Sunday, July 4, 2010

Session 3 - Question 2

Think of several ways in which you might apply the Think-Tac-Toe strategy. How might you apply this strategy in your classroom?

33 comments:

  1. The Think-Tac-Toe tool has been on my radar for a while. My teaching buddy and I are discussing activities to use for this year. The actual process of getting the options together has been the hardest for me. I have seen the 9-12 boxes before, but have given myself
    "permission" to try a 6 step, such as the Weather on on page 111 or the 8 step on on the parts of speech on page 115. I think I will look at the geography unit and see what I can do with the landform question from earlier discussions. I will look at the basic forms for third grade and do a preassessment to see who knows them and then generate a set of activities to expand the knowledge of those that know the basics and let those that don't know them also make that contineous progress. I am sure there are other units, but that is the one that comes to mind right now.

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  2. I love the fact that "Think Tac Toe" offers choices. I so hated making dioramas as a child and would have loved some other options. I am quite sure many parents would have loved some other options too! I don't teach just one grade level but I'm going to try and talk to my 4th grade teachers about using this for the Texas Native American unit. They always require the same product from every student and the results are sometimes lack luster. This past year 2 of them experimented with Trading Cards (a Web 2.0 product) & the kids enjoyed that. The only class I teach - PGP to the K, 1 & 2 is more about "product" than content. I teach how to make an Animoto, PowerPoint, Trading Card and blog but I give the kids free choice on the content of said product. I am going to use Think Tac Toe with my bloggers. I am so tired of reading posts about Justin Bieber. This way they get some choice & I don't throw up.

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  3. I used a think-tac-toe board when I covered a matter this past year. I didn't call it think-tac-toe and I didn't think to require students to complete more than one product.I appreciated the examples the author's provided in this chapter. I especiallly liked the less challenging and more challenging options. The author's kept stating that "the product is not our goal...we are more concerned with the content and process." (pg.103) This is so true and I think sometimes we get caught up in the product and forget the true purpose of the product... content.

    I am thinking of creating a think-tac-toe to use at the end of my reading group books. Students are assigned to complete some sort of product instead of having all of them complete the same product I am going to allow them some choice. I also like the idea of having students complete more than one product.

    In response to Of Life, Education, E-bay, Travel & Books, I too was thinking of creating a think-tac-toe for our Texas Indian unit. Every year I have my students make a triorama and some other product using technology. Since there are so many more web 2.0 tools available now, I tihnk I am going to incorporate some of those in a think-tac-toe.

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  4. My team and I created several Menus this year that are basically the same as Think-Tac-Toes. The Menus had 3 rows with 3 choices in each row. Students had to complete 1 product from each row. Our Menus were created for social studies and science. I was not sure where to start when creating a Think-Tac-Toe for language arts. I found several great examples on pages 115, 117-121. I will create a Think-Tac-Toe to cover sentence writing at the beginning of the year. I will also try to create Think-Tac-Toes for reading. I like how generic figure 7.12 is for short stories on page 117. I usually have reading levels from 6 - 40 in my classroom. It would be very time consuming to make Think-Tac-Toes for each book or novel groups participate in. I think a Think-Tac-Toe covering characters, settings, problems, and solutions might be a way for me to start in reading.

    In response to Marty, we have a Menu for landforms if you would like a copy. I found it helpful to look at ideas other people had when creating the menus. After the first 6 or 7 menus it becomes hard to generate new products that reach all styles of learning.

    In response to Of Life, Education, E-bay, Travel & Books, comment on being more about product then content, Animoto, PowerPoint, Trading Card and blogging are all part of the content for our technology teks. All subject areas have teks requiring students to use technology skills for research, reporting, comparing and proving knowledge of content. Great job!

