By Randi Anderson
Assessment season is right around the corner and we know you are working tirelessly, preparing lessons that pack lots of punch (instruction wise). It is important to remember that we must model the types of thinking processes that are essential for proficient reading and writing, as well as provide time for students to repeatedly practice those thinking processes for the majority of our classroom time. Here are few ideas to use in your classrooms.
By Ashley Taplin
In the fall, I had the opportunity to attend a Visible Learning Institute in which John Hattie and Peter DeWitt dove into the topic of assessment capable learners. They explained that students need to be able to answer three questions: where am I going, how am I doing, and where to next? (download this classroom poster I created here). Furthermore, there are 6 key characteristics of assessment capable learners:
February is Black History month. During this month, we celebrate the achievements of African American men and women. Here are some read aloud texts for your students!
The theme this week is "You are unique!" This week we are learning about the parts of the body. Each book, song, and rhyme is thematically linked. The questions we are exploring is "How are we the same? How are we different?" Here is a google slide deck with book and song suggestions.
By Randi Anderson
Integration is key for being able to fit all the things in that we have to teach! Here are some ways to get students talking and writing during your reading block.
After reading a selection, pose an open-ended question about the text to the students. Have students STOP (think time) and TALK (discussion with peers) about their responses to the question about the text. Allow students time to share (in a small group setting) their answers and reasons to the question. Then, have students STOP (revise their thinking) and WRITE to answer the text question. Make this writing time no longer than 5 minutes.
By Ashley Taplin
I was recently sent this quote from math guru, Marilyn Burns, in which she said, “I can no longer imagine teaching math without making writing an integral aspect of students’ learning. . . . Writing in math class requires students to organize, clarify, and reflect on their ideas” (Schmoker, 2018). As I began to reflect on integrating more opportunities for writing in my own classroom, I realized it was these fundamental skills from writing that deepened my student’s mathematical comprehension. I also gained new insight into their level of understanding as it was a more personal mode of communication beyond route calculation. But, just like math, writing requires practice and intentionality, and the more exposure, encouragement, and feedback we can give to students, the more competent and confident they will become. Below are some ideas to incorporate as you are beginning or continuing to develop writing in your classroom.
It’s Monday morning and many students have arrived at school feeling tired or even stressed after a weekend of busyness. Some students move slowly to prepare for the day, while others put their heads down, ready to go back to sleep. In the worst case scenario, some students may have experienced trauma-filled weekends and their brains are still in fight or flight. So do they feel like learning? Probably not. Do students have a choice about whether they feel like learning?
Have you seen the hashtag #makeDecembermagical? Teachers are tweeting out ideas with pictures to share ideas for how to integrate the holidays into your instruction. Here are some of those ideas:
1. Cozy Up to Learn
Use a fireplace video through Youtube (free) to display on our big screen. Pair with classical holiday tunes while students are working independently. Nothing makes it feel cozy like a fire and Christmas tunes.
My 5 year old recently came home from school raving about his new favorite center, the "School" center. I asked him what exactly that entailed and he told me it's where he becomes the teacher and teaches other students a concept they have been learning about. He then tells me that he taught a lesson on alliteration and that he got to use a "real" teacher pointer!