Posted tagged ‘Critical thinking’

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

E is for Esperanza Rising

May 11, 2017

E is for Esperanza Rising, a novel by Pam Muñoz Ryan. The first time this novel came onto my radar was when my granddaughter was reading it in fourth grade. She is an avid reader and lucky for me, loves to discuss what she is reading with me. I suppose we are both book nerds—nothing wrong with that.

A few years later I picked up the novel to consider for a novel study and her retelling came back to me as well as how meaningful the novel was to her. As I read it I was taken with how the author titled each chapter with the name of a food that was relevant to that chapter. Then I thought it would be fun to create a novel study that focused primarily on each food as well as how that food was symbolic of the ongoing story. So the Enrichment Activities Connected to Chapter Foods emerged. This product includes:

  • 14 Individual Lesson Plans (1 per chapter)
  • Chat Stations Activity
  • 12 Food Cards for Forming Student Pairs, Trios, and Quads
  • Permission Letter to Parents/Guardians
  • 1 PowerPoint with 58 Slides and Teacher Guide for PowerPoint

SALE 20% off May 12-13 Esperanza Rising Enrichment Activities Connected to Chapter Foods

And, don’t forget to check out the FREE bookmarks!

D is for a Decision Making Process

May 10, 2017

D is for a Decision Making Process. As adults, are there not those times that a decision making process would make your life easier? And, if adults could benefit from a decision making process, then middle and high school students certainly can benefit. This particular product came out of one of our novel studies. Jennifer developed it into an independent process that easily fits in with social studies or literature units. It’s easy to implement and students seem to really engage with it. So, try it out for yourself or your students. Our favorite comment from a teacher who bought this products is:

…moreI decided to download this grid and it was the best decision in my entire life! (11/6/14)

Now, should I continue working or go watch Netflix? Should I make popcorn or just have some mixed nuts? Should I buy the Porsche or Mercedes???

SALE May 10-11 20% off Decision Making Process for Middle and High School Students

Decision making

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

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.

Unique Approach to Teaching Esperanza Rising

June 14, 2016

Esperanza Rising

As many teachers know, novelty catches students’ attention. Once you have students’ attention, readiness for learning increases. This was our thinking in creating enrichment activities for Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan.

Food plays an important role in this novel, literally and figuratively. Enrichment Activities for Chapter Foods are designed to increase students’ connection to the novel through food. There are two or more activities for each chapter. Activities are connected to the food in the chapter title and/or foods mentioned in the chapter. Each lesson plan also includes Chapter Connections, which help students think about the significance of the foods in each chapter and find connections of those foods to their own lives. There are suggestions for preparing food for student sampling and additional resources connected to the various foods. The food activities are fun and may introduce students to new foods or honor the foods of their families.

Product Contents:

  • 14 Individual Lesson Plans (1 per chapter)
  • 1 Culminating Activity: Chat Stations Activity
  • 1 Chat Sheet
  • 7 Chat Stations Questions Mini-Posters
  • 12 Food Cards for Forming Student Pairs, Trios, and Quads
  • Permission Letter to Parents/Guardians
  • Common Core Standards and Best Practice Connected to this Novel Study
  • 1 PowerPoint with 58 Slides

For more resources and ideas, check out our Pinterest Board.

Surviving to Thriving LjL: Pinterest Board on Esperanza Rising

Here’s a list of some of our collaborative work:

  • 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

Visit our Teachers Pay Teachers Store!

 


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