What We Teach vs. What They Learn

or when epubs go wrong…

I just sat down to review the exit tickets that my students filled out after reading two contrasting articles about the American Revolution.  I find exit tickets to be a quick way to get immediate feedback about a variety of things in the classroom.  Since the students have iPads this year I’ve been using Google Docs, specifically the forms function, to do these exit tickets.  I love me some organization!  A stack of index card has little hope of coming up for air from the bottom of my bag, but a spreadsheet…now that’s pure joy.

Exit tickets are great because they can really give us immediate feedback about the day’s lesson.  I learn all sorts of things.  For example today I learned that I need to do a iPad autocorrect lesson when one student asked, “When did the Boston Manicure happen?”

To make a long story short I had created some Epubs for my American Revolution unit.  I was experimenting with inserting some turn and talk prompts and short note taking activities in the body of the text as a way to support students while they read in partners.   In order to help students practice organizing their information I put in an example.  (I modeled what I wanted them to do.  That’s makes sense right?) But I thought I’d be funny, so I made up a fictional “shirt act” to show how I would create a table to organize the information.

Then I read this:

The three types of acts were the sugar act the stamp act and the shirt act. People dressed up as Indians and climbed aboard three ships caring tea. The people threw over 300 chests of tea into boston harbor.

Doh! 

Sometimes we teach all sorts of things we don’t mean to.  Today I changed history just a bit.  Although, in my defense, I think the British would have gone for an apparel tax next.  Clearly I will need to address this misconception that I created with all of my students.  But it makes me think about the sheer number of misconceptions that we can give students during our instructional time.  I think that’s why these frequent check-ins are so important.  We are able to assess what students learn but we’re also able to assess what misconceptions they may have acquired along the way.  Because what we teach and what they learn don’t always match up.

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