Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Read Report Lives

Since the new semester has begun and both my preps are working on research papers, I have a little more time to be a better blogger.  It will, of course, catch back up to me when these papers are due.

I haven't done a Read Report in a really long time (about a year), but I have been checking up on my Feedly and saving posts.

This will be a nice way to refresh my memory about things.

Going all the way back to October of 2015, Jennifer Gonzales, gave her Big List of Class Discussion Strategies.  She breaks them down by high-prep, low-prep, and ongoing strategies.  Of the high-prep strategies mentioned, my favorite and the one that has basically replaced my attempts at Socratic Seminars is Philosophical Chairs.  I haven't done one in a while, but I plan to do so soon with the anticipation guide for The Joy Luck Club.  I find that anticipation guides are good ways to incorporate Philosophical Chairs.  I usually give them a "worksheet" where they can mark where they stand on a big idea or theme from the novel.  I also usually have them write down why they agree/disagree.  Then, usually the next day, we move about the room and defend our positions, seeing if we can persuade others with our analysis to move on over to our side.

Jacqui Murray also wrote in October of 2015.  Her post was about Let[ting] Student Learn from Failure.  I think this one caught my eye way back when because I completely agree that it is necessary.  I tell my kids all the time that we learn best from our mistakes, but that doesn't seem to deter their fear of failure.  She suggests many things in the post, but the two that stood out to me were her comments on the "Mulligan Rule" and letting students see you fail.  Now, the former is something I offer, but probably not explicitly enough since no one ever takes me up on it.  So, I need to find a way to make it clear that students can resubmit essays or projects to make them better.  The latter is something my students see me do all the time.  It usually appears in the typos of the work I present to them, but it can run the gamut all the way up to a lesson that just totally bombs.

Again back in October 2015, my friend Crystal Kirch talked about the TeachMeet she did with her colleagues.  They "had three 2-minute sessions of teachers sharing something awesome they do in their classes with technology followed by 1-minute of reflection and debriefing with colleagues."  So, each session was probably around 5 minutes, for a total of 15.  I would love to do this with my staff.  I think I'm going to take it to my tech committee and see what they think before I go to the admin to ask for time.

Another Jacqui Murray post (still 2015, but I've moved on up to November at least), talk about what she thinks are the 5 Best Typing Tutors.  The ability to type on a normal keyboard, rather than one on a smart phone, is a skill that is severly lacking in many students.  I honestly feel that we need to bring back some technology course that many schools and districts have done away with.  These skills are especially pertinent with the onslaught of 1:1 programs.

We finally jettison into 206 (February) with a post from EdTechTeam about Google's Revision History.  I love this tool, not only for fixing my own mistakes, but to catch kids who I suspect of plaigarizing their work from another student.  If things go into a document in one fell swoop with minimal entries in the revision history, it stinks of copy and paste.

Going back a month with a post from Jennifer Scott about Living in the Learing Moment.  She talks about when to sit and give synchronous feedback to students and when we roam around the room.  This is something that I think I will always struggle with, but am better at than I was when I started my blended-learning endeavors.  I think if I can get my workload down, I could feel more able to roam around the room than I already am.  I use many different "formulas" to keep myself out on the floor with my students.  Somethings I do the half-and-half:  5 minutes at my desk and then 5 minutes on the floor.  Other times, especially if I'm grading, I do the quota:  After every X number of assignments, I'll get up and roam around the room.

I think I'll leave it there for now.  Maybe in a day or two I can work on getting all caught up.

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