Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Session 1 - Question 2

The heading of Chapter 2 is "Multiple Ways to Define Academic Success: What Resonates with You?". What is your answer to this question? Site examples from the book as well as any personal insights from your experience. Remember to provide page numbers.

31 comments:

  1. The key to academic success as defined in the book is perseverance, study skills, responsibility, and problem solving (Page 13). Students can only learn these critical attributes of academic success by being presented with a challenge. If we do the same lessons year in and year out, students might not be challenged. Even though you worked hours and hours on your Powerpoint for your class, the first graders are no longer impressed. How does the Powerpoint you created years ago challenge your students? Are not you still lecturing with a visual? A better way to define the student success would present the students with the topic of study such as Ladybugs. Allow students to present and teach the lesson the way they would like such as a photostory, animoto, podcast, or a reader’s theater. You are the student in the class. They are the teachers. You must know your stuff if you can teach it to others.

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  2. Page 14 shows the diagram for Levels of Academic Success. In the school where I teach, the parents expect their children to get those high grades. Many want their children to be challenged, but they would rather have the high grades if the challenging work meant that grades would drop below an A. Because of this, the students expect work to be easy. When it isn't, they don't always know what to do and they feel like failures. I go through this every year with parents and students. Our goal, as educators, should always be to move kids up from level 1. When they do, the success they feel is tangible to everyone around them.

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  3. While reading this chapter I kept making connections to Stephanie Harvey's book, Comprehension & Collaboration. She really looks at the idea of inquiry study. Page 14's graphic organizer was a great way to show different type of academic success and what kind of learners we have in our class. On page 15, I liked how ways to facilitate our students towards level 3 is clearly explained.

    As teachers of 21st century students we need to realize that students need to learn to working together (collaborate)and sharing ideas in new ways to become lifelong learners. Everything shouldn't come easy to all students. I feel this is especially true for GT students when they already know a lot or feel they know a lot of the basic skills that others may be struggling with. I admit tweaking lessons to make it more challenging & more engaging for them takes more time, but my job is instill in them the satisfaction and joy in learning.

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  4. On page 15, the first bullet states that "rigorous class or an assignment takes both time and hard work." I agree with the statement completely. However, this is something I need to work on. I am one of those people who feels bad that a student can't understand something and I want to "rescue" him/her from the challenge. Becoming a lifelong learner (p.14) doesn't always mean straight A's. The goal is that level 3 for true academic success.

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  5. For me what stands out in this chapter is the MULTIPLE WAYS to define success. On page 13, it talks about perserverance, study skills, responsiblity, and problems solving abilities as key determinants in academic success. I completely agree. As a parent, I too look first at grades, it is natural; however, as I teacher I tend to look at growth. Where did the student begin and how far did they go. Once a student sees how much they have accomplished it gives them the confidence to do more. Hopefully over time will create an intrisic motivation to become lifelong learners. Another challenge for teachers...getting parents to see the importance of growth over grades. :)

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  6. kharrell
    I really liked this chapter. The two grahics were wonderful. I have two children, one who is gifted, the other with learning disabilities. I wish I had the graphic on page 14 to share with them. Both of them currently (as young adults) function at level three, they learn very differently but both learn with joy and work to be lifelong learners...both attack things with challenges and as they grew up, we had to provide different experiences for them. Too often, I think parents expect good grades rather than challenges. This past year I had difficulty with a parent, his comment was that I expected too much from the GT students. The child was very capable, but was lazy. I refused to give in, he received rather low grades at first, but by the end of the year he had rose to the challenge. It would have been easy to "give in" to the parent - the child was intelligent, but he wasn't reaching his potential. It was not a fun experience, but I think the child will benefit in the long run. I like the comparison of the three bear story, we want to find things "just right" but we need to encourage students to take challenges.

