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The Art of Science and Teaching – Marzano


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  • Elisa Hediger

    The first chapter of Marzano’s Art and Science of Teaching is on setting goals, tracking progress and celebrating success.

    As teachers we set goals for our students according to the curriculum we are expected to teach them. I agree with Marzano that we should also ask our students to set their own learning goals, allowing them to tell us what they would like to learn about the topic outside of the standard curriculum. This gives the students a chance to gain extra learning opportunities and also a little control over their learning experience. In effect, I think this will influence them to work and try harder, since they had some say in how things are being taught and what is being included (obviously within reason).

    As for assessment, I like quizzes and class discussions. I also like the use of rubrics, for projects large and small. My instructors for all my classes have used rubrics and they have been a Godsend. They give us an idea of how much or how little work we can put into a project and what grade we can expect accordingly. Granted, the minimum grade should include the minimum that would be needed to understand the topic or unit, but the maximum grade should also allow the student to be creative and elaborate. We shouldn’t hold our kids back in this sense. Another formative assessment Marzano talks about is having students chart their own progress using graphs. While using a graph might be difficult for lower grades, fourth and fifth could do this easily. Charting their own progress gives the students the chance to observe their learning and success. They can see their hard work paying off, or they can see their slacking off cause their grade to take a nose dive. Either way, this can motivate them, either to work harder, or to prove their success. And they are not hearing this from their teacher, they are seeing it for themselves, and that, I think, is the clincher.

    Celebrating success is nothing new to the ACFT staff. We talk about it all the time. Marzano discusses celebrating knowledge gains. This, to me, is when a child is spelling more words, five instead of three correctly, getting a 95 on a math test instead of a 70, etc. We need to celebrate these accomplishments. While some may say the kids will only do it for the reward, if they are getting recognition for learning, for gaining knowledge, they cannot go wrong, no matter what. We need to give that extra high five and praise to them, I think it is very important.

    By the way, I love this book! All of Marzano’s books are supporting the stuff I am learning in school. I am so glad that there are not alot of conflicting statements and information that I have to sort through and chunk half through the window! That can get really annoying, LOL!

  • Janice Hutton

    In Special Education, the whole picture is about setting goals and objectives that are individualized for each student. We look at where a student is performing and take a hard look at where that child needs to go from here. Then we set our objectives for him/her to make the next step in their progression toward independence and academic learning. We track progress daily on data sheets, and when a student masters an objective there is much rejoicing. Progress is now reported on progress reports by the percentage of mastery. While the student enjoys the praise and excitement of the moment when mastery occurs, their joy is fleeting. Many of them derive enjoyment from doing the work, and becoming more independent is just a side effect. As long as we can make the learning fun and effective, progress is achieved.

    It is difficult to compare our special needs students to general education. Levels of skills are so far apart that it is comparing apples to oranges. We celebrate our students accomplishments every day, as I am sure you do in general ed. However, the accomplishments are so different, and are measured in small increments. Every small success is a great victory for us.

  • Carla Gill

    This books sounds like a book I will read. I think it is important for students to be creative in their learning. I think it is important to celebrate the smallest success. My students are so excited as they are able to read through a list of 20 sight words very quickly. The three who have read 220 words correctly get excited when they get a new list that has second and third grade sight words. These three didn’t know that they were getting a goal tag for reaching their goal. It meant more to each one that they had accomplished their goal. Students want to know how they are doing in a subject and then want to know how much further they can go. Every time a student successfully reaches a new reading level there is a bright shining face that says, Yes, I did it. Then they want to know what is the next level so they can set a goal of when they will get there.

  • Beverly Ellis

    When I began reading chapter 1 I was not thoroughly engaged at first. I was not interested in all of the studies and the results. However, when the chapter listed the action steps I become engaged in the reading. I had a connection to the book. I looked at the action steps as goals for myself and my students. My plan, do, act, study board has our learning goal for my students at this time. I find I am successful at setting goals and acting upon goals with my students but don’t always follow through with the study of the goals set. Using action step 5 I plan to have my students chart their progress of the goals we have set together. Following completion of this action step we will celebrate our progress as listed under action step 6.

  • Kathy Thomas

    I read the blog responses Elisa and Janice. I appreciate their information on this first chapter. I can relate to Janice because of our history teaching special education. I was busy during those years writing IEP’s as well.

