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From Ian Byrd’s Website:  www.byrdseed.com/tickling-curosity/ 

Ian Byrd’s website has some interesting articles on questioning. In the article link above, he uses the students’ curiosity to teach them how to create questions. This technique could be taught as early as third grade and would work well in middle and high school.

Ian Bryd states, “School is often, quite strangely, not a place where students feel comfortable being curious. But you can change that with a determined and consistent effort…by intentionally promoting curiosity as a classroom habit.”

In his first step he uses a binder titled ‘The Book of Unanswered Questions’.  He wants his students to be actively curious, make them aware that they don’t know everything, and understand that some answers are findable and some are not. Ian goes on to explain that if you just say, “Write your questions in this book,” it’s dead in the water. Like anything complex, we’ve got to scaffold it through modeling and structured participation.

Scaffolding is his next step. He starts by demonstrating curiosity by bringing in an image, video, song, or object that is interesting, yet creates authentic questions.

He uses questions like; How long….., What else……, I wonder….., Why do you think…..  Next he gives students a chance to ask questions and then directs them to the ‘Book of Unanswered Questions’. The book is about questions that he wants them to find out on their own and share the next day in class. At the beginning of this process he expects that one student will come the next day with the answer. Ian suggests that the teacher spends a few minutes on this daily.

Step three is connecting the ‘The Book of Unanswered Questions’ to your curriculum: social studies, science, literacy, and even math, etc. Eventually, everyday his students write an unanswered question and put it in the book.

His last step in using the ‘Book of Unanswered Questions’  is to help students to ponder which questions have answers and which ones need more pondering.

Check out Ian Bryd’s website!  www.byrdseed.com   His ideas on teaching students to ask interesting questions are engaging and impactful!

 

 

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From Ian Byrd’s Website:  www.byrdseed.com

http://www.byrdseed.com/to-differentiate-lower-floors-and-raise-ceilings/

Ian Byrd writes interesting articles on teaching children.  His website has numerous, helpful ideas on differentiating instruction. In the article link above, he clarifies that a low floor is an easy task and a high floor is a difficult task. Byrd compares it to Tic Tac Toe and Chess. He states, “We want tasks with low floors so many students can get started easily…The ceiling is the potential room for a task to grow…. One is easy to master and the other one you could play for a lifetime and still learn more.” Byrd goes on to say that a skilled teacher can lower a floor on any task. A teacher does this through modeling, guided practice, scaffolding, feedback, and proximity.

Ian Byrd believes that it should be the teacher’s goal to develop tasks that all students can get started with, but that also scale up for students who are ready for more: Differentiation! Start with your highest-ability students first, then figure out how to get everyone else started.

Assigning students more is not the best way to differentiate.  More math problems for an advanced student in Math is ‘busy work’! Byrd reminds us that it is really hard to raise the ceiling on a worksheet, but it’s easy to lower the floor on a research project!

Check out Ian Byrd’s website.  His ideas on differentiating instruction for students are extremely useful.

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2010

Doug Lemov calls his strategies techniques. He believes that a technique is an action, the more you practice the better you get.  “My task has not been to invent the tools but to describe how others use them and what makes them work. This has meant putting the names on the techniques in the interest of helping to create a common vocabulary with which to analyze and discuss the classroom.”

Chapter 2 describes seven techniques. Three of them are; Begin with the End, Shortest Path, and draw the Map.

The technique, ‘Begin with the End’, or as we promote in JSD (JPAS indicator 25), “What will my students understand today?” (page 58), specifically tells students what they should know by the end of the lesson.

The Shortest Path is about taking the shortest path to your goal or in JSD one method is I/We/You. “Use what the data tell you works best, but when in doubt rely on proven direct, trustworthy methods…. criterion is the mastery of the objective and what gets you there best and fastest” (page 65).

Draw the map is about effective planning of student participation during a lesson. This includes the arrangement of student desks, interactions with students during the lesson and positive student participation. In JSD this technique on the JPAS is called Engagement. “It might be that a teacher wants students facing each other only for some lessons…interaction for only a part of a lesson…without structuring the classroom so that some students always have their backs to the teacher” (pages 67-68).

 

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Lemov – 2010

Teach Like a Champion

People, in general, sometimes think that managing students comes naturally to teachers. That opinion can change for the better or worse when parents volunteer in their child’s classroom. When teachers teach like a champion, they garner love and respect from their students and parents. As Jordan District mentors, we want to encourage all teachers to learn how to teach like a “champion.”

Our district motto is “Every Child, Every Day!”

Several times this year we will post ideas from the book, Teach Like a Champion, 2010 by Doug Lemov, that provides educators with ideas on how to improve their management skills.

The first chapter begins with teaching strategies (techniques) that set high academic expectations. The techniques in this chapter include No Opt Out, Right is Right, Stretch It, Format Matters, and Without Apology.

“No Opt Out” teaches students that their teacher cares enough to help them learn the right answer and that saying “I don’t know” doesn’t give them a pass to not learn what the answer is.

Doug Lemov reflects on advice he received from his mentor, “When you want them to follow your directions, stand still. If you’re walking around passing out papers, it looks like the directions are no more important than all of the other things you’re doing. Show that your directions matter. Stand still. They’ll respond.”  This is an example of “Format Matters”.