    In response to ldavis -
    I agree that we may have to educate parents that getting good grades is not always the goal...to be working at your potential is so much more valuable. Once students reach level 3, they have ownership of their learning...that's where students should strive to get to.

    in response to amitch
    I so agree that what we do year after year can no longer motivate students. I've been in the profession for 30 years and if I was still doing lessons as I did in the beginning I'm sure I would have students who are BORED! One thing that is important for an educator is to model what they expect. We want to students to be lifelong learners, so by keeping up with ways to motivate students and keep them engaged, I can show the importance (and fun) of being a life long learner.

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  7. This brief chapter defined three different levels of academic success, and those really resonated with me. I teach high school seniors, and at that point in their scholastic careers, it's pretty easy to pick out who is taking my class based on their love of literature and who is just trying to beef up their college transcript. Regardless of the reason, I am happy to have them there, but I stress that my ultimate goal is to have each one leave my class with a greater appreciation of literature than they came in with, and that it will be a difficult course. I liked the statement on page 13 that said "what you think about academic success really matters." I think that I sometimes forget that, and that although students may have external factors that pressure them one way or the other, by vocalizing my own definition of success, I can help to set the tone in my classroom.

    In response to ldavis: I agree wholeheartedly with your frustrations; many of my students have done well throughout the years and seem to expect buffer grades, which will help to save their grade if they don't do well on something that is challenging. They are then flummoxed when they receive a B instead of an A, without stopping to reward themselves for the good work they did that led to the B. I find that I am often alternating between being a cheerleader, reminding them how difficult the work is and how well they've done with it, and being a realist, reminding them how difficult the work is and how they may struggle through much of it. It is rewarding to see students rise to the challenge and show real improvement throughout the year.

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  8. I think as an adult I see academic success as "learns with satisfaction and joy," level 3 on page 14. My goal as a teacher is to get parents and students to understand that academic success stems from learning new, challenging material that requires effort and perserverance. Often the parents of G.T. students that I've dealt with are perfectionists and do not accept grades below 90 from their kids. I usually try to conference with G.T. parents right away to explain that if a child is truly "learning new material" they may not bring home scores in the 90's at first. I hate to say this but grading is truly an issue for elementary classes. I was under the impression that I could only record grades on grade level teks. If a child was in second grade reading at a level 38 with an 18 in comprehension that child should earn a 100 in reading since 28 - 30 is the end of the year reading level. I bring this up because once I pretest on grade level material that is the grade the child earns for the reportcard then the child works on material at their level. This work is graded but not recorded since their level is usually way above grade level. Does our district have a policy? I do find my students are more willing to take risks and attempt harder assignments after pretests.

    I totally agree with a mitch June 4, 2010 "If we do the same lessons year in and year out, students might not be challenged." I would go as far as saying students are not challenged with the same lessons/content year after year. I do not know if anyone has read,"A Nation Deceived," but this long term study showed that our nation's bright children are neglected. I hate to say it but "scaffolding" or teaching the same concept year after year until the low and low average students master the skill is mind numbing to our bright students.


    On June 7 bboza said as a parent she looked at grades first too. I believe grades show us how a child is doing at grade level. I think our grading system works for all students except those above grade level.

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  9. Simply receiving high grades without being challenged sets a student up for failure when they eventually encounter assignments that require work! I have seen this several times with students who coast through school without getting the study skills they will need when they reach college. When they do reach college and encounter difficult material, often they are unable to rise to the occasion.

    In response to Bboza on Jun 7: I agree that we must adjust our measurement from grades to growth. This will truly reveal whether a student has been successful.

    In response to Kharrell on June 8: Yes, sometimes the GT children to tend to be a little lazy. I believe this stems from never having to "break a sweat" to get good grades. I believe we must start challenging GT students as soon as they are identified to avoid this tendency.

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  10. Obviously Level 3 is the ideal (pg.15). However, I found it interesting that while we can encourage that love of learning, we can’t necessarily “guarantee” it. Every person has to discover that for his or herself. However, as teachers, we can consistently provide assignments that challenge them (level 2), if we take the time to pretest and determine their levels going into a unit of study.

