Gradual Release Model

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Many times as teachers we want to get to the student practice too quickly. We know the powerful influence a teacher can be on his or her students. Make a GREAT impact with the Gradual Release Model in your instruction this month.

  1. “I Do It” – teachers are deliberate in demonstrating exactly how to complete a task, skill or strategy
  2. “We Do It” – challenge and support the students, clarifying understanding, ask questions that take then to the next level
  3. “Ya’ll Do It”-  one more step that deepens understanding- before you do it, have students pair, and practice with a partner
  4. “You Do It”- independent practice
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Building a Growth Mindset School Culture

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This week we will begin reviewing  Chapter 2 in Mindsets in the Classroom, by Marcy Cay Ricci.   The focus in this chapter is to give ideas and to set goals as a grade level team, an entire staff, or school system to find out how to build a growth mindset culture.

  • Step 1: Reflect and Pre-assess
    • Share your beliefs about intelligences. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
      • Our intelligence is one of our fundamental traits.
      • We can all learn new things, but we cannot really change how smart we are.
  • Step 2: Educate Staff About the Malleability of the Brain
    • Share research about  developed intelligence.
      • Do we, as a society, believe in or demonstrate a growth mindset? Why or why not?
      • In what areas, personal or professional, do you have a fixed mindset? Why?
  • Step 3: Educate Staff About Praise for Students
    • When adults praise for what a student “is”, instead of what a student “does”, then they attribute their accomplishment to a fixed trait they were born with.
  • Step 4 : Educate Teachers About the Brainbrain-muscle
    • Connections to prior knowledge and experiences
    • The more connections made during a learning experience, the more physical changes occur in the brain by developing and strengthening neural paths.
  • Step 5: Teach Students About the Brain
    • Students realize that intelligence is not about a fixed number, a grade on a paper, or a report card. Intelligence is something that grows as you use it and languishes if you don’t.
  • Step 6: Educate Parents
    • Reflect on the way they speak to their kids.
      • Establish Look-Fors: Look for teacher and student growth mindset behaviors
      • Utilize PLC

The Final Step: Monitor, Evaluate, and Review School Protocols

Next month we will look at Chapter 3: Why is Differentiated Responsive Classroom Important to a Growth Mindset Culture?

 

 

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Chapter 3 Differentiated Responsive Classroom

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The mindset of a teacher contributes greatly to his or her ability to see the needs of students.  It you view a child through a deficit lens, the the child will not be given opportunities to grow.   Deficit thinking is making assumptions about a child’s  ability based on perceived deficits such as race, income status, or English language acquisition.

What is your definition of  ” Differentiation”.  Ask several of you colleagues and you will likely get five different responses.

differentiation
the way the a teacher responds to a student’s needs so that each student student is challenged at the appropriate level

What instructional structures are in place to guarantee a responsive learning environment in your classroom?

Step 1: Preview and Preassess- find out what students know about a particular skill, or concept, or topic planning for instruction. Previewing provides an opportunity for students to activate background knowledge and previous learning prior to a preassessment so that results will be a better reflection of what they understand. This should 5 minutes or less. Preassessment respects a student’s time and prior knowledge. Front-ed differentiation allows for teaches to provide an opportunity for students to accelerate within the content topic at the beginning of the learning sequence.

Step 2: Curriculum Compacting- was originally developed by Joseph Renzulli and Linda Smith.  This  instructional strategy streamlines grade-level curriculum by eliminating content that students have previously learned.  Compacting buys time for students to go deeper and wider into the content and/or accelerate to above-grade level indicators. The preassessment plays a major role in determining students who would benefit from curriculum compacting.  Look for other behaviors in the classroom that may give you a clue that a students need to be moved into a deeper understanding of the concepts.

  • show great interest or motivation in the area of study
  • finishes work early and accurately
  • expresses interest in in pursuing advanced topics
  • create their own diversions in class( filling their time with less productive behaviors)

Step 3: Flexible Grouping-maintaining flexible small groups across content areas is an essential component of a differentiated ,growth mind set class culture.  Evidence of grouping should be found in an any content area and at any grade level.  It may not be an everyday occurrence at the secondary level, but it should be an important component of the class structure and used routinely.

