To Raise or To Ruin

A 3d graphic of the words in the question What Do You Think? This could be used to encourage people to participate in a survey or poll and ask their opinion or input on a customer service or other fact gathering project[/caption]I recently had an experience that had me wondering how we can keep children engaged and excited about learning as they progress through school.

Recently, I joined with a fabulous group of educators–reading coaches who were using a Looking at Student Work protocol following our first administration of common Parcc aligned interim assessments.

Each coach had brought samples of student work, all in response to the following prompt: “Retell the story from the crow’s point of view. Be sure to use details from the selection.” Continue reading

Teachers’ Messages and Student Engagement

I spent an hour recently visiting classrooms. First day after a break, with an anticipated snow day to follow, it could have been easy to lose the student engagement fight. Indeed, a few kids seemed to be moving a bit slowly, going through the motions. Yet I saw students ready to go–hands waving in the air to give an answer and exclamations of excitement when arriving at correct responses during a math review, for example.

By far, though, the greatest levels of engagement with the work was happening when students were arranged in peer groups and given the opportunity to construct their learning together. In an Algebra class, students were working in groups of their choosing to reviewing a test and making corrections. By designing this activity, the teacher was sending very clear messages to his students: Continue reading

Want to improve your PLC? Act like children.

During Instructional Rounds recently, I had the pleasure of joining a triad of 7 year old students engaged in conversation on the rug. The three had just read a book about tsunamis and had filled out a corresponding KWL chart (in full sentences, not bullets!) One student, I’ll call him Joe, shared his “what I want to learn” section.

Rather than simply nodding and moving on to share her own written response, one of Joe’s partners, Shana, asked Joe if he had found the answers to what he wanted to know and written about those in the “what I learned” section.
When Joe said, “no”, Shana pressed. “You should have found the answers in the text,” she said. “They are in there. Did you at least learn what a tsunami is?” Continue reading