Google Community.   Game on!