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  5. Annm & jChoy - here is a post one of the other librarians wrote about learning about Texas Cities via Trading cards. One of my 4th grade teachers and I did the project. Once the kids were finished they came to the library and we had a party (food is very popular at Housman) and they "traded" cards with each other. We ended up with some time to kill so I invented a city trivia game. They consulted their cards to answer the questions. A good time was had by all. Here is the link:
    http://alibraryisalibrary.blogspot.com/2009/10/7416-research-projects-in-20-world.html

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  6. I've never used a Think Tac Toe before. I've done something else that allowed for choice, but nothing this involved. What really struck me was the need to consider how students learn as opposed to the end product. The book describes the one teacher who created a Think Tac Toe, but stayed within one subject area and did not take into account that everyone has different strenghts. In order to create a chart like this, I need to collaborate with my team so that I don't get stuck in this way.
    I'm a little, no a lot, concerned about 3 products per sheet. That's lots of work to grade. I don't agree with the authors when they suggest to have the students complete all 3 products, but only grade one on pg 130. That really will only work once, and it feels like cheating. I'd rather stagger the dates for products so that I'm not collecting them all at the same time. If you plan the Think Tac Toe with the concepts in mind and you want students to demostate their learning, you have to grade the work they do. I'm hoping that the assessment chapter will have good ideas for grading the products of the Think Tac Toe.

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  7. William Allen (Rob)July 10, 2010 at 10:32 PM

    One way I would like to apply the Think-Tac-Toe strategy is to give students choices for reading passages. A column could have three choices for cause and effect, inference, main idea, etc. I think one of my areas for improvement is not to give each student the exact same passages. It is more about the process of learning how to apply strategies than which passage they used. If they are given a choice, they share in the responsibility for success and have a vested interest in the outcome.

    I think one of the great ways to apply the Think-Tac-Toe strategy is to make sure the choices provide for many different learning styles such as those on pages 106-111. Those choices should include a way to demonstrate understanding through art, music, technology, manipulatives, theater, written word, oral presentation, etc. It would be important for students to be encouraged to try different learning styles so they don’t stay in the “comfort zone” and use only one or two types for the entire school year.

    Another way I could use the Think-Tac-Toe strategy is to give students choices about how to prepare for an upcoming author’s visit. We usually have two or three authors visit our campus and read their stories to the students. Students could create a poem, or a painting or a musical composition, etc. based on one of the author’s books.

    In social studies, I could use a Think-Tac-Toe to have students demonstrate understanding of economics in many different ways. They could create a business, form an advertising campaign, take a poll of what’s popular for a certain type of product (ex. television show), create a jingle, etc.

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  8. I think it would be engaging for students to give them product choice of 3 out of 9 options as a summative assessment. The board can be arranged and indirectly controlled to ensure a higher level of rigor, so students find the easiest way out. Also create a comfortable, non-threatening environment for students to demonstrate their mastery, because in the end each option in their choice(page 123).

    In response,July 5, 2010 2:07 PM
    Of Life, Education, E-bay, Travel & Books, I love the idea of using the Think Tac Toe with your blogging group. I started using blogs last year, but didn't really think to initiate choice with it in this manner. I did give them various political cartoons on the environment and asked them to blog on one, but I think I will set it up as a think tac toe board, so they must choose three to discuss.

    In response, July 10, 2010 2:43 PM
    William Allen (Rob), what I like about the think tac toe is it can stimulate their creativity and engaging the students needs and talents at the same time as well as challenging them to try something that might be a little outside their usual comfort zone.

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  9. I am intrigued by the idea of the Think-Tac-Toe and its myriad of uses. The idea of creating a menu of options from which students can choose to show what they have learned appeals to the creative student in me; however I am a tad leery of the idea as a teacher. It seems like a lot of work for just one grade. Perhaps several grades, according to the elementary grading expectations, could be taken from the one or two projects that are assessed. Also, creating the Think-Tac-Toe with a teaching partner or team would definitely make it a less over-whelming task. I am also thinking about letting the students be a part of the design the Think-Tac-Toe. Once we’ve done one, perhaps students could suggest projects that would show what they know, while still being engaging to them.
    I teach a graduate class from time to time and I can see how using a Think-Tac-Toe would benefit both the learner and the teacher. My students would be allowed to show a deep understanding of a concept, such as balanced literacy. And I, as the teacher, would be able to meet the learning styles of all my students.

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  10. As a SIS, I have created a few tic-tac-toe style learning menus for kiddos that seem to complete work quickly and need further challenge or extension in the area of mathematics. L Westphal also has a few books out that share Learning Menus, but unless they are exactly suited for your kiddos, you need to tweak them or use them as a guide to create your own. This process is very time consuming, but well worth it in the end. I believe it would be a huge benefit for the district if we could have some sort of database or a way to share some that have been custom-created by our teachers and support staff. I also think for upper grades that become familiar with this model, it would be cool for the students to create tic-tac-toe menus for each other, too!

