Monday, August 13, 2018

Not Homework, but if you wish, check these resources out...

Invite student choice and discussion through offering these resources for perusal. Students may have more buy-in to class activities.

Types of Discussion Techniques


A Poetry Slam Cures the Blahs

10 Fresh Writing Prompts for High School English

Everyone Stand Up: A Lesson on Self-Humor

Poetry Slam

Educational Links 8/14/18

Tips, Tricks and Tools to Build Your Inclusive Classroom Through UDL

Free iPad Apps for Creating Animated Movies

What is Auditory Processing Disorder?

How To Never Run Out Of New Ideas As A Teacher

Reclaiming a Sense of Joy

Why I Redesign My Classroom Curriculum Every Year

Clean, Healthy Classroom Management Techniques

If you want to reduce your chances of getting sick, then it’s important to use classroom management techniques to maintain a clean and healthy classroom environment.
While it may be hard to avoid being exposed to germs and viruses, you can take actions to reduce the chances of you or your students from getting sick. Here are five classroom managementtechniques to bring about a cleaner, healthier classroom.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Educational Links 8/13/18

9 Updates for Google Classroom

The Tech Industry’s War on Kids

A Reminder for Those Tough Moments with Students

60-Second Strategy: Appreciation, Apology, Aha!

Teaching Tolerance 101: More than a Magazine

No, Fortnite Isn't Rotting Kids' Brains. It May Even Be Good for Them

New Consortium May Create Projects, Funding for Autism Research

A newly formed group of leaders from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) is poised to generate funding opportunities for child health research, including autism science.

Types of Discussion Techniques

Bringing All Students Into Discussions

Less Tech, More Talk: Moving To A Discussion-Based Classroom

The Big List of Class Discussion Strategies

Gallery Walk

Basic Structure: Stations or posters are set up around the classroom, on the walls or on tables. Small groups of students travel from station to station together, performing some kind of task or responding to a prompt, either of which will result in a conversation.

Gallery Walk

Philosophical Chairs

Basic Structure: A statement that has two possible responses—agree or disagree—is read out loud. Depending on whether they agree or disagree with this statement, students move to one side of the room or the other. From that spot, students take turns defending their positions.

Series: Reading Like a Historian (also for other classes)

Pinwheel Discussion

Basic Structure: Students are divided into 4 groups. Three of these groups are assigned to represent specific points of view. Members of the fourth group are designated as “provocateurs,” tasked with making sure the discussion keeps going and stays challenging. One person from each group (the “speaker”) sits in a desk facing speakers from the other groups, so they form a square in the center of the room. Behind each speaker, the remaining group members are seated: two right behind the speaker, then three behind them, and so on, forming a kind of triangle. From above, this would look like a pinwheel. The four speakers introduce and discuss questions they prepared ahead of time (this preparation is done with their groups). After some time passes, new students rotate from the seats behind the speaker into the center seats and continue the conversation.

Socratic Seminar

Basic Structure: Students prepare by reading a text or group of texts and writing some higher-order discussion questions about the text. On seminar day, students sit in a circle and an introductory, open-ended question is posed by the teacher or student discussion leader. From there, students continue the conversation, prompting one another to support their claims with textual evidence. There is no particular order to how students speak, but they are encouraged to respectfully share the floor with others. Discussion is meant to happen naturally and students do not need to raise their hands to speak. This overview of Socratic Seminar from the website Facing History and Ourselves provides a list of appropriate questions, plus more information about how to prepare for a seminar.

Socratic Seminar

Affinity Mapping

Basic Structure: Give students a broad question or problem that is likely to result in lots of different ideas, such as “What were the impacts of the Great Depresssion?” or “What literary works should every person read?” Have students generate responses by writing ideas on post-it notes (one idea per note) and placing them in no particular arrangement on a wall, whiteboard, or chart paper. Once lots of ideas have been generated, have students begin grouping them into similar categories, then label the categories and discuss why the ideas fit within them, how the categories relate to one another, and so on.

