Special Education: Authentic Voice and Critical Incident

Title: Authentic Voice and Criticial Incident In Special Education
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Special Education
Authors: Stephanie Chapman, Maureen Griffith, Amy Griffith, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater
Submission Date: December 2, 2007

Executive Summary

The topic and focus of the lesson study is authentic voice and critical incident moving from personal meaning to understanding professional teaching standards. Through guided instruction, students will learn to use a critical incident process to examine a specific situation by describing the incident objectively, exploring the emotions of involved individuals, relating the situation to personal experiences as teachers or students, identifying the standards and dispositions exemplified in the critical incident, and developing a position reflecting personal beliefs discovered through the reflection process. This topic directly addresses the objectives by creating a class lesson and exploring how it affects student learning and thinking.

Special Education Lesson Study: Authentic Voice and Critical Incident (Final Report)

Guidelines on how to use the observation protocol and blank copies of the protocol and observer reactions forms

Index cards used to survey students’ understanding of the Wisconsin Teaching Standards at the beginning and end of the semester

This is data from the beginning of the semester and the end of the semester for the first lesson study that was done.  The data includes student responses to current understanding of teaching standards and helpful activities.

This is data from the beginning of the semester and the end of the semester for the second lesson study that was done.  The data includes student responses to current understanding of teaching standards and helpful activities.

This is a link to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction 10 Wisconsin Teaching Standards for the notecard data.

Education: Classroom Assessment in a Literacy Education Class

Title: Student-Involved Classroom Assessment in a Literacy Education Class
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Reading Education, Elementary Education, Secondary Education
Authors: Judy C. Lambert, Melissa Stinnett, Joan Naomi Steiner, University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh
Submission Date: February 28, 2007

Executive Summary
The goal of this project was to develop and refine a lesson that would provide a clear and consistent vision for student-involved classroom assessment. In the developed lesson for Adolescent Literacy Methods and Literacy and Language in the Content Areas, undergraduate students explored their beliefs about assessment and participated in specific class activities to generate new learning. Learning goals for the students were: 1) to gain background knowledge of best practices in assessment; 2) to be able to self-assess an assignment using a rubric; 3) to learn how to write I can statements; 4) to apply demonstrated strategies in their teaching units; 5) to appreciate the value of student-involved assessment.

Students viewed a DVD regarding assessment myths and a new vision for assessment and participated in several specific student-involved classroom assessment strategies. These strategies included

  1. Two-Minute Write
  2. Pair/Share
  3. Three Column Notes
  4. Key Learnings
  5. Learning Logs
  6. I Can Statements . . .

After self-assessing an assignment, students wrote “I can statements. . .” or learning targets for improving their own performance. Students later reflected upon their learning and how they might implement student-involved assessment strategies in their future classrooms.

Rubric- Class Handout
Three column notes
- Class Handout
Evaluation Form - Materials to Study Lesson
Observation Form- Materials to Study Lesson
Informational/Permission Letter

Other Materials

Presentations Based on Lesson Study - List of Presentations
Poster Presentation - Poster Presentation of Preliminary Findings

Education: Six-Trait Writing for Content Teachers

Title: Six-Trait Writing for Content Teachers
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Reading Education, Elementary Education, Secondary Education
Authors: Judy C. Lambert, Joan N. Steiner, Melissa Stinnett, University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh
Submission Date: February 28, 2008

The goal of this project was to develop a self-contained lesson on six-trait writing specifically appropriate for content area teachers. It was intended to be a lesson that could fit into several literacy courses. In the developed lesson for Literacy and Language in the Content Areas and Foundations of Literacy in the Elementary School, undergraduate students participated in specific activities to generate new learning regarding the teaching and assessment of writing using 6-trait analysis. Learning goals for the students were:

  1. to learn and understand the components of 6-trait writing;
  2. to learn how to evaluate writing using a trait rubric;
  3. to understand how writing can support the teaching and learning of content material;
  4. to understand and appreciate 6-trait writing from the view point of the language arts teacher and the content area teacher;
  5. to experience and understand pair/share, list-group-label and cloze as instructional techniques;
  6. to self-assess learning

Students participated in an activity to activate and share their prior knowledge about writing in general. A mini-lesson followed regarding 6-trait writing and using rubrics for trait assessment. Students were provided practice in analyzing and evaluating a piece of writing using a specific 6-trait rubric. Throughout the lesson students participated in activities such as pair/share, list-group-label and cloze as examples of instructional techniques to use in their future classrooms. The different activities as well as the interactional design of the lesson were an attempt to facilitate learning and the application of developing skills.

Lesson and Study Materials:

Women’s Studies: Civic Engagement and Exploring Gendered Ideas about Leadership

Title: Teaching Civic Engagement: Exploring Gendered Ideas about Leadership in Women’s Studies
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Women’s Studies, Ethnic Studies, Business, Education, History, Political Science, English
Authors: Lauren Smith, Ellie Schemenauer, Rebecca Schrum, Zohreh Ghavamshahidi, Mary Emery, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater
Submission Date: October 29, 2009

Executive Summary: With this lesson study, we wanted to foster critical thinking about male-centered ideas of leadership and challenge students to imagine leadership and leadership styles in more inclusive ways. In addition, we wanted to explore ways of empowering students to move from understanding social issues to understanding their own responsibility and capacity for civic engagement, particularly by addressing the difficulties women students have in imagining themselves in leadership roles.

