|Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.5 No.10||October 2008|
Cover Story by Eric P. Jensen|
A Fresh Look at
More than 20 years since it was first suggested that there could be connections between brain function and educational practice, and in the face of all the evidence that has now accumulated to support this notion, BBE guru Eric Jensen urges educators to take full advantage of the relevant knowledge from a variety of scientific disciplines.
|Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching|
|Boaz City Schools:|
Professional Learning Teams
|»||Change Isn’t Just for PoliticsCheryl Sigmon|
|»||Are you an Informal Teacher-Leader?Hal Portner|
|»||Strategies to Meet Standards, Promote Reading and Boost SkillsSue Gruber|
|»||Helping Children Cope with LossLeah Davies|
|»||The Future Votes NowTodd R. Nelson|
|»||The Brain and SleepMarvin Marshall|
|»||The Busy Educator's Monthly FiveMarjan Glavac|
|»||Dear Barbara - Advice for SubsBarbara Pressman|
|»||My Supervisor Hates Me! & Are These Kids Just Crazy?Kioni Carter|
|»||Spam! Spam! and More Spam!|
|»||FHA-Hero Program Creates Leaders|
|»||October 2008 Writing Prompts|
|»||A “Disruptive Behavior” Plan|
|»||More Than A Desk - Changing the Learning Environment|
|»||A Teaching Guide for Night Journey to Vicksburg|
|»||Computers in the Classroom|
|»||Cyberbullying Tips for Educators|
|»||The T-Netters Who Saved My Life|
|»||Teacher Starts Rock Band to Help Students Learn|
|»||Printable Worksheets & Teaching Aids|
|»||School Photographs for October 2008|
|»||Lessons, Resources and Theme Activities: October 2008|
|»||Video Bytes: Brain Based Education, Monday Morning, Rockin' the Standards and More|
|»||Today Is... Daily Commemoration for October 2008|
|»||Live on Teachers.Net: October 2008|
|»||The Lighter Side of Teaching|
|»||Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes for Teachers|
|»||Alternatives to Halloween Party and Costumes|
|»||Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers|
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Strategies to Meet Standards, Promote Reading and Boost Skills
Make every minute count with these easy-to-implement strategies.
|by Sue Gruber, M.A.
Barbara Gruber Courses for Teachers
Regular contributor to the Gazette
October 1, 2008
Stay in education long enough and you’ll experience the swings of the pendulum as educational trends come and go and then come back again with new names! The good news is you will eventually use all of your materials again! It may be decades later, but you’ll need them! Don’t throw anything away!
Currently across the nation there’s an obsession with test scores, standards and accountability. Take a look at any newspaper on any day and you will read about high-stakes testing. Can you predict future issues in education? I bet you can! Look into the future when test scores are deemed high enough. What will the issues be then? We predict that the media will report about a generation of students who can only take tests and can’t “think” and solve real life problems!
Every teacher knows that as trends and philosophies come and go, many aspects of teaching don’t change. Hasn’t teaching always been a race against the clock as you try to fit everything into a packed school day? There has always been a huge time crunch.
Promoting reading and increasing students’ skills has always been important to teachers. Increased demands on your time mean it’s time to look at how we teach. Be discriminating about activities and ways you choose to teach. Make every minute count! Here are some easy-to-implement strategies to meet standards, promote reading and boost skills in your classroom!
Strategies to Meet Standards
At the beginning of the school year it is easy to remember which concepts you’ve covered with your students. Does everything begin to blur during the winter? Do you have those moments where you have no idea if you taught a particular skill to your class this year, last year, or only dreamed you taught it? Here are two sure-fire ways to keep organized and make sure you cover everything!
Here’s an easy way to keep track of all of the skills you need to teach in each subject area during the school year. Divide a large piece of chart paper into three columns. Label the columns: Skills to Teach, Introduced, Reinforced. Make skills charts for reading, writing and math. Write each specific skill you need to teach in each subject on small stick-on notes. Place them in the section of the chart labeled “Skills to Teach”. At the end of each week take a look at your skills charts and move the stick-on notes with skills that you’ve introduced into the “Introduced” column. At a glance you can tell which skills you still need to introduced and reinforce. Refer to the skills charts when you make your lesson plans.
Think about the children in your class who are the best students. Aren’t they also the best readers? Teachers know that children who are skilled readers tend to be the best students. That’s why every teacher wants to promote reading among his or her students. Here are some instant ways to promote reading that require almost no extra effort! Try these quick-to-implement activities tomorrow!
Each week grab ten books from different sections of your classroom or school library. Display the books in the chalkledge, a counter or a table. During the week, grab a book any time you have an extra minute or two and do a quick book commercial. Read the title aloud and randomly open the book to any page to share a few illustrations or read sentences. The more enthusiastic the commercial the more your kids will want to get their hands on these books! Over the course of the school year you’ll have shown over 300 books to your students.
I generated a list of book club discussion questions with my students and posted the list on a classroom wall. Examples of questions:What do you think will happen next?
How many books should you have in your classroom library? The number that seems to work best is to have at least 5 per child. Here are some easy ways to expand your classroom library:
Here are some proven ways to boost skills in your classroom. We know how busy teachers are! None of these ideas requires preparation time outside of school. My motto is to have a life beyond teaching!
The top two strategies to boost reading skills in your classroom are the easiest ones to implement! Simply increase the amount of time your students spend reading and incorporate more discussions about reading.
At every grade level you can demonstrate these skills by thinking aloud when you’re reading and writing. For example:
“I think I know what’ll happen next…”
Choral reading, reading books that follow predictable patterns, and echo reading—where you read a sentence aloud and students echo you—are additional ways to boost fluency and confidence.
Expectations and demands have never been higher. Don’t get bogged down by these demands. There is so much more to teaching than obsessing over test scores. Keep your eyes open for practical, easy-to-implement strategies and tips to help your students excel. Don’t forget to make some time for yourself as the school year gets going—you deserve it!
Copyright 2008: Barbara Gruber Courses for Teachers