Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Teach Any Topic in 2 Days

There is never enough time! Every educator has a similar compliant. It is the chief excuse given when teachers are asked to try new teaching strategies. There isn't enough time! And I agree! This is why we have come up a way to teach any topic in two days. This strategy was inspired by this article from Edutopia.  It is a three station system. Each station last 20 minutes which fits into our 47 minute class period. The first day you introduce expectations, and divide students intro three groups. My co-teacher and I work together to fit these three stations within both of our classrooms.

Station 1: This is direct instruction. Students will have a traditional style lecture, with note-taking and a demonstration. We do this to facilitate students in note-taking and listening skills, which are life long skills they will need.

Station 2: Edpuzzle. If you have not checked out Edpuzzle then you need to! It always you to pick videos for students to watch. You can edit the videos to include questions that students have to answer, and students can not skip through the video either!

Station 3: This is a short hands on lab that we will do. It is something that takes about 20 minutes. This helps to hit on the hands on learners. It can be inquiry based or more structured.

Station 1 and 3 require most of the teacher's attention. While station 2 is student led. We split the laptops between our two classrooms so half of the students on computers are in my room while the other half are in my teaching partners. This allows use to more easily monitor the students on the computers while we are doing station 1 or 3.

How do I know it works? Well our data tells us!

And we often hear comments like this!

This strategy has worked well for us and I hope that you find similar success! Leave comments with any questions or if you would like more detailed lesson plans. If you try it let me know how it works out! 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Fancy Teaching Strategies Don't Matter

When you follow teachers on twitter there is always some new trend. From #Ditchtextbook #GameBasedLearning, #BreakoutEDU, Project Based Learning, flexible seating and getting rid of the teacher's desk. It can be overwhelming. Then I realized something. Honestly, none of that matters! Your students could care less if you had a teacher's desk or you have cool new furniture in your classroom. I am not saying that those are bad things. I am saying that those things do not make a great teacher. There is only one main thing that your students care about:

I am not saying that the above listed strategies are not effective. But, they are not effective if your students don't think you care about them. Any teacher that cares about their students will of course try anything to help their students learn. But, we have all seen teachers try different strategies and not be successful. Then they complain about how promoting student choice and creating autonomous learners is a waste of time. The students are too lazy, too immature, or a myriad of other excuses about why students are failures in their classroom. The solution is easy. The first step is for students to know that you care. And since as an educator you care, you will do everything that you can to find a way to engage all students in your class in learning. Which will lead to you trying new strategies. As every teacher knows once you have a relationship with students there is no telling the amount of learning that they can accomplish! So, stop stressing out about trying every new strategy that you hear about! Relax. You are doing your best! You care, now just do your best everyday to show your students that you do care about them.