Friday, May 12, 2017

Student Choice

The only constant in teaching is change. For educators one thing stays constant: We care for children. Our classroom culture comes from the amount of compassion we have for our students.

What is one way to build that caring and compassionate culture in your classroom? Giving student a choice and voice in their learning. Choice starts with differentiation. Differentiation is defined by the Training and Development Agency for Schools as:"the process by which differences between learners are accommodated so that all students in a group have the best possible chance of learning." When we allow students choice and voice in our classrooms we are automatically differentiating our instruction. Providing student choice in the classroom is a form of student-centered and differentiated teaching that is intended to increase the student’s level of learning and sense of ownership. Here are some very easy ways to get started:

  1. Pole your students to find out where their interest are
  2. Teams Concept
  3.  Think-Alouds 
  4.  Assessing Their Needs and Wants
  5.  Project Options
Choice Boards, Menus, and App Dice 

Using menus in the classroom will 
  • Give students choices for proving mastery of objectives
  • Can reach various levels of questioning & Blooms Taxonomy 
  • Allows for differentiation of instruction and modification without singling out students. 
Lets look at some of my favorite choice menus, boards, and app dice. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The 4 C's: Is it Really That Hard?

Sometimes the thought of changing the way we teach is a little overwhelming. It is our job as educators to prepare our students to become 21 century learners. What exactly does a future ready student look like? A future ready student is someone who is creative, can communicate with peers, think critically, and collaborate with others. Let's look at some very simple ways you can change your classroom in order to encourage this type of learning by doing very little work!

  • Evaluate Simple Classroom Practices

  1. Spark student creativity by evaluating your perspective on questioning, prompting, grading, etc. For example, do you give your students a question or task that requires a yes or no answer? Try giving them an open ended response or task instead. 
  2. Evaluate your rubrics. Are you telling students what application to use to complete their work, or are you allowing them choice? You can try using choice menus and app dice with your students. 
  3. Does your current seating arrangement allow your students to be in a collaborative environment? Are your desk in rows or groups? Is your classroom a comfortable environment that promotes safe communication and collaboration?

  • Evaluate your basic classroom practices and instructional strategies. Below are just a few ideas that you can take into your classroom tomorrow. 

  1. Blended learning is when you combine technology with traditional instruction. For example, instead of having students draw the water cycle have them make it out of Play-Doh. Once they create the model from Play-Doh have them turn it into a stop motion picture using the stop motion app. You could also create stop motion videos using iMovie. 
  2. Reader's responses and note taking can be done using book snaps via Seesaw and Emojis
  3. Vocabulary doesn't need to be just copying definitions and memorizing flash cards. Try having students create a collaborative Frayer Model, student built interactive word walls using QR codes, memes, play games, etc. 
  4. Do you just stand in front of your classroom and lecture to your students? Try flipping your lessons using Seesaw. Take your students on a virtual field trip. Use different platforms for presentations besides Power Point. Try delivering your lessons via Padlet so students can comment and collaborate. Hook your audience with a simple meme, video, scenario. Teach your lesson through a hands on Breakout EDU game. 
  5.  Use a back channel with Today's Meet 
  6.  Remix your classroom jobs. Have a student in charge of managing the daily lesson back channel. Assign a student a role of tweeting out the key topics from the lesson. Assign a student to create tutorial videos in Seesaw for students and parents to watch. 
  7.  Have your students brainstorm topics that they want to learn more about. Try to integrate these topics into your lessons. As extension activities throughout the year, let your students extend their knowledge on the topic by completing research and projects. This will allow to make real world connections and problem solve. 

Student Choice

The only constant in teaching is change. For educators one thing stays constant: We care for children. Our classroom culture comes from the ...