Learning Spotlight

Strategies and Resources to Support Learning

The Wagon Wheel Protocol

Use the Wagon Wheel to stimulate powerful thinking among students and to create vivid images of a new idea in action.

1. Based on the articles or real life problems you want the students to discuss, create 4 questions about the topic to explore.

2. Depending on the number of students, place an equal amount of chairs in the center of the wheel back-to-back and the same amount of chairs on the outside of the wheel facing the chairs in the center. (see graphic below)

3. Before students get into the wheel, have them read the article or the real-life scenario.

4. Have students fill in the seats in the wheel. Provide them with a note taking form to write their ideas as well as their partners.

5. The students on the outside of the wheel will be moving one seat to the right at each rotation; students on the inside will remain in their seats.

6. Explain that they will be discussing the questions with each partner for about 10 minutes.

7. Have students begin the discussion with their first partner. Have participants in the outside rotate every 10 minutes.

8. Once the students in the outside wheel return to their first partner, stop the rotation and bring them back to the whole group. Ask them to write to summarize their discussions from the wagon wheel.

9. Have a whole group discussion about the topic and the questions explored during the wagon wheel.

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Time-Saver Tech Sites!

Time Saver #1: ClassroomScreen

ClassroomScreen is a no-log-in required site that turns your ActivBoard into a multi-management tool screen.

Here is a list of a few of the functions of ClassroomScreen:

  • A random-name selector (great for participation, choosing teams, etc)
  • A QR generator (just type in a website and it generates the QR for kids to scan)
  • A clock or countdown
  • Visual cues for voice levels (a stoplight you can control or other visual cues of your choice)


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Time Saver #2: Simple Print

Make online articles into clean, reader-friendly PDFs for your students! (Link below)

John Hattie: Visible Learning

If you haven't read Visible Learning by John Hattie, it is a must read! In a nutshell, Hattie has researched and has ranked 138 influences that are related to learning outcomes. Hattie has found that the average effect size was 0.40---meaning anything over 0.40 will have huge impact on our teaching and our students.

Check out the Barometers of Influence below.

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The Power of Feedback

According to Hattie Visible Learning (2009),

  • "To be effective, feedback needs to be clear, purposeful, meaningful and compatible with students' prior knowledge, and to provide logical connections."
  • "If feedback is directed at the right level, it can assist students to comprehend, engage, or develop effective strategies to process the information intended to be learnt."
  • Thus, when feedback is combined with effective instruction in classrooms, it can be very powerful in enhancing learning."
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Teaching Like a Pirate

The Hooks

Looking for ways to spice up a lesson? The Hook Section from our book study, Teach Like a Pirate has a ton of awesome ideas!

  • The Reality TV Hook is a personal favorite. You could transform a lesson into an Amazing Race utilizing itsLearning or GoogleForms.
  • Or Teach Like the Tonight Show-- Jimmy Falon has AWESOME games he plays. Word Sneak is a great one you could do for vocabulary terms--check out the YouTube video below. *Friendly reminder to preview the clips before you show the clips to the classes ;)
  • Starting a new lab experiment? Try the Mystery Bag Hook!
  • The Board Message Hook is a great to highlight a document, picture, quote, word problem, etc. to gain interest and enhance creativity.
  • The Taboo Hook- Have a topic coming up in class that you can position as a secret or something that is forbidden?

What are some ways you have Taught Like a Pirate this year?

*I have this graphic organizer printed to serve as a reminder when I am creating my lessons. Let me know and I will gladly make you a color copy! :)

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Collaboration Corner