    I have enjoyed the creation and use of menus this year and look forward to continue utilizing them in years to come. I will also try and work with the other SIS on our campus and other teachers to perhaps create some that integrate many different facets of the major areas of curriculum.

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  11. I am fascinated by the concept of "Think-Tac-Toe." What an outstanding way to offer students educational choices. Incorporating multiple-intelligence opportunities in my music classroom is a high priority for me. The "Think-Tac-Toe" strategy can easily fit into daily or more lengthy assignments. I'm always in search of painless and fair ways to assess my students and would like to use "Think-Tac-Toe" for unit assessments.

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  12. In response to Croth:
    I like your thought of recording several grades from one "Think-Tac-Toe" assignment. That would make it easier for students as well as teachers! Enabling students the opportunity to feel comfortable in their individualized learning styles can only be a benefit for us all.

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  13. I love the fact that the Think-Tac-Toe allows students to demonstrate their knowledge in a way that suits their talents/interests.

    In response to I Davis, I agree that the Think-Tac-Toe creates some grading issues. It does seem like a lot of work (3 products) for one grade, but the Grading Expectations only call for ONE product grade in both Science and Social Studies.. It is something for us to work through as we start to use more of the great tools!

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  14. In response to croth on July 11th: I agree that this Think Tac Toc seems a bit overwhelming for one grade. I like the suggestion of getting getting more grades. I also liked LDavis' July 8th post where you can stagger the due dates of the projects and get more grades. These ideas make this seem a little less overwhelming and worth giving this strategy a try.

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  15. I appreciated all the project ideas listed in this chapter as well as the additional resources. At this point, because I have never done a Think-Tac-Toe option before, I would feel most comfortable just doing one after reading groups or a read aloud as a practice similar to the one in Figure 7.12 page 117. I think by using one that is already made I can get a better feel for how this will play out. I know this is not really how they hoped an instructor would use this, but this is the way I think I actually might feel the most confident. Then, as my confidence increases, I would get with my teammates and use a 3 by 3 grid where maybe I am in charge of creating or finding 3 projects and my teammates would be in charge of finding/creating the other 6. I liked the idea of having students help think of ideas as well. This will really generate greater interest therefore possibly higher levels of thinking and effort. Another thought is the 50/50 option, where the Think-Tac-Toe is worth 50 points and there is a paper/pencil assessment also worth 50 points. These are the ideas that make me feel more confident because it is my classroom and teachers have choices too (p.107).

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  16. In response to ldavis, I too disagreed with the authors suggesting grading only 1 of the 3 assignments. I were a student and asked to complete 3 assignments, I would want all 3 graded. Grading 3 assignments that cover the same concept also seems to be a bit much as well. I like the suggestion of staggering the due dates...this will also teach students time management!

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  17. I have differentiated using the tic-tac-toe boards for preferred learning styles and Bloom’s, but I really liked all the variations. I especially liked the boards that provided a less challenging and more challenging board. I will definitely design one with the rows marked setting, theme, and characters to allow kids to demonstrate what they have learned after completing a book club cycle and differentiate with the challenging/less challenging boards.

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  18. In response to ann m:
    I used the 3 x 3 boards in language arts book clubs this year by modifying one I was given that was originally designed for James and the Giant Peach. It is differentiated for learning styles and Bloom's levels. I will share it with you because I think I know you. :)I agree that the one in the book on short stories would be a good place to start.

    In response to of life, education, travel,...:
    I agree that the whole diorama thing is so over(even though some kids still ask if they can do them instead, ha!). I can remember looking at 40 of them to grade and wanting to cry.I love the variety of choices and how much more enthusiatic the kids are when they can choose something that fits their preferred way to learn or demonstrate their learning. Ditto on Justin Beiber as well!

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  19. I have never seen the Think-Tac-Toe idea before and I thought it was great. With every novel or unit I teach, I always have so many different activities and never enough time. This way, I can give them as options, which the students will like, and I can have some variety in what I grade. I kept listing different ways I could use this in the room; one big one is summer reading. My students have to choose two books from a list, and we can't give them any type of recalling facts and details test. This way, I can zero in on what I'd like them to get from each book and have them choose from those alternative assessments from the Think-Tac-Toe boxes. My poetry and Shakespeare units would also lend themselves to this, as they can elicit the same information but in a different way, based on the students' strength and weaknesses.

