Friday, March 27, 2015

FYI #11: Interesting Pictures, an ELL Activity, Silent Reading, Getting Student-Centered, Laughter in the Classroom

This week in the Academic FYI:

- A picture that really makes you think about how important education is to some people in other countries, an ELL activity, some SSR- Silent- Sustained reading activities, making sure your classroom is student-centered, a  & the power of laughter in the classroom.

Here's an interesting picture during MCAS season to remind us just how important high-stakes testing is to people in some other countries. These family members in India are actually climbing up the school walls to give their children cheat notes so that they can do better on state exams that could change the lives of millions growing up in poverty. This became a major scandal in one town in India. 

 PHOTO: Family members and friends climb walls to give answer sheets to students undertaking exams   

1- Think Aloud: Your Turn for ELLs and any other students! 

Below is a picture I took during my last SEI-RETELL class. I think it is a really good activity for a few reasons. 1- it involves reading 2- it is student-centered and 3- you can use it with your ELL students or in any class including Honors and AP Level. It really makes two students focus and engage in this paired activity. Try it out!

2 - SSR- Silent Sustained Reading Activities

Here is a great downloadable PDF on ways to promote Quiet Time reading. As a teacher I used to think that chalkboard dust had to flying and heavily engaged students discussing things out loud was needed every minute of class. While that is still important there is certainly a place for silent reading activities. This is a great way to support and reading skills and get kids to relax and really think about what they are reading. That is a great form of engagement in itself.
This is a particularly good way to start or end a class to give you some time to organize everything else you have going on as well.

3- How Student Centered is your Classroom?

This article probably takes 2 minutes to read but has a great list of guiding questions to ask yourself if your classroom is truly student-centered. This is a great quick read.

4- April Fool's Day & Classroom Laughter

This timely article written more in an elementary sense still can remind us of the power of laughter in the classroom. Some of the best classes I have seen use laughter as a hook for student learning. 

Next week: 

I will be breaking down the lessons I learned from covering those classes for teachers after the holiday. I am calling the blog entry the "Best PD Any Administrator Can Have".  It was a great reminder of what it is like to have students in front of you for a full 58 minutes. It is something that every Administrator IMO would benefit from doing at some point.