The group invited three women leaders, two in politics and one in education, to speak to a total of five different Introduction to Women’s Studies classes.  We helped the students come up with a series of questions to address to their visiting speaker, and members of the group were available to observe each class.  In addition, we asked students to respond to a series of pre-lecture and post-lecture questions.  The group met several times before and after each lesson to discuss plans and observations.  The most useful data we found, however, came from the pre- and post-lesson discussion boards.

Our findings were sometimes surprising and multi-faceted.  For example, when asked to cite examples of good leaders in the pre-speaker discussion board, these women’s studies students named mostly men.  This dynamic was especially pronounced for male students, the large majority of whom didn’t list any female leaders at all.  We also analyzed the pre-lesson discussion board for the masculine and feminine qualities associated with leadership.  We found that students were slightly more likely to associate leadership with qualities we identified as masculine than with qualities we identified as feminine.  Men were less likely than women to describe leadership in feminine terms and more likely than women to have a hierarchical vision of leadership. Pre-lesson questions about the students’ own capacity for leadership also yielded interesting gendered results.  While both male and female students were relatively positive about their own leadership capacity, women were most likely to qualify and contextualize their positive responses and men were most likely to reply with definite positive or negative responses.

The post-lesson discussion board also yielded interesting results.  When we asked students whether their ideas had changed as a result of the lesson, relatively few students were willing to say that the lesson had changed their perspective.  Many students responded with what we classified a “no, but . . .” response.  These students would qualify their negative response with details about how their thinking had in some way been affected, enhanced or modified.  Self-reported changes were once again gendered.  Both in relation to their thinking about leadership qualities generally and their thinking about their own leadership capacity, women were much more likely than men to report some change in their thinking as a result of the lesson.

When the group analyzed the discussion board for evidence of change beyond self-reports, the results were complicated.  The shifts we saw in the student discussion did not necessarily go in the directions that we had predicted or planned for, nor were student changes in thinking necessarily more feminist.  In addition, the qualitative changes in thinking were different depending on which speaker the students had seen.  Three promising threads emerged in the conversation, however:  speakers’ strength and ability to endure adversity, explicit conversation about gender, and the “down-to-earth” qualities of the speakers.  Each of these suggested to us the emergence of a more complicated and more feminized vision of leadership.

Students’ changes in attitude about their own leadership capacity were especially unpredictable.  We had assumed that women students would see themselves as more capable of leadership after the lesson.  Instead, all the students tended towards more specificity when they described their own abilities as leaders.  At first glance, this would suggest that students were less likely, rather than more likely, to see themselves as leaders.  After analyzing and discussing student responses, however, the group felt that student post-lesson responses showed greater sophistication, a more realistic idea about what leadership might involve, and a more thoughtful consideration of the questions than had been shown in the pre-lesson discussion board.

Overall, the lesson study was extremely useful in providing information both about student attitudes and about student learning processes.  The students clearly benefitted from the guest speakers we brought in.  They expressed enthusiasm about and engagement in the lesson.  Though the learning evidenced in the discussion board was often unpredictable, it was also profound.  Student thinking showed greater complexity and sophistication, as well as more depth and awareness around gender issues—even when the students did not arrive at conclusions we might have predicted or desired.  We also gained valuable insights about students’ gendered ideas about leadership and differing attitudes of male and female students on this topic.

Education: Enhancing Pre-Service Teacher Understanding of Instrument Performance

Title: Using Research to Improve Soprano Recorder Performance Skills
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Education, Music
Authors: Steve Kimball, Mark Kiehn, Pao Lor, University of Wisconsin–Green Bay
Submission Date: February 26, 2007

Executive Summary: Future professional educators need to consult scholarly research to develop teaching philosophy, learning theory, and methods/pedagogy. This lesson study was designed to encourage students to go beyond the classroom by utilizing research to improve performance skills on the Soprano Recorder Instrument, and to further their practical knowledge of teaching pedagogy.

Past experiences indicate that students practice in different ways and often inconsistently. The course instructor emphasized learning how to practice efficiently and effectively by directing the students to the literature on muscial practice approaches.

The specific goals of the lesson were as follows:

  1. Students will be exposed to literature regarding formal systems of musical instrument practice.
  2. Students will be exposed to ways of improving their understanding of different methods of teaching/practicing instruments.
  3. Students will engage in small group and large group discussions to identify themes in the literature regarding efficient practice of musical instruments.

Students were required to find an article (ideally, an article on Soprano Recorder Instrument practice) through an over-night assignment. They were to write a summary of the article’s content and describe how the article related to their own practice of instruments. Additionally, students examined the article to see if it enhanced their understanding of different music education methods and pedagogy.

