Jan. 24, 2023

Sustaining Effort & Persistence - E111

Sustaining Effort & Persistence - E111

This week, we are exploring the sustaining effort and persistence aspect of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework. We'll go over the four key checkpoints within effort and persistence as well as explain how you can start to implement some ideas in your classroom.

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Transcript
Rachel:

In this episode, we are exploring the sustaining effort and persistence aspect of the UDL framework.

Katie:

We will go over the four different checkpoints within effort and persistence and explain how you can start to implement this in your classroom.

Rachel:

Let's get started. This week Katie and I are revisiting U D L, the Universal Design for Learning Framework. And specifically what we wanna do is we wanna take a deeper dive into the sustaining effort and persistence portion of the engagement part of the U D L framework.

Katie:

Yes. So previously we dedicated an episode on recruiting interest, which is part of that engagement pillar for udl. But we thought that we would build on that a little bit more now and get into this next section and kind of break it down a bit, explain it, and how we can go ahead and implement this in the classroom.

Rachel:

I feel like this one in particular with engagement is like, Pretty much what everybody, every teacher wants to see in their classroom. Right? Right. Like we want to see students who are sustaining effort and persistence in their learning regardless of what sort of skill or strategy or topic that we're attempting to learn in the classroom. You know, this is, this is really, don't know, almost like one of the main pillars that we really kind of go.

Katie:

And it works really well with our episode last week of why students don't like school, and this whole idea of engaging and keeping students. wanting to learn and motivated to learn, right? So it, it's quite on topic for kind of where we've been exploring lately.

Rachel:

Yeah. And, and kind of thinking back to the episode that we did last week learners who are super motivated are going to be able to kind of regulate that attention and that effort and their, their persistence in, in concentration that the learning's going to require. if they're motivated to do so. But I think the issue comes in into play where we don't always get that motivation, and there's lots of differences that are reflected in our learners and knowing what those differences are, and then being able to modulate the environment. In order to be able to adapt for, and equalize the accessibility to that learning for our learners. Like, that's sort of where we need to think about how, how we can help build some of that motivation.

Katie:

Yeah. And I think that actually ties in so well with this week because it's all about effort and persistence and how we can do that. So I love how cast.org has really broken down effort and persistence into four different checkpoints. So we'll kind of go along and explain those different checkpoints and break it down and, and whatnot. But the first one is heightened salience of goals and objectives, followed by very demands and resources to optimize, challenge foster collaboration and community, and then increase mastery oriented feedback.

Rachel:

That one's my favorite.

Katie:

I have a lot that I'm really excited about because it really fits in with so much of what we've been learning over the last little while and so much of what we've been trying to implement. So I'm a little bit excited for this topic this week,

Rachel:

So let's just jump right into the first one, the heightened salience of goals and objectives. And really what that means is setting a vision for the goal and why it matters.

Katie:

And it's also ensuring that students understand what that goal and what those outcomes are, which I think sometimes we don't really concentrate as much on because it's so clear to us that we're like, of course they understand, we've told them what the goal is, but you know, if students can't reword that and tell us what that means and what that looks like and sounds. they, they don't really get it. And so I love that there's that concentration on ensuring that we as educators break it down in such a way that every one of our students understands what the expectations are.

Rachel:

So this one's kind of neat because it, it does go along with how I've been building out my mastery lessons as I've been sort of building different resources as the school year's progressed. in that always on. I use the same sort of Google Slides template and always on that first slide is the name of the lesson and then the learning goals or objectives for the lesson. So I will reframe them into, I can statements for students, so it'll be, I can. By the end of this lesson, I can, and then I'll have sort of like the key skills or, or concepts that I want them to know and learn in that particular lesson. What I really kind of like here is that when I'm, when I'm sort of looking at some of the checkpoints and different things that they suggest in here, I think that's one great step towards this goal, but then. The one that's sort of standing out to me as prompting or requiring learners to explicitly formulate or restate the goal. So it might be interesting to, to take those goals and maybe even part of make it part of the mastery check or part of one of the activities that they're doing within the lesson is to really make sure they understand what those goals are that I've put in there and, and sort of bringing in their voice for that as.

