New Teacher Support

It seems like new teachers and student teachers never get the kind of help that they need.

What do I mean?

My wife is currently working on her credential and masters in education and she is getting a lot of statistical data and a lot of theory, but no actual practical instruction. Activities to use with the students, or ways to engage students in the learning that aren’t why, but how. Tell her something that she can take to her class the next day and use, right then and there.

How can we change this problem? What can we do to change the pedagogical approach in the teacher preparation world in order to make a systemic difference?

If you have interest in Online Social Networking for the classroom

Check out the links that I have in my diigo account. You should get an account as well, if you use a lot of online resources. Take them everywhere, just login to the site and there they are. Easy to share your bookmarks as well.


Scaffolded Persuasion and Response to Literature

Recently (meaning last year) I found a way to scaffold my Response to Literature unit so well, in explaining the writing process, that my hardest unit of the year to teach now is narrative. Though I am making progress there, I would like to share some information about my success in the other two areas.

Instead of teaching the entire essay, or even a paragraph, holistically, like we usually do, I made it into a breakdown. I took the individual items, the basics, for each of the paragraphs, and I broke the paper into those pieces. Then, I instructed students in how to either create or identify those pieces in their work.

Persuasive paper:
1. Topic
2. Opinion
3. Use those to create a thesis
4. Topic sentence
5. Hook

These are broken down over MANY days of instruction. Then, we take them all and work them into a single paragraph, all together. The students first do this work with me, as guided practice. Then, they do it as work in groups, then they do it independently. Each time I take their work and evaluate their success in that step in order to monitor their progress. What ends up happening is that we take the paragraphs, all of them, and we compile all of the information needed, like mechanical components, and then we piece meal it all together.

It sounds as if it is taking all of the poetry out of the work, but I teach 6th grade English. How much poetry do you find in an 11 year old’s persuasive paper to begin with?

The fact is that I had a 95% turn in rate last year for response to literature. Typically the year’s most hated task. It was an opportunity to think outside of the box, and I believe that was exactly what I did. Feel free to see the attached worksheets, they may shed more light on the subject.

Response to Literature

Persuasive Paper

Beginning of a new blog world for myself

I’ve been considering the idea of creating a blog not for students, but for teachers. Of course, I’m not the first, and I probably won’t be the last. But, it will be a great opportunity to share my experiences and to reflect on what I do in my classroom. I’m constantly finding new and interesting ways that I do things, and how other people do things. This will be an avenue to showcase what I find.