Monday, May 28, 2012

Continuing my GAME plan

Last week, we developed our GAME plan for improving our confidence and proficiency in two standards.  Looking at my GAME plan, I have to find ways to increase student collaboration.  If I perform this task without the use of technology, there is no equipment that I need.  I just need to be disciplined enough to follow through on my plan.  If I do require students to participate in a blog, or other social media sites such as Edmodo, I will need students to be able to access these sites.  That means that students will need computer and internet access.  Participating at school would be helpful, but we are not ready for the one-to-one environment yet.  We would need to reserve the computer room.  However, that would mean I would teach every day in the computer room.  That, obviously, is not feasible as there are other teachers desiring to use the computer labs.  I think the better way to start out is having students collaborate in class without the use of technology.  Then, outside of class (for homework), students could participate in collaborating with other students using technology.  An issue potentially arises if a student does not have a computer at home, or internet access at home.  In my school, that usually is not a problem as most students can access the internet at home.  If there is a problem, these students have several options.  They can use the computer lab or library (which also contains computers) after school.  There are computers in my classroom that work, even though they are slow.  Other science labs have computers that work well.  Students also have access to the public library for free.  In addition, many local business make wifi available for customers.  If there are exceptional circumstances where the student still can not complete his work, he should see me to work out a solution to his situation.  I have been able to incorporate more discussion in each of my classes.  I think this collaboration has helped a great deal.  I have not been able to incorporate the increase in collaboration with technology.  However, during the week this week, I will lay out the Edmodo page for my AP Physics class for next year.  We’ll get a jump on that now instead of waiting for the school year to begin.

The other areas where I am seeking to improve is in the use of formative tests and how their results can improve my instruction.  The resource I will need more than anything else is time.  This will allow me to develop different assessments so students can have a greater opportunity to express to me their acquired knowledge.  With one week left before final exams, it becomes quite difficult to start something new.  I would like to develop (or find on the internet) some online quiz where students can input their answer to questions.  I would also like to become more fluent in screencasts.  When I had jury duty this past week, I made  3 screencasts for my students to watch.  The ones who actually watched the screencasts said they understood the material better.  The others still had questions about how to solve these questions. 

Tim Trotta

Sunday, May 20, 2012

My GAME Plan

My GAME plan

As I reflect upon the ISTE NETS for Teachers, I find myself struggling in multiple categories.  Two indicators that I need to work on in particular are 1c and 2d (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008).  Indicator 1c states that teachers should promote student collaboration when reflecting so as to ensure student understanding of the concepts.  This reflection should also ensure students’ abilities thinking, planning, and creative processes are at a satisfactory level.  Indicator 2d has to do with how students are assessed and how I, as a teacher, used the information collected through assessments to enhance learning in the classroom.

My Goals for improving my instruction to meet the ISTE NETS standards are twofold.  First, I would like there to be some collaboration during each one of my classes, each time we meet.  This could be done with or without technology.  Student collaboration will enhance their learning.  A second step to that goal would be for students to make a post to a blog or social media site such as Edmodo.  In this post, they will synthesize their understanding.  Students would have to reply to one post each day.  This could be done by having students select who they respond to, or I could use a random number generator to assign students.  My second goal would be to include some form of formative assessment each time I give a test.  I could make that a percentage of the test grade.  By doing this, I will be able to see the areas where students may be lacking in understanding.

After setting my goals, I will need to take Action.  For my first goal, I must ensure that I allow time in my classes for collaboration.  I usually try to, but sometimes the class does not go as planned.  I must prepare for each class knowing that I will include collaboration, even if it means starting class that way to review homework or the previous class.  Having students collaborate in the middle of the lesson would also benefit students as they would be able to fill in holes they missed during the presentation of the new material.  Requiring blog posts and responses may be difficult  due to establishing new routines with only two weeks left of school.  However, I can lay groundwork for next year as all of next year’s AP Physics students are in my honors physics class this year.  The actions for my second goals would involve preparing the formative assessments and determining how they will be graded.  I will also need to establish a routine so that I can use the information from the formative assessments in future classes.

Monitoring my progress is the next step in my GAME plan.  I need to ensure that I follow the actions that I layed out.  It will be easy for me to see if I do not follow the plans as these actions involve qualitative measures.  I will have to police myself to make sure I allow time for collaboration.  The same things is true for my use of formative assessments. 

The last step in this process is the Evaluation step.  Ultimately, my students should reap the benefits of this GAME plan, even if they do not realize it at the time.  While I must ensure I follow the steps, students will be the ones to let me know how it is working.  Students may not like to performs certain tasks, but they usually confess to which actions benefit them in their understanding of the concepts.  I should also receive feedback from the quality of the collaboration (in class or online) and the results of the formative assessments.  Ultimately, after a year or two, I would hope to see an increase in AP Exam scores. 

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from