This week, I've been taking a class in how to evaluate teachers, according to our state and district evaluation system, the SAFE-T. I learned SO much more than how to evaluate others...The presenters had us doing some learning activities that I will DEFINITELY be incorporating into my class this year! Let me share some of them with you. Then I have some movies for you, and I'm linking up with Jessica for Workshop Wednesday. Hang in there - it's a long post, but well worth it!
The Quiz, Quiz, Trade:
Each student in the class received a question, typed out on a slip of paper. At the bottom, was the correct answer. This was a vocabulary introduction for our class, but could be used for a variety of skills in any class. Each person in the room carried his class glossary with him, and found a partner. We asked each other our questions, for which we knew the correct answers, and tried to find the corresponding answer in our glossaries. Once we answered each other correctly, we traded questions and found a new partner. The ante was upped by trying to make as many trades as possible in the five or so minutes we "played". SUPER FUN! and very effective.
The Jigsaw Quiz: Okay, I know, everyone knows this one, where groups are assigned a particular reading section, studies it, and then teaches the group, but we also practiced for tests in this way, filled out parts of practice evaluations, and even took a quiz using the jigsaw method. It was all good, because, of course, we learned from each other, were actively engaged, and it saved time, but the best thing I thought about it was taking the quiz. The quiz was in preparation for a final exam we'll take later. Half of us began at the end and worked backwards, while the other half began at number one and worked forwards. Most of us finished, or nearly so, but then the instructors went over the correct answers, allowing for clarification and discussion of the correct answers. Somehow, it felt like less pressure knowing I didn't have to do the whole quiz! Imagine how our kids would feel...
These things, I learned from the ladies I sat with...
You've all seen the Marzano's Clip Chart on Pinterest for a couple of years. Well, a new friend I made showed me a picture of her clip stick. Huh? Her assistant principal painted a meter stick for every teacher in her building, in the colors the school decided to use for their clip charts. They have the charts posted in their classrooms, but the clips are actually attached to the meter stick. It TRAVELS! DUH! I can never remember who had a compliment in the hall, or had to move a clip down at lunch, and related arts teachers each have different ways of communicating student behavior to classroom teachers, so the meter stick goes to related arts, too! Brilliant!!!
One of my besties sat next to me, and had heard someone on the radio one morning talking about her own children. She said, "I have learned to accept my children for who they are, not who I want them to be." I thought that was a great way to think about everyone, not just our own children, but also our students, our spouses, our co-workers, bosses, and on and on. Someone needs to make one of those awesome looking quotes I see all over Pinterest and pin it. Maybe I can!
Call me crazy, but I've never watched American Idol, Britain's Got Talent, or even Survivor. Nope, not one single episode of any reality TV show. During this training, our presenters showed us this YouTube video, asking us to watch the judges and audience members before, during, and after the performance. You've probably seen the show, or at least the clip, but watch with those instructions, only. No peeking ahead!
SO, how about those judgments we make on first seeing our students? Their parents? Even our rosters? WOW! You know we do it. Everyone does it, in every profession. Teachers even have the unique position of being "warned" by the student's former teachers. Just think of Susan from now on. Again, having never watched the show, I'd never heard her sing. I have chills and get teary-eyed listening to her AND watching her. She is extraordinary, and so is every. single. kid. who walks through our doors. We have to find their talent!
Jessica, from Ideas by Jivey told us about some training she'd attended and presented at last week. She linked up just about the most impressive video I've ever seen. It featured close reading in a FIRST grade classroom (BTW, they were reading Newsweek magazine!). You simply must head over and check out her link and post! I have now bookmarked the entire collection of videos from Fisher and Frey (there are 30). My second favorite, after Jessica's, is this first grade class learning how to partner talk. I've been using a lesson I made up called "I'm Going to Teach You How to Steal Today" for years. It's about writing answers in complete sentences, by "stealing" words from the questions. The teacher in this video uses the exact same technique, without the mention of thievery (maybe she's not teaching like a pirate, Dave?), and goes on to teach the students exactly how to hold a great partner talk. Partner Talk.
And, in honor of Jessica's Workshop Wednesday, I also love this second grade geometry lesson. It's not exactly about how to set up the math workshop, but it's really effective teaching, and incorporates math workshop. I haven't thought quite as far ahead as Jessica, but wanted you all to see this video.