    I feel fortunate that as a child my parents never did emphasize grades much. They did, however, instill a strong work ethic and a love of learning. The good grades that resulted were a byproduct.

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  11. We always talk about the goal of our students becoming lifelong learners(p.15). I liked the section on ways to facilitate the movement towards becoming one: do not rescue a child from the challenge, but rather support them, help them find interests inside and outside of school, and help them to see that success comes from more than just good grades. The last one is the hard one because the "A" is what the parents are looking for as confirmation that their child is doing well. I am reminded of another book I am reading,Nurture Shock, that cites research on the value of specific praise and the importance of praising persistence and effort in the process of learning rather than focusing on the "A."

    Regarding Ann M's comment about "A Nation Deceived," the author references the article you mention in chapter one. I would like to read that. I wonder if you know where I can find it. I will try google for now.

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  12. William Allen (Rob)June 10, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    The author asks what I think about academic success. I believe academic success is measured by the progress a student makes from the beginning to the end of the school year. If a third-grade student, for example, were to rise from a 50 percent success rate to a 65 success rate or from a kindergarten reading level to a second grade reading level, I would be very proud of their achievement even if they are not on what is termed “grade level” as long as they maximize their learning and gave full effort. If a GT or high achieving student goes from a 95 to a 98, then that does not give any indication of whether or not they have been successful. I would agree with the author that to measure their success, you must use the levels of academic success (page 14) to determine their true growth. If a student truly enjoys learning and is challenged throughout, that is the measure of success. (pages 13-15)

    I believe the most important thing in helping students move up the ladder is to put them in charge of learning and act more as a facilitator. This past year, I learned about inquiry groups from Stephanie Harvey’s new book. I implemented them in the classroom and was pleased with the results. When allowed to decide how to present the material, students differentiated learning styles came out without any prompting needed. Some students used art to demonstrate understanding. Some created slideshows, podcasts, posters, etc. I did have to work hard at not interjecting to make their work my work but was able to do so once I determined they could solve their own problems/issues within the group. They also liked being able to choose their own topics with limited restrictions and being able to use the Internet and the library to research them. Topics included boxing, NASCAR, alligators and why grass grows. (page 15)

    What has resonated with me so far in this book is the fact that if students earn good grades with little effort, they may not be ready when a challenge comes later in life. I realize it takes more than giving these students extra work or making them the “teacher’s assistant” to maximize their growth. (pages 7, 13, 15-17)

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  13. What resonates with me in the chapter is the reminder to not rescue a child as stated on page 15 in the ways to facilitate movement to lifelong learning. As teachers we tend to be nurturers, and that sometimes gets us into the rescuing mode. To be true nurtures, we have to support not hold up our students.

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  14. William Allen (Rob)June 10, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    In response to jchoy, I also have made connections to Steph Harvey's book Comprehension and Colloboration. Inquiry studies are an effective way to allow students to demonstrate understanding in their own way thereby differentiating the learning process.

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  15. “Do not rescue a child from the challenge, but support her in successfully reaching high academic standards” from pg. 15 really resonates with me. As educators, it’s our job to make sure students are exposed to a vast array of subjects enabling them the opportunity to develop their personal passions. I am a music teacher. When I look into my past education and performance experiences, the more difficult a piece was to learn, the harder I worked at it, and the more success I felt after mastering it.

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  16. In response to manderson all SBISD campuses have copies of "A Nation Deceived." I can put a copy in your mailbox if you'd like!

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  17. I believe that it is important to always ask your child "What did you learn in school today?" (pg 15) or some variation of that question. But the most important part of that is to actually LISTEN to what they have to say. It is amazing what you will learn about your child.

    Also, I believe that having good grades alone doesn't equal academic success. I would rather my child make B's while being challenged. I hope that when my kids leave school that they have developed into life long learners. I think that kids learn this at school but also at home.