Katie:

And then I also love how they explain that you should be dividing or having students divide long-term goals into short-term objectives. I like that idea of saying, here's our big picture and what we want you to be able to do. What are some steps we can take to get there? And I love that because it helps students to kind of see. the little pieces like, what can I do to get to this first point? And then how can I build on that? And that's a very important skill for kids to have.

Rachel:

I think that's great for things like projects or bigger sort of picture things that you're doing in the classroom. I'm kind of thinking about the one podcasting activity that we had our grade nine students do and. gave them the objective, but then we also used a scaffold in order to help them get to that outcome and sort of break it down task by task as they were going through and building up their podcasts. So we had like a little planner document to plan out and go find their article and then summarize their article, answer some other questions, and then being able to bring it back together. Tie it to their un sustainable development goal and create a podcast episode from it

Katie:

which is amazing.

Rachel:

And without those scaffolds, I don't, I don't know what we would've gotten. I, you know, some, some students did still struggle a little and needed a little bit more help and encouragement as they work through that. But we got some amazing things as a result.

Katie:

I probably would've been one of those students that needed a little more guidance. I always got overwhelmed by the big picture and the big goal and I was always like, I don't know how to get to that. And then I was so like focused on like the little details that sometime it took, always took me way longer than I wanted it too, to reach my end goals.

Rachel:

I'm the kind of person, like I have all these big, lofty goals and ideas and like visions and stuff, but I will get lost in the details as well. So sometimes I have a, a really hard time even starting because I need that help to be able to break it down into those manageable chunks myself.

Katie:

exactly. So, and that was me too. So it, it, it's kind of nice that we're helping students or like this idea of helping students get used to this way of thinking and taking a pause to be able to see. The different steps or checklist types of a thing that they need to get there.

Rachel:

Now one, one other suggestion in here is in also to engage learners in assessment discussions of what constitutes excellence and also generating relevant examples that connect to their cultural background and interests. And so, I found that pretty challenging this past semester, especially with our grade nine course, where we're starting everything brand new and we didn't have those examples, but now we do. So like I'm pretty excited that we've got that now going forward, and we've got a good sort of whole bunch of different examples that hopefully they will connect to our student.

Katie:

Yeah. That's always the challenge when you're trying something new, is having those examples or exemplars that students can see in here. But but you're right. Like as you go through it and problem solve through it and create with your class, then you're almost building on those resources for future students, which is great.

Rachel:

I almost love also, you know, may maybe you're, you're not involving them in, in terms of, coming up with the rubric together, but you know, maybe you have a set, set rubric. But then what I like to do is I will take those different examples. So maybe I'm gonna share, you know, four or five different podcasts out next semester. Have the students working in small groups with those rubrics. and then they can come up with where they thought this, you know, the student performed. Like where that podcast episode would land on that rubric. And I feel like those sort of activities and those sort of exercises really help students to really understand what the rubric's all

Katie:

about. They can kind of see it and hear it, which is, which is key because then they can develop it themselves.

Rachel:

Yeah. And it's fun. I've, I've done that in other courses too. So for IB chemistry with the ia, I'll bring out a whole bunch of examples of ias and we go through the IB rubric, cuz that one is given to us. We have no say in, in what it is. And it, it's just so great to be able to go through and, to see what students come up with.

Katie:

I think that is enough for a, for that checkpoint. So maybe perhaps we move on to the next one, which is varying the demands and resources to optimize challenge.

Rachel:

this is totally what we were talking about last week's episode. So it's all about knowing that learners vary in their skills and abilities that, so they need different kinds of challenges to them to do their best work.

Katie:

It's exactly what last week was all about. amazing. UDL fits so well.

