Let's face it...hand-held technology is here to stay. The way in which we manage that technology, however, just may determine our effectiveness in the classroom.
If your students have difficulty focusing on the activity at hand when asked to put up their devices, click on the picture to the right. The linked article discusses creative ways real teachers have found to handle student cell phone use in the classroom.
I came across this great cell phone hack in Ms. Martin's room today, and is actually on the list as strategy #5! For another take on #15, try using a brown paper bag...they make plenty of noise when trying to reopen!
As always, if cell phone use is against your classroom policy, use STEP DISCIPLINE. It can't possibly work if it isn't used consistently.
If you have any tried and true methods, please share by commenting below!
As we go forward with our new PLCs, there will be an adjustment period as everyone begins to use the new documentation process. We have tried to keep it as simple, yet meaningful, as possible. As discussed in our PLC meetings in November, we have seen progress over the last few years in several areas. However, we must always move toward improvement. Many of our students are lacking basic skills and those that are mastering standards deserve to be accelerated.
As you discuss the four PLC questions each week, be specific with your documentation.
1. What do we want students to learn? What standard/skill/behavior will you be working on? Have you shared with the students what your expectations are? If so, explain how that was done.
2. How will we know when students have learned? What assessment, formative or summative, was given? If you have an upcoming assessment, decide as a group what common formative could be given to measure their current knowledge so results can be brought to the table in subsequent meetings. Be specific...what question or problem will you ask and when?
3. How will we respond when students haven't learned? How are individual students receiving remediation for their specific struggles? Whole group reteaching is not the answer unless everyone in that group was not successful. Asking students to make test corrections without further instruction will not help that student. And, many of our students cannot stay for after school tutoring. We must think outside the box and try something different. Several groups have found some success in this area so reach out to your peers and ask what they are doing (Geometry peeps).
4. How will we respond when students have learned? Moving faster is not acceleration! Regardless of whether you are teaching an Inclusion class or an Honors class, the standards and pacing are the same. Challenge the students with a higher level of difficulty. Our data shows very clearly that we have few students scoring at an advanced level. Ensure that students are being given the opportunity to demonstrate full knowledge expected from the standards at levels that would be considered advanced. Is peer teaching helping these students move to the next level? Try something different. Examples would be real-world application, writing, predicting, debating, or error analysis.
For those of you who do not have peers teaching the same content, your meetings may focus on similar skills or behaviors. Are students demonstrating difficulty with transitions, struggling with completing work, or unable to stay focused for long periods of time? What instructional strategies can you try as a collective group?
The goal for all PLCs is to work on student improvement collectively, identifying areas of concern, gathering and analyzing data, and learning from each other.
As I was looking for resources to help an EL student struggling in a science class, I came across the following article. Although the strategies are science-related, most will work in all content areas. If you are in need of specific instructional strategies to try with your EL students, you may find some here. As always, please share if you find one that works! There are others that can benefit from your experiences.
If you need ideas, strategies, or lesson plans for specific student populations (ELLs, struggling readers, SWD), you NEED to check out this site!
Hover over the tabs at the top and you will find examples, videos, lesson plans, step-by-step instructions, and ways to incorporate strategies into multiple content areas. Don't just look under one tab - many of the strategies are excellent for all student populations. Hope you find something you can use here and if you do, please share!!
How long can you extend your wait time after asking a question? Does everyone have the think time they need? Try a few of the tips below. The first three people that invite me in to observe and time their questioning get a PRIZE!
This morning I visited our Math teachers and I'll have to say that our students are so fortunate to have each one of you! There were some great activities going on and higher-order thinking was evident in all classes!
What I saw:
Tip of the Day:
Increasing rigor in your classroom can be as easy as adjusting your questioning methods and also provides evidence in the TKES Standards 3 (Instructional Strategies), 7 (Positive Learning Environment), and 8 (Academically Challenging Environment).
Shoutout to Mr. Bowen for mixing it up in his class today by using a random name generator! Students never knew who would be called or when so they knew they had to be listening. Best way to tackle classroom management is to have the students busy!
Click on the pictures below to try out a couple of name generators. I would love to hear how you make students accountable in the classroom. Please share your strategies in the comments below!!
