McCain Reflection

McCain's Six Points and How I Can Use Them in the Classroom

Resist the Temptation to "Tell"

Students deserve the opportunity to be independent learners. Teachers can be the biggest supporters of that or a hinder. Teachers must allow students to figure out and problem solve on their own instead of allows giving the answers or telling them if they are right or wrong. Make students PROVE it! This can be done in my classrooms by allowing many ways to discover by problem solving math problems on their own and finding their own tools to use. This point can be done seen in my Let it snow unit by allowing students to sequence how to build a snowman, letting them build one, and reflecting on their own learning.

Stop Teaching Decontextualized Content

Students are used to learning material at school because "they have to" or because it is what our standards say they need to know. No matter what the standards are, we as teachers need to provide information for students that is not only educational, but interesting and relevant to their personal lives. This can be done in numerous ways in my classroom by allowing students to choose their writing themes, connecting the social studies theme of communities to their community where they live, etc. This point can be seen in my Let it snow unit because it is motivational educational material that the students experience for a short period of time each year.

Stop Giving Students the Final Product of Our Thinking

The overall idea of this is to give your students a problem and let them solve it on their own with any strategy/tool they would like versus telling students what to learn and how to learn it. I feel this is much easier to do with older students versus younger students. I am a special education teacher where I co-teach in first and second grade classrooms. In my classrooms, this could be used during math time by providing them with a number or story problem and allowing them to use any classroom tools to assist them in solving that problem. This point can be seen in my Let it snow unit through our class discovery of a snowman's lifecycle. Students will discuss and predict what a snowman's lifecycle is through discovery. We will have a snowman made of ice and watch how it evolves from a solid, to a liquid, to a gas.

Problems First, Teaching Second

This point by McCain encourages teachers not to outline everything for students. They advise us to provide our students with a problem and let students solve it any way they choose along with the tools of the choice. Teachers often provide students with a a hand out with a given problem and steps on how to get there? With the constantly changing expectations in student performance, we need to allow for student led learning through exploration. There are endless ways to incorporate this in a classroom such as providing a problem in any subject and allowing students time and various tools to solve it. This point works cooperatively with no telling and withdrawing from helping students. This point can be seen in my Let it snow unit while students are provided with snow and they need to independently explore it and make observations.

Withdraw From Helping Students

Withdrawing from helping students is a similar concept as not providing your students with the final product of our thinking. A key component of this point is to back off and let students solve their own problems and find their own answers. This point can be seen in my Let it snow unit as students have the opportunity to develop how a snowman is built, teach it through a self-made tutorial, and reflecting on their sequence. They will be completing this project independently.

Reevaluate Evaluation

Many teachers today are unfortunately focusing their teaching around the material that will be assessed on standardized tests. This point discusses how assessments commonly assess meaningless facts, but does not show what students really know or their application of that knowledge. Teachers much evaluate their own classroom assessments to see how effective they truly are in assessing student learning.. not basic computing. This point can be seen in my Let it snow unit because it assesses various Common Core State Standards through the theme of snow. Students know the learning objectives, but may not see the full extent of their learning because they are very interested and motivated by the content and theme.