Students Starters Enhance Teaching

Student Starters in Virtual Setting

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 language arts standards for your course, like COMMON CORE STANDARDS or AP Standards or those specific to your goals fir these students.   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.

In the virtual settings in which many teachers work, Student Starters can work well on days the whole class meets online and the teacher turns off all microphones except the student starter.

Student starters also can tape their “message” and send to the teacher to play as part of a presentation as the whole group meets or when the whole class is not online.  The goal is to share the time with a variety of students, showing that each one has something to offer to the learning of others.

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

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6 thoughts on “Students Starters Enhance Teaching

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