To ensure students demonstrate an increase in ownership of learning, authors Crowe and Kennedy focus on practices in curriculum by using Strategic Learning Practices, which research shows increase the opportunities for learning – by increasing the opportunities for student ownership.
In my previous Blog Post, What is the Look and Sound of Student Ownership?, I mentioned that students with an ownership mindset know they have the authority, capacity, and responsibility to own their learning, according to the Developing Student Ownership book. Authors Robert Crowe and Jane Kennedy define curriculum as what students need to know and do at the end of a lesson, unit, or course. Crowe and Kennedy emphasized that students must demonstrate an increase in ownership by clearly articulate answers to the following questions:
- What am I learning?
- Why am I learning?
- How will I demonstrate I have learned it?
So, how does a teacher build the authority, capacity, and responsibility needed for student ownership of their learning? Crowe and Kennedy suggest that a teacher must model the thinking behind ownership, explicitly teach the skills of ownership, and most importantly, be willing to delegate the authority, capacity, and responsibility to the students.
Authors of Developing Student Ownership show how to move students towards ownership by having teachers strategically decide when to offer the following three learning practices:
|Strategic Learning Process||Each and Every Student must be able to answer the following questions||Reflection: How well do you develop students to own their learning|
|Curriculum 1: Each and every student is supported by relevant standards with measurable and achievable outcomes that are accessible and drive all learning||· What skill am I learning?
· Why am I learning this skill?
. How will I know I have learned this skill?
|How often and how well do you offer this support?
· The learning outcome aligns with a relevant standard and uses appropriate academic language
· The learning outcome aligns with what the standard calls for
· The learning outcome identifies how the students will show the demonstration of the learning
· All student learning is driven by the learning outcomes and can be attained from the lesson
|Curriculum 2: Each and every student is supported by units and lessons that provide an integrated approach and support conceptual redundancy of the learning outcomes.||· How does learning in various ways-listening, speaking, reading, and writing-support mastery of the skill?
· How does the current learning relate to previous and subsequent learning?
– How can I use this learning in the future?
|How often and how well do you offer this support?
· The unit or lesson integration includes opportunities for students to listen, speak, read, and write about the learning outcome
· The unit or lesson integration offers students a focus on both the content standards and the learning practices
· The unit or lesson provides students with conceptual redundancy through multiple, varied interactions with the same concept
· The unit or lesson aligns with previous learning and builds to subsequent learning
|Curriculum 3: Each and every student is supported by access to curriculum materials that match the content and rigor of the learning outcomes.||· What materials am I using to support this learning?
· How do these materials support this learning?
What other materials could I use to continue this learning?
|How often and how well do you offer this support?
· The curriculum materials build to master the relevant standards with measurable and achievable learning outcomes
· The curriculum materials are specifically selected to support the content of the standard for learning outcome
· The curriculum materials specifically selected to support the rigor of the standard or learning outcome
– The curriculum materials are accessible to all students.
Strategic Learning Practices
In Strategic Learning Practices, authors lays out the following:
- Clearly define each learning practice
- Describe what implementation looks and sounds like in the classroom
- Share teacher planning questions and offer examples of how students have been supported with these learning practices in various content areas and grade level
- Explain how these practices directly lead to increased student ownership
Curriculum 1 As an Example
Authors (2018) define each aspect of this practice:
“Relevant standards are the skills or content from the standards that are both appropriate for the students’ grade level and for the time of year. The verb or action of the standard is key. Identifying the verb and action helps the teacher recognize the appropriate level of learning, both in terms of where students fall in the course of their education (grade level) and where they fall in the instructional sequence (time of year).” (pg 17)
“Measurable and achievable outcomes clearly define what students are learning and how they will know they have learned it. What students are learning is the skill or content directly derived from the standard. It incorporates the language of the standard itself. How students will know they have learned it is directly related to the product or demonstration that shows the learning. This demonstration measures the level of application and is the measurable aspect of the objective. The measurable outcome must be achievable in the time parameters of the lesson.” (pg. 17 and 18)
“Outcomes that are accessible allow all students to understand and articulate what they are learning, why they are learning it, and how they will know they have learned it. Accessibility is dependent on the student. For example, visual learners will need to read the outcome, auditory learners will need to hear the outcome, and social learners will need to discuss the outcome with peers.” (pg. 18)
“Outcomes that drive all learning imply that learning time is precious and should not be squandered. In other words, every minute in the lesson is utilized for the teaching and learning of that outcome.” (pg.18)
The Practice in Action
What does this practice look like in the classroom?
