High Performance Learning Environments: Video Analyses

Video Analyses

Academic expectations – do you think the teacher holds high performance expectations for students in each of these scenarios? Why or why not?

  • Roller Coasters – I believe that the teacher in this example does hold high expectations of her students. There are so many layers to her project  –  science, physics, math, leadership, cooperation, record keeping, problem solving, etc. In all these areas she seems to expect a high level of excellence from her students. I love how she was emphasizing for the students to use the proper language and terms while they drew up their sketches and how it was all reinforced with computer simulations and real life models. She allowed them to make one modification at a time and expected everyone to follow the same norms: using resources wisely, working together to problem solve, and ultimately producing a functioning roller coaster that met her standards.
    • Glog also demonstrated clear expectations with examples, a breakdown of how points will be allotted and examples of past projects to give students a clear understanding of what is expected. Judging from the explanation and examples, I would say that this teacher also held high expectations of all students, even though they ranged in grade levels.  
      • Bearing these ideas in mind, I might use her multi-layered approach in my own classroom when working on a large group project for computer class. I have been doing a lot of work with video editing lately. One thing I hoped to do was create a video trailer to entice other students to read a mystery novel. I think applying jobs, specific constraints on resources and allowing for ample hands on experimentation would contribute to the effectiveness of this project.
  • 3rd Grade Chinese Math – I can observe from this video that the teacher expects full participation, choral answering, and maybe a focus on repetition. She seems to have everyone follow her and always has them speaking out loud back to her.
    • Article – This article shows that China has clear (and high) expectations as a country when it comes to math outcomes as demonstrated in standardized test scores.
      • After seeing this strategy I might use it in my classroom during a math or science class when students need to memorize facts. This might be effective for a shy/less confident students who tends to to “hide” behind their louder peers. In my kindergarten class I have a very shy and quiet boy. He never speaks up and other students always want to answer for him or finish his sentences. I wonder how this technique would work with this quiet student. I imagine with enough time he may participate in the choral repeating and chanting but I don’t think it is an effective measure of his knowledge if he is unwilling to contribute in this way.  A strategy I might use would be to have the collective chanting/answering as well as another measure of understanding, perhaps a written or art based assessment.
  • Whole Brain Teaching – This was a curious video. It didn’t have hardly any explanation of anything. I was able to observe that the teacher really expected great things of them behaviorally (see below), but I could not see that there was any specific academic expectation expressed through this video.
    • WBT Website – I didn’t see any clear academic expectations but it was interesting to see their philosophy on teaching. It’s sort of “cute” and not that “user friendly,” so it was hard to really get much from them.
      • In this classroom I might include making videos of their knowledge-in-motion. It could be a way to review things they have learned or for absent students to stay up to date on things that have happened while they were gone. This would uphold the expectation that even if you missed a class, you are still expected to know the movement and knowledge that the other class has obtained in your absence.

Behavior expectations – do you think behavior expectations are high for students in each scenario? Why or why not?

  • Roller Coasters – I believe the behavior expectations were high in this video because it was evident that the students were well behaved during the class, they all participated actively in the classes and they all knew what their specific jobs were and how to do them.
  • Glog –  I think the behavior expectations are less evident in this scenario however there are some expectations for student behavior  expressed specifically in the handout when it describes how students need to work together to complete their projects.
  • 3rd Grade Chinese Math – I can see that she does expect students to sit and actively participate in the class. I cannot see that she is monitoring their participation as her back is often to them. I also cannot guess what she may do in case of students not following her from this brief video.
  • Article – I read that it is expected to spend around 15 hours a week on math studies, which is also very high. It also detailed how Chinese instructors expect students to produce math as part of a group, and in front of the group.
  • Whole Brain Teaching – Clearly this teacher expected immediate response from her students. There was a high collective call-and-response standard that the students demonstrated here. She expected that they use movement and chanting to recall old information (class rules) and embed new information (things they studied). I liked the way she used body movement in her classroom. It look like a classroom I would love to be a part of! Other behavior expectations may have been group work and attention to instruction. Other expectations were revisited by reviewing the class rules together. If I were to guess, it seemed like a regular  habit.

Norms and Procedures – what are the norms and procedures in these scenarios that support high student performance?

  • Roller Coasters – Participation by everyone, performing assigned jobs well, taking responsibility  for team “finances” and wise use of funds. These norms are expressed in each student playing their role and ultimately in creating a successful rollercoaster.
  • Glog – Participation and reflection as evidenced by working on each project without having to be reminded and once finished, helping others work on their projects.
  • 3rd Grade Chinese Math – The norm I can see is the collective participation and vocal response. The procedure is having them to count and recite answers to her questions. Again, the video was short (and all in Chinese…) so I had little chance to observe her style in depth.
  • Article – As mentioned above, norms here are memorization and collective participation. I see those evidenced by procedures of memorizing the times tables starting in 2nd grade and choral response techniques which were also demonstrated in the video above.
  • Whole Brain Teaching – A norm may have been for all students to participate verbally or for students to include their bodies in their work through the use of gestures. This was demonstrated in how they studied together and memorized new content by creating chants with movement. I liked the ideas. It also looked like the kids were having fun doing it. They all looked engaged in their learning.

Summary of analyses

Setting High Performance Expectations Among My Students

Currently I am an elementary computer teacher & librarian at an international school in South Korea. It is unique in that 90% of the students are Korean. I find that incorporating some of the ideas in these videos may work alright in my current position, but will probably serve me better for the job I hope to obtain in the near future: second (or third) grade home room teacher.

When I imagine the future learning environment I want to create for my students I think I would like to incorporate some of the ideas used here. However there are some things I would also like to do differently.

With regards to the Roller Coaster video I loved how every student had a valuable job that highlighted a student’s particular skill when working on their project. I think it promoted a genuine sense of ownership and individual value which is important when forming a cohesive and high-functioning team. The organizer made sure everyone was staying on task, the measurer recorded rise and run and other important information needed to create the models, the accountant made sure their team could afford to finish their project well. They all learned to solve real world problems and play important roles while at the same time developing problem solving skills that will be of value to them for the rest of their lives. I loved this technique.

When watching the Chinese Math Class video I felt like it was too chaotic for my taste. Everyone was shouting the whole time. Maybe it’s not always like that, but they seemed like it could be. Perhaps I would use that technique occasionally in a call-and-response way, but constantly having kids shouting out answers together would drive me crazy! I do like that the teacher’s expectation was such that every student was supposed to be able to give the correct answer immediately with all of the other students. It didn’t allow for the “um.. I don’t know” response. So developing a high standard or a “no opt out” norm for the class is appealing to me, however as I said, I don’t think I would choose for it to take this particular form when it comes to the procedures used to uphold the norm.

The final video about Whole Brain Teaching showed lots of ideas I loved and would like to try in my classroom. Her expectation of her students to remain on task and focused seemed high. I really enjoyed how she involved motion in her classroom. When the students were taking turns reading every other word they were all reading quickly. Perhaps she had an expectation of them that they would finish the material in a certain amount of time? I would like to use some of those techniques in my own classroom.

Overall I think got very different things from each video. The most organized one in my mind was the first one, although that may have been due to the length of the video being sufficient to give a complete picture of her process, rather than short clips like the other two. What I gained was this: setting a high bar of achievement in my classroom depends on having all students “buy in” to the goals of our class. In all three videos it was apparent that the students all agreed with and upheld classroom expectations and standards. Presenting different means of reaching our goals, such as whole group participation and using well equipped teams where each member has an important and specific role, is key to developing a classroom culture of high performance and learning.


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