Intentional Classroom Instruction
Technology | Reading Strategies
What Clickers Can Do For Teaching and Learning
John Rich, from Delaware State University, discusses the six reasons for using clickers
- Teachers can get a response from every student. In all too many classrooms, only a few students engage in discussions and, says Rich, “The teacher has no idea what’s brewing in the minds of the students.” After asking a well-framed clicker question, the teacher can get immediate data on students’ thinking and how well the content is getting across. Students can’t hide.
- Students are more active and engaged. The fact that clicker questions are anonymous takes the risk out of getting a wrong answer, and the public display of the whole class’s data increases students’ curiosity about how their responses compare to those of classmates.
- There’s increased motivation to understand the material. Students who want to do well will more readily grapple with questions because they’ll get immediate feedback on where they stand. Students can also be encouraged to discuss questions in dyads or small groups.
- Questions help students clarify their thinking. Errors are powerful sources of information and nudge students to correct misconceptions and learning problems. Most important, the question-answer-feedback loop can prevent students from walking out of a class with incorrect information. As one student said: “The questions are either a confidence builder or a wake-up call.”
- Devices can be seen as part of the learning process. In classrooms where students’ devices are forbidden, being asked to use them as part of instruction can be exciting and motivating.
- The process can do a lot for the teacher. Formulating clicker questions up front focuses attention on essential content and skills and how best to assess mastery; seeing students’ responses provides immediate feedback on what’s understood and what’s not; and clicker data guide mid-course corrections, important corrections and clarifications, and productive discussions.
Learn more about the the use of the devices, here.
The Potential of Repeated Reading in Elementary Classrooms
Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher talk about how young children’s frequent “Read it again!” demand after hearing a favorite book morphs into “We read it already!” within a few years of arriving in school, in the article, The Reading Teacher. This is quite unfortante since it’s well established that repeated reading is an excellent way to build fluency, comprehension, and confidence. What’s going on here?
Here are the teacher practices that they have noted inadvertently turned students off rereading and repeated reading:
- Not referring to print during shared reading – When students were discussing a story, teachers seldom insisted that they look back at the text to check for accuracy, answer a question, or confirm an important detail. “Rereading can be devalued during a shared reading lesson when questions are not text-dependent,” say Frey and Fisher, “and the rush to discussion takes precedence over slowing down to reread.”
- Rereading for narrow purposes – When teachers got students rereading passages only to increase their reading rate, they inadvertently conveyed the message that comprehension wasn’t important: “After all, if the teacher didn’t seem to care about my understanding, thinks the student, why should I?”
- Privileging novelty in independent reading – Teachers knew how important it was to get students reading a lot, but Frey and Fisher observed a number of occasions when students wanted to reread a beloved book and the teacher discouraged them (“You read that already”), telling them to choose a new book. “Any dedicated reader will tell you about the pleasure of returning to a book that he or she has read before,” say Frey and Fisher, “enjoying it for different reasons each time.”
They believe step one is for teachers to be aware of the ways in which they might be inadvertently discouraging students from rereading and repeated reading. Step two is using these ways to enhance the power of repeated reading and keep students engaged:
- Change the task and purpose. A teacher might tell students to listen for one detail on the first reading of a passage and a second upon rereading, or might ask students to annotate the text during the second reading.
- Ask really good questions. Teachers can use rereading to get students thinking about a word, phrase, or passage at a deeper level.
- Press for evidence. “Young readers tend to rely on memory and recall rather than textual evidence if not asked to do so,” say Frey and Fisher. “Asking follow-up questions that require students to locate evidence facilitates rereading.” Asking Where did you find that? and How do you know? slows students down and gets more of them involved in the discussion.
- Provide an audience. This can motivate students by providing a purpose and fresh listeners. Readers Theatre is one effective approach, especially with passages that have dialogue.
Read more here