Sunday, March 17, 2013

Student Effectiveness Framework

The Student Effectiveness Framework document is considered to be a scope of practice in which it targets our students and their direct needs/wants. This document is broken down into 2.3 (Organization) 4.5 Differientiated Instruction & 3.1 (Student Voice).

Being an intermediate teacher it is important to consider how these SEF strands will look like in your classroom as well as how it might differ from junior level classrooms. This particular blog will focus specifically on 4.5 (Differentiated Instruction) and how it is incorporated into my classroom.

Each day in the classroom is an opportunity to build on the great relationships we as teachers build with our students. Working 1 on 1 or in small groups allows you as a teacher to really target different individuals in regards to their needs/wants.

Our latest TLCP had a curriculum expectation focus on (Making Inferences). Through 1 on 1 conferencing I discovered a handfull of students commented and said "this text evidence doesnt remind me of anything" or " I dont know anything about that". This is where I had the chance to open our discussion by asking specific students about their likes. After discussing certain topics such as "movies" these students were able to say " oh well in this movie something similar happend" and they were able to activate their prior knowledge, in turn allowing them to see text evidence, use their prior knowledge (specific to them/thinking of their likes and interests) to recall various information on that topic to make a proper inference.

Differientiating with our students during daily learning is only one aspect of DI. Taking it one step further can be incorporating the aspect of DI into student ASSESSMENT! When making a proper inference in our class it was taught through proper paragraph form, corresponding to an intermediate level rubric. During our summative task of inferring to THEIR CHOICE of world mystery/phenomenon already gave them an increase in motivation and engagement because they got to choose what interested them the most, however....Their summative task/reading mark was assessed using the SAME reading rubric in which they were all familiar with, yet they had the opportunity to use a CHOICE BOARD to further enhance the differientiated approach. Simply considering their MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES in which they know from completing the survey at the beginning of the year they can now use the best way they learn and apply that to their summative inference presentation by use of the choice board.

These are just 2 ways in which knowing our students and using THEIR likes/interest help THEM to succeed in their LEARNING! Students understood the 3 aspects of a good inference by use of the rubric however they had the unique opportunity to present it in a way they UNDERSTAND the most, a very fun an memorable language unit/task for all.

Here are a few pictures of the CHOICE BOARD we used, enjoy!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Interactive Bump it Up Wall

Todays classrooms are filled with a wide variety and unique learning tools for student success. One learning tool that is well known for its student friendly way of getting to the next level is the bump it up wall. The bump it up wall, when used correctly is an excellent way for students to take their work/feedback handed back from the teacher and compare their work to the corresponding level on the bump it up wall. Students can then see what the next level of work looks like as well as read how to get to that next level. Here is a picture of my bump it up wall from this year.

As we all know todays students are using technology more and more. Therefore it only makes sense to use technology within the classroom. This is common practice for a lot of teachers, however it is extremely important to remind ourselves about the usage of technology while experimenting with the many different ways we can do so. Considering the many types of learning styles students prefer when learning in class, it is appropriate to use technology directed at those learnng styles. I asked my students at the start of the year when we were talking about bumping up our work whether they would rather come to the bump it up wall and read how to get to the next level or would they like to have the option of hearing how to get to the next level. Almost all of them said they would rather follow the words while its being read to them. Therefore I created an interactive bump it up wall with the help of a Livescribe Pen. The students simply click the pen to the ink I have placed on the bump it up wall and they can hear my voice through the pen telling them how to get to the next level for each individual piece on the wall. Here is a quick video of a student using the bump it up wall with the Livescribe Pen followed by some pictures of him successfully bumping up his work. Enjoy!


This is one of the many ways we can use technology to ensure our students success, Thanks for reading !

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hands on Experiences !

Take a second and think back to when you were in school.....What positive academic experiences did you have? What were you learning about? You can remember these experiences simply because it was a time that you engaged yourself in something unique, something exciting, something that you can remember always.

One of our many goals as teachers should be to provide our students with educational memories that will last a life time. Not only will these experiences help them understand a variety of concepts during that given time, but it should allow them to retain what they learned as well.

Here is a small example of what I mean: Grade 5 students learning about Conservation of Energy and how energy transforms into different kinds of energy, yet remains. These kids had a blast learning about this strand of science and will hopefully always remember their experience making WIND TURBINES !


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Classroom Management (The Power of the Marbles)

Having a good classroom management plan in place is essential for teaching. How can a teacher go on with teaching the curriculum when students are off task, mis-behaving, or acting out? We simply cant...... Just as we plan units and lessons for our students, we must plan to implement and carry out an affective classroom management strategy as well.

The list could go on and on when it comes to different techniques or stategies to use for good classroom management so I will only talk about the ones that I have seen work affectively, with many positive outcomes. Firstly it is important to welcome and greet each student before he or she enters the classroom. This gives you the opportunity to see what kind of mood they are in and also allows you to notice anything that may be bothering them before you start your day. During my last teaching placement I would stand by the door and welcome each individual student and get a feel of how they were feeling before they entered my classroom.
Every Monday for the first 20 minutes I would go around the room and allow each student to share what they did on their weekend. I did this because it enhances the classroom community. This shows students that we must listen to and appreciate others, while at the same time understanding and respecting others differences. This technique really made us get to know eachother better and made everyone feel a lot more comfortable being around one another.

