do I apply constructivism in my classroom?
are some simple ways to get started?
are some challenges I may face?
do I assess student progress?
does constructivism align with state and national standards?
does technology complement constructivism?
do I work with my school, the parents, and the community?
I assess student progress?
Following are some guides to how you can think about evaluating
your students' learning.
Evaluate student progress by examining the thinking process
of the student. This can be done in a number of ways. Try asking
your students to develop a solution to a problem and then to
defend their decisions.
For example, to follow up on science investigations involving
the properties of substances, charge teams of students with
identifying a "mystery substance" formulated by the teacher.
Provide tools, apparatus, and techniques that they have reviewed
or are ready to adopt. Each team reports their results to the
class, with demonstrations of successful techniques and problems
Or, after a study of animals and their habits, you might present
students with a problem that they know will culminate in an
evaluation. You might present a new set of animals to the
class. Then offer the following problem: Choose three animals from the set and construct a habitat that will support all of them.
Students and teacher might construct a rubric
to guide work. The rubric might have general categories in the
form of a checklist: food, protection from elements, etc.
Have students document their learning through journal or diary-like
activities and reflect on their learning.
example, to document learning in language arts, you can assign
"Readers' Response Journals," where students identify significant
passages in their reading books. In this sort of journal, students
typically record the passage in one column on a page, then write
their personal observations next to it. Sometimes students use
"stickies" to annotate and flag their readings.
graphic organizer tool (either on a computer or written by hand)
can be an effective way for students to map their learning.
This is especially effective if practiced at significant stages
of the unit. Then students will see how their understanding
has progressed and how it connects to other topics and learning.
One software program that you might consider using for this
is called Inspiration.
Some teachers have found the use of e-mail, online discussion
boards, and other BBS (bulletin board system) features to be
effective in the assessment of learning. E-mail threads
built on class topics ranging from race relations to themes
in Shakespeare provide a way not only for students to express
their points of view, but also for teachers to form a picture
of how individual students function within the class.
Many schools have access to the Internet, with electronic mail
(e-mail) and Web services for the classroom. Some teachers have
already augmented their curriculum work with content resources
and projects drawn from the Web. Teachers can also provide online
meeting and work places for students to collaborate with classmates
and with students in classes elsewhere (sometimes far away).
Such collaboration can be saved and examined as part of the
assessment process. Also, when the classroom goes online, discussion
can continue outside of classroom hours.
can use e-mail to deepen and pursue their understanding of how
individual students, particularly those reticent to speak in
class, learn. The information age has begun to give us effective
means of capturing and preserving a learning dialogue.
. Prompt students
to create new problem-solving environments.
students have searched the solar system for missing probes using
the software package "The Great Solar System Rescue,"
each student could join a team charged with creating a new problem
for other students to solve. Their resources could include a
multimedia database constructed by the teacher or by themselves.
This database would contain not only visual and animated material
about the solar system but also databases and spreadsheet-formatted
data about objects in the solar system. The students would then
write the problem using word-processing software. They could
create an on-screen visual environment from found, scanned,
or original illustrations. They could combine the elements using
a multimedia presentation program such as HyperStudio
- Or, they could construct a Web site for other students from
their own class or a class in another community to access. In
this case, the addition of e-mail links would facilitate the
students' becoming coaches of other students.
Workshop: Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning
Explanation | Demonstration | Exploration | Implementation | Get Credit
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