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How can students take ownership in their learning?

Jessica Ciolkosz
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs
Portfolio Entry for Wisconsin Teacher Standard 7 and 8
EDUW 693 Instructional Design and Assessment
Ryan Ourada
Spring Semester 2018
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Selected Wisconsin Teacher Standard Descriptors

Wisconsin Teacher Standard (WTS) 7

Standard #7: Teachers are able to plan different kinds of lessons.

The teacher organizes and plans systematic instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter,

students, the community, and curriculum goals.

Knowledge. The teacher knows when and how to adjust plans based on student

responses and other contingencies.

Dispositions. The teacher believes that plans must always be open to adjustment and

revision based on student needs and changing circumstances.

Performances. The teacher responds to unanticipated sources of input, evaluates plans

in relation to short- and long-range goals, and systematically adjusts plans to meet student needs

and enhance learning.

Wisconsin Teacher Standard (WTS) 8

Standard #8: Teachers know how to test for student progress.

The teacher understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and

ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of the learner.
Knowledge. The teacher understands measurement theory and assessment-related issues,

such as validity, reliability, bias, and scoring concerns.

Dispositions. The teacher values ongoing assessments as essential to the instructional

process and recognizes that many different assessment strategies, accurately and systematically

used, are necessary for monitoring and promoting student learning.

Performances. The teacher appropriately uses a variety of formal and informal

assessment techniques (e.g. observation, portfolios of student work, teacher-made tests,

performance tasks, projects, student self-assessments, peer assessment, and standardized tests) to

enhance her or his knowledge of learners, evaluate students’ progress and performances, and

modify teaching and learning strategies.

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Self-assessment of Instruction Related to WTS and Targeted Student Learning Objective(s)
In this course I have been trying to focus more on the growth of the students and their

learning of the lesson being taught. I have tried a few diverse ways to teach the content to see if

the students would respond differently. In the end the students did not necessarily care about the

way the information ways presented. Those that “wanted” to learn did so no matter which way

the information was presented to them. It certainly depended on the day as to which students

would learn the best.

I would plan my lessons in accord to the next concept that needed to be taught in the

book. I would use the book as examples and I would find a worksheet online that would match

the particular information. Many students appreciated the effort as they did not like to carry their

Algebra books home. I looked ahead to plan out how long the unit/chapter would take and work

it around the school schedule as far as other testing or school events so that the material could be

covered in a way that would be “complete” for the students.

In planning, I would try to use worksheets, Kahoot, DESMOS, notetaking and lecture

type strategies to teach and practice the lessons. Again, those students that wanted the

knowledge definitely gained it, the others were a little harder to keep on task. That is where my

question comes into play. How can the students to take ownership/be held accountable for their

Assessment of Student Performance Related to Targeted Student Learning Objective(s)
Most of the students I am teaching are a mixture of leveled learners. There are some

students that come in from the needs room, some that struggle, some that get everything and

more that is taught to them. Those that struggle like the different presentations of the lessons,

but when the computer/phone can be used some get lost in the “fun” of the activity.
Assessment of Learning Environment While Learning Targeted Objective(s)
Right now, I am trying to figure out how to keep everyone engaged in the learning

activity at the same time so that the greatest number of students will have success.
Assessment Conclusion and Essential Question to Guide Research
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The self-assessment, assessment of student performance, and learning environment

assessment show that there is definitely some work to be done. The efforts of the teacher(s)

alone cannot determine fully the growth of the students. The students need to take ownership on

their learning so that the interest is there and the need for knowledge and understanding is

Research Summary
Getting the students to want to learn is sometimes the toughest part of teaching as

students learn in different ways and information can be presented in a number of ways. Having

and using assessments to help with lesson planning are very different things. Having the

assessments is the easy part. Using the assessments is also not difficult. Sometimes, the most

difficult is reading the results to understand how to move forward. Knowing where the students

struggle is very important, but getting the students to overcome that struggle and want to learn is

the most difficult and important part of teaching. Getting the students to take their part in the

learning process is the most important part right now.

