The student need to write the sentence in the correct order, “The tree has lots of leaves.”
Photography by Dana Kathryn
Chase: “We just played ‘Foundation of a Moment’ by JC Poppe. I really like that track. It speaks to some realities in your life and in music. I know that you went through a bit of a tough time recently. One of the lyrics there says, ‘I could be worse off.’ I like focusing on lyrics. There’s another one that says, ‘It’s so hard to listen to both our heart and our head, so this moment I’m in, I’m just gonna vibe.’ Nice!”
As a teacher, it is important to capitalize on teachable moments. A small discussion, comment, or even an action from a student can lead to a brilliant impromptu lesson.
Case in point, last week I noticed that a student in my class was applying chapstick to her lips every few minutes. Her chapstick was becoming a distraction to her work. Not only that, but she was wasting a resource that should have lasted her a few weeks.
I immediately saw a connection to the glue sticks we have in the classroom. Quite often the students don’t roll down the glue and affix the cap properly when they have finished using it. Other students roll the glue all the way up to the top, or apply too much (like my student was doing with her chapstick)
I found a glue stick that was just about empty and held it up for the class.
“How does this work?” I asked.
One student replied, “You take off the cap and then put it on the paper.”
I did what she said and placed the glue stick cap on a piece of paper.
I said, “Come on, you should be able to explain how something as easy as a glue stick works?”
This is actually a good exercise in using precise language. And it is not as easy as it sounds. I was trying to challenge my students.
It took a while but they were finally able to direct me to use a glue stick correctly to glue two pieces of paper together.
After that, I held up the glue stick and asked the students, “How many parts do you think a gluestick has?”
Most of the students yelled out “4” but one said “5”
I took apart the gluestick and we examined each piece. I drew each piece on the Smartboard as well.
We could now see that a gluestick is a simple machine consisting of 5 parts. “Great answer!”
Glue sticks and Chapstick are built the same way.
Here are the component parts;
1) The handle that you turn is actually a screw. You can see it once you take off the top part that holds the glue.
2) The piece that screws on to this is a platform but we used the term “nut” for this exercise. The screw mechanism is like a bolt and the nut attaches to it.
3) Next we have the glue itself. This is the part of the glue stick that gets used up.
4) The casing or plastic shell is the next piece.
5) And finally, we have the cap or lid.
I was then able to talk about why we should be “Wise in the use of our resources” – an old Scouts Canada motto that has really stuck with me.
We only have so much resources in the world and in the classroom. We need to use the things we do have in a responsible manner.
Sure, this impromptu lesson took 20 minutes of my day that I had planned to teach something else, but this lesson was
We compared our lip balm and looked at the volume of ointment in each container.
This was one of the best lessons I delivered all year long and it was sparked by what was happening in my classroom at the time. I didn’t plan this lesson. In fact, it was actually a disruption to my day but good teachers can recognize these teachable moments and cash in on them.
I hope you have found this post useful. It is part of the Teaching Tip Tuesday series that I run here on this blog. As of now, there are over 100 useful tips, tricks, lessons, and ideas for you to peruse.
It’s time for the very first Visual Running Tour of 2011!
Medway Valley Heritage Forest is located in London, Ontario and covers 95 hectares. There are 9 kilometers of trails that hook up to a few other short trail systems in the northern part of the city. For my run today, I covered about five kilometers in this forest.
There is the entrance trail that leads to the forest.
The nature trail officially starts here.
This hill was a little bit muddy to run up.
The trail ran alongside the creek for the most part. There is nothing better than running through a beautiful forest with only the sounds of nature including the sound of a slow moving creek.
I love this shot. The trees are so straight and tall.
This year, I attended my first Toronto Freedom Festival and Global Marijuana March at Queen’s Park in Toronto. The event boasts a peaceful history with no arrests and an estimated 3.5 million dollar impact on the city’s economy.
The official festival website states: “In 2007, TFF was developed to offer the necessary infrastructure for the 9th Global Marijuana March (GMM) that launches just north of the park. Toronto’s march is largest of over 200 participating cities, attracting over 20,000 people each year and garnering international media attention”
This year, for the first time in the festival’s history, the organizers had a difficult time obtaining a license from the city of Toronto, succeeding only weeks before the event date. The permit allowed for the renting of port-a-potties, building fences, hiring security, building stages and hiring food and product vendors.
What affected the event was the amount of entertainers and speakers available on short notice. As a consequence, there was only one stage as opposed to several. The organizers were also very clear about the politics of the event; decriminalization of marijuana, regulating the growing selling and consumption of cannabis, and freeing the “Prince of Pot” Marc Emery from US prison.
