Curriculum Highly Effective Strategies of Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

In the example provided, the teacher could explain that homework assignments will allow them to learn more about how life in Ancient Greece and Rome influenced modern customs and practices, and the purpose of homework assignments is to break the information they are learning into smaller chunks so they do not have to memorize or learn too much information at once, which might become overwhelming. Knowing this, students are more likely to take time to complete assignments. A teacher can encourage the student to utilize a separate assignment notebook for each subject they are studying, and track daily assessments of what they learned in class about their study of Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. This employs the technique of practice, which enforces student's ability to write well and apply scientific method or logical analysis to information they learn in class. Students may for example, be encouraged to make notes alongside the daily assessments of what they learned about ways questions they may explore to further understand the topic at hand.

Strategy 5 - Nonlinguistic Representations

Marzano provides five methods educators can use to apply nonlinguistic representation including: "graphic organizers, pictures and pictographs, mental pictures, concrete representations, and kinesthetic activity" (p. 69). The more commonly used tools include graphic organizers and use of concrete representations, as we'll demonstrate using our social studies case examples.

In social studies class one, where students are learning about the homestead, a teacher can use a graphic organizer to combine "the linguistic mode and nonlinguistic mode of communication" using words that highlight key points and symbols that identify relationships in the information gathered (Marzano, 1998, p. 71). For example, in the homestead classroom, a teacher can encourage students to use what Marzano refers to as a "descriptive pattern organizer" where students gather facts they can characterize into a rectangle, then organization the facts using arrows or other symbols to represent relationships that exist between facts or comparisons. For example, students may list 2 important facts in each upper hand corner of a rectangle describing the homestead of the Midwest and that predicted for 2030, and then uses arrows to demonstrate any relationships that exist between the facts gathered from student's studies or predictions.

As a second example, using "concept pattern organizers" as described by Marzano (1998) students learning about Ancient Greece and Rome may learn to organize the information they learn using a single word or phrase that represents an entire category or class of information. For example, the keyword "relationships" may be used to describe the people, places, and events that took place in each geographic area that facilitated interrelationships among public officials.

Strategy 6 - Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning involves five key elements: "positive interdependence, face-to-face interaction, individual and group accountability, interpersonal and small group skills and group processing" (Marzano, 1998, p. 89). These activities encourage students to help each other learn and applaud one another for their successes when achieving certain goals, and helps build trust and decision-making skills among students, allowing students to learn how to interact successfully in a team-structured environment (Marzano, 1998).

In the example of a social studies classroom where students are reviewing the actual homestead of the Midwest vs. their interpretation of what it might by in 2030, the teacher may use informal groups where a teacher encourages each student to turn to their neighbor and share their thoughts and ideas about the present and future, and then encourages their classmate to do the same. The teacher may then encourage the student to turn to another student sitting on the opposite side of him or her, and do the same. This allows students to focus their attention and process information, and gain new and interesting perspectives when they understand more clearly how their classmate thinks compared with their own thought processes.

As another example, in the Ancient history classroom, a facilitator or teacher can encourage a larger group setting by breaking students into two halves, allowing each half to discuss their facts, knowledge and information of the subject, then come to a consensus that reflects the key areas of learning they explored in the classroom. Marzano (1998) encourages teachers using the cooperative learning technique to combine this with other classroom structures so that the tool does not lose its effectiveness (p. 90). For example, an instructor may elect to vary the size of the groups, by encouraging small focus groups one day consisting of four students and larger groups comprised of 1/2 of the class other days, while relying on other teaching techniques a majority of the time so as to not overburden students with the concept of "cooperative" learning as this often requires energy and motivation (Marzano, 1998, p. 94).

Strategy 7 - Setting Goals and Providing Feedback

This strategy according to Marzano (1998) encourages students to rely on a "metacognitive" system of thinking (p. 98) which establishes the direction and purpose of a class or subject, the provides students feedback on their level of mastery after achieving course objectives. In our first social studies case example, students may meet to define 3 specific goals related to understanding life on the homestead in the Midwest that are specific and measurable. These goals may include identifying complications people living during this time experienced for example, and identifying two specific strategies they could employ to overcome these difficulties.

In our second example, involving studies of Ancient Greece and Rome, an instructor may use "criterion-referenced feedback" which Marzano defines as telling students where they stand relative to their mastery of a subject (p. 102). For example, an instructor may establish a grading scale of 1-5, where 5 represents complete understanding of the social life of people living in Greece and Ancient Rome, and a grade of 1 suggesting the student is not capable of performing tasks that will facilitate this understanding, such as completing homework assignments accurately. By providing feedback, students are more likely to recognize areas for improvement, as are teachers.

Strategy 8 - Generating and Testing Hypotheses

Marzano explains this strategy as enabling students to apply the knowledge they learned about a specific subject in a modern context (p. 111). For example, a student may understand how farmers lived in the Midwest during the 1930s. An instructor may then ask the student to apply this knowledge and hypothesize what changes a farmer could make to his daily life that would result in an improved quality of life. The student could then test this hypothesis by looking for examples of people living in various settings and facing similar challenges during the timeframe being explored, and interpret from the literature reviewed whether his or her hypothesis is likely valid or invalid.

A student in the second classroom may be encouraged to hypothesize how the introduction of electricity in Ancient Rome or Greece may have changed the lives of people living there, and whether this technology would result in an improved quality of life or have no impact. To test this hypothesis, the student can review how the introduction of electricity has impacted society now and during the time it was introduced, and create a logical answer to his hypothesis based on this indirect form of testing.

Strategy 9 - Activating Prior Knowledge

Using this final strategy Marzano (p.122) suggests that students always possess some prior knowledge of a concept or topic or a similar topic and can apply that prior knowledge to their current learning. Students in this environment must be encouraged by facilitators or instructors to access any prior knowledge they have on a subject, and use this knowledge to enhance their overall comprehension of a subject reviewed in class. In our very last example, using the subject of the homestead in a social studies class, a facilitator may encourage students to access previous knowledge using explicit cues, like hinting to students how life on the homestead is similar to current life of an identified population the student learned about in an earlier classroom setting (p. 124). Using the example of Ancient Rome and Greece, a facilitator can activate prior knowledge by engaging students in a question and answer session, where he or she asks the students questions such as, "have you ready any books talking about this subject you can apply to the topic we are learning about in class?" This will automatically enable the student to access additional sources of information they can use based on personal experience to apply to…

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