 

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Some thoughts about the first days of school:

  • 1st day of school will make or break a teacher
  • Effective teachers manage the classroom more than discipline the classroom
  •  Establish a well-managed classroom
    • Students deeply involved with their work
    • Students know expectations
    • Students are generally successful
    • Little wasted time, confusion, or disruptions
    • Climate of class is task-oriented but relaxed and pleasant
    • You as the teacher will be happier
  • Main problem in classroom is lack of procedures & routines
    • Explain, rehearse, reinforce
    • Effective teachers spend time rehearsing routines
  • Design a Successful Start
    • Have room ready--be at the door and smile
    • You have assigned seats—Project on screen
    • 1st assignment on the board—short, interesting, easy
    • Have students start work immediately
    • If student enters room inappropriately, have the student return to door and enter again appropriately
    • Learn students’ names
  • Plan Routines and Procedures
    • Have room ready
    • You are at the door
    • You have assigned seats—Project on screen
    • 1st assignment on the board—short, interesting, easy
    • Students start work immediately
    • If student enters room inappropriate, have student return to door and enter again appropriately
  • Classroom Management Plan
    • 3-5 measurable, specific, positive rules
    • Examples: a compliance rule, a preparation rule, a talking rule, a classroom behavior rule
    • Plan appropriate rewards; have a hierarchy of consequences
  • Be Professional 
  • Adhere to contract hours
  • Dress professionally
  • Computer belongs to school; do not use inappropriately
  • Start Student Learning on Day One
    • Make sure students understand this is a learning environment   
    • Go through routines, rules, and procedures
    • Go over “I Can” statement (objective) every day
  • Curriculum Map/Lesson Plan
  • Develop a yearlong curriculum map based on core standards
  • Develop lesson plans that navigate through the class and reflect on map                    
  • Take Care of Yourself
  • Take care of your heath; better to prevent than to treat
  • Know how to call for a substitute
  • Develop an emergency substitute plan and leave on desk every night
  • A happy teacher smiles more and makes better choices

 

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reflecting on learningThe end of the year for new teachers brings with it many feelings of excitement and apprehension. As mentor's working with our faculty we can help build a knowledge base by informing and reminding our teachers of the following items:

  • Discuss the end of the year procedures: graduation, locker clean out, book check-in,field trips, etc.
  • Discuss end of the year procedures for teachers: turning in books, keys, preparing classroom, etc.
  • Discuss concerns and student motivation
  • Discuss stress relief
  • Discuss the schools policy on student retention and the procedure for recommending that a student repeat a grade if necessary, remind of parent notification guidelines in your school.
  • If your Mentee does not get renewed for next year, offer support, possibly a letter of recommendation, help them to be reflective and prepare a resume for the job search.
  • Work with the Mentee to compile a list of the most worthwhile activities and topics to use next year.
  • Encourage Independence with your Mentee:
  • Discuss items they would not repeat next year, and make notes for planning with a year end self assessment and help him/ her get a head start for next year.
  • Review the budget or items the teacher will need to turn into the Department Chair if applicable.
  • Discuss professional development opportunities in the summer they may want to participate in.
  • Recall the reflection phase of teaching and discuss with the Teacher Mentee
  • Discuss and compliment the Mentee's growth this year
  • Assist with common practices in getting the classroom ready for next year in your building.
  • Discuss the transition to the next year. Will there be a new mentor? Will you be there next year to Mentor?
  • Remember to update your Mentor spreadsheet
  • Recognize and celebrate the successful moments, and the end of this year with your Mentee.

    Questions For Reflection

  • What are some things you accomplished this year that you are proud of?
  • What is something you tried in your classroom this year for the first time? How did it go?
  • What is something you found particularly frustrating this year?
  • Which student in your class do you think showed the most improvement? Why do you think this student did so well?
  • What is something you would change about this year if you could?
  • What is one way that you grew professionally this year?
  • questionsWho amongst your colleagues was the most helpful to you?
  • What has caused you the most stress this year?
  • When was a time this year that you felt joyful and/or inspired about the work that you do?
  • What do you hope your students remember most about you as a teacher?
  • In what ways were you helpful to your colleagues this year?
  • What was the most valuable thing you learned this year?
  • What was the biggest mistake you made this year? How can you avoid making the same mistake in the future?
  • What is something you did this year that went better than you thought it would?
  • What part of the school day is your favorite? Why?
  • What were your biggest organizational challenges this year?
  • Who was your most challenging student? Why?
  • In what ways did you change the lives of your students this year?
  • What professional development do I need to participate in during the summer?
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owl holding heart Teachers online share the joys of teaching. It is those small moments with students that give us JOY!

“I teach because if I make the difference in the life of one little boy or girl, I have made an impact on the world.”

“I teach because when I teach I learn…and I LOVE to LEARN.”

“Each day I not only live, but I love, laugh, and learn. This is why I teach.”

"As a teacher I can relate to the Love and Joy of teaching students!"

Contest Rules:

  • Write a paragraph about why you teach.
  • Share the Joy and Love of teaching students!
  • Include your name, school and grade level.
  • Email your entry to: patricia.bennett@jordandistrict.org
  • Contest ends March 1, 2017
  • Winners’ paragraphs will be posted with permission on the Mentor teacher website.
  • Prizes will be presented to the Winners
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I DO, WE DO, YOU DO, YALL DO

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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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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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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