Step 4: Management- having clear expectations are the single most important aspect of managing multiple groups in the classroom.  Carol Ann Tomlinson, author of How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed Ability Classrooms, suggests the use of anchor activities.  These anchors should enrich the learning of the content being studied.  They are similar to centers but are typically available for the duration of a unit of study, a quarter or semester.

Step 5 Acceleration and Enrichment

 

Step 6 Formative Assessment

 

 

Key points

Provide opportunities for students to be challenged from the beginning. Be Responsive to their needs and the potential of all they can accomplish

 

 

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Depth of Knowledge (DOK)

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Depth of Knowledge, DOKs, are an important part of student achievement. They are especially useful in understanding content that is nationally tested: math, reading and science. They help both teachers and students to understand content at a deeper level. Most students’ depth of knowledge is at a level one. A DOK level 1 is surface level comprehension that is simply recall and reproduction.

teacher-student-thinking

Teachers can begin by asking Questions to differentiate, classify, make inferences, and check conceptual understanding. This will help students to explain relationships, sorts, and classifications.

Next teachers can provide examples and non-examples to build conceptual understanding. Students will be able to make comparisons, and distinguish example/non-example, relevant-irrelevant, and fact-opinion.

Teachers should use Graphic Organizers to show relationships or organizational schemes. This will help students to compile and organize information which creates a deeper understanding of knowledge.
Matching readers with texts is something that elementary teachers already do and that secondary teachers should think about. This strategy helps students to gradually increase their reading ability and helps them to navigate complex texts.

The “Think aloud” teacher strategy allows students to explore possible options and connections. It also explains the steps that are needed to complete a task.

Examples of Tasks

  • Math: Solving routine, multistep math word problems, interprets simple graphs and tables, retrieves information and uses it to solve a problem
  • Reading: Creating a timeline, retrieves information and uses it to solve a problem or answer a question
  • Science: Making observations, organizing data, using models, interprets simple graphs and tables, retrieves information and uses it to solve a problem or answer a question
  • Writing: Creating a caption, paragraph, summary, a survey and using models
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Mindsets in the Classroom Chapter 1

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MINDSETS IN THE CLASSROOM

When students believe that dedication and hard work can change their performance in school, they grow to become resilient, successful students.  As educators of Jordan School District we want to make sure that we have a growth mindset and believe in “ Every Child, Every Day”.mindset-in-the-classroom

Each month we will post ideas from the book , Mindsets in the Classroom, 2013 by Marcy Cay Ricci, that provides educators with ideas for ways to build a growth mindset school culture, wherein students are challenged to change their thinking about their  abilities and potentials.

Chapter 1 begins by supporting the idea that intelligence is malleable.  Dr. Carol Dweck, in her 2006 book , Mindset, The Psychology of Success  describes a belief system that learners with a growth mindset believe that  they can learn just about anything. It might take more time and effort, but they will get it.  An educator with a growth mindset believes that with effort and hard work from the learner, all students can demonstrate significant growth and all students deserve opportunities for challenges.

Growth Mindset Fixed Mindset
A belief system that suggests that one’s intelligence can be grown or developed with persistence, effort, and a focus on learning

A belief system that suggests a person has a predetermined amount of intelligence, skills or talents

 

Do you believe that intelligence is something you are born with? Do you believe that it cannot be changed?

 Dweck presents the idea that students in a fixed mindset is problematic at both ends of the continuum. For those students who struggle or do not perceive themselves as smart, it becomes a self-fulling prophecy.  Because they don’t really believe they can be successful and will often give up and not put forth the effort.  For those students who are advanced learners become consumed by “looking smart” at all costs. They may have coasted through school without really putting forth much effort, yet they are often praised for their  good grades and strong skills. Often students with a fixed mindset will start avoiding situations where they may fail;they can become” risk adverse” or blames outside forces when failure occurs.

Please check back next month and we will look at Chapter 2, “What are some ways to begin building a growth mindset culture”

 

 

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Hattie’s Mindframes

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We all teach, lead and learn under different Mindframes. They envelop our personal lives as well as into our professional conversations. John Hattie and Peter Dewitt have written about the Mindframes our students need for learning. Those Mindframes are equally as important for teachers and school leaders as well.

