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.
A word cloud is an image composed of words or phrases. Individually or as a team, students create an image in which the size of each word or phrase indicates its importance to the overall meaning of the topic or text. Word clouds can be created for concepts, characters, events, and themes across content areas.
Literary nonfiction, also known as narrative nonfiction, is one of the best genres for getting students to engage in large quantities of reading. But what exactly is literary nonfiction? We hear the word nonfiction and instantly think informational, which is only partly true. The word literary means "narrative" and nonfiction means "accurate". So literary nonfiction is essentially a true story. And who doesn't like a really good true story?
Wonderopolis.org is a phenomenal website for students to use to build schema and vocabulary about a wide range of topics. Be sure to sign up for the daily email to get the daily wondering. Just 5 minutes of "wondering" will provide your students with new knowledge and get them interested in new topics for study. Be sure to check out Wonder Ground to get lesson plans and ideas for fostering curiosity.
Using the success criteria, teachers can closely monitor learning and provide timely feedback about each students' progress or lack there of. The goal is to watch for students to demonstrate the success criteria. If they aren't able to demonstrate the daily learning target, then we must think about what is keeping them from doing so and take action quickly. Is there a gap or misconception that needs to be addressed in order to move students forward?
There are two questions that kick off most professional learning community (PLC) meetings.
While learning targets of some type are found on the boards in most classrooms these days, success criteria is often not seen. The learning target alone will not be enough for many students to hit the target. Without knowing what hitting the target looks and sounds like, many students will fall short of the goal.
A balanced math program includes time to develop and practice conceptual and procedural knowledge to proficient levels. Fitting it all in is a challenge, especially when you have a limited amount of time.
Tier one classroom instruction is always about learning grade level standards. But what about the kids that aren't quite there yet? How do we scaffold them up to achieve those standards? Here are a few ways to make accommodations that get kids where they need to be.
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.
The end of the year is upon us. Just in case you are running out of steam, here are some ideas for May/June to keep students engaged in reading and writing.
Anchor charts have become a buzz word in the education world over the past five years. The intended reason for an anchor chart is to "anchor" the critical content needed to be learned. Here are some essential components of the buzz-worthy anchor charts.
Children’s books can be effective vehicles for motivating children to think and reason mathematically. (Burns, 2004) A children’s book is a great way to launch or assess mathematical learning.
For every math unit, select 2-4 children’s books that contain situations related to the concepts and that allow students to use new skills and strategies. Be sure to choose wisely!
Reading aloud helps students expand their vocabulary and connect mathematical thinking to real life situations. Stories help students organize, store, and retrieve conceptual information related to the skills, strategies, and processes needed to think mathematically.
Children’s books provide a perfect starting point for engaging students in authentic problem solving. Students need time to hypothesize and experiment with strategies in real world situations. Stories provide a context that helps students construct conceptual understanding of math ideas.
Have you ever struggled to find the right words or explanation of something? Most of us have been there once or twice. Students struggle with this, too. So, why not build something to represent your thinking? Constructing a model of what you are picturing or thinking can help to solidify conceptual understanding. Using legos, building blocks, or play doh, students build to represent an idea or understanding of a concept. This can be a less intimidating option for students to show their understanding or thinking about ideas or topics.
"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.