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  18. Academic success requires mastery of the knowledge and skills included in the curriculum, but that is just the start. Successful students are able to apply their knowledge to solve problems in life and on the job. Successful students know how to find and incorporate new knowledge on their own, and are motivated to continue learning even when they are no longer in school. I teach a high school career and technology course, so my emphasis is often success in life after school.

    I have not included grades in my definition. Grades do have a useful purpose, but I do not consider high grades the most important aspect of success. I do not think that the purpose of education is to prepare students to pass tests and to earn grades. The purpose of education is to prepare students for a worthwhile, productive, satisfying and successful life.

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  19. I really liked figure 2.1 Levels of Academic Success on page 14. I never thought of the levels of academic success in the way that it was represented in the figure but it makes sense. As a teacher my goal is for my students to become life long learners and develop and foster a love of learning. I thought the author’s statement was interesting when she wrote, how we the adults, both educators and parents see academic success, usually shapes the child’s view.” At times I have had to explain to parents that although grades are important a B is nothing to frown upon when their child has demonstrated his/her skills, given his/her best effort and has been challenged in the process. At times that can be difficult for parents to understand when they feel their child must bring home A's.

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  20. This chapter was short, but very meaningful. I liked the way it spoke to the many different ways that success could be measured within academics. The "ladder levels of academic success" pictorial on page 14 was a nice visual to accompany the verbiage. Level one speaks of success when learners are able to get good grades with ease, and this is a fairly common idea of most people feeling general "success. Level two mentions earning high grades on academic tasks that are at the appropriate challenge level for that learner. This reminds me of our school... We have very high expectations for ALL learners, but often misstep on the differentiation piece. So learners that don't fare so well - are they unsuccessful or is the expectation too high for their learning level... Level three speaks about enjoying learning and being satisfied when one makes personal academic accomplishments - this is where we all should strive to be - "life long learners" with self determining success.

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  21. Now, at this stage of my life the answer to “Define Academic Success” is lifelong learner – the focus is on the learning and not the grades. Back when I was 17 it was “Gets good grades” – with as little effort as possible on my part.

    And oh, did I master that concept. I didn’t realize there was any other reason for learning – though even then I had my passions and would happily spend hours reading about Tudor England, the role of woman in the South prior to the Civil War or Westward Expansion.

    In fact, I often indulged in those passions while in school with the book hidden under my desk. I attended schools where students always sat in rows in alphabetical order by their last name. My last name – Zimmerman relegated me to the last seat in the last row throughout my academic career. It was an ideal place to sit if you wanted to read to your heart’s content.

    I really think we’re teaching our kids that “good grades” are the end all and be all too. There is so much emphasis in High School on class rank and how UT & A&M only accept the students in the top 10% etc. etc. I think very few of our high school students realize education is supposed to “Light the lamp of learning” (to take a quote from Promethean). I think that knowledge comes later – when they find themselves learning something because they want to, not because they have to.

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  22. "A mitch wrote on June 4, 2010 "If we do the same lessons year in and year out, students might not be challenged."

    I don't know about you, but if presented the same lesson year in and year old I would be bored out of my mind and I wouldn't be challendged either. One reason I love my job (I'm an elementary librarian - Hi Karen! - not a classroom teacher) is that it's always changing.

    I rarely do the exact same lesson or read the same books from one year to the next. With all the new technology there is always something new to learn and a new way to present the material. There are always new books beging published that I can't wait to share with the kids or a new Web.2.0 widget we can learn to use together.

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  23. What I really like about this chapter is the levels of academic success. I also like that it gives us examples of each level. On page 15, deep interests and passions motivate young learners and promote lifelong learners. This reminded me about the Inquiry Research by Stephanie Harvey. When I did this with my class this year, my students were extremely motivated and couldn't wait to share with the class what they learned about.

