Ohio EFF

Activity 2: Classroom Connections: Looking at Teaching and Learning

Title of Activity 2: Classroom Connections: Looking at Teaching and Learning
Time: 120 - 165 m

Purpose: To model using the steps of EFF Teaching/Learning Cycle to develop a learning activity that also connects to the GED and is based on an actual classroom scenario.

Objectives: To allow participants to make connections about understanding the EFF Tools and using them in the classroom. Participants will actively create a teaching and learning activity incorporating PCC, the EFF Tools, and the 10 Step EFF Teaching/Learning Cycle.

Key Discoveries: This activity models how to develop a teaching/learning activity based on learner's needs. The activity incorporates 6 of the 10 steps to developing an EFF activity as well as addressing PCC and the use of the EFF tools.

Target Audience: Teachers and administrators who are learning to develop EFF lessons for their programs.

Format: Presentation / Small group work with participants actively involved.


Facilitator Note: Be sure folders or nametags are marked ahead of time to distinguish work groups for this activity. Emphasize that the material they will be looking at is one person's thinking put on paper for the purpose of learning. Be sure participants understand that it is not necessary to write each lesson in the format used in this presentation, nor is it necessary to write out each step of the process. This activity is designed to capture their thinking about how to design a teaching/learning activity.

Links to other activities: This activity could allow participants to become familiar with several of the standards. Based on the brainstorming session about "Learner Needs" participants could develop lessons around several of the standards.

Description of Activity:
Part 1 to include Steps 1-7 of Activity, about 30 m.
Step 1: Begin by introducing the EFF Teaching/Learning Cycle - 10 steps to developing an EFF activity. Point out that participants have a bookmark in their folders with these 10 steps listed. Help audience make the connection that it is a cycle that repeats (e.g. the bookmark can be shaped into a circle to help them see that the cycle doesn't end when the activity is complete).

Step 2: Introduce the "Skin Cancer" classroom example (handout) and explain that this is one example of a student's need being turned into an EFF activity using the 10 steps of the EFF Teaching/Learning Cycle. Explain to the audience that you are going to focus on the first 6 steps for planning purposes. Take time to highlight the sidebar items which include several of the EFF Tools. Explain how these were used in the development of the activity.

Step 3: Give background information on how student need was determined: "Students were discussing a health concern at the beginning of class. One student's mother has been diagnosed with a serious case of skin cancer. The student was very upset and had made the decision she did not want her children or herself going through the treatments her mother was facing. The other students in the class agreed after hearing all the details. As a group, they decided they wanted to find out how they could prevent skin cancer for themselves as well as their children."

Step 4: Using the scenario described in step 3, show how the steps of the Teaching/ Learning Cycle were used to develop the activity:

  • A - Be sure to have participants see that the Scenario matches up with students' needs and goals - step 1 of the T/L Cycle.

  • B - Read step 2 and explain that students chose to read an informational flyer about this topic; therefore, they wanted to focus on the Read With Understanding Standard. You may want to explain that, at this stage, it is sometimes difficult to narrow to one standard. There may be several standards that possibly could be used; as the teacher learns more about her students (step 3), she is able to begin to focus on just one standard.

  • C - Explain that background knowledge was learned using several strategies. A reading assessment was done during orientation using the TABE. More importantly, the teacher held group discussions including what they already knew about skin cancer, where that information had come from, and whether it was a reliable source based on facts

  • D - Continue explaining that the group, through the initial discussion of the problem, had reached consensus about a common concern earlier. This is actually good to mention to illustrate that the 10 steps are not prescriptive; rather, they are steps called out to ensure that teachers include all of them but the order may not always be the same, especially the first 4 steps.

  • E - Tell participants that the teacher held a discussion about where to look for information on skin cancer. They talked about accessing the Internet, talking to doctors or health department officials, and even visiting a Red Cross office. After discussion several possibilities, they decided that a pamphlet obtained from the dermatologist's office might provide the best information on the topic.