However, I felt there was some question as to whether or not this message was being heard by the extremely young attendees of the event. Regardless, with a record turnout the event is making an impact about the issues, even if their participants did not all go out and vote on May 2nd.
Arriving at 11am, there were already approximately 20 thousand people in the park, camping out on the grass and surrounding areas. Everyone was incredibly friendly and laid back. What I found particularly striking was the noise level. For a crowd of such significant size, it was not necessary to raise your voice in conversation. Everyone was there to have a good time. What I did notice was the lack of political signs in the crowd. There were several volunteers collecting donations and giving out information, interacting with the crowd.
There were also a handful of street vendors and goods for sale, among booths giving out information about cannabis laws and selling marijuana paraphernalia such as bongs and rolling papers. We looked for a hacky sack at one point, but were disappointed.
Jody Emery is member of the Green Party and a cannabis activist. She spoke on behalf of the magazine Cannabis Culture where she is CEO. She also speaks on behalf of the company’s former CEO and her husband, Marc Emery, in a bid to return him to Canada to carry out his jail sentence.
Alison Myrden, a former Canada Corrections Officer and lifelong MS patient spoke about the need to both decriminalize the drug for medical use as well as regulate it through governmental dispensaries in order to ensure safe and effective medicine for patients.
Stay tuned to this blog for an exclusive interview she did with Chase March for DOPEfm.
Both women had such a presence it was hard not to listen to them. Laughing, smiling, smoking, and in such incredible spirits in the face of a four-year conservative government and already having dealt with issues threatening the safety of the event.
Here is a video of Alison Myrden speaking at the Toronto Freedom Festival in 2007, the first year of this large event centered around The GMM.
Every year the event has grown, and it shows no intention of slowing down.
This is a cause that affects so many people, yet one that is not represented in the popular media that often. For instance, did you know that over half of all drug arrests in the US are for cannabis related charges? (LEAP.cc).
We are led to believe that this is a harmful plant as well as to fear those who sell it, use it, or promote it. Perhaps we should make up our minds for ourselves? Below is a list of links to take you to further information about Jody and Alison as well as the causes they are fighting for.
Photography and Words by Dana Kathryn
Welcome to Teaching Tip Tuesday!
Before we get started today, if you haven’t already, please take a moment to complete this survey. Thanks!
And now for today’s tip,
How to Fit Small Group Instruction into Your Routine.
1) Remove Timelines
Instead of having a specific time and duration for tasks, allow your students to have some autonomy over when and how they need to complete those activities.
For example. I used to expect my students to write a journal every morning by 9:30. Promptly at that time, I would instruct my students to clear off their desks and get ready for a spelling lesson. I would then deliver my lesson to the entire class, and expect my students to complete the worksheet or activity by 10:00.
I don’t do this anymore and believe it or not, this tiny change has worked miracles.
2) Clearly Define the Goals
Each morning I put a list of tasks on the board that I expect to be completed. The students know they have the freedom to work on these tasks in any order they want.
Besides a journal, I also have my students complete a DLR. This Daily Language Review is a 5 question activity that takes most students only five or ten minutes to complete. It helps reinforce grammar, phonics, sentence structure, onset and rime, analytical skills, punctuation, spelling, and more.
I will give you more details about this bellwork activity in an upcoming teaching tip.
3) Add more tasks
I also give the students a math worksheet each morning.
Sometimes, it will be strictly computational. I truly believe students should be doing math drills each and every day to improve their speed and accuracy.
Once again, this activity takes students anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to complete.
4) Target Teach
Here’s is where the small group instruction comes in.
I don’t teach a spelling lesson to the whole class anymore. Instead, I teach the lesson to one small group of students. I group these students by learning style and target the instruction accordingly.
I have the students assemble around a conference table that I sit at as well. This table is close to the board so I can turn around and use the board without having to get up.
We focus on the spelling pattern of the week and I have the students spelling out words according to the sounds. I can see how each student is using the letter pattern
Once the students go back to their desks, I call the next group over to the table and repeat this entire lesson. I have found that a whole class lesson that takes 30 minutes can be done with a group of five students in about 10.
Sure, I end up teaching the same lesson, more or less, five times in a row. This takes 50 minutes of my time but the students get targeted instruction that truly enhances their learning.
6) Do it Daily
On Mondays, I use this routine to teach each small group a spelling lesson. On Tuesdays, I do a mini-lesson on writing. Wednesdays, we do Grammar. Thursdays, it’s word study. And Friday, I have the students use this time to catch up on any work they have fallen behind on. If they are all finished, they get some extra free time.
7) Free Time
Many students get free time every morning now because the get their work done. Even with the extra writing and math task I have thrown into the mix, the work gets done.
