How can we get all our students to share their thinking? When setting up for pair shares, students should always know ahead of time who their share partner will be. They should have a title or designation to help them know who will talk and who will listen. Each time students are going to pair share, direct specific students to start the conversation. For example, say "Partner A: explain why you think the character..." Give students a short amount of time to explain and then say something like "Partner B: Do you agree or disagree with A? Is there evidence in the text to support your thinking?"
One of my favorite classroom questions is asking students to spell love, and then eliciting "T- I- M- E." I love this idea that we express our love and caring for one another by spending time together. I think this is so true, even at school. Struggling students often don't feel connected while at school. Once a student thinks they aren't liked or don't belong, it becomes difficult for them to engage in productive group activities and accept feedback meant to move them forward.
What is Your Goal?
In 2019, I'm all about being intentional in my instruction. Since we never have enough time, my goal is to only spend time on what is most likely going to move readers, writers, and mathematicians forward. I am going to audit every minute of class time to make sure we don't spend time on things that aren't likely to make much difference. Unfortunately, basals and textbooks are full of this kind of fluff.
The beginning of the school year is all about getting to know students and students getting know you and each other. Building relationships is key to having a successful year.
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.
As a member of several mom groups, I get questions about what to do to get students ready for kindergarten. We all want to prepare our kiddos for success and send them into their education career well prepared (or ahead). Here are some ideas for what to do to prepare the brains of your little learner.
Do you remember teachers reading aloud to you in school? I was blessed with teachers who read aloud in elementary and secondary school.
Relationships are the foundation of a successful school year. Not just teacher and student relationships, but parent and teacher relationships.
"People with goals succeed because they know where they are going." - Earl Nightingale
Do you have a map in your room? Is it a curriculum map? Can your students and class visitors see it? Knowing where you are going is the most important first step in planning a journey.
Ever been to baseball game and heard the different songs that play when each new baseball player takes the plate? The songs represent the player's feelings, goals, and personality. I had the privilege of hearing Stephanie Harvey at ILA this year. In her talk about striving readers, she suggested finding out each students' "walk up" song.
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Wood
An all-time favorite for the first day of school! Chester the Raccoon doesn’t want to go to school, so his mom kisses his palm and tells him to press it to his cheek every time he thinks of her. Be sure to have heart stickers to pass out as a souvenir. Students will remember and retell the story when they get home from school.