Think of a situation in which you, as an adult, select from among a range of strategies to complete a task or deal with a problem or challenge. How did you develop that range of strategies? How do you choose among them?
What percentage of students would be able to complete an assignment that required them to use the key cognitive strategies? Which key cognitive strategy would cause students the most difficulty? See the website for this book for programs and techniques to teach cognitive strategies to more students.
View the sample ThinkReady task in the appendix. Which elements would be challenging for students? What kind of support or scaffolding could be provided to help them complete it successfully?
Using the Advanced Placement example as a model, design a simple poster, or work with students to do so, that shows the big ideas of your subject, the enduring understanding, and the organizing concepts. Often this information can be found on the websites of content organizations and other groups concerned with teaching in the subject area in question. Post the resulting product in the classroom. Refer to Essential Questions by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins for ideas and examples.
Require students to expand their research skills using Research Methods Knowledge Base, a free web-based textbook that familiarizes students with the diverse aspects of social research: formulating questions, choosing a sample, data analysis, ethics, and so on (http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/index.htm).
Have students use the online site Pinterest to collect sources for research, visualize a new concept, or catalogue colleges or careers they are interested in.
See the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Assessment Principles and Practice for an overview of how a combination of assessments, internal and external, can be used to gain greater insight into a wider range of student knowledge and skills (http://www.ibo.org/diploma/assessment/documents/DPAssessmentPrinciplesandPractice.pdf).
Examine the example performance tasks that represent points along the continuum presented in figure 10.1 (Continuum of Assessment for Deeper Learning). Which kind of tasks along the continuum are used in classrooms in your school? What would have to occur for your school to the next type of task on the continuum?
Give students opportunities to build portfolios of work across multiple grade levels. Portfolios can be constructed on public spaces such as Google and can embed material created on YouTube, Prezi, SlideRocket, and Screenr, in addition to scanned student work products.
The performance tasks of the both consortia include on-demand writing and revision within fixed periods of time. Build on-demand writing activities into in-class assignments to help reduce anxiety or time management issues when students encounter the formal writing tasks on the assessments.
Examine the verbs in figure 8.3 (Verbs from the Common Core ELA Standards Mapped to the Key Cognitive Strategies), and determine the degree to which those concepts are taught and developed currently in all classes. Have each teacher pick three verbs on which to focus by first explaining why the verb is important to the subject area in question.
Reinstitute speech and debate if the program has been eliminated. If this is not feasible, build opportunities for speech and debate into English language arts courses, and expose all students to the principles and techniques of speech and debate.
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