Instructional Strategy: Affinity Diagram

Concentric Circles

Basic Structure: Students form two circles, one inside circle and one outside circle. Each student on the inside is paired with a student on the outside; they face each other. The teacher poses a question to the whole group and pairs discuss their responses with each other. Then the teacher signals students to rotate: Students on the outside circle move one space to the right so they are standing in front of a new person (or sitting, as they are in the video). Now the teacher poses a new question, and the process is repeated.

Concentric Circles


Basic Structure: Another great idea from Sarah Brown Wessling, this is a small-group discussion strategy that gives students exposure to more of their peers’ ideas and prevents the stagnation that can happen when a group doesn’t happen to have the right chemistry. Students are placed into a few groups of 4-6 students each and are given a discussion question to talk about. After sufficient time has passed for the discussion to develop, one or two students from each group rotate to a different group, while the other group members remain where they are. Once in their new group, they will discuss a different, but related question, and they may also share some of the key points from their last group’s conversation. For the next rotation, students who have not rotated before may be chosen to move, resulting in groups that are continually evolving.

Facilitating Classroom Discussion: Conver-stations


Basic Structure: Two students sit facing each other in the center of the room; the remaining students sit in a circle around them. The two central students have a conversation based on a pre-determined topic and often using specific skills the class is practicing (such as asking follow-up questions, paraphrasing, or elaborating on another person’s point). Students on the outside observe, take notes, or perform some other discussion-related task assigned by the teacher.


Hot Seat

Basic Structure: One student assumes the role of a book character, significant figure in history, or concept (such as a tornado, an animal, or the Titanic). Sitting in front of the rest of the class, the student responds to classmates’ questions while staying in character in that role.

The Hot Seat

Pyramid Discussion (Snowball Discussion)

Basic Structure: Students begin in pairs, responding to a discussion question only with a single partner. After each person has had a chance to share their ideas, the pair joins another pair, creating a group of four. Pairs share their ideas with the pair they just joined. Next, groups of four join together to form groups of eight, and so on, until the whole class is joined up in one large discussion.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Educational Links 8/12/18

Administrators Can Make or Break School Culture. Here’s How to Spot the Best Ones

Let's Retire The 'Gifted-And-Talented' Student Label

10 Foods (and Supplements and Vitamins!) to Boost Your ADHD Brain

Google Tools for English Language Learners

Timing Matters: Making Better, Smarter, Shrewder Decisions

Why You Should Be Openly Friendly On The First Day Of School

Creating Paths to Participation for Introverts

Response: The Role of Student Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations

How do we know if teachers are teaching? How do we know if students are learning? We don't need high-stakes tests to tell us this information. We need administrators who visit classrooms on a daily basis, noting the teaching and learning they observe. We need to look at students as learners over time with samples of work and their own thoughts and reflections on the learning. We need to have conversations about thinking and learning and encourage risk-taking and innovation for teachers and students. When everyone feels afraid to try because jobs are riding on how an 8 year old answers a multiple choice question on a random day in May, it makes you wonder what these high-stakes assessments are really accomplishing.

Websites for Special Education
Special Education News 
On Special Education Blog
Reporter Nirvi Shah tracks news and trends of interest to the special educationcommunity, including administrators, teachers, and parents.
Spotlight on Special Education
Essential news stories and Commentaries selected by Education Week editors
Spotlight on Inclusion and Assistive Technology
Essential news stories and Commentaries selected by Education Week editors
Special Education in America
A 2008 report examining special education in the nation's high schools.
Special Education Backgrounder A brief research-based background essay on specialeducation

Fret Not Yourself

and don't forget to delight thyself in the Lord!

fret not
do good
commit thy way
cease from anger
wait upon the Lord
the meek shall inherit the earth
the Lord upholds the righteous
show mercy
the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord
depart from evil do good
speak wisdom

The Holy Bible (KJV) _ Psalms 37