The students are happy because they get to choose which task to do first, second, third, and fourth, and they are motivated to do them knowing that free time awaits them after completion.
More Teaching Tips
I hope you have found this 3 Part Series on Small Group Instruction useful. If you use this or a similar strategy, I would love to hear from you. Perhaps, you have a tip you’d like to share. Please leave a comment below, send me and email, or you could even write a guest post for next week’s tip.
Here are some past Teaching Tip Tuesday posts you might find useful.
- Teaching Tip Tuesday Archive – over 100 tips and counting
- Reading Groups – divide your students into groups by reading ability
- Part 1 of this series – free up your lesson time and class schedule
- Part 2 of this series – small group instruction
Photo Credit – http://appletreebroomfield.org/PhotoAlbum.aspx
Greetings Chase readers,
I am a recent teacher graduate doing an inquiry about A.P.E. and having a very hard time finding research and literature on the effectiveness of this strategy. So, when I saw the post, I thought I would put it out to the greater teaching community and ask all you teachers out there to please take a few moments to complete the following survey.
Your contribution is greatly appreciated.
A.P.E. Strategy (Answer, Prove and Extend)
Anonymous Teacher Survey
1. What grade do you teach?
2. Have you ever used A.P.E. strategy as a format for both oral and written responses?
3. Are you currently using A.P.E. strategy in your classroom? – If not please state why?
4. Please briefly describe how you introduced the A.P.E. strategy to your class.
5. Please describe any benefits to your students’ performance that you may have noticed since employing the A.P.E. strategy, such as whether students are beginning their answers by re-wording the question, and if they are more consistently proving their answers with material taken from an oral or written text, and lastly, if they are extending their answers by making connections that are either text-to text, text-to-self, or text-to-world.
6. Please state whether or not you would continue to use, or would use this strategy in the future.
Or you can also respond by leaving a comment below.
– Laura Martindale
Later on in the story, we find out that she was raped during a house party. She was only thirteen and didn’t know what to do, so she called 911. The party was then broken up by the police but she didn’t stay to talk to the authorities. She didn’t even report the crime. She didn’t tell anyone, She didn’t speak about it at all.
The story is about the struggle to find her voice and speak.
I hope people speak out and against rape. I hate the fact that it even exists. I don’t understand how anyone could possibly commit such a heinous act. I hate how the victim will sometimes get blamed. I hate everything about it.
I hated that this character that I came to really like over the course of the novel, had to go so such a horrible affair. I am glad that she made it through okay though and that I got to hear her story, that I got to hear her speak.
In a previous Teaching Tip Tuesday post we looked at how you can divide students up according to their reading abilities. Today we will look at how this same strategy can be effective across the curriculum.
Try dividing students up according to learning styles.
I have a group of students in my class who are very independent and don’t need a lot of instruction. I have a few students who constantly ask for help and need a lot of direction in their learning. Those were the first two learning groups I formed. I then divided the rest of the class into two additional groups.
If you have 20 students, you can easily make 4 groups of 5 students each. If you have 25 students, I would suggest putting the students into 5 groups.
I use the reading groups for reading instruction only and the learning groups for other tasks such as grammar, writing, mathematics, and any other activity that would benefit from a small group as opposed to whole class instruction.
Why use small groups?
1) It Tailors the Instruction
Some students need more help than others. Some students can do more difficult or involved tasks than those you may tend to assign to the whole class. By using small groups, you can fit the needs of these two groups of students easily.
2) It Gives Your Precise Data
It is extremely hard to give each student in your class one-on-one attention on a regular basis. Small group instruction is the next best thing and has many of the same benefits.
Sitting down at a conference table and having your students do their work right in front of you, helps you respond to their needs a lot easier than circulating around the classroom.
You can see the thinking process of the students, how they do their work, and not just the finished project. Make sure you take notes of the learning styles and examples of how each student responds to their learning. This gives you great data for writing report cards.
3) It Builds Positive Relationships
It also has the added benefit of seeing where your students are having difficulty because some students simply won’t ask for help from the teacher.
These students often feel lost and are either afraid to ask for help. With the regular use of small group instruction, these children no longer need to feel embarrassed asking for help.
You are now providing one-on-one instruction to all the students in the class on regular basis. As such, the students will see you as more approachable and won’t be as afraid to ask you for help when they really need it.
The students respond really well to this kind of instruction becomes it feels more personal. They can see that you want to help them with their work.
Come back next week for Teaching Tip Tuesday to see how I use these learning groups in my morning routine.
Photo source – http://www.suite101.com/view_image_articles.cfm/721589
Today is the 10th anniversary of Free Comic Book Day!
It’s a great day where comic book stores everywhere will be having special events, artist signings, and they will be giving away free comics. Young children will also be able to get a free Green Lantern HeroClix toy.