Check out the video below to see more about these Mindframes.

Hattie’s Mindframes (now there are 10)

  1. I am an evaluator
  2. I am a change agent
  3. I talk about learning and not about teaching
  4. I see assessment as feedback to me
  5. I engage in dialogue and not monologue
  6. I enjoy challenge
  7. I engage in positive relationships
  8. I use the language of learning
  9. I see learning as hard work
  10. I collaborate

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Balance

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This is something that often eludes me as I work through my day. Where does the time go?

One of my all-time favorite pieces on Tchers’ Voice is Sarah Brown Wessling’s blog post, A Letter to My Children: What it Means to be a Teacher. Throughout the post, Sarah shares the struggles and sacrifices that we all make as we attempt to meet the needs of not only our biological children, but also all of the smiling faces that walk through our doors every day. As a single father, coach, and teacher, this piece really hit home. Being a teacher is a balancing act. And that’s especially true if you’re a teacher leader.

Whenever I’m asked why I became an educator, my answer is short and sweet: “Because I want to change the world.” Not that I’m naïve enough to believe that my work will achieve world peace, but I have faith that there are enough like-minded souls spread throughout the globe to make a significant difference. Some of us are blessed with the opportunity to possess a leadership role within our profession. And it’s tough! Not only do we have to ensure a quality education to our own students, but we also have an obligation to provide support and resources to our colleagues.

So how do we find balance? Well, when you figure that out, please let me know!

While I do joke about it, there is truth to my previous statement. Even those of us that have lived a dual life for several years struggle at times. That being said, I’d like to share some of the lessons I’ve learned with you.

Classroom First

Even though I may wear multiple hats, my greatest daily professional responsibility is to the young people that enter my classroom every day. While it may not be the most glamorous aspect of my workday, their future is, in small part, directly in my hands. My 80 13-year-olds have faith that I’m going to bring my A game every day, regardless of last evening’s webinar or this afternoon’s board presentation. I’m a teacher first, a “leader” second.

Myopic vs. Global View

My first personal conversation with Sarah Brown Wessling centered on what it meant to be a Teaching Channel Laureate. I had to accept that I would have a direct impact on fewer students throughout the day as I’d have other responsibilities. However, she also mentioned that if I was a successful teacher leader, I would indirectly impact an exponential number of students outside of my classroom. There is a trade off.

Smart Scheduling

During my first year as a Laureate, I tried to see 120 students every other day. On my “off” day, a cooperating teacher was with the students. It proved to be horribly inefficient and forced me to creatively look at how I could maximize my time as a classroom instructor. I worked with the counselor to build a schedule that allows for me to see four groups of students every day. I come to school, teach four consecutive periods (no prep plan or lunch), and then work on external projects for the remainder of the day.

Technology Is Your Friend

Using an online classroom in conjunction with your brick and mortar classroom is an awesome way of remaining in touch with your students. In the past, I used Moodle to collaborate with my middle school students. Today, I use a variety of Google Apps to collaborate with my classes in real-time when I’m away from school. My students aren’t left dangling in the wind and I’m reassured that things are good back home.

Classroom Content: Leverage One Against The Other

As you find and/or develop tools for other educators to use within their learning spaces, don’t forget to keep your own classroom in mind. As a teacher leader, you have likely had additional training, as well as time to explore curriculum, practices, and other resources that apply to your own setting. Develop a system to catalogue these resources for later use.

Networking: Leverage One Against The Other

Once you have a title or have worked on a couple of projects, people will come out of the woodwork seeking to speak to you, especially if you choose to utilize professional networking websites, like LinkedIn. While many are looking for a sale, some are looking for an opportunity to partner on a project. See my blog post “Shifting Your Professional Network into the 21st Century,” to learn more about some wonderful opportunities that have come my way as a result of networking.

Find Time To Be A Lifelong Learner

I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to lead quite a few professional development experiences over the past few years. While this is great and I’ve had many wonderful workshops, I’ve found it difficult to make time for my own PD. To help mitigate this deficiency, I’ve developed a skill of opening up part of each workshop so the participants have an opportunity to share out on a given topic. Not only do their ideas help my thoughts evolve, but the teachers participating share exemplar resources that I note for exploration at a later date. Additionally, learn to take advantage of your position. Leverage your role within the educational system to open the door for amazing opportunities. See my blog post “Prepare for NGSS: Immerse Yourself in Authentic Science Research,” to learn more about potential avenues for high quality professional development.

