Sometimes when working with the parents of your students, things can get tense. I would like to offer some tips that have helped me throughout my years in education as a general and special education teacher, consultant, and administrator.
With virtual and hybrid learning, it can be challenging to keep student engagement alive and formatively assess student learning in the moment. Here are two strategies I use to not only increase student engagement, but quickly monitor student learning and identify any misconceptions. These strategies can be used in all content areas as well as all grade levels.
I recently worked with a teacher on revamping a lesson to increase student engagement. Before designing the lesson, I asked her to describe what student engagement looks like and sounds like in her own classroom. Doing this seemed simple, but it uncovered key values that were important to her and helped bring more clarity to her vision.
When it comes to writing, some writing skills are constrained, meaning once they are learned there is no need to continue to teach or have deliberate practice. Grammar skills are constrained skills. After direct instruction, coaching, and practice, students will have learned these skills and are using them with automaticity as they move through the writing process. Only data will tell if students need to continue to learn or deliberately practice. We can gather this data by looking at student writing and giving students weekly spelling and grammar checks.
Do your students have trouble determining a topic for writing or deciding what details they want to share related to a topic they are writing about? Years ago, I learned about Alphaboxes from Linda Hoyt. An Alphaboxes chart is quick, brainstorming activity that warms up the brain in a non-threatening, let's-ease-into-this kind of way.
Since learning is a result of thinking, we want to provide frequent opportunities for your learners to summarize their learning and think about how the new information changes thinking. Watch this 2-1/2 minute PD video to learn more about two great questions exit questions you can use in every lesson.
By Ann-Elise Record
Did you know that the foundations of fractions are found in the geometry standards in K-2nd grade? Spend an hour with Ann Elise learning how to develop fraction concepts in Kindergarten to third grade using virtual manipulatives.
Desmos is one of my favorite digital platforms for math instruction because their classroom activities, linked here, are rooted in problem solving and inquiry approaches. I have loved using Desmos for several years, but more recently as the need for virtual learning platforms has grown, I started to think about what makes Desmos lessons so effective. Nick Corley, a Desmos fellow, shared a blog post with me describing the pedagogy behind Desmos lessons and I love how it explained the importance of developing conceptual knowledge prior to learning a procedure. Their lessons and activities do this in several unique ways.
The "Always, Sometimes, Never" Strategy can be used in any content area as an invitation to classify information about a topic. Watch this one-minute explanation of the strategy using Google Jamboard.
When the pandemic hit, there was an overabundance of information and technology being shared in the education world and many of us were quickly overwhelmed. As an educator, it is important to model continued learning and reflection upon our craft when we expect our students to do the same, but when does it become too much? As a district math coach, I wanted to support in a meaningful, but less overwhelming way, so I began videoing myself doing a one-minute PD session. You can access my videos on my YouTube channel.