In looking to find an answer to the research question, a common solution arose. The

students need to feel involvement. The type of activities that stimulate real involvement “give

pupils something to so, not something to learn; and the doing is of such nature as to demand

thinking, or the intentional noting of connections; learning naturally results” (Dewey as sited in

Fletcher, 2008). The students learn the best by being involved in the actual quest for an answer.
Student involvement is key when it involves learning. Fletcher defined the meaning of

student involvement as “the process of engaging students as partners in every facet of school

change for the purpose of strengthening their commitment to education, community, and

democracy” (Fletcher, 2005, p.5). Keeping the students involved in their learning is the most

important. Changing the thought of homework is the next step.

The requirements of the Common Core State Standards are forcing us to rethink

who’s in charge of learning. The new standards call for deep thinking and application of
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complex knowledge. These skills cannot be “taught” in the same way rote knowledge is

taught—they must be developed and constructed in ways that are meaningful to the

learner. To reach that goal, we must change our mind-set and overhaul the practice of

homework. (Vatterott 2014)

Vatterott was very wise in that sense of thinking. “Our homework practices must reinforce the

mind-set that struggle with persistence are a part of the learning process (Tough, 2012). There

are many styles of learning and how each person responds or the time needed for comprehension

to take place is different in each case. Thus the need for the students to take ownership for their

particular part in the learning process.

Research Implications
How can students take ownership in their learning? In looking at other research, giving

students something to do and not to learn (Dewey as sited in Fletcher, 2008) will help with their

individual involvement of their learning. Getting the students to think without them knowing

that they are learning the desired concept is the key idea. Two things to consider are relevance of

the desired result and having a meaningful activity for the students to participate will help the

students to learn the desired goal. Deciding when planning the lesson the desired goal and

reviewing it during the lesson helps the students also to understand the predicted result.
Using DESMOS, an online graphing website, as an activity in class to help the student

better use and understand some math vocabulary is one activity that will be incorporated in the

lesson. Having the students use Kahoot, another online activity, to review and preview lessons to

get the students excited about the topic is another activity with relevance that will be put to use in

class. Another tool will be to write lessons plan(s) (Artifact A) with a targeted goal on the lesson

itself, so that it can be reiterated when the need arises. Incorporating the students’ assessment as

a tool to hold ownership is also in the plan because of the research.

Research-based Action Plan

Action Plan Summary Outline
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1. Start the lesson with a written goal in mind. Use informal assessments during class to

check for understanding.

2. Incorporate different strategies of learning including more technology. Use the

DESMOS and Kahoot websites to help excite the students’ math vocabulary and knowledge.
Targeted Student Learning Objective(s)
1. Standardized goal: Use WTS Standards 7 & 8 in my teaching to help the students

learn. The teacher knows when and how to adjust plans based on student responses and other

2. Targeted learning objective: I want the students to be able to know when they need

assistance and when they should push themselves a little harder. I want the students to

understand what they need to be able to learn the best.

Task(s) and Essential Proficiency Criteria for Targeted Learning Objective(s)


At the end of a written assessment the student will answer the question given. The answer

is a direct question on their opinion of their effort given in class.

2. Criteria that Prove Proficiency in Meeting Targeted Learning Objective(s)

a. The students answers to the given test question are honest and truthful.

b. The students put thought into the answer. (Artifact B and C)

Method(s) to Assess Progress of Proficiency for Targeted Learning Objective(s)

1. The Chapter Test and a Semester Exam

Instructional Insights Related to WTS and Targeted Student Learning Objective(s)
I have certainly put more thought into lesson planning. I have work to do, but have

certainly thought more about how I present material. The students’ answers to the questions

have motivated me to try to incorporate their ideas into their learning and the lessons. I am still
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trying and finding ways for the students to take ownership and responsibility for their learning,

so that the parents are not trying to get their learning in for them.
Some of the students lack confidence in their ideas or knowledge. I am trying to get them

to see their abilities in their learning so that they can become more confident in other areas of

their life as well. I have broken through to some of the struggling students that do not generally

like to ask for help, I have given confidence to some of those that have second guessed

themselves, and have tried to push those that can be pushed.

