Monday, September 29, 2008

Answers to Questions of the Week

I decided to post on Tuesdays rather than Mondays. Can you guess why? Mondays are pretty hectic with an eight period day and a meeting to follow. If we can survive Mondays, we can thrive the rest of the week. That was the theme of last week's blog - let us learn to thrive in the classroom, not just survive. We want that for all of our students as well. How can we ensure that school be a positive experience for teachers and students alike? Last week's questions included:

1. How can we get our classes to actually listen to the announcements? I had one suggestion here. We could ask one question about the information given that week on either Thursday or Friday and the first person to answer would get a "reward." Obvious rewards are candy or points towards a free homework pass. Any other ideas?

2. How can we make sure our students hear and understand all the directions for an in-class activity - before they start to shift gears and dive in? No suggestions to date - but can the PE teachers tell us how they give directions for games or fitness skills - such that everyone listens and follows them accordingly?

This next one applied to many classrooms:

3. What are some ways that we can encourage our students to speak up in class so that all students can hear the comments? In one classroom, if students couldn't hear, they insisted that the speaker stand on a chair to repeat his/her comment. It is certain that the whole class had helped formulate the classroom guidelines as the speaker "took his medicine" without complaint.

Who has practiced the Socratic Seminar? It is one way to help students learn to speak out. They follow a protocol which keeps a commentary about assigned reading moving along without prodding from the teacher. I would like to watch this in action. Are there any volunteers among you who would invite me to watch this classroom strategy?

4. How can we prepare students for quizzes and tests such that they don't talk out or talk to each other while we are passing out the quizzes/tests? No comments as yet but as the first 6 weeks progress report approaches, I hope some of you will share your strategies.

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