Posted tagged ‘Engagement’

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.

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G is for Grouping Techniques

May 15, 2017

Using innovative and novel ways to form student groups catches students’ attention, saves time and commotion, and can reinforce your content. Determining how pairs, triads, or groups will be formed before you need them provides a smooth way for students to move into their groups. If you constantly group and regroup students randomly, students are usually willing to work with all students. If the grouping technique uses something that connects to the content, all the better (academic language terms, literary characters, quotes, objects, cartoon characters, famous people, movie titles, song titles, etc.). This product lists ways to form groups and includes reproducible cards to facilitate the process.

All of our products that employ the use of pairs, triads, or quads include unique ways that connect to the novel or topic to form those groups.  Try it, it works!!!

Grouping Techniques

SALE 20% off May 16-17 Grouping Techniques for the Classroom

You might want to check out: Grouping to Build Relationships

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.

We Love Bookmarks!

June 14, 2016

We love bookmarks. Students love bookmarks.  And so, in many of our products, we include bookmarks.  We even offerIvan Bookmarks free bookmarks to teachers on Teachers Pay Teachers.

7 Ways to Use Bookmarks

  1. Form pairs, trios, and/or quads. Distribute the number of different bookmarks equal to the number of pairs, trios, or quads you want to form. For example, to form quads, reproduce four copies of each individual bookmark. Distribute bookmarks and direct students to form a group of four by finding three other students who have the same bookmark they have.
  2. Use as a writing prompt. Distribute bookmarks. Direct students to read and ponder the quotes. Next, ask students to write a short reflection on what the quotes means to them. Invite students to share their reflections with an elbow partner.
  3. Investigate the speaker. Use the bookmarks to form student trios. Direct trios to read and ponder the quotes. Ask trios to answer the following questions: What kind of person would say this? To whom would this person address this quote? What kind of situation would be appropriate for this quote? Invite trios to share their quotes and their responses to the questions.
  4. Review the text. After students have read the novel, story, or play, distribute a variety of bookmark quotes. Direct students to read their quotes and jot down the incident in the text connected to that quote. Next, direct students to find another student who had the same bookmark quote and compare responses.
  5. Choose a favorite. On a table, lay out bookmark quotes and as students enter the classroom, invite them to choose a favorite bookmark quote. Ask students to jot down a few notes on the back of the bookmark quote what this quote means to them. Invite students to share their responses. Consider this activity for a morning meeting or talking circle.
  6. Make your own bookmark. Distribute blank bookmarks and direct students to write a favorite quote from a text you are currently studying in class. In addition to the quote, ask students to include a graphic or illustration that connects to the quote they chose. Invite students to share their quotes with the class. Consider collecting the bookmark quotes and displaying them on a bulletin board in your classroom.
  7. Use as a bookmark

We hope you love our bookmarks!bookmark this

Free bookmarks for The One and Only Ivan

Free friendship bookmarks

Free bookmarks for Esperanza Rising

Avoid Burnout: 10 Ways to Add Fun to Your Teaching

March 9, 2015

tagedo kids want teachers to be

Find a place inside where there’s joy,

and the joy will burn out the pain. Joseph Campbell

Often, this is the time of the year where both teachers and students begin to get restless, tired of winter, and in need of a change. In January I came across an article, 10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout by Ben Johnson. The first step was to have fun with your students.

In a study I did with my two colleagues, we surveyed middle school kids to see what they had to say about good teaching. And, one thing they wanted was fun (Fontanini, Neiman, & Carpenter, 2014). I think this is a great place to start to avoid burnout, but how do you do it? Here are 10 ways to add a little fun to your teaching.

  1. Play music as students are coming into your classroom. Ask students how that music or song is connected to the content or topic. You might be surprised at what your students might say.
  2. Show a video clip to start off your lesson. Youtube is an easy place to find a video clip on practically any topic.
  3. Do a read-aloud. Pick a picture book, poem, short story, or novel you love and start reading it aloud to your students before your lesson starts or use it as a closing activity.
  4. Do a community/team building activity, one you have used in the past or a new one.
  5. Stand at the door and greet each student formally.
  6. Rearrange your classroom into a new pattern.
  7. Play a game that connects to your topic.
  8. Tell a joke or funny story.
  9. Start class with a brain-teaser or trivia question connected to the topic.
  10. Come dressed as a character, scientist, historical figure, or just something a bit outrageous. (When I was team teaching with a social studies teacher, he had a rental tuxedo that wasn’t due back until Tuesday—he wore it all day on Monday. Definitely got students’ attention!)

Not only will your students appreciate the change in pace, you will too! Novelty catches attention, teachers and students. As my colleagues and I create teacher materials for Teachers Pay Teachers, we remember that students want learning to be fun. Fun to students equates to engaging. We think, and many of our buyers agree, that our products are engaging to students and easy to implement for teachers. Check out our store on TPT: Surviving to Thriving LjL. Let us know what you do to add a little fun to your classroom.

References

Fontanini, J.J., Neiman, L.V., & Carpenter, L.L. (April 2014). Ask the Real Experts About Good Teaching. AMLE Magazine, 1(8), pp. 24-26.

Johnson, Ben. (April 22, 2014). 10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout. Edutopia.

Surviving to Thriving TPT


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