The presentation below outlines the Murray County grading policy for English Language Learners. Viewing this presentation is required for all teachers of EL students. Check with your department chair to see if this is to be done as a group in a PLC or individually. The presentation and policy can also be found on the Resource page under EL Resources.
Below you will find a couple of websites that will create word clouds for you. I've tried each one and included a brief summary for your convenience.
https://tagcrowd.com This is probably the simplest program to use. It allows you to use copied text, a file, or a URL. There are no options regarding colors and shapes, but if you want to create one on the fly and do not care about aesthetics, then this is the one for you. (Mr. Thornton, you will like this one. The words are nice and neat:))
www.wordclouds.com This is the program used to create the word cloud in Mrs. Linder's presentation. This site allows for more customization than tagcrowd. Text can also be inserted with a URL, copy/paste, or a PDF.
www.wordart.com This site requires you to create an account and is a bit more complicated than the previous two but it is probably my favorite. You can make a word cloud as simple as an oval in one color or a smiley face emoji that has the word pop up as you hover over it. Text must be copied and pasted with this tool, but you can change the style, font, colors, and layouts quickly as well as add animation. In an instant, you can visualize your changes and make adjustments.
The first two examples below were created with the Weebly URL. The third one was one I created for Mrs. Fetzer when she retired.
Hope this information is useful! Have fun!
Can't wait to hear how these strategies work for you! Please share!
The ELL Teacher's Toolbox is a resource that Ms. Martin and I will be sharing with you each month. This book is full of instructional strategies that build on the assets of our ELL students. Although focused on English language learners, all of these strategies are also perfect for our English-proficient learners as well. Good ELL teaching is GOOD for everyone!
Within the next month, find a time that you can try this strategy in your classroom and share your results with your cohorts by leaving a comment here. Your experience may just give someone else an idea they can use in their own classroom!
What is it? A process in which students become experts in a section of a text or an element of a broader topic (e.g., learning about different times of a famous person's life), which they then teach to other students who have become experts in different portions of the text. All students take turns teaching their classmates.
Why we like it? High student engagement in all four domains - reading, writing, speaking, and listening; the perfect tool for differentiation (beginners can be given easier portions of the text); can be used for any topic; and it can require minimal teacher preparation.
Application There are multiple ways the strategy can be used but the steps are basically as follows:
Examples of topics and categories that could be used for jigsaws:
Study Hall is not an optional activity for the students. If a student is failing a class or missing assignments, they should be working on that material during the Study Hall Intervention periods until their grade improves.
If you have students missing work or failing classes, communicate with their Intervention teachers to make sure they are aware of what the student needs to be doing.
Benchmarks are upon us! Testing begins next week for the ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies midterm assessments. NOW is the time to focus on the pre-assessment data recorded on your posters and have targeted conversations regarding student weaknesses.
Need help navigating PowerSchool? Come see me!
Dr. W. Owens is on the ball with SRI data as well! Looks like she and her students are anxiously awaiting the 2nd SRI assessment:)
In my search to find a replacement for our outdated clickers, I came across this amazing list. You may recognize a few of the assessment tools like Kahoot, Quizlet, Padlet, and Nearpod, but you MUST take a closer look! Be sure to check out Formative, PeerGrade, and GoSoapBox.
Anyone that tries one on the list and invites me in to see will get a prize:) Don't forget to post your experiences so everyone can benefit! Can't wait to see what you find!
Mrs. Sane uses www.todaysmeet.com to have students respond to her Essential Question at the beginning of class and then leads a conversation based on their responses.
TodaysMeet is a chat platform that provides every student a voice and encourages engagement and discussion. If you haven't tried it before, you should do so and let me know how it works.
Some of you may be familiar with a few of these, but if not, give them a try and let us know what you think.
Commenting here is a quick and easy way to learn from your talented peers when you don't have the time to observe one another's classrooms. Please share!
Also, don't forget to check out www.mentimeter.com, the website I showed you during our Reciprocal Teaching session. Using this website, you have the ability to incorporate word clouds, scales, quizzes, multiple choice and more AND it only takes a couple of minutes to set up!