- *Reflection: When you have one of those ‘really difficult’ kids. Into every teacher’s life, a challenging child will come. They just do not respond to your usual management strategies. Often, this child is ejected from the learning environment and isolated for ‘discipline’. Unfortunately, this does not usually result in positive changes, and they are missing out on learning! You will need to pull out all the creative stops for this child. Above all, do your best to connect and establish a relationship with them, help them know they are worthy of love and belonging. That is ground zero for this kid.
*Tip: Try the survey method to get to know your students better (Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, etc.). *Tip: Use a data spreadsheet to store, update, and easy-access this student info throughout the year. *Tip: Focus on the ‘why’.
“Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” ~Anonymous
- *Reflection: Are you asking quality questions? Essential questions drive meaningful learning and real-life application goals. What are the essential questions of your lesson or learning activity? How do they promote reflection and critical thinking in students, and answer why they should care about the learning? And how do they inform your assessment of student understanding? *Points to Ponder: How can using QFT further extend meaningful learning and higher level inquiry?
“I’m more interested in arousing enthusiasm in kids than in teaching the facts. The facts may change, but that enthusiasm for exploring the world will remain with them the rest of their lives.” ~Seymour Simon
- *Reflection: Scaffolding? Help! You will see and hear about scaffolding a lot. What exactly is it and what does it look like? Essentially, it is strategies to provide students enough supports and sub-skills or information to be able to move forward in comprehension and understanding through new concepts, problem solve challenges, and be able to complete the next stage of mastery on their own through self-discovery.
“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” ~Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Estrada
- *Reflection: Are you teaching the whole child? Beyond academics, teachers have a responsibility to prepare students for becoming well-rounded, successful, contributing citizens of the future. To achieve this, it is vital to include Social-Emotional literacy in the classroom, consciously teaching children to develop empathy for others (essential for successful relationships). How can you build these skill sets into your classroom culture? **Points to Ponder: A growing body of research links SEL to improved attitudes about school, pro-social behavior, and academic achievement, and reductions in aggression, mental health problems, and substance use.
“I am convinced that we must train not only the head, but the heart and hand as well.” ~ Mme. Chiang Kai-shek, Chinese reformer, educator, sociologist
- *Reflection: How are you utilizing the 3rd party? There are three parties in the classroom learning experience: the teacher, the student, and the environment. How is your environment supporting, or detracting from student learning? What can you change or modify to better use the space and tools you have available to create an optimal environment for learning, and minimize behavior issues?
- *Reflection: Management part 2. How’s your modeling? Modeling for protocols and procedures is a powerful teaching strategy. Effective teacher modeling can reduce negative behavior, reduce your amount of teacher talk, and increase effective teaching time (time not spent on procedures and behavior reminders!). Student drive the big picture, you drive the details of getting there. *Tip: Include a ‘Fun Factor’ element; and make it sticky. *Tip: Best of.
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ~ William A. Ward
- *Reflection: Are you teaching to your students’ brains? Are you helping your students grow their curiosity? How?? Advances in science and technology have expanded understanding in how our brains develop and learn. These understandings should inform teachers when designing lessons and constructing learning activities.
“Computers can do all the left hemisphere processing better and faster than the human brain. So what’s left for the human brain is global thinking, creative thinking, intuitive-problem solving, seeing the whole picture. All of that cannot be done by the computer. And yet the school system goes on, churning out reading, writing, and arithmetic, spelling, grammar.” ~ Betty Edwards