    Teaching third grade is also filled with goal setting. My students even get used to seeing their own data posted as a group.

    Most importantly, we celebrate success, just as Elisa pointed out.

    Thanks for such good summarizing.

  • Veronica Bustamante

    Students as well as teachers need goals and objectives established in a classroom. A goal is what dictates our lessons to teach and how to teach it. A teacher must clearly communicate goal with students. Goals should be made and modified for each individual student, because no two are alike. In the goals, students should have the opportunity to evaluate themselves and set their own goals to achieve. I believe that goals and tracking progress should be done between a student and a teacher in which a clear agreement should be established. Students love to see their progress and when a student reaches that goal, a celebration should proceed. In my class, goals are set for my students they are divided in many academic sections in which it gives the student the opportunity to succeed in many areas and frequently. A celebration is always followed to celebrate their accomplishment. Students like the feeling of accomplishment and in a classroom a teacher should celebrate it often.

  • Debora Karpinski

    Marzano suggests practical ways of communicating learning goals, tracking student progress and celebrating success.
    I love the fact that he uses a lot of graphic organizers as instruments to facilitate the understanding of students achievement in a specific subject. When learners can literally see their goals they will be inclined to use metacognition to find out what they can do to improve. They will be almost “competing” against themselves, not against others. It stimulates intrinsic motivation what will guarantee the celebration of success once the goal is achieved or improvement is visible. After all, chapter 1 emphasizes the fact that when students work with a sense of ownership and self regulation, appropriate responses will be inevitable consequences.

  • flowers1

    The Art and Science of Teaching
    Robert J. Marzano

    Chapter 1 is about establishing and communicating learning goals, tracking student progress, and celebrating success.
    I will begin with establishing and communicating learning goals.
    Marzano uses what he calls Action Steps.
    Let me briefly highlight what I found to be really helpful to me.

    Action Step 1. Make a Distinction Between Learning Goals and Learning Activities or Assignments
    First, a learning goal is a statement of what students will know or be able to do. It emphasizes the knowledge students would be learning.
    Next, teachers provide related activities to help students attain those learning goals.
    Marzano recommend in general, that learning goals be stated in one of the following formats:
    Students will be able to ____________________________________________.
    Students will understand___________________________________________.
    These two formats represent different types of knowledge. Chapter 4 addresses these two types of knowledge, in which I will address in Ch. 4.

    Action Step 2. Write a Rubric or Scale for Each Learning Goal
    Now that learning goals have been established, the next step is to design a rubric format. There are many different ways to writing rubrics. If you are interested in using the rubric format, then you may want to look at Marzano book, Classroom Assessment and Grading That Work (2006)
    He says he prefers to use term scale as opposed to the term rubric. One figure he uses in this book is the Complete Scale (Score 4.0) – (3.5: 3.0) –( 2.5:-2.0) – (1.5:-1.0:) –
    0.5: – 0.0) Let me know if you would like to see the entire scale and others, and I’ll send them to you.

    Action Step 3. Have Students Identify Their Own Learning Goals
    Marzano says one way to enhance student involvement in an instructional unit’s subject matter is to find out what that student’s interest is. One example he gives is a unit on habitats. A student may be interested in a particular animal, like seeing falcons flying over a field. At first, personal application might seem obvious. A little guidance can go along way in demonstrating to students that they can relate their own interest to the content addressed in class. Once students have identified their
    personal goals, they should write them in a format similar to the one used by the
    When this unit is complete I will better understand____________________.
    When this unit is completed I will be able to __________________________.

    Students might also use a simplified version of the scale to keep track of their progress.
    4. I did better than I thought I would do.
    3. I accomplished my goal.
    2. I didn’t accomplish everything I want to, but I learned quite a lot.
    1. I tried but didn’t really learn much.
    0. I didn’t really try to accomplish my goal.

    Action Step 4. Assess Students Using a Formative Approach
    Formative assessment allows students to observe their own progress while learning new content. Unit instruction formative assessments are used from the beginning to the end. The scale discussed in Action Step 2 is designed specifically for formative assessment because each score on the scale describes specific progress toward a specific learning goal. The heart of formative assessment is examining the gradual increase in knowledge for specific learning goals throughout a unit.