Rachel:

So I think this really gets to, and we, and we say this so much on the podcast, but really knowing who your students are and what their background knowledge is, what they are bringing to the classroom with them, like what their learned experiences are, because then having all of that information can arm you to be able to then. say and, and design. Well, what do each of my learners need to be challenged and how can I challenge them and differentiate some of the different activities based on what I know about my learners?

Katie:

I think that summarizes this whole section, quite succinctly. So, But it, but it is key, right? Like we talk about how to keep kids interested in learning and, and that's how you do it. You don't want it to be unattainable and you don't want it to be too easy.

Rachel:

Now, some of this also brings me back to, I, I was doing some reading about mastery based learning that wasn't modern classrooms, cuz I want to make. I'm getting my perspectives from a variety of different resources. So the book I recently read was about, IM implementing mastery-based learning by Thomas Gosky, I wanna say. And. he was kind of talking about that mastery cycle where you have an assessment and then if students don't demonstrate mastery on that assessment, what corrective activities are you giving them in order to get better at that skill? So then they can take a second assessment in order to be able to demonstrate mastery. And then for the students who do master it, they get enhancement to activities and. are working on that. So they're being challenged in different ways as well. So this particular sort of aspect of the UDL framework is making me think about that because there's so many, there's so many parallels with mastery based learning.

Katie:

Yeah, it, there really is and I mean, I guess that makes sense because our end goal is to make sure that all students can be successful in the classroom, which is mastering skills. So I think that actually makes a lot of sense. Even though we look at mastery-based classrooms as such an alternative approach to teaching, it's really just getting to the base of the fact that all students can succeed if we differentiate and help them get there.

Rachel:

Yeah. And those corrective activities, right? They can be differentiated based on the needs of the students. So if you set up your assessments in a way that tells you exactly what sort of part of that learning goal or objective they need help with, then you can design those corrective activities to help them. further develop their sort of understanding. So, I've, I've really enjoyed doing some of this other extra learning because it's given me so many ideas, which I don't wanna talk about too much here, cuz we are gonna do an episode upcoming on that. But I have lots and lots of ideas on how to sort of like mesh this with what I'm already doing.

Katie:

yeah. I know so much going on. Stay tuned.

Rachel:

It also reminds me though, even just that must do, should do, aspire to do kind of lesson classification, whether you're classifying by lesson itself or whether you're adding in those different activities within a lesson, that is another way that you can differentiate and that's comes from the Modern Classrooms Project Framework.

Katie:

it. It also makes me think of even just the simple act of accommodating. So they talk about providing alternatives in the permissible tools and scaffolds. Like to me that's accommodations for English language learners or even accommodations based on IEPs for students that need that extra support. So I feel like it's also a reminder that we have to make sure we're looking at students and all of their needs and providing for that. We can't make assumptions that just because they're in your class, they must be able to access every single term, like language wise or, every single way of teaching a lesson that you're providing. Like we need to make sure we're being a little more accommodating.

Rachel:

I, I often get a lot of my ESL students, they, they come up to me and they're like, miss, can I use Translate? I'm like, of course. Of course you can. Like, I'm not gonna say no to that.

Katie:

No. And, and in a science class that's, that's a totally acceptable accommodation, right? Like it makes a lot of sense. Like maybe I'm not gonna do that in my English class so much, but because I want them to problem solve through some of that vocab development. And but even still, like sometimes my. Really kind of emergent learners who are just learning the language. we do have to rely on translate, and that's okay.

Rachel:

For, for me in science, it's, it's not really about, they can look up a word totally fine with me. It's the application of the science that really, really matters in my classroom. Okay, so let's talk about checkpoint number three, which is fostering collaboration and community. And we have talked a lot about this on the podcast as well, so I love that this is part of the sustaining effort and persistence portion of the framework.

Katie:

I think it really stresses the importance of students being able to interact with one another and feeling safe in their classroom environment as a way to keep them engaged. because if you feel like you can't speak up or you can't share your ideas or an answer in the classroom, you're not going to be engaging with the material.

