6 Ways to Honor the Learning Process in Your Classroom. Roughly put, learning is really just a growth in awareness. The transition from not knowing to knowing is part of it, but that's really too simple because it misses all the degrees of knowing and not knowing. One can't ever really, truly understand something any more than a shrub can stay trimmed. There's always growth or decay, changing contexts or conditions. Understanding is the same way. It's fluid. Yes, this sounds silly and esoteric, but think about it. While morsels of information -- math theorems, for example -- may not change, the context in which students use them do change. In fact, so little of the learning process is unchanging. Design, engineering, religion, media, literacy, human rights, geography, technology, science -- all of these have changed both in form and connotation in the last decade, with changes in one (i.e., technology) changing how we think of another (i.e., design).
And thus changing how students use this skill or understanding. The Implications of Awareness. Projects to Engage Middle School Readers. It's my fault. I'll admit it. During my eight years in the classroom, I ruined at least two amazing literary works by assigning horrifically dull reading projects. My only hope is that those middle school students, whose enthusiasm I quashed, found another way to become passionate about literature.
Peanuts raises some interesting questions about the value of reading projects. Does Lucy clearly articulate her understanding of Peter Rabbit? Does Schroeder have a solid grasp on the concept of narrative? Will Charlie Brown ever want to read another book? In middle school, we ask students to dissect texts and perform literary analysis. Demonstrate understanding of the plot elementsExplore the role of tone and themeIdentify significant scenes or events and their impact on the storyAnalyze a character and show an understanding of that character's motivationsExplain the relationship between the author's life and the story . . . does it have to be an essay or book report?
Book Trailers Podcasts. An Interview with Grant Wiggins: The Power of Backwards Design. When Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe wrote Understanding by Design (UbD) they did what no other educator had ever accomplished. They unequivocally cast assessment in the central role of teaching and learning by making the forceful argument that testing should not be the afterthought of instruction, but the central point of instruction. After all, how do we know students have learned anything after we have taught them if we don't assess them on what we hope they have learned?
Since Dr. Wiggins helped Dr. McTighe write UbD a while ago, I was curious to know how much progress we as educators have made since then. So I asked him. As a result, I had a very encouraging chat with Dr. Edutopia: Dr. Grant Wiggins: Elementary teachers seem to do a much better job of this than secondary.
Edutopia: What are some ways to get around that difficulty? Grant Wiggins: Formative assessments are not just for the students...the teachers also must have continual feedback to guide their instruction. Letting Go in the Classroom. When we consider constructivist teaching, or a constructivist approach to learning, what comes to mind? For me, I see Socrates standing not in the center, but to the side of his students. I imagine him pondering their comments and questions, and carefully crafting questions of his own, which he contributes -- selectively.
Most importantly, he doesn't lead, but follows the line of questioning of the students. That's really what it's all about: being an questioner, an investigator side-by-side with your students. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have a solid lesson plan ready to go each day, but we should be ready -- and willing -- for the students to take the class into unchartered waters. Let me give you an example from my own teaching experience. Day one, we watched a video excerpt on Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat, and read a passage from the play, "The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail. " Then, the students began talking about racial profiling and wouldn't move on. Need I say it? Middle School Messenger - Lesson Design. You are not a member of this wiki. Join now Dismiss guest Join | Help | Sign In Middle School Messenger Home guest| Join | Help | Sign In Turn off "Getting Started" Loading...
Making the Most Out of Teacher Collaboration. Nose to the grindstone, I prepared for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday -- what to teach, what to test, and how to learn. I gave it my best shot, alone. I was the only Spanish teacher. What did I have to say to teachers of other disciplines? Other than collegial greetings, I did not seek them out. I remember feeling so frustrated about classroom discipline that I had decided to teach college instead of high school. Nope, I was intent on saving the world by myself. A lot of help! Avoiding Teacher Isolation Perhaps I am an extreme example of what not to do, but I have witnessed a general sense that teachers, when it comes to their performance in the classroom, tend to stick to themselves.
