Archive for the ‘Learning’ category

V is for Vocabulary

June 12, 2017

V is for vocabulary. Meaningful vocabulary study facilitates students learning academic language of specific content areas. It is not enough for students to copy definitions of vocabulary words; they must describe the meaning of those words, use those words in context, and draw or use graphics to represent what those words mean. Providing multiple opportunities for students to encounter academic vocabulary increases the likelihood of students owning academic language.

Colorful Word Sort (CWS) gives students an opportunity to categorize and play with academic language. CWS is a great way to introduce students to the academic language of a specific content area at the beginning of a semester or terms essential to understanding the concepts of a unit. It helps teachers gage the background knowledge of their students while students are engaged in a team activity.

SALE 20% OFF June 13-14 Colorful Word Sort

Vocabulary Sort

Q is for Quick Mini-Lesson Plans

June 2, 2017

Q is for Quick Mini-Lesson Plans. Sometimes you need a mini-lesson plan, ready to go, to add to or introduce a larger lesson or unit. These three mini-lessons came out of some of our novel units, but really adapt easily to other topics or novels, so we created mini-lesson plans, ready to go. Whether it’s character analysis, point of view, or a mini-lesson in economic systems—these work!

SALE 20% OFF June 3-4 Character Analysis Activity Packet, Point of View Lesson, & Economic Systems Lesson Plan

H is for Homework

May 17, 2017

Homework has little research to support its use or its connection to learning. When I first started teaching, I used the worksheets and quizzes that came with the anthology with one exception. I did the worksheets and took the quizzes and found for the most part they were definitely lacking. Then, I would ask my students why they did not do homework—responses included lack of time, redundant, boring, and just plain stupid. So, I started creating my own assignments that connected to the learning goals I wanted students to attain. I focused on creating assignments that included choice and personalization, that were fun, novel, and interesting to students and me. It worked and now our products reflect those very same tenets.
Meaningful homework assignments should engage students and be fun to do. We have compiled creative alternatives to traditional homework assignments that can be adapted to a variety of content areas along with a list of alternative homework assignment ideas. This product includes:

-Name Lists
-Rounding Up: Adjectives and Adverbs
-Survey. Note. Conclude! Homework Assignment
-8 Alternatives to Traditional Homework Assignments

-Teacher Bookmarks with Homework Quotes (8 reproducible bookmarks)

SALE 20% off May 18-19 Homework: Show What You Know

We also created eight reproducible bookmarks designed for teachers with quotes about homework that are ready for copying, cutting, and distributing. These are included with the homework packet, but are also FREE as a stand-alone. Consider sharing these bookmarks with your colleagues and parents to start the conversation about the value of traditional homework.

F is for Formative Assessment

May 12, 2017

We often focus only on what we do not know and perhaps it might be beneficial to also know what we do know. We developed two products to facilitate formative assessment by creating fun and fast exit slips and fast formative assessments. These two products are grounded in our own practice as well as research.

Exit Slips and Tickets Out are fast formative assessments that you can use daily to see how you and your students are doing. The novelty of these exit slips will catch your students’ attention. They will also give you ideas for creating your own. This product includes:

  • One-Minute Write
  • Muddiest Point
  • Ticket Out
  • Exit Slip
  • Admit Slip
  • One Thing I Learned Today
  • Halftime Report Basketball and Football Themed

Fast Formative Assessment Strategies: Checking for Understanding is a packet of mini-assessments ideal for closing a lesson or unit for grades 6-12. These mini-assessments get students focused on showing what they have learned in clever and engaging ways. This product includes:

  • Stick it With 6
  • Hey Granny Did you Know?
  • Resume of a Leader/Portrait of a Character
  • Scene Rewind
  • A Poetic Moment
  • Fact Checker Quick Check

SALE 20% off May 14-15 Exit Slips and Quick Formative Assessment Strategies

B is for Bell Ringers and Bell Work

May 7, 2017

B is for Bell Ringers or Bell Work or those little assignments you give to students as they walk into your classroom. I remember them as sponge activities, sponging up every moment for teaching and learning including the moment a student walks into class. These activities only work if they are engaging, quirky, interesting, fun, relevant, and/or off the wall. The key to making these activities work is to refer to the activity sometime during the lesson—beginning, middle, or end and students sharing responses with a partner, the class, or you.

I strongly believe bell ringers should NEVER be graded or checked off or whatever. On the other hand, students should know by your practice that responses will be shared with each other, the class, and/or you. The classroom climate you establish will encourage or discourage students to share responses. All responses should be respected and respectful.