    Action Step 5. Have Students Chart Their Progress on Each Learning Goal
    The teacher provides a blank chart for each learning goal. Student keeps track of his/her scores on learning goals. This is a good tool for teacher/student discussions. Also, used in communicating with parents regarding student progress.

    Action Step 6. Recognize and Celebrate Growth
    Formative assessment allowing students to see their progress over time is so powerful. In most cases every student will succeed in that he/she has increased their knowledge of specific learning goals. Ex. a student started with a score of 2.0 and then increased it to 3.5: another might have started with 1.0 and increased to a 2.5—both have learned. KNOWLEDGE GAINED!!!!!!! IT’S TIME TO RECOGNIZE AND CELEBRATE LEARNING.

    Parthena Ford
    First Grade

  • Diana Hillhouse

    I agree with Beverly that the first chapter was hard to get into because of all of the statistical information although I realize that it is of extreme importance to back up suggested strategies with research. I did enjoy reading and pondering the research on how the frequency of assessments is related to student achievement and the effectiveness of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. There are several of the action steps that I think would be useful. The one about making distinctions between learning goals and activities is a good one because we too often focus on the activities and don’t make the goal clear enough. I also liked the suggestion that we involve our students more in making personal goals in addition to the ones the teacher makes. I think we do a good job on charting student progress and celebrating student achievement.

  • Sally Frye

    Like Beverly, I thought this chapter got interesting when they talked about the action steps. I believe we all function at a higher level when we know what is expected, can see how we are doing and then reap the rewards when we reach our goals. In Kindergarten we like to keep it simple. Our main language arts goal is that all students will recognize their letters and know their sounds by Christmas. We have it posted on our class PDSA, we communicate it to parents on curriculum night and talk to students daily about it. We use data folders to track their progress. While they cannot manage their folders independentally, they love to spend one on one time with us going over them and showing what they know. We celebrate each time we check folders and then we have the great Alphabet Challenge. When a student can read the class alphabet chart by themselves (letters & sounds) they get to visit the prize box and call Mom and Dad to tell them.

  • Bridget Scherrer

    I liked and agreed with the part about students being involved in setting personal goals for themselves along with their teacher. I think this helps to build their self esteem when they accomplish these goals, it helps them to stay on track-with their goals, and I think it allows them to feel a sense of ownership over their work. If students start doing this from an early age, it will naturally allow them to develop into independent life long learners and responsible citizens.

  • Bill Combs

    After reading chapter 1; my thougbts on the three points when considering the first instructional design were to be more specific when communicating learning goals to my students, obtaining a more concrete form for tracking specific student progress and realizing I do a good job with celebrating student success. When commuicating learning goals I need to be more global in our over-all outcome. I tend to be specific on only one goal at a time with my knowledge of where our instruction is leading. I now need to be sure the students are aware of that as well. I rely mostly on the district based out-comes of our testing and would like to acquire a more item by item way to track my students progress. We love to share in my classroom when we have become successful. I try to always recognize my students and truly build them up when they achieve a goal. So many students struggle with enjoying composition. I feel like if I can get my students to truly love the writing process; than the ideas will be more creative and the conventions will take care of them selves. So I truly to to make it a really big deal when we achieve a writing goal!

  • Rebecca Griffin

    The idea of tracking goals throughout a lesson is very valid. I like how the author states that the assessment does not just take place at the end of the unit but throughout the whole teaching of the concept. This is a great way to monitor student progress and find out what are the student’s strengths and weaknessess in certain units. We set goals in reading so the student sees where they need to be throughout the year. We have three goals set for the student throughout the year(October- Dec./Jan. and April) this is a good way to monitor the student’s progress and track his/her success. It is a visual graph stapled in the folder with what reading level the student is on and where he/she needs to be at the end of the year.

    I also thought the chapter touched on the interesting subject of intrinsic motivation compared to extrinsic rewards. One study by Deci, Koestner &Ryan from the book found that verbal rewards and tangible rewards can have a positive outcome on student performance and another study by the same group states that “the use of rewards as a motivational strategy is clearly a risky proposition, so we continue to argue for the thinking about educational practices that will engage students’ interest and support the development of their self-regulation.” I thought it was contradicting that the same researchers were for and against the rewards. Which one is it?
    In my classroom environment, I find that using extrinsic rewards helps to motivate the students to complete the homework every night. I think it also helps the students to feel like they have accomplished a concept when they get rewarded for completing a new word list or a new reading level. So I am going to go with the first statement about the rewards having a positive behavior on achievement.