Rachel:

I have to say from my experience this past semester with self-pacing that this, I like, I've never seen this like this before in, in a classroom. and I don't know how else to say that, but the level of students helping each other and working with each other and providing support for each other is just, it's almost like breathtaking to watch.

Katie:

Even in my mixed level classes, it's amazing to me how much everyone is supporting one another. Like they, they feel like they can help one another because they know that everyone's at a different level. Whereas it normally, if I do just a strict. Eslc, for example. It, it's not as collaborative and I don't know if it's because there's that edge of like competition to it or wanting to get a really high mark higher than somebody else versus now where it's like, no, like we're a mixed group class and we're going to do classroom discussions and group projects and, and so I, I, it's made a huge difference.

Rachel:

I've also seen, and I think part of the reason why I'm seeing so much collaboration and community in my classroom is. All of the un grading efforts that I'm doing as well, it takes away that competition and that competitive need to get the best grade in the class. Cuz there are none. I've take, I've taken away their, their playing field.

Katie:

No, you're right. That's exactly probably a part of it too. Right? Because if we're not doing that traditional grading kind of classroom, then. a lot less and a lot less focus on that.

Rachel:

I often have pairs of students who will come up and do their mastery checks together because they've been working with each other through the lesson. And it's always funny cuz I'm like, all right, you two are here. You both want this one, right? And they're like, yep, that's the one we want

Katie:

That's hilarious.

Rachel:

But I love it. I love seeing how well that they're working together. Now I do kind of wanna push that a little bit more and looking at using the pacing tracker to sort of help push and develop different sort of groupings each day, just to have students work with others outside of their typical sort of working group. But there's, there's some other neat sort of suggestions in here as well. So things like uh, encouraging and supporting opportunities for peer interactions and support like peer tutors. That's actually one of the corrective activities, suggestions in the implementing mastery based learning classrooms. Books. So there's so many cool parallels between all the work that we've been taking a look at here on the podcast and what we're doing in our classrooms.

Katie:

Yes, there is. It's actually kind of neat to see and, and I think the further we go through udl, the more excited we're going to become Um, one thing that I do like uh, one of their suggestions is to provide prompts that guide learners in when and how to ask peers and or teachers for help. Often asking for help is one of the most challenging things for a lot of my learners. So giving them those prompts to kind of help them see like how they can even ask for help is, is extremely helpful. Like, I think that's such a great tool to have.

Rachel:

You also need those for say like my grade nines who have no issue whatsoever coming and asking me a question. And in fact, I usually end up having a lineup of students waiting to ask me questions because they're not. Their peers. So coming up with those structures like Ask three before me is a nice little structure to have and will help relieve some of that pressure on you as the teacher and being the only go-to person in the classroom.

Katie:

And then even the simple task of creating expectations for group work. You know, breaking down those norms, looking at rubrics and how group work kind of plays into that. It seems simple, but it, it's a very powerful way of really taking advantage of, of collaboration in the classroom.

Rachel:

that's a great one to co-construct with your class and to do some of those activities during the first couple weeks of school or couple of weeks of semester to help. Get your student's voice in establishing what those group norms are and what those behaviors should be.

Katie:

I think the last one that I do wanna kind of touch upon is creating school-wide programs of positive behavior support with differentiated objectives and supports. I found this. Kind of neat because it's not just about the classroom. It really is about a whole school community. Because the more safe your whole community is, the more engaged students will be in general with school. So I thought that was really neat that they mentioned that. And I wonder, like, I don't know how, what this would necessarily look like or sound like, but I thought it was worth mentioning and chatting.

Rachel:

That is an interesting one. I think that's, that's part of your school improvement plans and probably those conversations are, start. at the leadership team level and looking at data that you've collected from your school community and trying to come up with those goals and different ways that you could, you can build that community. Right. But the, the differentiated part is kind of interesting cuz I don't know if we necessarily look at building our school community in a differentiated way.

