Chapter Reviews

American Education Chapter 2:

This chapter focuses on the idea of equality of opportunity regarding education in the U.S. Spring first focuses on three school models that attempt to move U.S. schools to more equal opportunities for all students. These are the common school model, where everyone receives a “common” or the same education, regardless of socioeconomic, gender, or ethnic characteristics, the sorting-Machine model, where students are placed in ability groups or tracks to overcome the “influences” and differences of family background toward equal opportunity in education, and the High Stakes testing model, testing what students have learned to determine whether a student may promote to the next level, with the equal opportunity in the guise of a common test.

Spring challenges the success of these models with statistics that show that income, gender, and race have great impact on not only what students come equipped with when they enter school depending on these characteristics, but also, what great differences lie in what students from differing backgrounds can expect when predicting incomes from their jobs after school. Commonly, the wealthier, traditionally white non-Hispanic students can expect better opportunities in school, whereas minorities, especially black and Hispanic students can expect lesser opportunities. An interesting them in this chapter is whether or not schools are perpetuating the cycle of inequality or actually helping to change toward more equal opportunities, regardless of family background. Statistics shared show that the “rich get richer” and the “poor get poorer”, despite the efforts of schools to provide equal opportunities for all students.

Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design Chapter 7

Chapter 7: Teaching for Understanding focuses on how to “uncover” the content as opposed to deliver, getting away from the notion that one must utilize a textbook as their instructional guide to delivering instruction. There are several methods to teach for understanding, but the author chooses to focus on 3 for this chapter: Essential Questions, the 6 facets of understanding, and WHERETO.

Essential Questions are a method of asking questions, generally 2-5 for a unit, that ask questions at the heart of the unit’s learning goals, and are asking questions that are open ended which can be revisited multiple times during the unit to deepen the students’ thinking.

The 6 facets of understanding can be used as instructional tools when planning what student actions during lessons. They are explain, interpret, apply, perspective, empathy and self-knowledge. The author shares several verbs connected to each facet that students can use to uncover the content by processing ideas and making meaning of it. The author makes an important note that these can be utilized by students collaboratively hashing out the content regardless of whether they are gifted or struggling students. Students can learn the important facts by hashing out the content, rather than needing to know the important facts before they engage in the content.

Finally, WHERETO is a framework to consider when planning for student learning.

W = How will I help learners know What they will be learning? Why this is worth learning? What evidence will show their learning? H= How will I hook and engage the learners? In what ways will I help them connect desired learning to their experiences and interests?

E = How will I equip students to master identified standards and succeed with the targeted performances? What learning experiences will help develop and deepen understanding of important ideas?

R = How will I encourage the learners to rethink previous learning? How will I encourage ongoing revision and refinement?

E = How will I promote students’ self-evaluation and reflection?

T = How will I tailor the learning activities and my teaching to address the different readiness levels, learning profiles, and interests of my students?

O = How will the learning experiences be organized to maximize engaging and effective learning? What sequence will work best for my students and this content?

These are intended to guide the planning of your lessons throughout your unit, ultimately asking the question Where to? as you plan.


~ by Craig Brewer on January 30, 2010.

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