Friday Focus, Sept. 7
Happy Friday! I continue to enjoy visits to schools and classrooms, though I am not getting in nearly as many as I would like at the moment. As such, let me ask a favor of all teachers: if you ever have something going on in your classroom that you would like me to see, please let me know and I will make it a point to be there. In addition, if there is ever something you would like me to talk to/teach students about related to what you are studying, I am happy to help if appropriate (although my sphere of expertise is admittedly limited!).
Thanks for another great week serving our kids!
Teach and Learn with Passion,
Leading and Learning Quotes:
“The problem is not that we do not know enough—it is that we do not do what we already know. We do not act on or refine or apply those principles and practices that virtually every teacher already knows.” ~Mike Schmoker
“Quit now. You’ll never make it. If you disregard this advice, you’re already halfway there.” ~Unknown
Common Core Resources:
Learn Zillion – This looks quite promising! LearnZillion is a learning platform that combines video lessons, assessments, and progress reporting. Each lesson highlights a Common Core standard. The site is completely free and advertises, “high quality, Common Core lessons you can use today” in both math and ELA. I have previewed several of the lessons and they appeared to be pretty solid. You can search by standard, domain, grade level, etc. to reveal what is available at the grade level/subject area you are teaching. Definitely worth a look:
Danielson Framework for Teaching Reminder:
Looking at Domain 3, Instruction;
Component 3a, Communicating with Students
In my first FF of the year, you may note that I started with Domain 2, rather than 1. Of course, Domain 1, “Planning & Preparation” is hugely important and I will circle back to that domain later, but I wanted to start on the two domains about which I am most passionate, Classroom Environment and, now, Instruction. Domain 3, Instruction, begins with the component, “Communicating with Students.” There are four “elements” within 3a:
1. Expectations for learning
2. Directions and procedures
3. Explanations of content
4. Use of oral and written language
Here is a quick glimpse at indicators of effectiveness in this area:
· Clarity of the purpose of the lesson
· Clear directions and procedures specific to the lesson activities
· Absence of content errors and clear explanations of concepts
· Students’ comprehension of content
· Correct and imaginative use of language
Strategy/Tool to Try:
Two quick ideas for this week:
One-Word Summaries– Ask students to write one word that summarizes the lesson’s topic, followed by three sentences that explain why they chose that word. These analyses help students isolate critical attributes of the event, lesson, story, procedure, experiment, etc.
Vocabulary Dice Game– Procedure for a game to use when reviewing vocabulary:
1) Teacher makes handout with instructions on what each number on the die means.
2) Teacher makes vocabulary cards.
3) Divide the class into groups.
4) Give each group a die and instruction paper.
5) Go over the instructions and give an example.
6) Students take turns tossing the die. Then they take a vocabulary card. Depending on their die, they have to either:
1 on the die: act it out
2 on the die: draw a picture of the word
3 on the die: create a sentence using the vocabulary word
4 on the die: create a question to ask the group using the vocabulary word
5 on the die: explain the vocabulary word w/o using the actual word and the group guesses the word.
6 on the die: student chooses between 1-5.