Mrs. Lavetti’s high school American History Class:
On the board she wrote the outcome:
“Students will connect insights gained from the specific details to develop an understanding of a primary source, in order to accurately take Cornell notes on Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address.”
When you talk to students and ask them questions:
You: “What are you learning?”
Student: “I am learning to make connections from specific parts of a text to gain insights about and better understand the primary document Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address.”
You: “How do you gain insights?”
Student: “I gain insights when I not only look at the parts of a text, but also pull the pieces together to understand the document as a whole. In this case, we are looking at the specific details that Abraham Lincoln used and how they connect together to express his larger idea.”
You: “How will you know that you have learned this?”
Student: “I will use Cornell Notes to accurately cite evidence from Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address, which I will use later to analyze Lincoln’s overall meaning.”
You: “What are Cornell Notes?”
Student: ” Cornell notes are a way to take notes that help me remember what was in Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address. There is a place for the main ideas – see here I have the headings for each of the four paragraphs – and a place for my notes from the speech to remind me what the important ideas are in that section.”
You: “Why are you learning this?”
Student: “After we finish reading Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address, we are going to write an essay about the overall purpose of this speech. Finding specific evidence from this source will help me write a better essay.”
You asking Mrs. Lavetti this question: “How was the student able to answer your questions so clearly and with confidence?”
Mrs. Lavetti: “My students did not answer questions at this level, because I simply posted a strong objective on the board. I had to intentionally plan how I would support them. First, I need to know what skill they would learn, how they would show it, how they would use it in the future, and how I would explain every step of the way what we are doing – what, how, and why I am teaching and what, how and why they are learning.”
Mrs. Lavetti used the Strategic Learning Practice Curriculum 1 as a frame to help her plan how she wanted to offer this support, according to Crowe and Kennedy.
Authors offer the following planning questions (Table 1.6) that helped Mrs. Levetti her support focus:
Implementing the Practice
What does the standard call for?
Reading standard 1 for literacy in History/Social Studies at Grades 11-12:
“Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.”
Which component of the standard will students learn in the lesson?
The standard is divided into 3 teachable parts (the what, or the skill aspect of the outcome):
- Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources
- Connect insights gained from specific details
- Connect insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole
Mrs. Levetti reviewed the learning progression for Reading standard 1 at the earlier grades to find out what has been learned.
11-12 RH1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
9-10 RH1: Cite specific textual evidence to support the analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
6-8 RH1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
The continue practice of the skill is to cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources while the new learning for 11-12 grade students is to connect insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
This provides Mrs. Levetii with the academic language students need to learn of this skill.
How will my students demonstrate the learning?
Write an explanatory essay that answers the question “What was the purpose of Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address?” Students gather evidence while reading.
Why are my students learning this skill?
Students will need to take explicit notes – Cornell Notes
Mrs. Levetti used planning questions to help her plan the curriculum aspect of the lesson. She is ready to determine how she will teach this, because she has decided the two most crucial aspects of her lesson:
- The skill her students are learning.
- The demonstration of the learning
To ensure her students own this information, so that she can increase the probability of their learning, she must ask herself the following questions:
How will I share this information with my students?
Introduce objective at the onset of each lesson, and review it throughout the lesson as needed. For visual learners, the objective is posted. For auditory learners, the objective is stated out loud. And for social learners, the objective is discussed with peers.
How will I check that my students understand the goals of the learning?
Periodically throughout the lesson, students share with a partner and remind each other what they are learning (skill), how they will know they have learned it (demonstration), and why they are learning it (future use of learning).
Ensure students understand the value of owning their own learning:
How will my students understand that knowing these aspects of the learning will support ownership of their learning?
- It involved student participation.
- Everyday we reflect on our learning. Once a week, students reviewed the learning progressions and rank themselves.
- The ranking determines:
- What skills could they teach another student?
- What skills do they feel with a little more practice they would master?
- What skills do they need more support with?
My Take Away
After more than a year of reading and searching for books that offer a good explanation of the unpacking process, I believe I finally found a book that I am impressed with. My website Teacher Clarity is built on the premise of the components of clarity, by using various books to explain the premise and give clarity to teaching. Developing Student Ownership has opened my eyes to how important the unpacking standards process is.
My understanding of unpacking standards changed when I read the Strategic Learning Practice for Curriculum 1. I never thought about outcomes, because I only see activities, which is not the big picture presented in the standard. I had to rethink the planning process and how I proceeded. Strategic Learning Practice helps me do exactly that. It provided guiding questions to help teachers support student learning.
You can view How to Develop Students to Own How They Are Learning post next.