    In response to the comments by ldavis and jchoy, I have to disagree and say that I loved that the option of only grading part of it was introduced. As an AP teacher who teaches five different sections, I am easily overwhelmed by the grading. In the past, I've done something similar and have gotten no complaints--either the students choose their favorite or I tell them I will randomly choose one or two things to grade. I do make sure that if do not grade everything, they still need to use that information for something else--as notes for a paper or to study for an exam or something. I stagger that type of grading throughout the year so that I'm not overwhelmed, and the kids don't seem to mind.

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  20. In response to Of Life, Education, E-bay, Travel & Books post on July 7th at 4:26 pm—I too work with teachers and I am thinking about all kinds of social studies projects that could be enhanced with the Think-Tac-Toe. Our 4th grade students do a project on the regions of Texas and Native Americans of Texas—a Think-Tac-Toe would be a great way to add variety and differentiation to the project. Our 5th graders research famous Americans and create a ‘wax museum’ to display and inform others about the famous person. What if they were given choice in a Think-Tac-Toe and could show what they learned about the famous American in a way that suits them. Our 2nd graders do a huge project on birds for Science—again, think of the possibilities if they were given a Think-Tac-Toe to choose from as they designed their project. You’ve got me thinking about all kinds of things! Thanks!

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  21. I have tried to use the think-tac-toe differentiation strategy in the past but have difficulty coming up with activities I think are appropriate. One way I am going to implement this activity this year is with the Water Cycle Unit. The students come in with a good understanding of H2O cycle. This year I will give a pretest and then allow those who get 80% or higher to move onto a Think-Tac-Toe activity. I also would like to use it in Reading to help them gain more understanding of story elements. I Like the think tac toe on page 117. I will create something like this initially.

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  22. In response to SGuillory's post on July 11, they are VERY time consuming to make. In fact after spending LOTs of time trying to come up with appropriate activities for the concept I gave up do to the amount of time it took to create it. I love the idea of teachers creating a database.

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  23. KHarrell – When I first read the chapter on Tic Tac Toe - I immediately thought of the class I attended on menus last summer. I ended up using menus for many of my PGP classes through out the year as it met the individual needs of the students I work with. We learned over the year that students could also help create activities to fill in the menus(tic tac toe boards). Sometimes their ideas with a little tweaking were much better than anything I could have created and it worked with their talents. Using the tic tac toe boards also allowed me time to work with students in a one on one situation better…if they could move on…then they did…if they need assistance then I worked with them. As I dove deeper into menus over the school year I realized that the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and another organization I work with use the menu ideas as the children work through the badges, ranks and steps. Students are given lists of 16 activities and they must complete 8 of them with a few being “required”. This method encourages students to try new things, yet feel confident by using their talents. As we worked through summer school, we didn’t so much make menus, but we gave students options – students seem to work harder with choices. We also discovered this summer that many students will attempt to do all of the choices!
    In response to bboza – creating the menus does take a lot of time….however I have learned to keep a “file” of possible activities as well as when I sit to design a menu I have the Bloom’s Chart and a Prima Product folder from Enginuity with me. These items seem to spark ideas and help me get out of my comfort zone.
    In response to cWinegar – yes, the grading is overwhelming. Sometimes I have the students create rubrics to grade team mates during the various stages, then I look at the final project – The rubrics may be as simple as did they use their time wisely, but then I am able to get multiple “grades” but I have only had to spend a lot of time on one product. This last year I also had the students select the one project that I would spend time on grading – they could pick anyone from the choices, but they had to grade each others that were not the one I graded. As a result, the students learned how to produce different things…we had a whole day where they didn’t share the projects…but rather how they did it..from beginning with research to the final. It ended up being one of my best lessons – and it happened by accident – actually a child did something that I wanted to learn!

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  24. Our grading guidelines require a “project grade” in social studies and science for each 9 weeks. The “think-tac-toes” would be a great way to meet this requirement, while allowing for differentiation and student choice. Our first social studies unit is on maps and Texas geography, while in science we will be working with the nature of science – science skills and processes.

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  25. My grade level and I have talked about using think-tac-toes before and actually came up with one for one of our units and never used it! After reading this my teaching partner and I started talking about coming up with some for our new units of study.