One of our new products is Bell Work-Set 1, available on Teachers Pay Teachers. These are designed to be used for morning meetings, advisory, or anytime, including the beginning of class or end-of-the-class reflection. These prompts are useful to keep in a substitute folder, have them ready to use for shortened periods, or when there’s that odd amount of time left at the end of a lesson. Each day includes a question or prompt, an optional student handout, and a sharing strategy that you could easily incorporate into other lessons. Finally, these activities build community and relationships between you and your students and among your students throughout the school year. Bell Work Set 1 includes:

  • 20 Day of the Week Questions and Prompts—4 for Monday, 4 for Tuesday, 4 for Wednesday, 4 for Thursday, and 4 for Friday (4 weeks)
  • PowerPoint Presentation with 24 PowerPoint Slides with directions and suggestions for sharing
  • Outline of PowerPoint Slides and Notes/Directions
  • Easy Reference Guide to Sharing Strategies Included in Bell Work Set 1

THREE DAY SALE (May 8-9) 20% Off!

Bell Work

Learning Stations and Cranberries

November 10, 2016

cranberriesLearning stations engage students in active learning. “Learning stations can be used for myriad purposes—to teach concepts, integrate subject matter, build interest, and allow for inquiry—the possibilities are limited only by the imagination of the teacher and the supplies available” (Jarrett, 2010, p. 56).

Learning stations are designated areas in a classroom, hallway, cafeteria, or community room where students complete tasks. Everything the student needs is available at each station, which could include handouts, activity sheets, experiments, photographs, videos, music, artwork, food, cranberries, etc. There are step-by-step directions at each station. Students move from station to station individually, in pairs, or small groups. The number of stations can vary as well as the time estimated at each station for students to complete the station task. And, students can work at their own pace.

Learning stations work for all grade levels. Consider inviting parents, older students, or preservice teachers to help with setting up stations, guiding students through stations, or even be part of a station, giving interviews, clarifying instructions, doing demonstrations. For example, a parent helper might serve samples of cranberry juice at a tasting station.

Check out Crazy for Cranberries Cross-Curricular Learning Center Activities to use as a template for developing and setting up learning stations in your own classroom. It’s a great example of the types of stations you might set up as well as what you need for each station. It’s a delicious example of using learning stations!

Crazy for Cranberries Cross-Curricular Learning Center Activities includes

  • 19 page-teacher guide
  • Materials and picture guides for each center
  • Answer key for student journal
  • Optional QR codes or print resources
  • 14-page student journal
  • 11 center signs for each learning station

Jarrett, O. (January 2010). Inventive learning stations. Science and Children 47.5: 56-69.

Visit our Teachers Pay Store and look at the products we have available–you just might find something perfect for you and your students.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Son by Lois Lowry

The One and Only Ivan

The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

Surviving to Thriving TPT

HOMEWORK: Show What You Know

July 25, 2016

I like a teacher who gives something to take home to think about besides homework.human-face-with-flower

Lily Tomlin

If you have looked at the research about homework, it generally does not support a connection between time spent on homework and grades (Kohn, 2012). The challenge for teachers is the expectation of homework from both families and students, but not all homework is created equal. Homework is appropriate for preparing, checking for understanding, practicing, rehearsing, and/or processing including analyzing, evaluating, and/or reflecting (Vatterott, 2009).

Meaningful homework assignments should:

  • allow for student choice and personalization;
  • provide opportunities for students to share things about themselves;
  • tap into emotions, feeling, and/or opinions; and
  • be aesthetically pleasing (Vatterott, 2007).

Meaningful homework assignments should engage students and be fun to do. We have compiled various homework assignments that can be easily adapted to a variety of subjects for intermediate and upper level grades. And, there is a list of alternative homework assignment ideas. Check it out on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Homework: Show What You Know includes:

  • Name Lists
  • Rounding Up: Adjectives
  • Rounding Up: Adverbs
  • Survey. Note. Conclude! Homework Assignment
  • Using Graphic Organizers to Show What You Know
  • 8 Alternatives to Traditional Homework Assignments with Mini-Activity Slips
  • Teacher Bookmarks with Homework Quotes (Something to share with colleagues and start a conversation about homework.

References

Kohn, A. (November 25, 2012). Homework:  New research suggests it may be an unnecessary evil. Huffpost.

Vatterott, C. (2007). Becoming a middle level teacher:  Student-focused teaching of early adolescents.  New York:  McGraw-Hill.

Vatterott, C. (2009). Rethinking homework:  Best practice that support diverse needs. Alexandria, VA:  ASCD.


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