Personal Steps to Effective Collaboration If I had it to do again, this is what I would do to get the most out of my formal and informal collaborations with other teachers: Build relationships Observe the best Ask questions Share Come prepared Preparation is Key What does this add up to? Open Educational Resources (OER): Resource Roundup. Resources by Topic: OER, a part of the global open content movement, are shared teaching, learning, and research resources available under legally recognized open licenses -- free for people to reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute.
Why are OER important? High-quality OER can save teachers significant time and effort on resource development and advance student learning inside and outside the classroom. Further, open sharing of resources has the potential to fuel collaboration, encourage the improvement of available materials, and aid in the dissemination of best practices. Getting Started Sharing Resources The nonprofit Creative Commons offers free, easy-to-use copyright licenses that allow you to specify which rights to your works you want to reserve and which rights you'd like to waive. Quality Considerations With all the promise of OER, some challenges remain. Back to Top How to Find OER Open Lesson Plans, Courses, and Activities Open Alternatives to Textbooks.
Resources and Downloads for Differentiated Instruction. Tips for downloading: PDF files can be viewed on a wide variety of platforms -- both as a browser plug-in or a stand-alone application -- with Adobe's free Acrobat Reader program. Click here to download the latest version of Adobe Reader. Click on any title link below to view or download that file. Resources On This Page: Lesson Plans & Rubric - Reteach and Enrich Sample materials used to teach, assess, reteach, and enrich one week's fifth grade math objective: differentiating prime and composite numbers.
Watch our video or read the article to learn more about Mesquite's Reteach & Enrich program. Back to Top Tools for Data Assessment Teachers at Mesquite meet weekly with the student achievement teacher to review the most recent assessment data and plan instruction for each student accordingly. 5th Grade Math Formative Assessment Tracking Sheet Sample spreadsheet used to track student performance on each objective. Culture Websites & Readings. Classroom Guide: Top Ten Tips for Assessing Project-Based Learning (now available in Spanish!) Facebook Edutopia on Facebook Twitter Edutopia on Twitter Google+ Pinterest Edutopia on Pinterest WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation What's Inside the PDF?
Keep It Real with Authentic Products Don’t Overlook Soft Skills Learn from Big Thinkers Use Formative Strategies to Keep Projects on Track Gather Feedback -- Fast Focus on Teamwork Track Progress with Digital Tools Grow Your Audience Do-It-Yourself Professional Development Assess Better Together BONUS TIP: How to Assemble Your PBL Tool Kit. Doing It Differently: Tips for Teaching Vocabulary. Every Monday my seventh grade English teacher would have us copy a list of 25 words she'd written on the board. We'd then look up the dictionary definitions and copy those down. For homework, we'd re-write each word seven times. Good, now you know it. Test on Friday and never for those 25 words to be seen again. Poof. Old school, yes.
Copying definitions from the dictionary we would probably all agree is not an effective way to learn vocabulary. The truth is, and the research shows, students need multiple and various exposures to a word before they fully understand that word and can apply it. Selecting Words Ah, so many words, so little time. My first year teaching, before my tenth graders began reading Lord of the Flies, I went through every chapter and made lists of all the vocabulary words I thought they'd have trouble with, so that I could pre-teach them. When I looked at those long lists, I began to freak out. Then, here's what to do after the students pick their own words: Resources. Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement. A while back, I was asked, "What engages students?
" Sure, I could respond, sharing anecdotes about what I believed to be engaging, but I thought it would be so much better to lob that question to my own eighth graders. The responses I received from all 220 of them seemed to fall under 10 categories, representing reoccuring themes that appeared again and again. So, from the mouths of babes, here are my students' answers to the question: "What engages students?
" 1. Working with their peers "Middle-school students are growing learners who require and want interaction with other people to fully attain their potential. " "Teens find it most interesting and exciting when there is a little bit of talking involved. 2. "I believe that when students participate in "learning by doing" it helps them focus more. "We have entered a digital age of video, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and they [have] become more of a daily thing for teens and students. 3. "I believe that it all boils down to relationships. 4. LEARN NC.