    The teacher and students decided on a learning activity: to read to discover three ways to prevent skin cancer. They could choose how they would demonstrate their understanding of the three ways they found. Since student's needs and goals were to pass the GED test and to read to discover more about skin cancer prevention, this activity clearly was purposeful.

  • F - Share with participants that, because it was a multi-level group, the teacher with the help of the students, suggested different ways they could demonstrate they had understood what they had read. Students suggested writing complete sentences, making a poster with 3 ways of prevention, writing a paragraph, or making an oral presentation. (The teacher did not evaluate their writing, speaking, or creativity; she just looked to see that they had discovered 3 ways of prevention.)
Step 5: Walk participants through the COPS and ask them to identify how the activity addressed each one. [If you have plenty of time for this activity, you may want to first ask them to define what reading means for participants. Then you can have them look at the Read with Understanding Standard in the Standards Guide. Did their definitions include all the components or did they not consider some of them? Have them discuss the difference between their definition of reading and the EFF Standard.]

Step 6: Discuss how the activity was Purposeful, Contextual, and Constructivist.

Step 7: This step is key if your audience consists of GED teachers. To illustrate how a learning activity can be linked to the GED, use an actual GED workbook (Steck Vaughn Pre GED book p. 20 - 25). [If you want to use a different topic other than skin cancer, you will need to look at the GED workbook materials for other connections.] Quick Flip Questions for Critical Thinking - another resource for GED type questions (e.g. Analysis, Evaluation, Application) can be found at www.edupressinc.com.

Make sure that participants understand that one of the purposes of the EFF learning activity is that it helps to build content knowledge (needed for the GED) while at the same time giving students an opportunity to build their reading skills in real-life contexts. Explain how this is the reverse of what often happens: teachers tend to teach to the test first, then try to have students see a real-life connection. In teaching this way, you might lose the student before she realizes that what she is learning has real meaning.

Brainstorming to include Steps 8 of Activity, about 15 m.
Step 8: Explain that, for the next part of today's session, participants will be working with the Teaching/Learning Activity Template and the EFF Teaching/Learning Cycle to develop a learning activity. To get them started, as a large group have them brainstorm about needs or concerns they have heard their students express. Write these ideas on chart paper so everyone can refer to.

Part 2 to include Steps 9-10 of Activity, about 60 m.
Step 9: Have participants break into small groups of 6 based on the color of dot on their folder. (green in one group, red in another, etc.) Have the groups choose one of the student's needs, from the brainstorm list, their group would like to work with. Each group should be working on a different need. Participants will work with this need to develop an EFF Learning Activity using the 10 Steps and the Teaching/Learning Activity Template. Each group may choose to work with one of the 3 standards Ohio is adopting. (Read, Write, or Math)

Participants will begin with this student need/concern to develop a learning activity using the ten steps of the EFF Teaching/Learning Cycle. They will use the EFF Teaching/Learning Activity template to write up their final learning activity description.

Part 3 Extension, about 30 m.
Explain that each activity will need to be recorded on chart paper using the Laminated Template Headings. If you anticipate there being time for each group to share their activity, ask them to record the activity on chart paper after they have done their initial design using the template.

Explain that at the end of the time limit for developing a learning activity, all the groups will come back together to share their results. Tell them now that part of the debriefing will include their comments on whether the ten steps helped them in their learning activity development.

Also, be sure to explain that, while an actual activity goes from the planning stage through assessment, for this activity they will only be able to go through the first 6 steps. The 6 steps do include, however, a plan for assessing and reflecting. If your audience is familiar with PCC, remind them to consider these principles as they design their activity.

Once you have given participants the directions, you'll need to set a time limit (at least 45 minutes) and then walk around group to group to ensure that everyone is on the right track.

Step 10: 5 minute reports by each group. If there is only limited time, you may want to focus on the process of using the 10 steps rather than the activities themselves.

Segue: You can see we have not addressed steps 7-10 because they deal with carrying out the plan and documentation. We do want to give you an update on what Ohio is doing about assessment, and that is what we will focus on next.


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