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  24. In understanding chapter two,”Multiple Ways to Define Academic Success”, the two graphics on p. 14 and p. 16 help solidify what it means to be successful. Too often I see students who are on level one, getting good grades easily without much effort. My ideal is to have students who are on level three, learning with satisfaction and joy! I want students to be self-determining so that they can identify a problem or opportunity and plan and execute a solution to that problem. I found the chart on p. 16 to be very helpful. I especially like the first suggestion for facilitating a child moving up the academic success ladder. It says “Don’t rescue the child from a challenge. Instead support him/her.” [p.16] We as teachers genuinely like children and want them to feel successful and happy. When one of them struggles, our instinct is to jump in and solve the problem, rescuing the child. We need to determine what ‘support’ is and provide it, rather than swooping in and saving the day.

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  25. In response to Marty.Ethridge
    You are right on about trying not to rescue a child from the challenge. By being his/her cheerleader and provide support, students will step up to the challenge with confidence. To continue that high achieving success, just add "plus one" next time.

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  26. Page 16, "... the effects of underachievement may persist into college and even into their adult occupations." Wow, it really just makes me sick how much our state celebrates achieving mediocrity. Yea, we reached the minimum requirements! Big whoop... Then we wonder why other nations are producing more members of a global brain trust. Our society values maximum reward with minimal or no effort. I am constantly trying to redefine success for my students without the direct ties to number grades.

    In response to June 10, 2010 12:21 PM l robin, I completely agree with you. Providing opportunities to experience growth and develop a desire for self directed learning to be engaged in a life long process is more valuable than grades alone.

    In response to June 5, 2010 5:44 PM kevetts, it is important not to rescue students from struggle. In life, problems are opportunities for personal growth. It is evidently seen when you meet new people who have strong problem solving skills and can persevere to reach success versus those who are rescued by parents or other adults. That never learn to overcome challenge.

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  27. Grades are usually the measuring stick for academic success for parents. Some students care about grades and some don’t care about grades. Some notice a different reaction from their mother for different numbers on their papers, progress reports, or report cards. I believe that our conversation with kids can help change their feelings about their academic success. What did you learn today? What are you still wondering about? What question do you want to investigate next? Engagement in challenging work will help create confidence and skills in students.
    I loved Figure 2.2 on page 16 especially #3 with its connection to “continuous progress.” I will be asking myself whether each child made continuous progress that day in his/her learning.

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  28. In response to bboza June 7th 2:46 PM, I appreciate your honesty! Your teacher side knows that looking at the growth a student makes over time and not grades is what’s important; but your parent side wants to see the grades. Grades are just one of a number of measurements that we should look at to assess a child’s growth. There are many ways to show growth which is our ultimate goal as we work alongside children. Parents can sometimes be a roadblock to students making significant growth because they get caught up in the numerical grade. Educating them is also part of our job

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  29. In response to marty.ethridge June 10, 2010 10:09 and amitch June 10 10:52. This chapter also reminded me not to rescue a child. I tend to do this when my students are stuck and cannot figure out a problem. I need to stop and instead be a cheerleader and provide support.

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  30. I agree with the statement “High grades alone will not prepare a student to do well when he/she eventually meets an academic challenge; but perseverance, study skills, responsibility, and problem-solving abilities will” (p. 13). I have had multiple students who have easily earned high grades with little effort throughout their entire school career and when they are finally presented with something that is the least bit challenging or that they may have to actually work hard on, they fall apart. I have experienced melt downs, temper tantrums, and tears from some of my highest students because they are so used to always being right with little effort that they can not mentally handle a challenge. I think it is extremely important for ALL students to experience frustration at some level and to learn that a person has to do what it takes in order to be successful (always persevere!!!!).

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  31. I do have a question about grades...aren't we only to take grades on "grade level work"? I mean you give them a pretest. If they score high enough on this, can't you record that grade and then move on with the differentiation? This would leave these high ability students still making As. Therefore, the parents are happy to see As, the teachers are happy because the students are still learning and the students are happy because they are doing some pretty cool stuff and leraning all at the same time. It would be a win-win-win stiutation.

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