Secondary Curriculum Newsletter
Vocabulary & Engagement Strategies
Two Six Weeks Down, Four More to Go!
In this newsletter, I have included some engagement strategies and information on Academic Vocabulary. Some of this information may not be new to you. Some of it may not pertain to you. My hope is that you can find one nugget you can use in your classroom.
If I don't get around to see you before fall break, I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for. I hope you take time to count your blessings. Keep up the great work!
Secondary Curriculum Specialist
Marzano's Six Step Process to Teaching Academic Vocabulary
Click on the link below for Marzano's process for teaching vocabulary.
How to Hook Learners
Bell Ringer/ Warm- Up
Tip: To add more rigor to your class, choose bell ringers that cover content in the grade level above.
Ways to Engage Learners During Lessons
They Like to Move It, Move it!
Just the name "lightning round" suggests energy. Make it even more dramatic by playing up the concept of speed, fun and excitement. Have your discussion questions prepared in advance so that you can ask them faster. Short-answer questions obviously work best for this technique. Students have 30 seconds (or a more appropriate time for your particular class) to answer. They can either answer or pass -- and no negativity is associated with passing. Ask the questions rapidly while growing the anticipation for each next question by imitating quiz show lightning rounds: "Are you ready for the next question? Here it comes." Ask the question before calling on a student so that all students must be ready to answer. The lightning round should take no longer than ten minutes, the approximate time that the energy begins to diminish.
Throw the Ball
When you ask a discussion question, call on students by letting them catch a ball. With young children, you can use a beach ball and roll it to students in a circle. Older students can catch a beach ball or nerf football. This way of calling on students can either be a lot of fun and full of energy, or it can be a disaster. Be sure to keep the throwing distance short enough to prevent chaos. Make the rules clear and stop if they are broken:
- Do not intercept the ball.
- Do not throw the ball at another student.
- Do not try to break anything in the class with the ball.
In spite of the potential danger with using a ball, I have seen this done with much success and great student involvement. A variation that is safer and fun for grades 1-3 is to pass a teddy bear to the student who will answer the next question.
Quick Write/Quick Draw/ Quick Write and Draw
Below are some guidelines for a Quick Write:
How to Engage Students in the Classroom
- Eliminate dead time (do the time audit-- do you have dead time? ). Start with a warm-up (Bell Ringer).
- Get kids moving throughout the lesson.
- Teach kids to collaborate before asking them to do so.
- Use quick writes when you want quiet time for students to reflect on learning.
- Run a tight ship when giving instructions.
- Be fair when questioning... ask all students to engage in answering questions.
- Use signaling so everyone can participate in answering questions ( Remember, the summer training-- what are some of the techniques you learned? All Raised Hands or 8 Raised Hands)
- Mix up your lessons-- don't fall victim to what is easiest. Students like variety. Don't be the teacher who does Vocabulary on Monday, read on Tuesday, worksheet on Wednesday, review on Thursday, and test on Friday. That becomes too routine and students will check out.
To read the entire article, click on the link below:
Weekly Challenge: Take a Time Audit
Why Conduct a Time Audit?
Time audits allow us to maximize instruction time and pinpoint dead time. Dead time interferes with students' learning, and it is contagious. It lures those who are on task into wondering, "Why should I pay attention if others aren't?"
Dead time can be eliminated by having routines in place and activities lined out. Extra time activities are a great way to turn dead time into useful instruction time. Don't just count on worksheets... worksheets are not great motivators. Try hands-on activities, on-line resources, quick-writes, exit tickets, vocabulary games, and the list goes on. Tie these activities back to what students have already learned or are currently studying.
Exit tickets can be used that last 3-5 minutes of class. There are a variety of exit tickets out there. You can take them for a grade or just use them to guide your future instruction.
Below is a link to some printable generic exit tickets:
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