  • Sherry Grosenbach

    I realize that I spend a lot of time communicating specific goals in reading that we must reach as a whole class but am still working on being very specific with the individual learner.
    We set goals for our weakest reading objectives at the beginningof the school year and then I work with students to recognize the areas they are growing in and those that are not growing as quickly. I do a good job of celebrating individual success with notes and personal comments but should work on a way to make those successes known the whole class community.
    Students in 5th grade track thier reading objectives in a DATA Folder and watch the towers grow or stagnate then develop a plan for growing those towers faster. We only count those things we are doing RIGHT. The objectives we need to work on make themselves clear as the tower for that objective stagnates.
    It empowers the learner to recognize their needs and encourages them to seek improvment for the sake of improving thier reading rather than for a grade.
    I agree with Sally that we funcion best when the expectation is clearly outlined. Our students respond in more positive ways when they know what is expected.

  • Billie Small

    After reading the introduction and first chapter, I was most challenged by the thought of “the Art and Science” of our jobs as teachers. We have our bag of tools…materials, strategies, etc. that have helped children learn. It is important to understand the “Science” of why they work. The “Art” of our job is applying the principals to the individual learning needs of our students.

    Establishing and tracking progress of learning goals develops a road map of where the students were and where they are going.

  • Missy McCormick

    Yes, it is a very important teaching strategy to establish learning goals for, and to track progress of students. This process clarifies everything for the student and causes them to focus. The section of this chapter that I really thought was most beneficial was the the explanation of action steps. Whatever is being taught and on every grade level these stragegies could be adapted.

  • Missy McCormick

    The strategy of establishing learning goals, tracking progress and celebrating subsequent success can apply to all grade levels and subjects. It clarifies what is important to learn and provides focus for the students. I particularly liked the section of Chapter 1 that addressed “Action Steps”. We all have goals for our students, but making them part of the process enables them to be better learners.

  • Alexia Williams

    Reading the first chapter in Marzano made me reflect on what we had learned through the Baldridge staff development. Assessments were found very profitable in students performance levels. Also, like Baldridge having students set goals and chart their performance was found very mortivating. It also promoted very positive attitudes when it was time for assessments.
    For those who are members of the “Sisters, Tip of the week.” there was an article that had results of a study that showed performance of students who were rewarded and those that weren’t. In that study the results showed that students who were rewarded did not perform as well as those students who just liked what they were doing. Marzano research indicated when intrinsic motivation is measured either by interest/attitiude or by free-choice behavior the outcome is very positive.

  • Tiffany Bingham

    I would like to read this book after one of you is finished with it. Setting goals is something that we like to do it first grade and first graders LOVE when they have accomplished their goals. I love to see my kids faces when I tell them they are reading on a DRA level 18 in December and that is the level they need to be on in May. They get so excited and even more excited when I tell them that they are now going to get to start reading second grade books.

  • ebusbice

    According to the research presented in The Art and Science of Teaching, there is a correlation between the teacher’s effectiveness and the students’ success. This seems like such a logical statement and something that we as teachers have known for a long time.
    Marzano has successfully condensed the research to identify exactly what it is that effective teachers do: “use of effective instructional strategies; use effective classroom management strategies; and effective classroom curriculum design.”
    My own teaching philosophy aligns well with his point that all teachers and students are different and that there is no specific teaching method that will work for all situations.
    In chapter one Marzano gives specific action steps that teachers can follow to establish and communicate learning goals, track student progress, and celebrate student success.
    1. Learning goals vs. activities: students will be able to … or students will understand…
    2. Write a rubric or scale for each learning goal
    3. Have students identify their own learning goals
    4. Assess students using a formative approach
    5. Have students chart their progress on each learning goal
    6. Recognize and celebrate growth
    I think that these are great action steps however, it does seem like it would be tedious to make a rubric for each learning goal. Perhaps the learning goals should be broad vs. specific, thus making the idea of a rubric for each goal more feasible.
    The best part of teaching struggling readers is charting their growth to a learning goal and celebrating with them when they reach or surpass that goal. Sometimes the successes are small, but it is very important that these are celebrated. I’ve seen how it motivates them and opens them up to trying.

