(CI) Best Articles and Practices
Teach like your hair is on fire! (A motivating book by this title on teaching by Rafe Esquith, Viking Press, 2007). It's about teaching 5th graders in an impoverished Los Angeles school. The message: If you care, you can engage and reach hard to reach kids. It is filled with good ideas for hooking students into learning.
Key Focusing or Probing Questions for Lesson Planning:
- What am I teaching?
- Why am I teaching it?
- How am I teaching it?
- Have I provided students with some choices where appropriate?
- Why am I teaching it that way?
- How will I know my students are getting it?
- How will my students know they are getting it?
Other Essential Elements to Effective Teaching and Learning:
Set clear, achievable personal learning/achievement goals/targets with students (individualize as much as possible).
Give students as much say (choice) as possible in determining and setting their learning goals/targets for the year/semester/month/unit.
Provide students with concrete examples (exemplars) of what proficient and exemplary work looks like for the work at hand.
Provide frequent low stakes (e.g., ungraded) feedback to students on their progress relative to limited, well defined set of goals, standards, and exemplars.
Emphasize assessment for learning.
Separate academic outcomes/achievement from behavioral outcomes (e.g., don't average attendance "grades" in with test grades).
Differentiate content, process, and product as often as possible.
Collaborate with your colleagues.
Connect with kids; connect kids with the content; connect content areas.
If something doesn't work, try something else. Take a risk.
Success breeds more success. Failure can shut kids (and you) down.
On preparing students for the 21st century:
"We don't want students to regurgitate the information we present; we want them to invent new ways of putting facts together. Besides invention and innovation, students need to demonstrate problem solving, creative and critical thinking, leadership and collaboration, and global awareness and communication. Students who exhibit these skills are empowered to take control of their own learning. They are creators, not simply absorbers." -- Hertz and Aungst, Educational Leadership, February 2011
Here are some excellent articles for all teachers:
- This is an essential read for all involved in educating others: Understanding the Keys to Motivation to Learn, by Barbara L. McCombs
- This is a two pager about how kids view their intelligence and its impact on their learning. Having a "growth mindset" vs. a "fixed mindset" makes a huge difference! (Carol Dweck's book Mindset is well worth reading): http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7406521.
- Education and the Role of the Educator in the Future --Phi Delta Kappan, December 2010/January 2011 (V92 N4). Speaks to how the teacher's role needs to change to prepare students for 21st century.
- 20 (Self-)Critical Things I Will Do to Be a More Equitable Educator. Identify several of these powerful suggestions to keep in front of you or to use as personal goals.
- Best Practices Website (with a content literacy and math focus): http://bestpracticesweekly.com/?page_id=84. This short weekly professional development site is worth subscribing to. Check it out!
Thousands of Online Lessons: You must check out this Khan Academy site for some excellent subject matter content videos that you can use with students to introduce or reinforce a lesson. You could assign a video for homework or have a substitute show a video or two if you are out: http://www.khanacademy.org/
Another Great Source of Well Designed Lessons with Multimedia Resource Links: Teachers' Domain: http://www.teachersdomain.org/browse/?fq_media_type=Lesson+Plan&start=0&fq_hierarchy=k12&fq_grade=K&fq_grade=PS. You can filter by grade and suibject matter! Check it out.