June 2009
Vol 6 No 6

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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.6 No.6 June 2009

Cover Story by Graysen Walles
Teaching – The Power of Influence
The impact of teaching is clear, and the influence of the profession is immeasurable. All it takes is one moment, one situation, one discussion to turn the life of a young learner.

Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching
Nine Year Summary of Articles, 2000 to 2009
On April 26, 2009, President Obama hosted the four 2009 finalists for America’s top national teaching honor, the National Teacher of the Year award. Alex Kajitani, who teaches mathematics at Mission Middle School in the Escondido Union (Elementary) School District in San Diego County was one of the four finalists.

»The Three R’s for Summer— Rest, Relax and Recharge! Sue Gruber
»Buddy Programs for Elementary Schools Leah Davies
»Moving to September Todd R. Nelson
»Ronald Reagan and the Art of Influence Marvin Marshall
»The Busy Educator's Monthly Five Marjan Glavac
»Substitute issues: Bathroom Passes & Anger Management Barbara Pressman
»Preparing Students for Travel: Films and Immunizations Josette Bonafino
»A Message to Share with Parents about Summer Learning Dorothy Rich
»Classroom Clean-Up and Clay in a Can Rick Morris

»Schools and Filters: Ice Age, the Meltdown Matt Levinson
»Effort: It Can be Taught! Deborah Granger
»Homework: Damned if you do, and if you don’t Alan Haskvitz
»Parents Are Recruits, Teachers Are Responsible, Kids Are Victims, and Schools Are Culpable For At-Risk Problems Bill Page
»12 Ways to Stop Conflict in its Tracks! Susan Fitzell
»Using Photographs To Inspire Writing VIII Hank Kellner
»The Writing on the Wall Tim Newlin
»More Brain Teasers Steve Sherman
»Teacher of Facts - and of Life Rachelle Ann A. Abad
»Grant Writing Tips Kimberly McCloud
»Bald is Beautiful! Teachers, Students Lose Locks to Fight Childhood Cancer David Peter Marchesseault

»Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes Barb Stutesman
»Today Is... Daily Commemoration Ron Victoria
»The Lighter Side of Teaching
»Video Bytes; Literacy Empowers (Illiteracy Awareness), The Underground Railroad, Wikis in Plain English - CommonCraft tutorial, Twitter in Plain English – a CommonCraft tutorial, Naturally 7 music group on Tavis Smiley Show, Tour the International Space Station!
»Teacher Blogs Showcase
»Printable - Ice Cream in a Baggie Recipe
»Featured Lessons, Wisdom from the Chat Achives, and Timely Printables Especially for June!
»What Is A Document Camera? What Does It Do?
»Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers


The Teachers.Net Gazette is a collaborative project
published by the Teachers.Net community
Editor in Chief: Kathleen Alape Carpenter
Layout Editor: Mary Miehl

Cover Story by Graysen Walles

Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong

Contributors this month: Graysen Walles, Sue Gruber, Leah Davies, Todd R. Nelson, Marvin Marshall, Marjan Glavac, Barbara Pressman, Josette Bonafino, Dorothy Rich, Rick Morris, Matt Levinson, Deborah Granger, Alan Haskvitz, Bill Page, Susan Fitzell, Hank Kellner, Tim Newlin, Steve Sherman, Rachelle Ann A. Abad, Kimberly McCloud, David Peter Marchesseault, Barb Stutesman, Ron Victoria, and BattleShip Ron.

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Deborah Granger

Archive | Biography | Resources | Discussion

Effort: It Can be Taught!
In order for students to pull their hands out of their pockets and climb up the ladder, we need to help them understand that the climb can be made with effort. And the effort to climb each rung will move them onward and upward towards success.
by Deborah Granger
Continued from page 1
June 1, 2009

Which Rung is Broken?

Assessing My Learning
EQ: What is your current status in learning this new information or skill?
What learning tactics did you use?
If you need to adjust your learning tactics in order to be successful, what can you do?


