Mentor Monday

Week of September 25, 2014's a little bit like teaching

So, I have a fur baby and er name is Lola Bean, she's a lab/weimaraner mix who will be 6 in November. She's definitely our baby, laid back, not a licker, loves to snuggle and is fairly lazy unless it's time for our morning run. However, she has a boyfriend named the Grand Duke Albert vonSteimenheimer, or just Albert for short, who is completely spastic, kinda whiny, a sneak-attack licker, can't sit still for more than 5 minutes at a time, and kinda likes to push everybody around or lay on top of you (and he ain't light...100 lbs give or take a meal), BUT he's also one of the sweetest dogs I know who can cuddle with the best of them.

Anyway, he was at our house this weekend while his parents were at a wedding and as the dogs did whatever dogs do I had a moment to reflect on the fact that dog-sitting can be a little like teaching. Do you have any kids like Lola and Albert? Ones that are really laid back so they don't cause any trouble in class, but they have trouble getting things done. Or like Albert who can be a bit of a bully when he wants his way, can't sit still, just plain needy or can kind of get on your nerves.

Well, how do you get a dog to do what you want?? You train them. Lola knows the rules because she is my kids, but what about Albert?? Even though he's not my dog, you can bet he know my should be the same with our kids. We often make the mistake of thinking our kids know how to act because they are 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 years old, but have they ever had you as a teacher before so that they know the rules, procedures, expectations you have for them? Nope, so guess have to TRAIN them, over and over and over again until they know what your procedures are (i.e. entering the classroom, turning in homework, grading, classwork, how to ask a question, etc.), what expectations you have for their behavior in class, what you want on their homework, what methods have you taught them to help them study?? And then you refresh these expectations with them on a regular basis because let's face it, we all sometimes forget the things that we should know. And how can we expect them to do something we've never taught them how to do?? So, just remember if you want it done your way, you have to train them your way...otherwise you're just going to have to be ok with what you get!!

Instructional Strategy of the Week

Wait Time (from Teach Like a Champion)

As teachers we generally ask many questions throughout the class period, most on the lower levels of Bloom's taxonomy (we're working on that, right ;)) But we often don't give students enough time to process the question that we asked, let alone time to synthesize an answer.

Giving the student 3-5 seconds (or longer for a more difficult question) of wait time can make questioning in your classroom more intentional and productive. Before you start questioning, or really any time you ask a question in class (especially if it is a pre-planned, higher level question), let your students know that you want no one calling out answers unless you've called on them (and anyone is fair game), and then you may have to use no opt out (see last week) where you give an answer and they repeat or you ask follow-up questions to lead them to the answer.

Example: Students have been studying the human body (specifically the kidneys) in class.


Alright students, now that we've studied the structure and function of the kidneys...I want you to think about this question. Don't call out answers, just think! Propose a reason to the class that a urine sample is a fairly accurate reflection of the health of the human body.

No Jimmy, don't call out, just think. Write some ideas down as you think about the question. I see a few people checking back in their notes, that's great.

Now, raise your hand if you think you've got an answer. Thank you, I've got a few volunteers, I'm waiting to see more hands.

Thank you everyone for thinking and waiting patiently, Jane what is your idea??

  • With wait time, LENGTH and CORRECTNESS of student responses is likely to increase
  • Number of failures to respond (IDK) is likely to decrease
  • Number of students who volunteer is likely to increase
  • The use of evidence to support answers is likely to increase

Hats Off for a G-R-E-A-T objective!

If I get in the car and don't know I'm going to Orlando, I may just end up in Kansas City - we MUST know where we are going in order to get there. The objective lets our kids (and reminds us) of where our lesson is going that day. Put the objective someplace where kids see it throughout the whole period. If it's an objective that will span several days, then chunk the material in smaller, more class period "do-able" learning objectives.

We're seeing some great objectives during classroom walkthroughs and simply wanted to give some recognition to a few.

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Sporting Events


  • Sept. 24 (Wed.) - 5:30 (9th grade)
  • Sept. 24 (Wed.) - 5:30 (JV) @ Terrell Memorial
  • Sept. 25 (Thurs.) - 7:00pm (varsity)


  • Sept. 23 (Tues.) - 5:30 (9th/JV) and 6:30 (varsity) @ South Garland
  • Sept. 26 (Fri.) - 5:30 (9th/JV) and 6:30 (varsity)

Cross Country

  • Sept. 27 ( Sat.) - 7:30am


  • Sept. 23 (Tues.) - 4:00pm (varsity) @ West Mesquite
  • Sept. 25 (Thurs.) - 4:00pm (JV)

Monday Pick-me-up

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