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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Applying the Instructional Model: Part 1

Tomorrow I head to my second day of training for the instructional model pilot program that my district is adopting. After one day, however, I was already able to apply the information that I learned.

One of the things we discussed is called Deconstructing a Content Standard. Essentially, the goal is to break down the standard into smaller pieces to determine what the students need to know. The four pieces are knowledge (understanding), reasoning (thought), skill (something the student does that can be seen by the teacher), and product (the work made). The process also reveals the steps in scaffolding instruction. 

I already knew that I needed to go back and reteach an inference assignment because when I started grading them, I realized that there was a flaw in my teaching process. But where? To figure this out, I deconstructed:

Looking at the knowledge targets, I was able to conclude that my students know the meaning of inference and textual evidence. They can speak these definitions back to me (this is a skill target), and with a bit of prompting, can also use the Total Physical Response routine I taught them to remember the definition of inference. Two targets eliminated. 

Reasoning. Yes, my students can create inferences. We discuss them all the time. Target eliminated. 

Product. When I looked at the standard, I realized that I had not focused on writing a  complex inference. I was not transferring the information we discuss into writing them clearly and specifically. With this information, I planned accordingly for reteaching.

I started by showing a student example from the original assignment. The kids had to copy down a specific quote from "Flowers for Algernon" and make an inference about Charlie based on that information. We broke the student response into pieces, making sure everything fit and looking for areas that needed improvement. We then took that information and rewrote a new, more precise inference. 

As we discussed, we also created a checklist of information for self-analysis (another piece of the instructional model): 

This is an example of the original work:

And this is an example of what the work looked like after it was rewritten:

To some extent, this process almost seemed a bit DUH! It is logical, and I already knew all those pieces and steps in my head. Writing them down and analyzing them, however, let me see them in a new light. 

I'm anxious to head back to training tomorrow. I have only learned two out of five chunks of information. I am ready to see what I can do with the rest. 

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