“Bugs on my windshield”

My understanding of _______________________is_______________________.
________I am firm and do not need to adjust my learning tactics right now.
________I need to adjust my learning tactics.

Another critical dimension to understanding effort is to teach students to assess their own level of understanding. As we all know, monitoring comprehension of text is essential or one can finish “reading” an entire passage and remember nothing that was read. I transferred this reality to all of my lessons and connected it to the learning tactics.

To facilitate the ability to assess understanding, I use a windshield metaphor. When one is driving a car, one needs a clear windshield in order to safely monitor the conditions and reach one’s destination without problems. Clear windshields have no obstacles that obstruct the view of the driver. A buggy windshield, on the other hand, forces the driver to try to see around the splatter. This obstructs vision and may cause problems. Finally, mud on the windshield makes it impossible to drive and see where one is heading. And so, my students use these terms to articulate their level of understanding. (Brimijoin, 2002)

This personal assessment occurs not only at the end of the lessons but also strategically throughout as we progress through the lesson. Once again, prior to teaching, it is essential to examine one’s own thought processes necessary for successfully completing a task. Once the bodies of knowledge or skills are identified, one can plan where to stop and check with students concerning their levels or understanding. Each of my students has a small white board in the shape of a ping pong paddle. I call them “show me paddles.” Students indicate to me whether they are clear, buggy or muddy by writing it on their paddle and holding it privately in front of their chest. I note the levels and devise a time (usually immediately when others are doing independent practice) to meet with those who are not clear.

It is important to note that students who are clear are required to tell me how they know that they are clear. I will ask them to write a response, solve a quick problem or demonstrate in some way that they can successfully complete the part of the task that we just finished. My mantra becomes “How do you know that you are clear?”

It is also critical at this time to refer to the learning tactics checklist. Again, I question the students who are clear, buggy or muddy. What learning tactics did you use? Do you believe the learning tactics helped you to understand? If you are buggy or muddy, which learning tactics can you add as you continue to attempt to understand?

After weeks of having student assess their levels of understanding upon request, my students now do this automatically without prompting. One day, Hector approached me to say, “Mrs. Granger, I have bugs!” Although the remark was comical, I was so pleased that this at -risk student, who previously never asked for help, came to express that he needed my assistance!

To summarize, research shows that “a belief on the part of students that they do not possess the necessary ability to succeed at a task might cause them to sabotage their own success.” (Covington, 1983, 1985).

In order for students to pull their hands out of their pockets and climb up the ladder, we need to help them understand that the climb can be made with effort. And the effort to climb each rung will move them onward and upward towards success.

To view two of my students talking about their learning tactics, one can visit these links on photobucket.

Deborah Granger
April 9, 2009

» More Gazette articles...

About Deborah Granger...

Deborah Granger has been a teacher in the Lebanon City, PA School District for more than 30 years. She holds a Masters Degree in Elementary Education and Reading Specialist Certificate from Millersville University. Deborah has been a frequent presenter of professional development in her district including: Implementing Literature Circles, Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies, Using the Morning Meeting to Build Community, Inquiry Approach to the Teaching of Math, and The Learning Focused Model, to name a few. She also served as a presenter in the Induction Program as well as a mentor to new teachers to facilitate a smooth first year for new teachers in her district.

Deborah’s classroom has been the setting of videotaping for use in the professional development of the Voices Reading Program and she has served as an editor in reviewing the printed portion of this program. In addition, she has been videotaped by Learning Science International, a company which has been commissioned by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to create professional development on the use of best practice in the classroom.

Deborah says that her professional career and passion have been dramatically enhanced by frequenting the Teachers Net Chatboard. In fact, it was through reading the Professional Reading board on Teachers.Net that Deborah first learned about the reading comprehension strategies. Her interest was sparked and she quickly changed her approach to reading in her own classroom, coming back to the board for support along the way.

Once her principal witnessed the significant change in the students, the principal encouraged Deborah to share and talk about this in her school. The result was a dramatic change from a scripted reading program to one in which students learned to read through authentic reading opportunities. And it all started with a Teachers.Net chatboard!

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