    I like the examples in the book that incorporate final products from more than one content area/domain to use as assessment (p. 107 & 109). I see this as being a key tool for allowing students to have choice and for teachers to obtain grades in multiple content areas.

    I response to jchoy, I too would like to use Think-tac-toe to give students different levels of options upon finishing their book club book or assigned reading. Previously, I have given students a list of product choices but never intentionally planned the products to address various bloom's levels.

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  26. Wow! There were lots of great ideas and examples from this chapter and from the responses from ya'll. I agree with ldavis that different due dates would probably work the best for the students and me. Feedback about their fist one would improve the quality of the others, and provide opportunities for discussion. I can see starting out small with some of the major topics that are taught at each grade level. I know after the first one that the students would have lots of ideas to add, too. This tool will again provide a way for continuous progress for all students.

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  27. Think Tic Tac Toes remind me of learning menus a little bit. I don’t feel real comfortable using them just yet. However, I could see how beneficial they are when we plan and create them according to the needs and interest levels of the students in my class room. I will incorporate them in my class for social studies lessons, and use them more as I feel more comfortable with them. I will use the figures to help guide me in plan Think Tac Toes, I will also start off using 6 boxes.

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  28. In response to William Allen on July 10, I agree that it would make sense to have the different options appeal to different learning styles, too. Having the kiddos able to choose along with getting them a bit out of their comfort zones is a good situation. They are free to choose out of the 9 or so options, but not every single time are they just doing a drawing/visual for example.

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  29. in response to l davis
    In order to create a chart like this, I need to collaborate with my team so that I don't get stuck in this way.
    I'm a little, no a lot, concerned about 3 products per sheet. That's lots of work to grade. I don't agree with the authors when they suggest to have the students complete all 3 products, but only grade one on pg 130. That really will only work once, and it feels like cheating. I'd rather stagger the dates for products so that I'm not collecting them all at the same time. If you plan the Think Tac Toe with the concepts in mind and you want students to demostate their learning, you have to grade the work they do. I'm hoping that the assessment chapter will have good ideas for grading the products of the Think Tac Toe.In order to create a chart like this, I need to collaborate with my team so that I don't get stuck in this way.
    I'm a little, no a lot, concerned about 3 products per sheet. That's lots of work to grade. I don't agree with the authors when they suggest to have the students complete all 3 products, but only grade one on pg 130. That really will only work once, and it feels like cheating. I'd rather stagger the dates for products so that I'm not collecting them all at the same time. If you plan the Think Tac Toe with the concepts in mind and you want students to demostate their learning, you have to grade the work they do. I'm hoping that the assessment chapter will have good ideas for grading the products of the Think Tac Toe.

    I know a teacher that used menus with her class. She would have them on a schedule so that she could stagger the grading. She graded all of the products that the students completed. Also the products don't need to all be huge.

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  30. I like the idea of Think-tac-toe and recently purchased on book on differentiating with menus. We tried a very small version of it in the Spring semester. It definitely takes a LOT of planning and hopefully teamwork. I think that it should be introduced early on in the year so that your students know what will be expected. Or really parts of it should be used building up to the big Think-tac-toe.

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  31. Think-Tac-Toe reminds me about Menus, which I went to a workshop last summer and I used it last year in my class for Math and Social Studies. I think it was a great way to assess my students at the end of the unit. It was very beneficial because my students felt they had options on what activities to do to demonstrate their knowledge about the unit. My students loved it. The key to the differentiation angle is intent-the educator’s intentional listing of options that match the learning experience to each student (pg. 103).

    I really love the Think-Tac-Toe Short Story activity. I will definitely use this for reading on a short story book, chapter books (read aloud) and book club.
    In response to Of Life, Education, E-bay, Travel & Books, I was also getting bored with dioramas and foldables. This is a great tool for assessment.

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  32. In regards to projects to fill in the squares on the Think Tac Toe - check with your librarian or a fellow team member who has done The 23 Things and the 11.5 Things. Included in "The Things" are many Web 2.0 projects that fit just about every subject discipline.

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  33. I liked all of the comments on this section. I agree with svankampen that only grading one of the three products might work for the first time. I always have student that ask if this or that activity if for a grade and I might be opening myself to more of those type question. Staggering the due dates might work if that fit into the grading calendar for progress reports and repor cards.

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