Minutes with Mills

Reading news for the Ben Franklin Community

February 2016

Just a click away......

Short Film: What makes an effective teacher?

In other words......

Featured Strategy: Jigsaw

Jigsaw emphasizes cooperative learning by providing students an opportunity to actively help each other build comprehension. Use this technique to assign students to reading groups composed of varying skill levels. Each group member is responsible for becoming an "expert" on one section of the assigned material and then "teaching" it to the other members of the team. Learn more about this strategy, and find links to downloadable graphic organizers.

From AdLit.org


Showcase of what you can find in the Reading Instructional Coach's room

How Rap Can be a Learning Tool

Rhymes with Reason is designed to take academic vocabulary (SAT, ACT and Common Core) words said by hip-hop artists in pre-existing songs, and creates a culturally engaging curriculum made up of these words.

While the student flips through their vocabulary word set, they have the ability to repeatedly listen to their favorite rappers, utter academic vocabulary. Students are able to memorize vocabulary words and their meaning, just like they are often able to memorize the lyrics to their favorite songs.
Rhymes with Reason innovatively gives students the unique ability to strengthen their vocabulary proficiency while simultaneously listening to their favorite hip-hop artist. Rhymes with Reason allows students a way to bring their experience outside of the classroom, of deeply engaging in their enjoyment of hip-hop music, and following their favorite artists, inside the classroom and into their educational experience. This precisely meets students "where they're at".

Excerpt taken from http://rhymes-with-reason.com/

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Coaches for Teachers?

What does coaching have to do with teaching? As teachers, we spend an enormous amount of time on our own in our classrooms. Actually, let me correct that. We spend a lot of time with our students, and we are often the only adults. Many of us prefer to work without adults around.

When we spend a lot of time as the only adults in the classroom we often engage in activities that we think are really successful. How couldn't they be? We created most of them! But, I often think that we may not be as successful as we think we are. Kind of like our first year as teachers.

There are always issues we do not see, which Otto Scharmer refers to as blind spots. Whether it's student learning, teacher instruction, or classroom management, we all can learn how to be better. Working with an instructional coach doesn't mean that teachers are weak, it actually shows how strong they are because they believe they can always get better.

Article adapted from Why Do Teachers Need Instructional Coaches? By Peter DeWitt

To read this article in its entirety click here

A catchy tune to annoy the brain as you work on lesson plans.......

I'm a Teacher: An Educator's Anthem