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Carte Blanche



In an effort to provide challenging learning opportunities and to foster the development of 21st Century Skills, one class of fifth-grade gifted students were given a singular directive and complete ...

In an effort to provide challenging learning opportunities and to foster the development of 21st Century Skills, one class of fifth-grade gifted students were given a singular directive and complete autonomy to achieve self-determined goals.



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  • Hartley 1991
  • Hartley 1991
  • five environmental constraints have consistently proven to be sure-fire killers of intrinsic motivation and creativity (Amabile, 1983a, 1996; Hennessey, 1996): (a) Expected Reward (b) Expected Evaluation (c) Competition (d) Surveillance and (e) Time Limits.
  • Thomas Edison’s teachers called him “too stupid to learn.” He made 3,000 mistakes on his way to inventing the lightbulb. Eventually he held 1.093 patents and in 1928, it was estimated that he made a $15,599,000,000 dollar contribution to society with his inventions.

Carte Blanche Carte Blanche Presentation Transcript

  • Carte Blanche: Giving Students the Freedom to Develop Learning Tasks in a Digital Environment Angela M. Housand University of North Carolina, Wilmington North Carolina Association for the Gifted and Talented 2010 Winston-Salem, NC
  • AND
  • www.angelahousand.com
  • Self-Regulated Learning
    • Students are self-regulated when they are, “metacognatively, motivationally, and behaviorally active participants in their own learning process.”
    (Zimmerman 1989, p. 329)
  • Active engagement in the learning process produces increases in academic performance. (Ablard & Lipschultz, 1998; Ames, 1984; Corno, 1986, 1989; Dweck, 1986; Schunk & Rice; 1985, 1987, 1991; Zimmerman, 1989; Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1990)
    • Personal Effort
    • Intrinsic Motivation
    • Goal Orientation
    • Self-efficacy
    • Age
    • Gender
    (Blair & Razza, 2007; McWhaw & Abrami, 2001; Miles & Stine-Morrow, 2004; Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1986, 1988, 1990)
  • Gifted Students Higher degrees of self-efficacy for using successful learning strategies (Ablard & Lipschultz, 1998; Housand, 2008; Risemberg & Zimmerman, 1992; Zimmerman & Martinez-Ponz, 1990)
    • Frequently use strategies related to successful learning
      • Organizing and Transforming
      • Self-Consequating
      • Seeking Assistance
      • Reviewing
    Gifted Students (Zimmerman 1986)
    • Strategy use impacted by environmental conditions
      • Classroom management
      • Organization
      • Clear and consistent expectations
      • Required reflection and progress monitoring
    Gifted Students (Housand, 2008)
  • Gifted Students Use of strategies varies widely within gifted group (Ablard & Lipschultz, 1998; Housand, 2008; Risemberg & Zimmerman, 1992; Zimmerman & Martinez-Ponz, 1990)
  • Competence… The state or quality of being adequately or well qualified. The ability to be successful.
  • Agents of Learning
  • Autonomy
    • The more autonomous (self-determined) a person believes their behavior to be the greater the personal satisfaction and enjoyment from engaging in that behavior.
  • The Program
    • Elementary – 5 th Grade
    • Enrichment pull-out program
    • Environmental science focus
      • Coastal region
      • Nearby lake and stream
  • 10 Fifth Grade Students
    • Gender
      • 6 female
      • 4 male
    • Identified
      • 7 formal district procedures
      • 3 teacher recommendation
    • Ethnic Diversity
      • 6 European-white
      • 2 Latino
      • 2 African American
  • Complete Autonomy to:
    • Engage in high-level content and real world learning focused on local, regional, and global contexts
    • Research and critically examine the impacts of regional growth on complex ecosystems
  • Complete Autonomy to:
    • Apply skills of leadership, responsibility, productivity, and self-direction to achieve self-determined goals
    • Communicate and collaborate via the Internet with students from Norway
  • The Instructor
    • PhD in Gifted Education
    • In depth knowledge of:
      • Dynamic learning communities
      • Curriculum for gifted and talented
      • Environmental science
  • Connection to Norway
    • Gifted students
    • Advanced contact and planning between instructors
    • Surrounded by similar water bodies
    • Different climate
  • The Researcher
    • 27 visits
    • February through June
    • Exploratory study looking for emerging themes
    • Non-participatory
    • Non-instructional
  • What happened?
  • Major Finding #1
    • Insufficient access to the internet
    • Too few computers in classroom
    • Inadequate computer hardware and software
    • iPhone used to circumvent school firewall
    • Difficulty accessing technology
  • Inadequate technology may have contributed to the failure of effectively creating a dynamic learning community with students’ in Norway.
  • Enable NOT Disable Technology Should...
  • Think Mobility
  • One Laptop per Child
  • (Eduventures)
  • Major Finding #2
    • Certain students emerged as leaders
    • Lead to distractions
    • Impacted access to technology and tools
    • Impacted opportunities to contribute
    • Impacted group assignment
    • Self-advocacy and Self-promotion
  • Equal Opportunity
    • Be systematic
    • Encourage shy/quiet students
    • Provide opportunities for written responses or idea generation
    • Provide different kinds of leadership roles
  • Research Tells Us…
    • When the learning environment provides:
    • Choice and volitional control over processes, timing, challenge level, and outcome or product of learning tasks
    Students Engage in Self-Regulated Learning Behaviors
  • Volitional Control
    • Set clear expectations in advance
    • Provide reminders
    • Bring students attention to their behavior when they lose self-regulation
  • What are your interests?
    • Tied to Student’s Identity
    • Personally Interesting
    • Integral to the Student’s Vision of the future
    • Viewed as Useful
    (Eccles & Wigfield)
  • Major Finding #3
