Did you know that the first antibiotic, Penicillin, was discovered from a productive struggle that Dr. Alexander Fleming was in? Yes, a productive struggle is what lead to the discovery of the life saving drug in 1928! Dr. Fleming discovered mold growing in petri dishes after returning from summer vacation and said that the mold had contaminated his study. He later discovered that the mold actually stopped bacteria from growing.
Students need lots of time to collaborate with each other in order to develop vocabulary, learn content, process new learning, and the real world skill of conversation. Starting in partner groupings, students use accountable talk to learn how to have a meaningful conversation in which they take turns sharing ideas and listening.
With state assessments fast approaching, many educators are "teaching with their hair on fire!" We are all trying to get as much review and practice in as possible and make sure to revisit all the tested standards. Sound familiar?
Here are 3 strategies to consider when planning!
With the spring semester beginning, we are all thinking about those end-of-year expectations and assessments. It's easy to dread this time of year if it seems we are spending all our time preparing for a test, rather than teaching and helping students developing skills, strategies and processes they need for life. Instead of loathing this time of year, we can embrace it and look to providing our students with engaging and authentic practice. It's time to "show off" what they have learned and become proficient in! It's a great time to have fun with all the skills they have learned so far.
What are your resolutions this year? Knowing that we can start fresh rejuvenates our students as much as it does us.
Great leaders set goals and create action plans from the start. Teddy Roosevelt set goals to make the United States strong in the areas of economics and defense. He created an action plan to see his goals through and in effect he increased our production of natural resources and built up our Navy defense. Resulting in a stronger country as a whole.
We all know that both teachers and students alike dread test preparation. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a drag! Here are 4 ways to make test prep fun and beneficial.
Here are a couple of ideas that take about 5 minutes of class time and get learners actively processing content from previous lessons.
Today during model writing lessons, I used a scale with all classes to help them assess their understanding at the beginning of the lesson (right after I shared the learning goal) and then again at the end of the lesson. Students really seemed to stay more focused on the specific writing goal and what they needed to know and do to meet expectations.
As we conclude (already!) another year of learning, all learners need to stop and reflect on this year’s accomplishments and goals for the future. Be sure to schedule time for success celebrations so that your students can receive praise and acknowledgement for their efforts. A good friend of mine always says “Anything worth learning is worth celebrating!”
On the inside of a file folder, divide the area into 6 sections. Using a composition written as a “pre-test” group the students based on a specific area for improvement. Place sticky notes with the names of the students who need a specific skill or strategy on the folder under the appropriate category.
During a 2-3 week period, meet with the small groups to provide direct instruction on the targeted skill. Document progress for each student by using a composition written as a pre-test and a composition written after 2-3 weeks of strategic, small group instruction.
Be sure to conference with each student and discuss his/her strengths and area for growth. The student should set a goal and make an action plan for achieving the goal.
Are there crickets chirping in your classroom? Don’t know what I mean? Just ask a struggling reader to summarize that piece of nonfiction text, name the key point, or list the supporting details… most of the time, they are at such a loss for words that all your hear is crickets. So, what can you do to help that reader navigate through an extensive piece of nonfiction and sift through the facts to uncover what’s most important?
An important prerequisite to being able to summarize is the ability to retell orally. Most kindergarteners have developed a sense of story by mid-year and can use knowledge of story elements to retell stories read aloud to them. By mid-first grade, students can retell in logical order including important characters, setting, and main events. Expository texts should be included and retelling should include main ideas and important supporting details.
Giving students time to process and store important information during a lesson increases retention and achievement. For every 5-10 minutes of instruction given by the instructor, students should be given 30 seconds to 5 minutes of time to process the information. This time allows the instructor time to assess whether the students understand the materials or need instruction adjusted. Using multi-sensory processing strategies to differentiate instruction ensures that all students have an opportunity to access the curriculum. Remember to consider the learning styles of students in the class when choosing the processing strategy.