• default-image

    Students Starters Enhance Teaching

    Student Starters Now is a good time to plan on releasing more responsibility for learning to your students. The first quarter/semester is when you model reading and writing strategies, making, connections,

    Read more »
  • default-image

    Thoughts to Share with Students

    Children’s Books Teach Us All We sometimes think children’s book are only for children. But there is wisdom to be gleaned for us all. Invite your students to bring in their favorite children’s

    Read more »
  • default-image

    Prepare in the Fall for Spring Assessments

    Practice Debates ⇒Argumentative Essays Meeting Common Core State Standards is not the only reason to have students learn to think about claims, reasons, counter-aguments, and evidence.  The four major assessments

    Read more »
  • default-image

    Maximizing Meetings and Maintaining Morale

    Department chairs regularly seek for ways to use meeting time more efficiently and to keep up the spirits of their department members.  Attached are ideas planned for the “Learning to

    Read more »

Hispanic History Month 9/16-10/16

Hispanic Month and Common Core

 What an exciting time to feature the contributions of Latina/Latino Writers, Speakers and Movie Makers!

  Lost for ideas?

Check out HISPANIC HERITAGE and NATIONAL HISPANIC HISTORY MONTH sites.

Invite students to bring in picture books, poems, and selections for their history books to write found poems, Pantoums, an “I Am Frompoems about people, places and events reflecting the contributions of men, women and children of Hispanic heritage.

Image from Scholastic website with an interactive page celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.

OKAY LATE Pass

teacher-at-deskMAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF

 

High school and college students often have worried-af-am-malecomplex worried-womanschedules. Events in and out of school that are beyond their control can cause them to skip assignments or endure penalties for late ones. The issue may arise due to sports, arts, a big project in another class, work, family, or even religious or cultural observances.  One way to show you understand, while still maintaining high standards, is to offer students a one-time use OKAY LATE PASS.

This pass something the student can use for an assignment that does not impact the workokay-late-pass of other students.  For example, you may require students to turn in study guides or journal as a way for them to process new information and for you to conduct low stress assessments of their progress.  If these assignments are counted toward their semester grades, give students one OKAY LATE PASS per semester.  Turning in such as assignment late will have low impact on others in ways that contribution to group work would or on your own plans to grade and return drafts for students’ further work on them.  However, completing the study guide or journal could have significant impact on students learning and on your assessment of them, so offering the OKAY LATE pass can be a win-win option for yocalendaru all.

The pass should be limited.

  • One pass per student
  • One pass per semester
  • One week extension, maximum

Below is a sample of a printed pass.  If students turn in homework electronically, add the pass to your website and require students to include copy of pass with their late assignment.

In my experience, students usually save the pass all semester and use them at the last minute or not at all. Don’t worry about students abusing the privilege.  Being dishonest is their problem.  Yours is to be vigilant and generous. They appreciate having the option.

 

okay-late-pass

Image of woman: https://goo.gl/m062kj

Image of male: https://goo.gl/kq4Ln1

Image of teacher: https://goo.gl/mvAowZ

 

Digital Storytelling

Computers - Two

Cross-Curricular Writing

Teachers in elective courses sometimes struggle to INDISCIPLINARYdesign lessons that teach the content and skills of their courses when students are challenged by the demands of the required courses.

Consider drawing on content matter from other courses as you teach the information and skills related to your course.

Here’s an article, “How Digital Storytelling Improves Learning” that may inspire you to try that this year.  Remember, you do not have to be an expert in the science or social studies’ facts students utilize in their creative writing.  As students conduct peer edits, their classmates will confirm or question the accuracy of those kinds of details.

And don’t forget Bill Zimmerman’s free comic generator, MakeBeliefsComix.com, to include in our digital storytelling resources.

Even better, than working alone, collaborate with a colleague in another content area and design lessons for which your colleague reads for accuracy of content and you read for literary traits.

Either way, your students will be less likely to put assignments in their elective course on the back burner to fulfill assignments in their required courses and vice-versa.

Wishing you a wonderful school year.

Students Starters Enhance Teaching

Student Starters

Now is a good time to plan on
releasing more responsibility for learning
to your students.

The first quarter/semester is when you model reading and writing strategies, making, connections, incorporating a wide variety of examples in your own instruction, and also informing the students that you’ll be sharing the teaching opportunities with them to reach the COMMON CORE STANDARDS or AP Standards or those specifically for your course.   Thus, more students will be paying more attention and thinking about what they will be able to do.  This pedagogical practice works well with students of all ages and abilities from those in upper elementary grades to middle school to graduate school in college.

When I’ve given this assignment, I’ve left the details pretty wide open because students always come up with appropriate things I’d never have thought of suggesting. 

Of course, the students will want to know how much it’s worth.  I’d say about 5% of the quarter grade.  Enough to make a difference, but not enough to make them apprehensive.  Kinds of connections?  See HOW? below.  Leave it as open as possible in your teaching situation.  Trust them to do the right thing,

Most students are interested in the 5W and H?

  • Who? You
  • What? Whatever seems appropriate to you that shows some connection to what we’re studied in the past week.  See HOW?
  • When? On the date you’ve signed up during the first 5-7 minutes of class.
  • Where? Here in our classroom.
  • Why? Because what you have to say can help us learn.  This is a way for you to practice your presentation skills and earn full credit for an on time, within time, and appropriate presentation.
  • How? Your choice of what’s appropriate.  Could be a dramatic reading from the text; a poem, song, or video clip (previewed by teacher) that
    • relates to, explains, explores and expands the topic we’re studying;
    • makes a relevant connection to something studied in another course;
    • is something experienced, observed, or viewed on TV or on-line.

If administrators or parents ask what’s going on, you can direct them to Pearson and Gallagher’s pedagogical theory of Gradual Release of Responsibility

 

Activating Strategies for Reading

Reading: Activating Thinking

Here is a chart strategies to get students thinking about new units, new books, or new readings.  Many are interactive and though they come from a site prepared for elementary school students most can be adapted for use with students of all ages.  You’ll recognize many ideas that are commonly known and used and will welcome learning about new ones.

Teachers of middle, high school and colleges, I invite you to adapt some of these strategies that probably already are familiar to your studentsThinking is thinking and sometimes when working with a familiar set of terms, students can get right to work without having to figure what the teacher means when new terms are used with new strategies.

Check out this chart of Activating Strategies compiled by teachers from Chatham Elementary School.

1 2 3 55