Katie:

I know, and I think that's kind of what stood out to me is this idea of these differentiated objectives. Like I, I see equity playing a big role in this because a lot of, equity issues in a school are going to lead to a more negative community. Right. But, It's so fascinating to me, and I would love to explore this more, not that I have ideas.

Rachel:

No, it, it, it definitely is an interesting topic and one that we certainly need to revisit.

Katie:

and last up. And this heading makes me very excited, increased mastery oriented feedback. It's so exciting. And I love it. So looking at assessment and how we can keep it relevant, how students can see where to improve. So it has to be constructive and timely. Like we can't wait. days and weeks before we provide that feedback. So making sure it's quite timely.

Rachel:

And this is one where you're really gonna make that impact on the persistence with students. And they've probably coming from a place where they've never been able to resubmit something or redo something based on feedback and showing them that, this is the case and, and is a way that we can build and learn and grow is going to help them then persevere as they continue their learning journey.

Katie:

Yeah. And, and it's also that recognition of don't correct every single error, right? Because that can really shut people down. So, try to be as specific as you can in your feedback and, and give that room for improvement without overwhelming with how much they need to improve.

Rachel:

So I've been doing this with, with lab reports and I've basically, students can resubmit them as many times as it takes for me to say, yep, it meets my specifications. It meets my standards of where I think this needs to be. And so a lot of my feedback is around, okay, you've, you know, you've got this, this, and this in here, which is great, but why don't you try building on it by thinking about this topic as well and integrating that into your discussion. And so I'm not giving them a whole ton of feedback, I'm just giving them suggestions on a direction that they can go, but I'm seeing a huge amount of growth, even just. from doing that. And they're not giving up. They're not going, oh, it's just a lab report. Like I always do bad on lab reports. They're, they're actually going through and coming and asking me more questions and, you know, we're having a lot of really great conversations and they're getting to the point where they're hitting the standard that I want them to hit.

Katie:

Yeah. And I think that's key, right? Like what are the skills we're isolating here because that should be what we're providing feedback on. Not the nitty gritty grammar stuff that, you know, is something that we can work to improve on. But if I'm not actually. Explicitly teaching that, then why am I allowing that to affect unnecessarily their progress? So it really is isolating those skills and making sure we're focusing on exactly the outcomes we've laid out for them.

Rachel:

I love this approach as well because students aren't just kind of getting their, their work back going, oh, okay, that sucked. That's great. Toss it over their head into the recycling bin and just moving on and not even like really reading or taking in any of that feedback.

Katie:

No, it's great. And so I know, oh, do you know what? I'm not gonna say it because we're gonna have an episode soon, all about what we've been doing, and so I'm so tempted to mention some of the things I've been doing, but I'm like, Nope. Pause Put a pin in it.

Rachel:

But yeah, it's really, it's really just about emphasizing the role of effort in practice over intelligence or inherit ability, like those are actually the words that they use on the website when they're sort of talking about this particular checkpoint.

Katie:

And it's helping students create strategies for future success, right? Like it's helping them see, oh, here's patterns that I've been making, so how can I fix this and, and carry this forward

Rachel:

And we do have some really great episodes as well on formative assessment and mastery based assessments. So if you wanted to go back and listen to any of those, we'll link a few in the show notes so that you can, you can take a listen.

Katie:

But yeah, I think that's kind of a good summary of sustaining effort and persistence for today. it's just finding ways to keep our students wanting to learn.

Rachel:

So on that note, we are going to wrap up our conversation here today. And so you can access our show notes for this episode@edgygals.com slash one 11. That's edu G A l s.com/one 11.

Katie:

And if you like what you heard, then feel free to share it with a colleague or a friend. And don't forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast app so that you don't miss out on any future content

Rachel:

And as always, we'd love to hear from you. So what sort of strategies are you using to sustain effort and persistence in your classroom? And do they match up with any of the ones we've talked about here today? So you can go on to our flip at edu gals.com/flip. and leave us a video message there, or you can go onto our website@edugals.com and leave us a written reply.

Katie:

Thanks for listening and see you next week.