Keowee's Friday Flash Forward

News from Your Assistant Principal, Rhonda Grant

FRIDAY (okay, well actually Thursday) PONDERINGS...

(NOTE: I am sending this a day early just in case we're not here tomorrow.)

WOW, this has been a wild and wacky week--a holiday, an in-service day, the sight of SNOW, a 2-hour delay, and certainly not least, the potential for a winter storm! I know some dread the thought of the dreaded 4-letter word...SNOW, but what fun it was yesterday to watch and listen to the kids (and adults) during the beautiful afternoon snowfall! Kindergarteners did their famous snow dance (it worked), first graders abandoned their coffee filter snowflakes to play in the REAL snow, 3rd graders paraded through the courtyard as the white stuff swirled in the air, and even the big kids from 5th grade squealed with delight as they tried to catch snowflakes on their tongues! There's nothing like the sight of snow at an elementary school to bring out the kid in us all. Make no mistake about it, we live in a stressful world, so when a moment like a beautiful snowfall comes, allow yourself to savor it. We all need to take a break from our daily routine every once in a while, and enjoy the small things in life, who knows, we might just get inspired by nature's beauty or find peace in the sound of a child's laughter.


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22 Powerful Closure Activities

Many of us remember the checklist of eight mandatory teaching practices -- anticipatory set, objective and purpose, input, modeling, checking for understanding, guided practice, independent practice, and closure -- made famous by Madelyn Hunter long ago. Although no longer a must-do for every lesson, good teachers recognize the multiple benefits of these practices, and incorporate them routinely in their lessons.

Closure is one of those strategies that can create a lasting impression for the learner and help the teacher check for understanding, and plan for subsequent instruction. Like contracting your bicep at the top of a dumbbell curl, closure squeezes an extra oomph into a lesson! I came across this list of 22 creative closure activities, and thought I would share them with you. You may want to give some of them a try!

1. Snowstorm

Students write down what they learned on a piece of scratch paper and wad it up. Given a signal, they throw their paper snowballs in the air. Then each learner picks up a nearby response and reads it aloud.

2. High-Five Hustle

Ask students to stand up, raise their hands and high-five a peer -- their short-term hustle buddy. When there are no hands left, ask a question for them to discuss. Solicit answers. Then play "Do the Hustle," as a signal for them to raise their hands and high-five a different partner for the next question.

3. Parent Hotline

Give students an interesting question about the lesson without further discussion. Email their guardians the answer so that the topic can be discussed over dinner.

4. Two-Dollar Summary

Kids write a two-dollar (or more) summary of the lesson. Each word is worth ten cents. For extra scaffolding, ask students to include specific words in their statement.

5. Paper Slide

On paper, small groups sketch and write what they learned. Then team representatives line up and, one and a time, slide their work under a document camera while quickly summarizing what was learned.

6. DJ Summary

Learners write what they learned in the form of a favorite song. Offer extra praise if they sing.

7. Gallery Walk

On chart paper, small groups of students write and draw what they learned. After the completed works are attached to the classroom walls, others students affix Stickies to the posters to extend on the ideas, add questions, or offer praise.

8. Sequence It

Students can quickly create timelines with Timetoast to represent the sequence of a plot or historical events.

9. Low-Stakes Quizzes

Give a short quiz using technologies like Socrative, BubbleSheet, GoSoapBox, or Google Forms. Alternatively, have students write down three quiz questions (to ask at the beginning of the next class).

10. Cover It

Have kids sketch a book cover. The title is the class topic. The author is the student. A short celebrity endorsement or blurb should summarize and articulate the lesson's benefits.

11. Question Stems

Have students write questions about the lesson on cards, using question stems framed around Bloom's Taxonomy. Have students exchange cards and answer the question they have acquired.

12. So What?

Kids answer the following prompts:

  • What takeaways from the lesson will be important to know three years from now?
  • Why?

13. Dramatize It

Have students dramatize a real-life application of a skill.

14. Beat the Clock

Ask a question. Give students ten seconds to confer with peers before you call on a random student to answer. Repeat.

15. Find a First-Grade Student

Have kids orally describe a concept, procedure, or skill in terms so simple that a child in first grade would get it.

16. Review It

Direct kids to raise their hands if they can answer your questions. Classmates agree (thumbs up) or disagree (thumbs down) with the response.

17. CliffsNotes, Jr.

Have kids create a cheat sheet of information that would be useful for a quiz on the day's topic.

18. Students I Learned From the Most

Kids write notes to peers describing what they learned from them during class discussions.

19. Elevator Pitch

Ask students to summarize the main idea in under 60 seconds to another student acting as a well-known personality who works in your discipline. After summarizing, students should identify why the famous person might find the idea significant.

20. Simile Me

Have students complete the following sentence: "The [concept, skill, word] is like _______ because _______."

21. Exit Ticket Folder

Ask students to write their name, what they learned, and any lingering questions on a blank card or "ticket." Before they leave class, direct them to deposit their exit tickets in a folder or bin labeled either "Got It," "More Practice, Please," or "I Need Some Help!" -- whichever label best represents their relationship to the day's content.

22. Out-the-Door Activity

After writing down the learning outcome, ask students to take a card, circle one of the following options, and return the card to you before they leave:

  • Stop (I'm totally confused.)
  • Go (I'm ready to move on.)
  • Proceed with caution (I could use some clarification on . . .)

Download the PDF cards for this exercise.

These 22 strategies can be effectively altered or blended. And they are great opportunities to correct, clarify, and celebrate. If you're interested in even more great closure strategies, check out "40 Ways to Leave a Lesson."

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Core Essentials Trait for January is...

SELF-CONTROL--choosing to do what you should do, not what you want to do.

Self-control teaches us to stop and think! It encourages:

  • Focus
  • Concentration
  • Mental/Emotional Strength
  • Self-Awareness
  • Effective Listening & Following Directions
  • Problem-Solving & Reasoning Skills
  • Understanding & Acknowledging Your Feelings, But Learning to Control Your Actions
  • Empathy

It is empowering for both children and adults when they realize that they have control over their own lives by the choices they make: understanding that their choices affect the outcome of a situation!

Self-control is learned and should be taught like any other subject. The ultimate goal is to encourage children to:

  • Manage their behavior.
  • Take responsibility for their actions.
  • Stop and think about the consequences for what they choose to say and do.
  • Make positive choices.
  • Resolve conflicts peacefully.
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Word of the Week...

The WOW for January 25-29 is illuminate. On Friday, we will have two students from Mr. McIntire's 4th grade class on the news to share their original sentences using the WOW.

John Collins FCAs for January

K Wrap-around sentence (organization)

1 Word choice (content)

2 Transition words (organization)

3 Produce opinion writing (organization)

4 Use of transition sentences (organization)

5 Introductory paragraph with hook, topic sentence, three supporting details, and

concluding sentence (organization)


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Just for fun! (...and your students will enjoy it too!)

Dogs Discovering Snow
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January 18 School Holiday

January 19 Teacher Inservice/Workday

January 22 Report Cards Issued

January 25 Family Literacy Night

January 28 100th Day of School!

January 28 Worksite Health Screening

January 28 SST @ 12:00

January 29 KES Battle of the Books @ 1:30 in the Cafeteria

January 29 SIC @ 2:00