Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Daily Assignment #45: 37-90

Daily Assignment #36: 10-2,  describes a processing strategy. Another processing strategy is 37-90.   The theory behind the 37-90 strategy is, for every 37 minutes of instruction, students need to get up, (and I stress get up), and process the information.  It is that simple.  However, as simple as it is, it will have a tremendous impact on student learning.

This strategy would be more effective for older students.  Younger students would have difficulty sitting for 37 minutes.  Now that I think about it, I know of adults who would have difficulty sitting for 37 minutes, including myself.

I know of middle and high school teachers who have used this strategy, particularly if they have 90 minute block classes.  One high school teacher reported, "This was good for all the students in the class. I don't like a lot of moving around in the classroom.  However, after using this strategy only once, the students seemed less drowsy and a slightly happier tone developed in the class."

So, when planning a lesson make sure to include processing time.

On another note, due to the upcoming school vacation, and the fact that I will not have access to the internet for awhile, my next blog will appear on March 13th.  I hope you won't forget to return to this blog site.

Having said that, please have a wonderful, safe vacation and remember the 13th.

In the meantime, please share this blog site with colleagues and friends.
If you haven't already, become a "Follower".  It will help you to remember to return on the 13th.

Best Effort,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Daily Assignment #43: Activator: 5 Words-- 3 Words

I would like to share another Activator that I learned through Research for Better Teaching and is contained in Jon Saphier's book : Activators.    It is a brainstorming activity titled 5 Words--3Words.

Independently, students write down 5 words that come to mind when thinking of a particular topic.  Students then get into small groups, or with partners, and share their words.  They decide, collectively, which 3 words they will share with the whole class and their reasons for selecting them.

The teacher should chart the words that each group/pair share out.


Write 5 words that come to mind when you think of...

  • 1776
  • Civil Rights
  • Ecology
  • Weather
  • Poetry
  • Islands
  • Ocean
  • Geometry
  • Fractions
  • Aztecs
  • Life Cycle
  • Global Warming
  • Holocaust
  • Native Americans
I have done this activity with 1st and 2nd graders, as well as older students and adults.  It was very successful in activating prior knowledge.

I hope you will experiment with this strategy.  Let us know how it works.

In the meantime, please share this blogsite with colleagues and friends.
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Best Effort,

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Daily Assignment #42: Activator--Wordsplash

 For a quick review:  An Activator is a strategy to activate students' prior knowledge on a particular subject before a unit of study. (Daily Assignment #41)

Let me share with you another activator called a "Wordsplash".   " A Wordsplash is a collection of words or pictures that represent key terms or concepts from text that students are expected to learn or understand," as defined by Dr. Dorsey Hammond of Oakland University, 1985.

A Wordsplash, not only activates students' prior knowledge, it also motivates students, lets students know what is important in the unit and it actively engages students.

To create a Wordsplash, the teacher selects key vocabulary/ key terms from the unit of study or a reading.  In the center of a sheet of paper put the title of the unit, e.g. Islands, Civil War, Seasons, Holocaust, To Kill A Mockingbird, Stuart Little.  Then scattered around the title place the key vocabulary or terms.  Students, either in partners or in a group, predict how these terms relate to the topic.  All ideas must be accepted.  One student will need the job of recorder.  Set a time limit for this activity, usually 15-20 minutes, depending on the age group and the quantity of words/terms.

                      Isle                                                                          Ocean                                          Volcano

Continental Islands                                            Pennisula                                                                  Coral Reef                                                         


            Oceanic Islands                                             Islets                           Desert Island

                                    Australia                                     Global Warming                                              Bay

             Inlet                                                      Cove                        Sandbar                                             Flooding


Don't do too many words on the Wordsplash, usually 10-20, again depending on the age group.  And don't use unfamiliar vocabulary.  This is not a vocabulary test.  Students have to know the vocabulary in order to make the predictions.

After the time limit, process the Wordsplash with the whole group.  As the teacher, you will quickly identify misconceptions and confusions.

Another bonus of this activity, students will be actively engaged in learning and reading about the topic because they will want to find out if their predictions were correct.

I hope you will share this blog with colleagues and friends.
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Thank you for your support.
Best Effort,
P.S.  Sorry for the Wordsplash example.  I'm afraid it doesn't have the look I was aiming for. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Daily Assignment #41: Activator--K-W-L

An Activator is a strategy to active students' prior knowledge on a particular subject before a unit of study.  A common Activator is the K-W-L.

 K-W-L :  On chart paper create 3 columns.  The first column is titled, "What We Know.  The second column is titled, "What We Want To Know".  And the last column is titled, "What We Learned."

At the beginning of a unit of study,with the teacher charting, the students contribute ideas for the first two columns.  All ideas should be accepted. It is not the time to discuss the ideas or the merits of whether they are right or wrong.

At the end of the unit, the third column is filled in as a way to summarize and to clarify misconceptions and misinterpretations.  The students' can also see the progress in their learning.

Posting the chart thoroughout the unit, is a great way of reminding the students the questions they had and what they may have thought they knew, or really did know.

For younger students, instead of "What We Know" try "What We Think We Know".  Younger students believe what they know is right and as a result may state a lot of misconceptions and become embarassed if their statements are inaccurrate.  It helps to "save face" if it is stated as "What We Think We Know".

Another strategy is to put the ideas on large sticky notes.  In this way, they can easily be moved from column to column.

There are other variations of the 3 columns.  If you know of some, please share them with us.

I hope you will experiment with this strategy.  Let us know how it goes.

Please share this link with colleagues and friends.
If you haven't already, consider becoming a "Follower".

Best Effort,