Saturday, July 23, 2016

Uncle Sam and Constitution Day...September Dates!

September celebrates two key American Symbols.
First on September 13th Uncle Sam.
This packet is filled with activities embedded in curriculum to introduce this special figure.

On September 16th  (17th) we celebrate Constitution day.
Most every school is now responsible for preparing information for its students about the Constitution. No need to fear with this lively packet.
It focuses on the constitution as well as the Bill of Rights.

Friday, July 22, 2016

ABC's of Successful Teaching...YOU!

Thanks for following along everyone!
I hope these have been helpful.
Thinking of you all as you prepare for the 2016 - 2017 school year!!
Find them here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

ABC's of Successful Teaching...R,S,T=U!!

No words of wisdom today ONLY things I have found helpful to make this happen.

Just two days left and I hope you will take a minute to visit.
V for Volunteers
FREE volunteer forms.
Freebies to help you stay organized and on track as you move into the 2016/2017 school year!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The ABC's of Successful Teaching...Questioning!

Why do you ask questions in your classroom?

  • To check where everyone is in completing the assignment
  • To assess mastery of concepts 
  • To assure the class is ready to move to the assignment presented or next task 
  • To actively involve students in reviewing concepts or information presented
These are all important but one thing that I think is key to the importance of questioning is:
Asking questions that require the student to go beyond a right or wrong answer.  In doing this we help develop students who are critical thinkers.

Key things to remember.
I have always been a firm believer that by asking QUESTIONS we keep students actively involved in the lesson especially if we call on all students and not just those with their hand raised.  I like to use a cup with sticks and students names on them BUT after a student's name is drawn they go right back in the cup so the student doesn't assume...I already got called on I am don't have to think anymore!  This also avoids the same person answering the questions over and over again.

Use a simple cup and colored sticks with students names. 
Or if you number your students this will work.
All you need is a frosting tub and I like to use the plain thicker craft stick and paste the laminated numbers on the top.

The numbers go to 30.
There are also some blank ones if you wish to add student names.
Provide WAIT TIME for the student to answer.
While you are providing WAIT TIME if the student seems completely lost ask more questions to lead them to the answer.  Some students may say they do not know to get out of answering.  BEWARE of this!!
Example:  You ask the question "What was the setting for this story?"
Share one thing that happened in the story?  Where did that take place?
Remember the setting is places the story took place.
Give praise but keep it low key.  More important acknowledge that the answer was correct.
If we say for one student "YES!! OUTSTANDING!" and the next "VERY GOOD!"  Some kiddos may think their answer was not as valued.
I like to say...
You're right
Thumbs Up...whole class give thumbs up if want
Instead of beginning the question with "WHO CAN"   or  "WHO KNOWS" pose the question beginning with...
"Let's think about"
"Who, what, where, when, why"
When I first began understanding the importance of questions in the classroom I often wrote key questions to ask at the end of a lesson or during a lesson.
Begin practicing by writing questions for after a piece of literature shared with the class.
Begin with lower level questions that ask for simple recall or response but your goal should be to increase the level of thinking as you draw conclusions.
We are completing a lesson on MATTER.
The students are observing containers filled with different liquids.
Time is given for observation.
Following observation you begin with..
Look at the bottle labeled A.
What do you recall about this liquid?
What is something else you recall?
Does it remind you of another liquid you have seen at home or in the store?
What liquid?
Using what you think the liquid is what might you use if for?
Let's make a list of descriptive words for this liquid.
Jenny...   Peter...
Ally...she hesitates...she says I don't know.
You probe...did it have a color Ally?
Conclude with reviewing what the class came up with.
So we discovered....this liquid is dish soap.
I like to make a list (model recalling what we learned) or be sure to have something available to hand out after for them to review.
Notice that in asking these questions the students had to verbally communicate about their observations, make connections, and think outside the box!

I love this comment from EduTopia:

Some teachers might answer that the reason to ask questions is to check for understanding, which benefits the teacher more than the student. Ostensibly, after we have taught a principle or concept, we ask, "Does everybody understand?" Even though we all realize that students not answering -- or even answering in the affirmative -- may not really understand, we still ask it. Are we aware of how many times we ask this useless question during a day of teaching?

So as you head into this new school year...PRACTICE using effective questioning techniques!!


Monday, July 18, 2016

ABC's of Successful Teaching...Never Omit Planning!

Why that's not something I would do!!!
I guarantee even the best of us has not done our best at planning for a unit or a day or a week and afterwards realized the IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING!
When we don't plan ahead...
  • We do not provide the best experience possible for our students
  • The class is usually not engaged and therefore disruptive
  • Time seems to drag on forever
Each of us has our own way to plan and I agree we should use what works for us.
In my planning I like to :
  1. Be well aware of what I am responsible for teaching that year (standards, district incentives, state directives) and print them up.
  2. Lay out your plans for the whole YEAR (vacations, special events, seasons).  Using those set Big Goals and Time Lines.
  3. Lay out your  plans for the MONTH.  Look at your time line and begin to narrow down specific Goals and Lessons.
  4. Lay out your plans for the WEEK.  What will you teach?
  5. Lay out your plans for the DAY.  Specifics
I know this seems like a lot but I firmly believe unless all of these Time Lines, Goals, and Specific Lessons are in line you will be setting yourself up for FRUSTRATION.
This is one way I try to stay organized and on top of things.
I am making it a FREEBIE for YOU for the next two weeks.
Here is another packet that will help you get organized and ahead of the game!