Mentor Update #32

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

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This week’s eflyer contains information about:

  • Mentor Logs

  • National Board Fee Incentive Program Application

  • McDaniel Information Sessions

  • EdCamps by MSDE

  • Mentor Tip #32

  • Teaching Tip #32
  • Instructional Strategy #16
  • Engagement Strategy #16
  • Teacher Appreciation Week Freebies!

Colleen, Jessie, and Jeff

Mentor Logs

Remember, logs are the record of your mentorship; please be certain to complete them weekly. Please click the red banner above to link to this year's mentor logs.

Mentor Update #32

Express It! The Language of Coaches

“While no single conversation is guaranteed to transform an organization,

a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can.” ~ Susan Scott

The job of a mentor is to speak and listen as if this is the most important conversation you will ever have with this person.

1. Use language that sends a message of belief and possibility.

“As you consider your goals for your students, what are your greatest wishes and dreams for them?”

2. Withhold personal opinions or judgments and ask questions that will support the teacher to think deeply about her practice.

“Thank you for asking, but I believe the resolution to the situation lies with your knowledge, experience, and beliefs. When you were in this situation before, what guided you to a successful outcome.”

3. Talk with the teacher about the data and mediate the teacher’s own assessment of what new decisions or directions are needed.

“As you examine your data sources, what did you determine were your strongest areas and which areas will you target to get your desired results?”

4. Stand solidly with the teacher as he discovers new pathways and strategies for students.

“You said the way you taught the targeted objectives did not get the results you desired. So, as you consider new options, what do you think might be your next course of action?”

5. Speak the truth about data and label opinion, points of view, and optional ideas.

“Are the results you’re getting meeting your high standards, as well as those of our school?”

6. Always demonstrate belief in the teacher.

“Given your students and their needs, what decisions or options are you considering that will accomplish your goals?”

“How to Say it Like a Coach”, Kee, 2006

Teaching Tip #32

Improving Study Habits

"One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” --Carl Jung

Want your students study habits to improve?

Of course you do, but as we all know this can be difficult.

Here is a simple tip:

Have the students keep track of their own study habits. At the end of every test have a few simple questions such as:

1. How long did you study?

2. How often did you study?

3. What times of day did you study?

These are just examples, I am sure you could come up with 3-5 questions that you think your students should focus on about their own study habits.

Of course, these questions won’t actually be worth any points on the test, but it will make students stop and think for a few minutes about their own study habits and what they need to do to improve.

Give it a try…

Instructional Strategy #16

Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers

Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers help students retrieve what they already know about a topic or “activate prior knowledge.”

Cues involve “hints” about what the students are about to experience.

An example of using cues in class:

Students are asked to read the cues for the play Romeo and Juliet. Then, talk in pairs about the cues and what they already know about Romeo and Juliet.

Cues for Romeo and Juliet:

· The play takes place in a town in Europe. The country is shaped like a boot.

· The main characters are “star-crossed lovers”.

· The male lead gives a romantic monologue under his lover’s balcony.

· The play has a tragic end.

Two ways to cue students are to:

1. Provide students with explicit cues to remind them. Ex. “Mighty mitochondria” produces energy.

2. Elicit from students what they already know about a topic. See example above and below.

The ABC organizer is a great way to cue students about a new topic to activate prior knowledge and see what they know. See the attached ABC organizer and fill in an upcoming topic. Example: The Civil War. I would have students work individually for a few minutes and then share with group members. They will be excited to see similarities and differences in their responses. Plus, they will all be on the same page as you introduce the new topic.

Marzano, e. a. (2001). Classroom Instruction that Works. ASCD

Engagement Strategy #16

Brain Dump

This is a quick processing activity which can be done at any time in a lesson.

According to Mary Budd Rowe’s 10:2 Theory, we should pause for processing for two minutes at ten minute intervals. That is, for every ten minutes or so of meaningful chunks of new information, learners should be provided with two minutes or so to process information.

Brain Dump Process

  1. Assign partners. Students should have to walk at least 6 steps to locate a partner and stand during the "dumping" process.
  2. Determine A-B.
  3. Partner A shares information on a topic for a set time.
  4. Partner B shares information on the topic for a set time.
  5. Return to seats.

Brain Dump Alternatives

  • Students can be given thought time prior to pairing up, or use information from a homework assignment, notes or a graphic organizer.
  • Students pair up before the topic or question is posed, and then respond from memory.
  • The time sharing with a partner can be between 20-60 seconds depending on the age group and topic.


  • After students return to their seats, provide a minute or two for learners to share the responses of their partner, add to notes, answer a question, etc.

At the start of a test, students write down on a sheet of scrap paper any facts or key information that they might forget. This 'brain dump' will help them to feel less anxious. Plus, this sheet of information will serve as a convenient reference during the test.

Consider having your students use Inspiration Software to create a graphic organizer as a visual display to demonstrate relationships between facts, concepts or ideas. This mind map will guide the learner’s thinking as they fill in and build upon a visual map or diagram.

Total Participation Techniques, Himmele & Himmele, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Week Freebies!

May the 4th be with you!

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