The next classroom management stategy that I had the chance to implement was the seating plan. My assosciate teacher and I made post-it notes with all the students names on them and arranged a U shaped  seating plan. We took into consideration the bigger behaviors in the class, the always on task students, the students on IEP's, and the level 4 type students. Based on these characteristics we strategically spread out the bigger behaviors, seperating or buffering them with the on task students or empty desks, while placing students on IEP's near the level 4 students. The level 4 type students were there to give them assistance or extra help when needed. The students desks were also turned around so they couldn't access the inside  of their desks while the teacher was teaching. This took away playing with various items or objects from their desks when the focus should be elsewhere or on the teacher. Here was what my classroom looked like......

The next classroom management stategy that I created and implemeneted was putting certain students into squads with certain behavior success criteria. Behavior needed to be managed a lot when transitioning to another classroom/gym, or during the phys-ed period. During phys-ed was a time in which the behavior management had to be adjusted or modified because of the fact they were moving around, wanting to talk to eachother more, and because they had to work with others in the class (Co-operative Games). Therefore they were put into squads, (again with the bigger behaviors spread out in the sqauds). Each squad had the opportunity to create their own team name, which they loved! During phys-ed and transitioning to different classess each student was responsible for their squad. Their behavior would affect the whole squad.. After each phys-ed class I would evaluate their behavior and award them points based off of certain success criteria, each criteria being worth a different amount of points. Their goal was to eventually reach 50 points and they would get to choose one of the 5 rewards, they were to make that choice as a group. This system gave them something to work towards as a group, this strategy really turned our phys-ed class around, they were motivated to have positive attitudes, while listening, encouraging others, wearing their gym attire, while even helping out with the clean up of equipment. Here are some pics of the plan I had in place!


Lastly, "The Power of the Marbles". This was a strategy that was used throughout the whole day, during all subjects. This was the main, go to, classroom management plan. Much like the squad points they were working towards a reward. It is essential that the teacher and the students determine what this reaward will be before a new term of  marbles begins. These rewards would be things such as pajama days, watching an afternoon movie on a friday (linking movie to TLCP, we watched a movie on greek gods/goddesses). Once the reward is agreed upon, the class can then start working towards it. The object of this strategy was for the students to earn all the marbles that were in my bowl, filling their bowl up leaving me with nothing. Students earned marbles for such things as wearing their uniform, being on task, recieving an outside compliment from another teacher, etc. They would lose marbles for the opposite behavior such as acting out, being off task, mis-bahaving, being too loud, etc. 

This strategy worked great because if one student continued to not meet the points criteria, they would lose marbles for the class, this affected the rest of the students. Other students would then begin to ask others to listen, be quiet, etc. The student mis-behaving would eventually realize he or she was losing marbles for the whole class in which they would stop the behavior, and then try everything they could to earn those marbles back. This strategy also worked great because it allows you to choose when to give them marbles, when you give them marbles you can go beyond and say things like "great job everyone, your having a great day, keep it up". This motivates them even more to continue with their good behavior because they want to earn more marbles. The teacher does not always have to take some away either. The teacher has the option of simply putting their hand in the bowl and moving the marbles around. Once the students hear the sound of the marbles, they will make sure to not lose any. This strategy worked wonders, and I am definetely going to use it again in the future. 

What works well for you?? Leave your comments !
Hope you enjoyed.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Integration in Education

During my recent block 2 placement I had the chance to experiment with various integrated lessons such as phys-ed integrated with science (human organ systems), language (making connections) integrated with social studies (early civilizations-Greece), early civilizations-Greece integrated with drama, math (2D objects) integrated with the arts (expressing a feeling), and much more.

Through this expereince I found that integrated lessons give students much more engagement and motivation. It allows students to use one subject to learn more about the other. It gives them more opportunity for learning because a student may be strong in one subject and weak in the other, however they can use that stronger subject because they are already comfortable with it, to help them dig deeper into the other subject. When different subject areas are put together it broadens the opportunity for differentiated instruction as well. I found that with certain parameters and/or success criteria it gives students a base to build off of. After they have met the learning criteria, make sure to leave room for student choice an/or creativity. This really addresses different instruction types and learning styles.

Here is an example of what I am talking about. This was a lesson that I did with my grade 5's in which they had to use 2 dimensional polygons and symmetry to express a feeling. Their success criteria contained minimal mathematical parameters such as a line of symmetry down the center of the page, they had to use each polygon more than once, and their art had to express how they were feeling. This lesson helped them learn more about symmetry and 2D objects through creativity and self discovery. While at the same time played an important role in their ability to express themselves, through art. A lesson prior to this was taught in which they learned what symmetry was.. but this really brought it home.

Here are the students work...enjoy !


Sunday, January 23, 2011


What are the advantages of participating in co-operative games? They will enhance student communication, teamwork, problem solving skills, critical and creative thinking, and much more. These are life skills that are used day to day. Students can foster these skills at a young age with the use of co-opertive games; and finally, they are FUN!!

Check out these links to learn more about co-operative games!