Rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels,
each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels,
and each student demonstrates learning at high levels (Blackburn, 2008).

Monday, April 21, 2014

Searching by Readability Levels

I'm often asked during my workshops where teachers can find materials at different reading levels, particularly since the Common Core requires that you find texts at increasingly difficult levels.  The CCSS provide exemplars of different texts, as well as some recommended readability formulas, such as the Lexile Framework.  However, many teachers want a way to search for materials online at varying levels.  This blog post provides a step-by-step description to searching by readability level with Google.  It's certainly not linked directly to the Common Core Standards, but it is a tool that can be used to supplement your instruction.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Learning

A good teacher is also a good student.  What are you learning today?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dealing with a Dominant Student

In my workshops, I'm often asked questions about classroom management.  One recent question:  "I have a student who always wants to answer.  His hand goes up first every time I ask a question, and it's becoming hard to ignore him, especially when the other students want to let him take over.  It's leading to passive learning behaviors from my other students.  What should I do?"

In that case, I would move away from typical whole group, call on one person instruction.  Too often, one student does dominate.  Instead, when you ask questions, immediately have students take a moment to think about an answer, then turn and talk to a partner.  Then, as you move around and monitor students, choose those who you would like to respond to the whole group.  This way, all students have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding, and it encourages active learning.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Scaffolding Learning

One way to think about scaffolding is with a diamond.  It starts at the top with me (meaning the teacher).  You begin by modeling a lesson.  Next, we go to us.  There are two parts of this.  First is the teacher and the students (us) following guided practice.  The second part of guided practice is us, meaning students working with partners or in small groups.  Finally, the student (you) does the work independently.  As you think about how to support student learning, consider this method of instruction, guided practice, and independent practice.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring Break?

Is spring break coming up for you?  I hope you'll take some time to rest and rejuvenate!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Technology-Based Instruction

My newest e-newsletter is out!  The topic:  Technology-Based Instruction.  To receive it, sign up using the link on the right of the page.  I resend it every day or so to make sure new participants receive it. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Three Ways to Deal with Behavior Problems


A new teacher asked me, "How can I deal with a student who chronically misbehaves?  He interferes with the learning of other students."
There are three suggestions I gave her.  First, redirect the other students' attentions from this student.  I immediately put my students into a pair-share so I could deal with the individual student.  Next, try to find the root of the problem.  The misbehavior is caused by something--is it a need for attention?  Is it a way to cover-up a lack of success in the classroom?  Until we deal with the cause, the misbehavior will continue.  Finally, find a strategy that will stop the behavior.  That may mean moving the student to an isolated spot near your desk, using a positive behavior intervention plan (positive is always better than negative), or asking for help from an administrator.  Ultimately, misbehavior is a symptom.  Do your best to understand what is going on, then take appropriate steps from there.