Comparison of Student Performance Related to Targeted Student Learning Objective(s)

Having the goal written on each lesson has helped me to reiterate it to the students which

helps them decide the important item of the day. Using that in my lessons has helped the

students to understand the key concepts and kept our focus. Making sure they know the goal is

important in them taking ownership for the lesson-they KNOW what was the goal of the day its


Comparison of Learning Environment While Learning Targeted Objective(s)

The idea of a lesson and lesson plan has changed for me as I have thought much harder

about the subject matter that needs to be taught. I have thought more about the assessments that

I use and that need to be used. I still need to focus on reading the results and being able to make

better use of the information. I need to find/seek out the students that need more one-on-one

help. It is essential for me that the students take ownership in their learning so that they are able

to help stay focused on the task at hand. Being in the high school and teaching a subject that

most students do not appreciate becomes a real struggle when the parents become involved

because the grades are low for their student. The blame does not generally fall on the student,

instead it usually comes back to the teacher. Making sure the students are doing their best and

owning their knowledge would be a huge asset to the growth of the confidence of the students.
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Reflection of Entire Learning Process

How can students take ownership in their learning? Having the students understand

when they need to ask for help and when they need to work a little harder is essential not only for

class, but also in life. The students need to have an understanding of their knowledge and their

limits. This idea is a life-long thought but needs to be worked on and helped through in school.

By asking a key question on the chapter test, some students really had some eye-opening

thoughts on what they needed to learn and the best way for them to learn. This needed to be

done for those students to have success.

What Worked and Why
1. Asking the question for the students to take ownership in their learning. This worked

because many of the students did not think about their place in the classroom being the fault of

their lack of understanding. The answers to the question helped to show the understanding.

(Artifact 2 & 3)
2. Writing the lesson plan to include the goal. This worked because it helped to keep the

focus on the knowledge that needed to be gained for the day.

What Did Not Work and Why
1. Using Kahoot and DESMOS (for these particular classes). Some of the students

thought of it as a game day or “free to do as I wish” day. Those that took it as learning, really

gain knowledge and in a fun way.

2. Even though the question was asked, the students did not do much to change the way

they behaved or took notes. Peer influence was huge on this. They were honest in the answers,

but did not want others to know they wanted change.

My Next Steps
1. Keep writing lesson plans with the goal listed.
2. Set clearer guidelines for the online resources and have a consequence (alternate

activity) ready for those that do not wish to participate correctly.

3. Make time to be able to use the assessments to their fullest potential.
4. Have more communication with parents.
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5. Set up a better tool to use to keep students accountable for the daily homework

(Haynes) (Artifact D).

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Danielson, C. (2007) Enhancing professional practice-a framework for teaching. Alexandria, VA:

Fletcher, A. (2008) Giving students ownership of learning. Educational Leadership, 66(3).

Retrieved from

Haynes, K. Empowering students to take ownership of learning. Retrieved from
Tough, R. (2012). How children succeed: Grit, curiosity, and the hidden power of character.

New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Vatterott, C. (2014) Student-owned homework. Educational Leadership, March 2014.

Retrieved from

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Artifact A

A sample lesson plan with the review from a previous lesson and a goal.
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Artifact B
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This artifact has student replies to the question asked on the semester test. The question was
asked to try to help the students be aware of their surroundings and what could help them learn
the best.
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The following are examples of student answers, again, in regards to their learning..
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Artifact C
Artifact D

This could be used as a last five minute assessment at the end of each class period.

BYE Sheet
Answer these questions before you exit  Name:
1. What did I learn today?

2. What do I still have questions about?

3. Could I use what I’ve learned to complete my assignment?