The activity was successful in several ways. The students received an opportunity to be exposed to the literature on musical instrument practice. They had the opportunity to see if their method of practice was actually one discussed by authors in the music education field. Students were exposed to various teaching methodologies in addition to a variety of practice methods in the literature. Students also were able to share their summary and findings with their peers in both small groups (n=10) and large groups (n=30) settings.

Education: Information & Communication Technologies and their Social Impact

Title: Information and Communication Technologies’ impact on society
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Technology and Education
Authors: Len Bogner, Evan Sveum, Kevin Olson and Pete Schlosser, University of Wisconsin – Stout
Submission Date: Fall 2005

Summary: The group came up with two learning goals for the course that fits into the larger objective of describing technology and its impact on individuals and the global society. First, expose the students to current topics in technology and how they relate to Information and Communication Technologies and second make the student aware of how Information and Communication Technologies affect us as individuals and as a global society. The team decided to use the laptop technology provided by the university in the lesson study.

Learning Goals:

  • Expose the students to current topics in technology and how they relate to Information and Communication Technologies
  • Make the student aware of how Information and Communication Technologies affect us as individuals and as a global society

The goals relate back to the course objective of “describing technology and its impact on individuals and the global society.”

Conclusions: Members of the Lesson Study team all agreed that they felt that the student learning goals were met. There was discussion about the verbs used in the goals. Exposure and awareness are not very measurable words. However, this was a 100 level introduction course and the learning goals were part of a larger course objective. The team, after revisiting the subject, believed that the verbs were appropriate. So the evidence of student learning, in the very limited scope of expose and awareness to the subject, was supported.

Some of the teams’ members were going to develop similar activities for other courses that they taught. They felt that using this activity repeatedly in a course could be an effective instrument in showing the students how to use the laptops for research in answering questions and a way to introduce new subjects.

Biology and Education: Enzyme Functions and Properties

Title: An Introduction to Biology Lab: Enzyme Functions and Properties
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Biology, Chemistry, Health, Medicine, Education
Authors: Kama Almasi, Lisa Bardon, Kurt Freund, Isabelle Girard, Eric Singsaas, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Submission Date: August 15, 2007

Student Learning Goals: We have two different types of goals we hope to address in this lesson.  We have lesson-specific goals and we have a few goals that we hope to address throughout the course.  In our course goals, we emphasize improving our students’ comprehension of scientific concepts.  In the lesson goals, we focus on concepts relevant to how enzymes work.

General Biology Course Goals
Students will be able to:

  1. Express biological processes using mathematical, graphical, and visual form with figures.
  2. Improve oral and written communication skills
  3. Enhance collaboration skills
  4. Develop the following basic laboratory techniques: following a protocol, pipeting, measure  volume, timing, data recording, and graphing.
  5. Develop the parts of a scientific report: introduction, methods, results, and discussion.

Enzyme Function Lesson Goals
Students will be able to:

  1. Formulate a scientific question in terms of a testable hypothesis
  2. Discover the importance of enzymes in cellular metabolism
  3. Describe enzyme roles and how they relate to other biological aspects.  Example: How enzyme response to temperature determines where organisms can live on earth.
  4. Recognize and interpret nonlinear responses from their data
  5. Identify and correct misconceptions about biological functions, including: enzymes add energy, enzymes are “alive”, enzymes can “decide”, enzyme reactions are “on/off”.
  6. Define and apply the following vocabulary: enzyme, product, optimization, catalyst, protein, substrate, saturation, rate, and equilibrium.

Findings and Discussion: The lesson was a (3-hr) laboratory exercise on enzyme reactions. Students used simple materials tomeasure the rate of oxygen production from hydrogen peroxide in the presence of catalase, extracted from potatoes, which catalyzes this reaction. Once the students learned the basic measurement, they were asked to vary the concentration of enzyme, concentration of hydrogen peroxide, the temperature, and add an inhibitor. Students were asked to graph their results (e.g., relationship between temperature and oxygen production rate) for each experiment and to answer questions about the experiment, procedure, and results at each stage of the experiment. At the end of class, groups were asked to share their results with the class and discuss any differences between their results and other groups’ results.

As a result of information we gained during initial observation of the lesson, we substantially revised the protocol and lesson plan. In observations during labs using the revised protocol, we observed substantial improvements in students engagement with the material: student use of terminology increased, discussion of the topic material increased, student-instructor interaction increased, and attention to procedural details decreased.

The process of lesson study demonstrated to us, in a very dramatic way, how ineffective we are in assessing our lessons while we are teaching them. Although we were familiar with the end results of the unimproved lesson, we had not been able to determine the source of difficulties. Only when we were allowed to serve as observers – and not as instructors – were we able to devote the attention needed to listen to student conversations and understand the challenges. Afterwards, it was surprisingly easy in our group to generate ideas to address the inadequacies of our design.

The practice of teaching without observation or reflection now seems absolutely absurd. However, we have all agreed that our current teaching loads prevent us from applying our lessons from lesson study in any practical way.