Reflection: Classroom Setup Historical Introduction to Early American Lit - Section 2: Introduction

 

A few years ago when I started using the Canfield Inventory in my classroom, I had students complete this inventory using a pencil and paper method, but this was rather unwieldy to interpret for students.  After rating four items for each of the thirty questions, certain questions had to be added together to get "raw" totals for each category.  Then, students used a chart to convert their "raw scores" into percentile information to give context to their results.  Last year I became frustrated with wasting so much time on multi-step directions, so I simply completed this extended process myself.  (In retrospect, that was an awful idea since that meant I had to add 120 numbers for each of my 150 students...nightmare.)  

This year I got creative with technology and made a Google Form and Excel spreadsheet that does all the work for me!  I will attach it to the bottom of this section so that you can save yourself some work if you would like to do so!  With this delivery method, students complete the Canfield Inventory Google Form (based on the test linked within it), then their data is automatically compiled into a Google Spreadsheet.  I copy/pasted that data onto the first sheet of the Excel document I created (called the Canfield Results-izer!), and then I flip to the third sheet to see student results.  Instead of percentiles being shown, colored arrows which interpret results appear next to the "raw score" for each area measured with the assessment.  The arrows are easy to understand since any arrow pointing horizontally or higher correlates with a stronger-than-average preference, and anything lower than horizontal correlates with a less-than-average preference.  

This information is obviously helpful for students to have in order to give them greater insight into their learning styles and preferences, but I have found it incredibly useful for teachers to have as well.  The areas of most interest to me are the "Conditions" and "Mode" ratings.  I keep all student result information electronically and actually base my seating chart around the results of the Canfield Inventory (and, of course, IEPs and common sense!).  The Common Core puts such an emphasis on ensuring that students are able to collaborate and discuss with a diverse group of people, so placing different (but still compatible) learners within the same group has been very successful in increasing group productivity.  Additionally, I tell the students that I have grouped them based on their learning styles and preferences, so they actually take more time to try to get to know their peers to understand what about them was so similar or compatible that they were placed together!  This was a completely unexpected, but certainly welcome, side effect of using this method for grouping.  

A final application of the information gleaned from the Canfield specifically is insight into how best to teach individual students.  Knowing the dominant learning modes in your classroom allows a level of personalization that is rarely able to be offered without some kind of assessment.  Supplemental materials (like video tutorials or written-out instruction) can be made available for those students who prefer to receive information that way.  The "Conditions" information also gives teachers information on how they can better support individual students in their classrooms.  For example, students with high scores in the "Instructor" category find it really important to their learning to feel a more personal connection with the teacher.  Knowing that about those particular students makes it entirely possible to spend an extra second checking in with them or to make sure your comments on their papers are always top-notch.  These little things will improve student achievement dramatically, and this assessment gives you that power.

  Classroom Setup: Using the Canfield Inventory as a Teaching Tool
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Historical Introduction to Early American Lit

Unit 1: Early American Voices & Developing Reading Habits
Lesson 2 of 9

Objective: SWBAT articulate the relationship between historical context and literature by researching and debating the definition of literature and the impact of early American history on the literature of the period.

Big Idea: Is Twilight literature? Let the debate ensue! And you thought the Edward versus Jacob battle was a contentious one...

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