    • Instruction varied by learning style, process, and product
    • Almost no whole group instruction
    • Student groups were self-selected
    • Increased student engagement when products and processes were authentic
    • Differentiated Instruction
  • Research Tells Us…
    • When the learning environment provides:
    • Opportunities for help-seeking from resources, peers, and teacher (e.g. small group instruction and differentiation)
    Students Engage in Self-Regulated Learning Behaviors
  • Depth and Complexity
    • Ask open-ended questions
    • Provide open-ended learning tasks
    • Provide students opportunities for higher order thinking!
  • Research Tells Us…
    • When the learning environment provides:
    • Complex tasks that extend over time, allow for variation in expression style, and integrate multiple processes, both cognitive and procedural
    Students Engage in Self-Regulated Learning Behaviors
  • “ From the standpoint of the child…he is unable to apply in daily life what he is learning at school. That is the isolation of the school - its isolation from life.” John Dewey
  • How does one engage students authentically ?
    • Present students with real-world challenges that require them to apply their relevant skills and knowledge.
  • How does one engage students authentically ?
    • Have students engage problems in the same ways that professionals in the associated fields do.
  • Facilitating Authentic Investigation
    • Assess, Find, or Create Student Interests
    • Conduct Interviews to Determine Interest Strengths
    • Problem Finding and Focusing
    • Formulate a Written Plan
  • Facilitating Authentic Investigation
    • Work with Students to Locate Resources
    • Provide Methodological Assistance (Like the Pros)
    • Help Students Choose a Question
    • Offer Managerial Expertise
  • Facilitating Authentic Investigation
    • Identify Final Products and Audiences
    • Offer Encouragement, Praise, and Constructive Criticism
    • Escalate the Process
    • Evaluate
  • Minor Finding #1
    • Supported by instructor
    • Occurred regularly
    • Lacked benchmarks for success
    • Goals did not escalate (repetitive)
    • Limited reflection and evaluation
    • Goal Setting & Planning
  • Research Tells Us…
    • When the learning environment provides:
    • Opportunities for students to participate in the processes of goal-setting, tracking progress, and evaluating their own work
    Students Engage in Self-Regulated Learning Behaviors
    • S pecific
    • M easurable
    • A ttainable
    • R ealistic
    • T ime-bound
    • Set goals that are slightly out of your immediate grasp, but not so far that there is not hope of achieving them.
  • Goal Setting
    • Challenges students to give their efforts a preplanned direction
    • Take responsibility for the key events that give form to their experience
    • Provides opportunity for reflection
  • Complex Tasks
    • Give students a purpose for the task
      • During the process
      • For completion
    • Require student reflection
      • Progress
      • Process
  • Planning and Self-Monitoring
    • What skills do I need to achieve this?
    • What help or assistance do I need?
    • What resources do I need?
    • What can block progress?
    • Am I on task or am I being distracted?
  • Self-Reflection
    • Did I accomplish what I planned to do?
    • Was I distracted and how did I get back to work?
    • Did I plan enough time or did it take longer than I thought?
    • In which situation did I accomplish the most work?
  • Failure is Part of the Learning Process
  • The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. -Michelangelo
  • Minor Finding #2
    • Degreased students’ generation of alternative solutions to challenges
    • Increased attempts to please teacher
    • Time Constraints & Performance Pressure
  • (Amabile, 1983, 1996; Hennessey, 1996)
  • Interest and Depth lead to Creative Productivity
    • We need students to get more deeply interested in things, more involved in them, more engaged in wanting to know, to have projects that they can get excited about and work on over long periods of time, to be stimulated to find things out on their own.
    • (Howard Gardner in an interview with R. Brandt, Educational Leadership, 1993)
  • -Thomas Edison The first requisite of success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem without growing weary.
  • Minor Finding #3
    • Students expressed fear of being late to homeroom
    • Frequently late to enrichment class
    • Absences?
    • Lack of Homeroom Teacher Support
  • What does it mean to place students into cluster groups?
    • A group of gifted identified students is clustered into a mixed ability classroom with a teacher who is trained to differentiate for gifted students.
  • Suggested classroom composition 30 students in 3 classes Gifted High Average Average Low Average Far Below Average A 6 0 12 12 0 B 0 6 12 6 6 C 0 6 12 6 6
  • Placing students in the classrooms :
    • Determine placement for upcoming year following spring testing
    • Gifted students make up approximately 20% of the gifted cluster class
    • Create the number of gifted cluster classrooms necessary to serve all gifted students in each grade
  • Special Considerations for Placements
    • Create procedures for determining placement of the following groups:
      • Kindergarten students
      • New students enrolling during school year
      • Twice-exceptional gifted students
      • ELL gifted students
  • Questions?
  • Thank You!
  • Learning is Cyclical and Ongoing
    • What will I need to work on my project?
    • Where will I work?
    • Who will I work with?
    • What might hinder my process?
    • Am I accomplishing what I planned?
    • Is this taking longer than I thought?
    • Am I on task or am I being distracted?
    • Did I accomplish what I planned to do?
    • Was I distracted and how did I get back to work?
    • Did I plan enough time or did it take longer than I thought?
    • In which situation did I accomplish the most work?
  • You must do the thing you think you cannot do. -Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Thank You! -Angela Housand