Chase: “All right, we are back with Mala Reignz. If you’ve missed any of the show so far, you can download it for free, read it from the very beginning on the blog, or stream it with the player at the bottom of this post.
This is Part 2 of the Mala Reignz interview I conducted for DOPEfm.
Mala: “Nicky is a beast. She will respond to anybody talking to me.”
Chase: “All right everybody, this is Chase March. Daddy J is on the boards. And we are lucky enough to have Mala Reignz on the phone.
You can download this show for free, stream it with the player below, or just continue reading. Thanks!
Chase: “I first took notice of your music with OMG and your video for that song and I was really blown away by it.”
Chase: “Nice, I want to spin that one right now. It’s one of my favouite songs. I really love. We’ll drop that song right now. This is “Dum Da Dum (OMG)” by Mala Reignz off the Calm Before The Storm.”
Come back tomorrow to Read Part 2!
No one likes being told when and how to do something. I know that I sure don’t. If I have a task that I need to do, I usually figure out a way to do it effectively and efficiently. I’m sure our students work much in the same way. That is, if we’d ever allow them to.
Throughout my entire teaching career, I have built the school day around a very tight schedule. I have blocks of time alloted for specific activities. I’m sure that this is pretty much the norm for any classroom.
8:30 – 8:45 Bell work
8:45 – 9:00 Journal
9:00 – 9:30 Spelling
and so on.
I expect each and every student in my class to abide by this schedule. If their work is not completed on time, it doesn’t matter. We need to move on and begin the next task. Students who fall behind will often lose their recess time because the work needs to be done.
Of course, this process is flawed for several reasons. Telling someone when and how to do something, even if that person is only ten years old, often leaves a sour taste behind and removes whatever motivation might have originally been there. Under these circumstances, some students may stubbornly refuse to work altogether.
We are basically left with a no-win situation. We can either record an incomplete beside the student’s name or we can keep him or her in at recess to catch up on the work. This robs both the student and the teacher of a much needed break. Both parties get upset and dig in their heals. It’s a power struggle that can be avoided by throwing out such a rigid schedule. I just figured this out with my class last week.
I had been having a hard time getting my students to write a paragraph each morning for journal. I decided they needed some motivation so I started a 1,000 Word Challenge. Every day I would count the words they had written and add them to the total from the day before. When a student accumulated a total of 1,000 words in their journals, he or she would be awarded a prize.
This strategy worked. . . for the writers who had already been producing solid work prior to this challenge. I still moved on at 9:30 regardless of what the students had on the paper. I would only count words if they were in a complete sentence.
I was really surprised that this strategy did not work for all of the students. I was sure that counting words would give my students a sense of accomplishment and give them a reason to write.
Last week, I decided to switch things up in my classroom and I found that it really worked.
Here’s how to do it.
- Remove Timelines – I wrote a list of all the work that I expected the students to do it the morning block. I even added an extra task that wasn’t originally in our morning routine.
- Allow Free Time – When the students completed the work, they were allowed to have free time.
Guess what happened?
Most of the students completed all of the work well before the recess bell even rang. There was no grumbling about the amount of work. No one complained that there was an extra task to do either.
Why did this work?
The students liked having the freedom to do the work assigned in whatever order they felt like. They were motivated by the prospect of having free time. They tried their best because they know that I will not accept rushed or messy work. They tried their best and did it right the first time.
But wait, there’s more!
Next week, I will share with you how I incorporated small group instruction during this morning block as well.
This strategy worked so well. I have no idea why I never thought of it before now.
I wonder what this new month has in store for us here on Silent Cacophony.
Let’s hope that it is a good as last May.
You can read all of the posts from last year at this time. I just scrolled through them myself, and I must admit that it was one of the best months I’ve had on this blog. Of course, if you don’t have the time to do that right now, you can check these gems.
Missed Opportunity – Here’s a comic strip I made using Lego characters.
Saukrates Interview – Saukrates (pronounced Socrates) is a legend in the Canadian hip-hop scene. It was a pleasure to catch up with him before he rocked the outdoor stage at Toronto Freedom Fest. This is a free download, article, and podcast.
My Daredevil Collection – Daredevil is my favourite superhero and I have acquired a humble collection of comics, toys, and memorabilia of the Marvel Comics hero.
Lucy’Lo Interview – You might not know the name but you will be inspired and educated by this music producer, DJ and member of the group 84.85. We had a great discussion about music production, hip-hop culture, politics, and life. In fact, this article was even recognized in the great blog Hip Hop Is Read.
Unveiling My Screenplay – Here is the complete screenplay I wrote for last year’s Script Frenzy Challenge. Give it a read and let me know what you think.