By Diana Knudson May, 2013
I know you are not ready for a long theoretical article, but I do want to say “Have a happy and relaxing summer". Please take note of our Summer Institute offering. Each “Common Core” class has been carefully thought. Every class this summer will give you confidence to head into next school year with some ideas for new standards that are focused at Bloom’s higher level of thinking. Use Google to find a good Bloom’s Taxonomy chart and start learning what it means to do analysis with students, or what it means to synthesize in the classroom, or how important evaluative thinking is in so many ways in this world. Once we all have a tool kit of good strategies to build higher level thinking with students, teaching will become an exciting career—every single day. I hope to see many of you this summer. Our Golden Triangle teachers and administrators are the best.
Register now for GTCC Summer Institute 2013!
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Ask students what makes a good teacher and their answers may surprise you. Students don't want teachers who hand out good grades to students who don't do the work. They don't want teachers who set low expectations either.
So what do students want? A survey of urban middle and high school students identified several traits students like to see in their teachers in these areas:
Reprinted with permission from the May 2013 issue of Better Teaching® (Secondary Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2013 The Teacher Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: J. Boyle, It's All About People Skills: Surviving Challenges in the Classroom, Rowman & Littlefield Education.
Researchers are learning more about how to help students learn new vocabulary. The key is depth of processing.
When students have to involve more areas of the brain, they are more likely to remember the meanings of new words.
There are instructional implications of this research in all subject areas. Here are some activities that involve greater depth of processing.
Reprinted with permission from the May 2013 issue of Better Teaching® (Secondary Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2013 The Teacher Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: A. Benjamin and J.T. Crow, Vocabulary at the Core: Teaching the Common Core Standards, Eye on Education.
It's true that praise can be the key to helping students reach high expectations.
But when praise is overdone, when students are praised every time they meet a minimal expectation, it loses its power. That type of praise can actually kill a student's motivation to strive for success.
Instead, it's important to recognize the difference between acknowledgment and praise.
You should acknowledge a student for meeting your requirements. If Carlos turns in his homework, you can smile and say, "Thank you." But it's not necessary to carry on as though Carlos just wrote the greatest research paper of all time.
Similarly, when a student answers a question correctly, you should recognize the contribution and perhaps offer a very brief comment.
So a smile or a quick thumbs-up lets a student know that you notice. You send the message: "I see you are prepared for class today."
But save your praise for times when students exceed your expectations. "Wow, Jamiqua. You not only got that answer right, you also built on something that Madison said earlier. I hadn't even considered that point of view. Way to go!"
In this way, you reserve praise for behavior that is truly outstanding, while still acknowledging that your students are doing what you want them to do.
Reprinted with permission from the May 2013 issue of Better Teaching® (Secondary Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2013 The Teacher Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: "Principles for Culturally Responsive Teaching," The Education Alliance, Brown University, www.alliance.brown.edu/tdl/tl-strategies/crt-principles.shtml.
Context clues are wonderful. But some vocabulary words are so key to a subject that students won't understand what they've read unless they know the definition.
And those vocabulary words won't teach themselves. Research shows that context is not always sufficient to allow students to grasp the meaning of technical terms.
Instead, you need to teach subject-specific vocabulary. Here's one way to do that:
Reprinted with permission from the May 2013 issue of Better Teaching® (Elementary Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2013 The Teacher Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc.Source: "Academic Vocabulary Builds Student Achievement," Education Update, November 2012, ASCD.
"What's the question?" Probably every teacher has used a variation of the game show Jeopardy to help students review for year-end tests.
But too often, the activity turns out to be a lot more work for the teacher than the students. Or it involves only basic questions that don't push students to think deeply.
Here's a way to increase the rigor--and still keep the fun:
Now even before you begin the review activity, students will have had many chances to apply their understanding.
To play the review game:
This will keep all students involved rather than allowing some to "check out" and let others supply the answer.
Reprinted with permission from the May 2013 issue of Better Teaching® (Elementary Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2013 The Teacher Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: B.R. Blackburn, Rigor is Not a Four-Letter Word, Eye on Education.
With most existing state standards, a fifth-grade teacher, does not need to have any real knowledge of the standards in third or fourth grade. That is less true with the Common Core State Standards.
These standards build on each other. Taking fifth grade as an example, in order to help students meet fifth-grade reading standards, a teacher needs to know what they have learned in previous grades.
For instance, in reading:
To help students meet fifth-grade standards, have them start by focusing on the five W's they learned in second grade, then use those questions to move up through the standards for each grade.
Building on each other, these standards all help students meet fifth-grade reading expectations.
Reprinted with permission from the May 2013 issue of Better Teaching® (Elementary Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2013 The Teacher Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: M. McLaughlin and B.J. Overturf, "The Common Core: Insights Into the K-5 Standards," The Reading Teacher, October 2012.
Do all your students look forward to each grammar lesson? We didn't think so. With NoRedInk, your students will get differentiated instruction based both on their skills and their interests. (So Miguel Cabrera and One Direction may show up in questions.) If students get stuck, they'll see tutorials to help. You can get charts showing your students' strengths and weaknesses. You can also view their quizzes and homework. The site offers free content for everyone. (www.noredink.com)
Learning about simple machines is a way to introduce students to basic physics. Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry has created Simple Machines, a game to help students learn about of levels, pulleys, planes, axles and wheels. A robot named Twitch roams the museum collecting the parts needed to create a simple machine. But that involves climbing over things (inclined planes), lifting (pulleys and levers) and moving heavy objects (wheels and axels). (www.msichicago.org/play/simplemachines/)
Reprinted with permission from the May 2013 issue of Better Teaching® (Elementary Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2013 The Teacher Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc.
Share My Lesson allows educators to share their best teaching resources on the Common Core State Standards. All the lesson plans were developed by teachers and are available for free. Share My Lesson covers all aspects of the standards, including advice and guides for implementing them. It also includes opportunities for teachers to collaborate on their ideas. The site was developed by the American Federation of Teachers and TES Connect. (www.sharemylesson.com/teaching-resources)
If your students love Farmville or Angry Birds, you might want to consider having them visit the Persuasive Games website. It offers a variety of educational--and fun--games that teach key content. Killer Flu, for example, is a game about seasonal and pandemic flu. Students play a virus that is trying to mutate and spread under a variety of conditions. In Debt Ski, students see for themselves the impact that excessive debt and reckless financial decisions can have on their future. (www.persuasivegames.com/games)
Reprinted with permission from the May 2013 issue of Better Teaching® (Secondary Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2013 The Teacher Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc.
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