Regarding the question of winter parent-teacher meetings: We have one in late January, featuring a topic of equal interest to parents and teachers. A few topics over the years (addressed by a speaker with followup discussion) have included…
–Teaching children to be responsible
–Developing a heart of service & caring about others
Regarding timeline notebook use…Any visual that can be associated with a dated event boosts the student’s ability to identify and remember. Use of timeline notebooks as Peter suggested can ideally be combined with a classroom wall timeline kept up by having students create and post small illustrations of events studied at the appropriate…[Read more]
Producing hybrid tests, with both an out-of-class component to be completed by test day and a more traditional test-period component, can serve several purposes. To complete the out-of-class component, students must engage the subject that they are to study/review, which incidentally may help them be prepared for the in-class portion of the test.…[Read more]
Moments in which students become totally engrossed in the subject frequently happen in discussion times based on readings from literature or in written response to reading selections.
Following the reading of To See it Fall (p.397 in CLE’s Perspectives of Truth anthology), my classes frequently immersed themselves in discussing whether t…[Read more]
One approach to stimulating class discussion is to discuss a loaded quote, such as this one by economist J.K. Galbraith,
“Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s just the opposite.”
Discussion can be guided to include several focuses (not necessarily in sequence), including…
What do its key terms actually mean?
What point is…[Read more]
Regarding gifts for fellow teachers…I recall one year that as principal I gave each teacher a coupon for a class or other activity in their room. Over the next month, I found myself in each class one time, from teaching lower grade science to middle grade reading to recess duty. The teachers really appreciated the gift, and I gained an…[Read more]
I’ve been intrigued by two statements embedded in the 10 minute clip on teaching mathematics that I referenced in a July 13th forum post in reply to “Switching to Saxon Math.” The speaker is discussing mathematics, but his comments apply to more than math classes. Here is the link.
One comment comes…[Read more]
I enjoy reading Daniel Boorstin’s writings on American history. His three-volume series titled The Americans includes The Colonial Experience, The National Experience, and The Democratic Experience.
He goes far beyond the typical “politics, wars, economics” themes to explore the great variety of developments that Americans experienced. For…[Read more]
Carolyn’s account of how they have worked with a perfectionist pupil illustrates well how parents and teachers together can work with children like this.
In some respects, these children need the disciplines that dawdlers and careless students need–with a twist. While a timer sometimes helps the daydreamer/dawdler focus on getting work…[Read more]
All math teachers of beginners should be sure to have the numbers from one to about twenty on the floor. You can use rubber disks with numbers written on them if you can’t mark your floor. Students can stand on a number and move ahead three for adding three; back two for subtracting two, etc. Other applications include stepping ahead on even…[Read more]
In reply to your question for more info on effort score for report cards…to determine Effort score, the following are considered:
Neatness of work, Asking for help at the right times, persevering in difficult tasks, following directions in assignments, trying to do own work, showing good organization (in notebook, on papers, assignment…[Read more]
To show a student’s progress, some schools I know of separate columns on the report card. Each subject shows an effort score, an academic score, and the final column shows the “grade,” which counts the effort as 1/4 and academic as 3/4. Everyone can tell at a glance what the academic score actually is–what the student achieved on his work, tests,…[Read more]
Consider using a “word wall.” You can check on the web for a variety of images to spark your imagination. Students can write words on cards in large letters and they can be displayed on the wall in some logical grouping–by root families, parts of speech, or by theme if they are from a content subject. Words could also be embellished with visuals…[Read more]
The discussion on test/retesting, scoring, and averaging turns on two disparate questions…
a. What information or skill has the student mastered?
b. How does the student routinely apply himself to his work?
I hear many employers wishing they could find employees who are strong in (b). If only they could hire people who will actually show up for…[Read more]
I don’t have a rubric to share, but be sure that the score is based upon what is the point of the writing assignment. For example, if writing a dialogue, it should sound like a real dialogue when it is read.
A book to consider is If You’re Trying to Teach Kids How to Write…You’ve Gotta Have This Book.
It’s full of a variety of writing…[Read more]
If anyone is looking for art curriculum, check out a new source.
It’s developed by Hannah Nolt, who teaches art at Schaefferstown Mennonite School.
It offers 12 units for each of four levels.
Grades 1&2; 3&4; 5&6; 7&8.
I’d encourage you to keep exploring ways to include genuine reading in the school setting. Once upon a time, university students were more likely to say they were reading rather than studying history, literature, or philosophy. Reading (taking in and experiencing the new) and studying (pondering and processing the new) are both of value.
Debating the value of the controlled word list vs “real reading” for fluency provides every generation with opportunity to develop their debating skills. Both activities are valid and serve purposes. Their effective balanced use relative to each other is an art.
One reasonable parallel is the development of specific skills for certain games, such…[Read more]
Giving students responsibility for practical “daily operation” activities is helpful in several ways, such as…
–building camaraderie in the group
–maintaining a sense of order, cleanliness and purpose in the daily routines
–experiencing the value of contributing “real work” in simple routines.
With some imaginative concentration, the staff…[Read more]
On the subject of reading aloud to high schoolers…take the opportunity whenever you can to read short selections from “real books” that illuminate the subject under study. Rather than having a set “read aloud” time, (which is great if you have the time for it in your schedule), read snippets from biographies, articles, stories, or news items…[Read more]
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