Saturday, March 9, 2013

Reflecting on classroom activities


A redbrickED article by Joshua Sollie

ANALYZING THE VALUE OF CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

The effect of daily repetition of vocabulary with picture associations.
During a recent institute at our school Jim Burke was the featured speaker.  One concept which he repeated several times and stuck with me was that we should be analyzing our classroom procedures and activities to determine which ones are effective and a good use of our time and resources.  In other words, which activities are actually valid and help the students?

 With that in mind, I decided to analyze a daily practice in my classroom which takes between 3-5 minutes a day.  To practice vocabulary, I have created PowerPoints with the vocabulary words in the form of flashcards with the slides including the word and also a picture.  We go over the words at least once every class period.  It is a simple repetition exercise that probably takes between 3-5 minutes each class period during which the students repeat the words while viewing the PowerPoint.   In practice I knew the repetition and picture association should help the students produce the words (the students are given the words in English and have to write the Spanish equivalent for their quiz), but had never analyzed this practice.  To test whether this was a valid exercise, I did not do the repetition exercise for the last lesson of this quarter; although I did create flashcards that the students could view online to study on their own.   I was unsure what the results would be, but was not surprised by the following:

PERIOD
QUIZ 1 W/ PPT PRACTICE
QUIZ 2 W/ PPT PRACTICE
QUIZ 3 W/ PPT PRACTICE
QUIZ 4 NO PPT
PRACTICE
1ST
Mean:9.7
Median:10.0

Mean:9.8
Median:10.0

Mean:9.0
Median:10.0

Mean:8.4
Median:9.0

5TH
Mean:8.8
Median:9.0
Mean:9.3
Median:10.0
Mean:9.1
Median:10.0
Mean:8.4
Median:9.0

6TH
Mean:8.9
Median:10.0
Mean:8.4
Median:9.0

Mean: 9.5
Median:10.0
Mean:7.9
Median:9.0














While I am sure there are several variables at play, it is significant that the lowest mean score for each
class is the quiz where the students were not presented with the words and phrases in a repetitive manner through the PowerPoint exercise.  I am going to continue monitoring this practice throughout the fourth quarter and continue to analyze the value of this practice.  It also made me think about the other activities I do in class.  If an exercise that I do for three to five minutes a day has this type of an effect on student learning,  what about the rest of the procedures and activities that I do in class.  Are they as effective and do they provide the same types of results?  If not, why?  Even more importantly, why do I continue to do those activities?

A redbrickED study in collaboration with  ENSENACONEXITO.BLOGSPOT.COM

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