Inclusion in the 21st-century classroom: Differentiating with technology - Reaching every learner: Differentiating instruction in theory and practice. In this video, students in a gifted classroom use the multi-user learning environment Quest Atlantis to explore issues related to the creation of a game reserve in Tanzania. Interviews with the teacher and students offer perspectives on the value of using virtual worlds in the classroom . About the videoDownload video (Right-click or option-click) The diversity of the 21st-century classroom creates numerous challenges for teachers who may not have known the same diversity themselves as students. Among these, teachers must balance the requirements of high-stakes accountability while meeting the needs of diverse students within their classroom. The 26th Annual Report to Congress on IDEA reported that approximately ninety-six percent of general education teachers have students in their classroom with learning disabilities.
This is not a surprising statistic, considering there are over six million students with disability classifications in the United States. Setting the scope Microsoft Word. Taking Developmental Considerations Into Consideration - Coach G's Teaching Tips. Integrated Studies Research: Evidence-Based Practices and Programs. Evidence points to seven key approaches to integrating curricula that have been shown to be effective. In this section, we describe seven approaches to integrating subjects, along with recommended practices and programs that have been shown to benefit learning: Science and Literacy It's not enough just to know about science; scientists also have to be able to describe their observations, explain what they know, and debate with others, using sound evidence and reasoning.
When science and literacy lessons are integrated, students demonstrate greater skill in all of these areas (Cervetti, Pearson, Barber, Hiebert, and Bravo, 2007). Back to Top Science and the Environment Classrooms can integrate learning across different subjects within a school, as well as beyond school walls. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math For research findings on ways to integrate technology in science contexts, don't miss Edutopia's research review of technology integration practices for inquiry science. Let Tech Organize Your Teaching. By now, many new and veteran teachers are settling into the routine of the new school year.
Hopefully, the back-to-school anxiety levels have subsided and classrooms are alive with learning. Notice that I said "hopefully. " Speaking as someone who spent nine years in the classroom, this was usually the point in the year where I started to feel unorganized and scattered. I had a plan, scope and sequence, but still felt like my organizational methods were beginning to spiral. This feeling occurred in classrooms where I had technology at my disposal and classrooms where I did not.
Rest assured, there are ways to organize and simplify your classroom. Email As I mentioned above, email has become a constant in the life of every teacher and administrator. Another great feature of the Mailbox app is that it's fully integrated with Dropbox. Files For years, teachers have "saved as" to the "my documents" folder on their computers. Remembering Everything. 7 Apps for Teaching Children Coding Skills.
It's hard to imagine a single career that doesn't have a need for someone who can code. Everything that "just works" has some type of code that makes it run. Coding (a.k.a. programming) is all around us. That's why all the cool kids are coding . . . or should be. Programming is not just the province of pale twenty-somethings in skinny jeans, hunched over three monitors, swigging Red Bull. Not any more! If you're concerned that that a) elementary school students don't have the ability to code, b) there's no room in the curriculum, and c) you don't possess coding chops to teach programming skills, throw out those worries.
In no particular order, we have listed all the coding apps that are appropriate for young learners. GameStar Mechanic Platform: WebCost: $2 per student GameStar Mechanic teaches kids, ages 7-14, to design their own video games. Scratch Platform: WebCost: Free! Tynker Platform: WebCost: Free! Move the Turtle Hopscotch Platform: iPadCost: Free! Daisy the Dinosaur Cargo-Bot.
Teaching Strategies. Resources and Downloads for Teaching Critical Thinking. Kipp-criticalthinking-toolsforct-socraticseminarconnectors.pdf. 76534_1.pdf. Resources and Downloads for Differentiated Instruction. Resources and Lesson Plans for Social and Emotional Learning. 11 Tips on Teaching Common Core Critical Vocabulary. Training Teachers to Teach Critical Thinking. Ten Takeaway Tips for Teaching Critical Thinking. Doing It Differently: Tips for Teaching Vocabulary. 8 Tips and Tricks to Redesign Your Classroom. ReMaking Education: Designing Classroom Makerspaces for Transformative Learning. Engaged Teaching: "Do Now" Activities for Your Lessons. 7 Tips for Better Classroom Management. The Power of the Morning Meeting: 5 Steps Toward Changing Your Classroom and School Culture.
News and Information for Teacher Leaders. Teachers: Staying Positive in Trying Times. The Alot is Better Than You at Everything. Six Scaffolding Strategies to Use with Your Students.