- Go to Vocaroo.com to make an audio recording of the first test question. This free tool is extremely easy to use – just push the record button and speak. When finished, save your recording and then select the QR Code sharing option. This will immediately generate a QR code for the URL that contains the audio recording.
- Copy the QR code and paste into your test document, next to the question.
- Repeat for each question.
- During test taking, allow the student to use a device to scan the QR code and listen to the question through earphones.
Stop Reading the Test Aloud
Do you have students with accommodations that require a test to be read aloud? Here’s a way to increase student independence, save valuable staff time, and insure that the adult reader doesn’t influence the student’s answers.
Visual Mapping for Memory
Research is clear that visual mapping (also called mind mapping, thinking maps, and graphic organizers) increases comprehension and retention of material. Here's a brief video with some good tips for teaching visual note taking.
Is It Interrupting?
My husband and I have a different perspective on “interrupting.” I prefer robust discussion with lots of jumping in and he prefers a turn-taking approach to conversation.
New co-teaching partners may also have different perspectives on “interrupting.” Often, I hear co-teachers justify their passive role in the classroom by saying that they don’t want to interrupt the teacher who is lecturing. I believe that it is critical to change the paradigm from “interrupting” to “supporting.”
Students who struggle, for whatever reason, need co-teachers to jump in and clarify, restate, question or add a quick learning strategy. These strategies support student learning.
Imagine a co-taught math class that includes students with disabilities as well as English language learners. The math teacher is presenting a mini-lecture on triangles. As she lectures, she uses the phrase “piece of cake” to describe how easy it is to figure the degrees of a missing angle. The specialist observes that several students are confused by this phrase, perhaps wondering what cake has to do with triangles. Should she jump in to clarify? Absolutely!
To insure that both partners feel comfortable with supporting students in these ways, co-teachers need to talk about it and give each other permission to jump in. Agree to reframe the behavior from "interrupting" to "supporting."
Teaching Time Management #1
After several weeks of school, my co-teachers and I felt that many students seemed unable to get their work done in the time allotted. We decided to address it proactively and do some direct instruction and application activities.
Unfortunately, I ran out of time today while teaching our first lesson about time management. How ironic! I also learned today how complex time management is - much more so than I originally thought. Therefore, I will be breaking our instruction down into chunks and writing several blog posts about how we addressed it.
Our first step was to provide a reference point for time. Each student in the group had an index card with a number from 1-12. They placed them on the floor to form a clock. Next, they had to think of an activity that they do regularly that takes an hour or less (brush teeth, get dressed, watch a tv show, eat a snack ,etc.), share it out loud and stand where the minute hand would show how long it takes. Some students were accurate in their estimates, while others were way off. This reinforced our theory that most of our students don't have a deep understanding of time.
We then created an anchor chart to post on the wall that shows approximate time frames for common activities. Our plan is to point this out to students whenever we give students a time frame for an assignment. For example, "You have 10 minutes to do this. That's about as long as it takes to shower."
If you are working with older students and are hesitant to put the circle on the floor, you could move directly to creating a chart.
Here is one you can download.
Stay tuned for my post about our next step.
Text often contains a subtle (or not so subtle!) bias brought to the subject matter by the author. To help students be aware of this as they read, try the Frame of Reference strategy.
1. Create frames by cutting a large window in an 8 ½ by 11” piece of cardstock. Laminate these.
2. Show students two paintings by different artists, and discuss how the artists’ lives impacted their perspectives. Compare this to an artist’s signature – the unique stamp that claims a work of art. I like to use these two artists depiction of the human body and share the following facts.
· Monet had poor eyesight and his impressionist style may have been, in part, a result of this.
· Rembrandt’s brother had an accident that mangled his hand.
3. Ask students this question: How might a writer’s life experiences influence his/her writing?
4. Provide students with a frame and a piece of writing. Ask them to find out as much as they can about the author and write their findings around the edges of the frame. Suggest that this is like the author’s signature or stamp on the work.
5. Have students discuss how the author’s experience might have influenced the text.
· How has your perspective on this writing changed with knowledge of the author?
· Do you see any examples of bias?
· How does author information affect a reader?
· How do your life experiences influence your writing?
· Do you write with bias?
SECONDARY TEACHER ALERT:
DON'T BE PUT OFF BY THIS PHOTO! SECONDARY APPLICATIONS BELOW!
While visiting a co-taught kindergarten class in Denison, IA this week, I saw a creative use of plastic picnic plates. If you have been in a workshop with me, you may know I love using these in my Pass the Plate game. Because they are plastic, you can write on them with dry erase or wet erase markers, so they make a novel alternative to a white board.
Angel Williams uses the sectioned plates for teaching math. Students write a number in one of the small sections, then count out that number of manipulatives to place in the large section. Next, she might ask them to add 2 more, and write the number 2 in the other small section. Again, they add manipulatives. As a final step, students can write the total in the largest section.
My brain is buzzing with additional ideas for the sectioned plates:
What can you think of that might have 3 parts and lend itself to these sectioned plates?
Teachers can use talking stems with students to increase conversation in small groups. But to hold students accountable, try adding the Participation Punch Strategy.
As you wander the room, it is very clear who is using the talking stems and who might need some prompting or assistance from you. I also find that the visual nature of this helps domineering students to adjust their behavior or reach out to reluctant participants.
Anne M. Beninghof
Anne's mission is to improve instruction through collaboration and the sharing of creative, practical ideas for educators.