  • Beverly Ellis

    I just finished reading chapter 2. Robert Marzano discusses how to help students effectively interact with new knowledge. I especially liked the strategy of presenting new material in small chunks. I do believe students get overloaded by the vast amount of new information they receive each day from their teachers. For the brain to properly assimilate the new information and for the learner to recall it and use it at a later date, I agree with Marzano that breaking the information into small steps will bring faster and longer retrieval of new information. I also agree with the use of mnemonic strategies to help the learner re-call information. In our class, we use mnemonic strategies each time a new vowel combination or digraph is introduced. The strategy of reciprocal teaching is yet another very effective strategy for learning new information. When a student has to teach what he or she learns to one’s peers, the student is much more likely to remember the information. I went to a reading conference a few years back and the presenter discussed reciprocal teaching with book study groups. Each student in the group is responsible for reading the assigned material, and then chooses a specific duty he or she is responsible for. One student is the connector, another student is in charge of devising questions, another student writes a summary of the material in his or her own words, and another student makes a visual picture of what the material is about. Thus, each student has to use one of the essential comprehension strategies while reading. This idea also goes along with Marzano’s strategy of cooperative learning and the positive effects it has on learning new information. Lastly, the strategy of reflection is one that I need to incorporate more into my teaching. I like the idea of having my students identify and record areas of confusion so that I can re-teach if necessary.

  • Missy McCormick

    In Chapter 2, Marzano presents many ways teachers use un order to mazimize learning. With so many different learning styles, it makes sense to present new information in many ways and to use as many strategies as possible.

  • Elisa Hediger

    Chapter 2 discusses how to effectively help our students learn new knowledge by creating opportunities for them to “interact” with this knowledge. Marzano believes that if students are actively engaged in their learning experience, they will learn better and retain more. We know that students learn differently and at different rates. If our students are to understand what they are learning, we must offer new knowledge in a variety of different ways. Some effective strategies include using graphic organizers, teaching content in smaller chunks, providing ample opportunities for reflection, and cooperative learning. We can preview content by identifying what relative information students already possess, and then ask them questions that require them to think critically and elaborate on the new information. Using these strategies, it would appear that our students will be more successful in learning new content.

  • Bethany Walden

    First off, it has taken me a long time to get to working on this book blog. Being a first year teacher is very demanding and it has taken so much time to get the hang of things. However, reading this chapter has helped me to realize some things about teaching. Marazano’s first action step, which is making a distinction between learning goals and learning activities is really important. Since this is my first year it is really important that I focus on the learning goals, which is a statement of what I want my students to know or be able to do. Then, I need to make sure that I offer a variety of experiences and activities that help my students to attain the learning goals. I also think that his action step 3 is very important. The students really need to be identifying their own learning goals. In kindergarten we have to do this with some flexibility and assistance, but when the kids establish their own goals they work so much harder to attain them.

  • Bethany Walden

    I really enjoyed reading chapter 2. This chapter offered some real practical advice for how to help students learn. I could not agree more that all students learn in different ways and so we must present new knowledge in many different ways. I have really felt that in the last few days using the smart board my kids have been able to learn in many ways. We can use online reading programs that focus on auditory learners and visual learners. I can also create graphic organizers that use pictures and words to help all my students learn. Then they can actually come up and interact with the graphic organizer. I really feel like this piece of technology is helping me to teach all of my kids at different paces and in different ways.

  • Bob M

    My school system is implementing the Marzano practices along with a completely new evaluation system. As History teacher for the past 24 years, I have always emphasized reading and material ownership in my classroom. I have found that assigning reading to students to do for homework just doesn’t get done – therefor, I spend class time ‘forcing’ students to read from the text and take notes on what they are reading as they go. When they are finished they have their own summary of what they have read and can use those summaries as we do collaborative pair activities, group work and class discussion. My current administration is telling me that this will no longer be ‘acceptable’ as a ‘best practice’ but I truly believe that this benefits my students not only in my class but in other classes as well… Anyone have any suggestions or thoughts? I would greatly appreciate it!

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