As always, I’d love to hear about your experiences as a teacher leader. If you have any questions, suggestions, tips, or tricks, please feel free to post them below.

I’m looking forward to “getting better together.”

Tom Jenkins teaches both middle school science and STEM in Enon, Ohio. He is a NASA SOFIA Airborne Astronomy Ambassador, Manager of Special Projects at the Dayton Regional STEM Center, and is the Boeing Science Teacher Laureate for Teaching Channel. 

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Teaching A Quality Lesson

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One of the most challenging components of teaching a quality lesson is the ability to format and ask questions.  Below are listed some areas in the lesson when questions can be used to promote student learning and understanding.

WHEN TO ASK QUESTIONS

We use questions at the beginning of learning experiences:

  • To initiate a discussion
  • To pique student curiosity
  • To focus students on a new concept or a different aspect of a concept
  • To access prior knowledge and experience
  • To consolidate previous learning
  • To surface misconceptions

We use questions during and following learning experiences:

  • To break down complex tasks and issues
  • To promote transfer and retention
  • To control shifts in discussion
  • To keep discussions on track
  • To invite student questions
  • To elicit student opinions
  • To promote student interaction
  • To facilitate flexible thinking
  • To challenge the obvious
  • To check for student understanding
  • To help students confront their misconceptions and reframe their thinking
  • To focus on process
  • To promote student evaluation of credibility of sources and strength of evidence
  • To cause students to consider alternative viewpoints
  • To help students make connections

 

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First Five Minutes of a Lesson

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5New teachers are generally stressed about JPAS. Here are some ideas that will help.

First Five Minutes of a Lesson

  • State behavior objectives – I need …. (JPAS Indicator 12)
  • State objective or I can statement – have students chorally read it (Indicator 25)
  • Tell students why it is important to learn this!!!!! HOOK (Indicator 17)
  • Make connections to what they are learning Give examples! (Indicator 17)
  • Teach Lesson Continue to monitor students to keep them on task
  • Re state objective (Indicator 25)
  • Self-assessment on understanding (indicators 53, 54, 40, 48)
  • thumbs up/down, 1-2-3 under the chin, ‘Fist of Five’
  • Self-assessment on the student’s personal behavior
  • thumbs up/down, 1-2-3 under, the chin, ‘Fist of Five’ (indicators 53, 43)

Just a Heads UP!  The JPAS class is an awesome class and well worth your time!  Also check out the JPAS website at http://jes.jordandistrict.org/

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Welcome Back

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Welcome Back to School!

Top Dozen To-Do

Before School Starts by Leslie McCourt-Nussman

  1. Plan seating assignments (i.e. random, numbered, and alphabetical).
  2. Determine essential procedures for a smooth-running classroom.
  3. Over plan!
  4. Gather lots of teambuilding activities to be used early & during the year. This creates the warm at home feeling of your classroom.
  5. Post your discipline plan, including rules and consequences. Create these with your class. The students will buy into the classroom rules if you do this in the beginning.
  6. Identify a location in your classroom to post your daily agenda, and bell ringer.
  7. Create a daily routine for the first five minutes of class.
  8. Anticipate and prepare all supplies needed (dry erase markers, corridor passes, stapler, etc.).
  9. Organize and prepare your classroom so it is ready for learning.
  10. Think of ways to learn your student’s names quickly (i.e. mnemonics, pictures, etc.).
  11. Introduce yourself to the teachers next door and across the hail.
  12. Commit to connecting with each student on a daily basis (eye contact, greetings, acknowledgements, quick notes, high fives).
  13. Create the warm atmosphere in your room with important getting to know you activities that engage your students. I am including a couple for you to use in your classroom this week.

Remember if your first day was not the way you wanted it to go. Re-evaluate and start again with some of these items in mind. Students will respond with some guidance in place and knowing that you care about them. Resources here in Jordan School District- you may want to participate in Classroom Management Courses taught by Buddy Alger and Brian King. You may sign up through JPLS.

Here are more “getting started” ideas and activities.

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