Sunday, March 4, 2007

Here is a picture of Missouri State University. I can't wait to finish and be done here.

Four External Links


This is a link to my workplace.


This is a link to our class communication page.


This has many things for teachers in Missouri


This is the school webpage for where I am doing my student teaching.


Strategic integration is the design principle that allows for the cake-like form of cumulative review, where learning is integrated into big ideas. Strategic integration also establishes connections between new knowledge and what a learner already knows and understands. However, integrating too much information too fast can easily lead to confusion. The integration must be strategic.
Designing instruction in overlapping strands (topics) facilitates the naturalness of integrated review. In the Earth Science videodisk program , the strands that teach the concepts of density, heat, and pressure overlap until they are integrated in the model of the basic convection cell. The concept of density is taught first, then the scaffolding is removed and unscaffolded practice using the concept of density is provided in the context of teaching about the effects of heat on density. Similarly, in initial instruction about pressure, unscaffolded practice with density and heat are provided in the context of learning the interaction of heat, density, and static and dynamic pressure. All of these concepts are further reviewed when they are integrated in the basic convection strategy.
This basic convection strategy is then applied to explain global convection in the atmosphere, mantle, and ocean. Each of the applications provide review of the convection cell and its related concepts. In this way, students gain a holistic, rather than fragmented understanding of complex content.
All six of the above features of effective instructional design should be integrated in such a way that their incorporation seems natural in the development of understanding. Topics within content areas should be organized for instruction into overlapping strands so that the connections of the subject are more easily communicated, the big ideas are augmented, and scaffolding can build new learning on top of a foundation of prior learning that no longer requires scaffolding. Topics are sequenced so that component concepts are taught first and subsequent material builds on earlier learning. This provides the additional instruction to link the old learning with the new learning for deeper understanding.



Diverse learners usually have difficulty working independently and require extensive guidance at first. "Scaffolding" refers to the personal guidance, assistance, and support that a teacher, peer, or task provides to a learner. Students with disparate academic backgrounds and skills need more assistance and support, while higher performing students need less. Forms of scaffolding include teacher modeling, extracting critical skills from text, initially teaching skills in "contrived" (less demanding) contexts, clarifying confusing information, and providing multiple examples before expecting students to perform independently (Dixon, et al., 1996).
However, if instruction remains too accommodating students will not eventually become independent. To counter the "dumbing down effect" that often results from highly accommodating instruction, scaffolding should be mediated. Mediated scaffolding provides a systematic transition from the initial teacher-directed, modeled, structured, prompted practice within defined problem types to a more naturalistic environment of student-directed, unstructured, unpredictable problems that vary widely across all problem types. This transition can be provided by gradually changing the design of the tasks and examples or by changing the level of assistance that a teacher may provide.
Because scaffolding is a dynamic process, as learners become more competent, the scaffolding is removed by purposively moving slightly ahead of the learner on the imaginary continuum. As learners grow in competence and independence, effective instruction moves along the continuum. Information about the learner's level of competence in the targeted instructional activity determines what level of scaffolding should be provided.



Diverse learners frequently have difficulties applying what they have learned to solve complex problems and determining when and where to utilize strategies they have been taught (Dixon, et al., 1996). Therefore, discernible and distinct strategies should be identified and explicitly taught that enable learners to solve difficult tasks. Conspicuous strategies are an approximation of the steps experts follow covertly (and, perhaps, unconsciously) while working toward similar goals. Good strategy instruction starts with developing a well-organized knowledge base of component concepts and determining how to apply the big ideas of their relationships in observable, definitive steps.
Big ideas in earth science are generally used to make predictions. In the Earth Science videodisk program, strategies for using the big ideas of science are initially made conspicuous for students through the use of visual maps and models which represent expert knowledge and refute common misconceptions. For example, a strategy for using density requires students to identify equivalent volumes in two substances, compare the masses within those volumes, and predict which substance will sink. These steps are not made conspicuous by orally reciting them. They are made conspicuous through "scaffolding."

Teach Big Ideas

Diverse learners, including students with a variety of disabilities, are often academically delayed. This delay can exacerbate the behavioral problems that diverse learners have when they become aware that their peers are academically further along than they are. Diverse learners also often have difficulties grasping core concepts and distinguishing insignificant details from important points. Often, diverse learners have a greater difficulty learning than the average student and so they fall behind, only to be faced with learning more material in less time.
To teach more in less time to students with greater learning difficulties requires that instruction be organized around "big ideas." Big ideas are concepts and principles that facilitate the most efficient and broadest acquisition of knowledge across a range of examples. By organizing and prioritizing information around fundamental concepts, big ideas maximize student learning because "small" ideas can often be best understood in relationship to larger, "umbrella concepts." Organizing information around big ideas means that (a) less information is learned, but the information has more power, and (b) treatment of information is commensurate with its level of importance (Dixon, Carnine, and Kameenui, 1996).
Big ideas in science do four things. First, they represent central scientific ideas and organizing principles. Second, they have rich explanatory and predictive power. Third, they motivate the formulation of significant questions, and fourth, they are applicable to many situations and contexts common to everyday experiences.
Convection is a big idea taught in the Earth Science videodisk program. The big idea of convection ties together geology, meteorology, and oceanography. An in-depth understanding of convection allows one to predict changes in the earth. Around the convection cell are various contexts where changes in the earth can be predicted based on an understanding of the principles of convection. Convection explains many of the dynamic phenomena occurring in the solid earth (geology), the atmosphere (meteorology), and the ocean (oceanography). Plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, and the formation of mountains are all influenced by convection in the mantle.
Similarly, the ocean currents, thermo-haline circulation, and coastal upwelling are influenced by global and local convection. In turn, the interaction of these phenomena in the earth and the atmosphere results in the rock cycle, weathering, and changes in landforms. The interaction of these phenomena in the ocean and in the atmosphere influence the water cycle, wind- driven ocean circulation, El Nino, and climate in general. Learning a big idea well translates into a deep understanding of much content.


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