Sunday, January 1, 2017

Newest Read

The post title is a bit misleading as I have not technically been "reading" Ron Clark's The End of Molasses Classes.  I actually listen to it now and again. That is what I did on this first day of 2017 during my 3 hour drive home from Hays, Kansas this morning.

A couple points made me think about my teaching and how I can take what Ron Clark has to say into my classroom.

*Study Skills - Be delibrate in teaching them! DUH! I think I have done it.  Then I listened to his suggestions like taking one page of notes and ask the students to show you how they studied.  WOW! What you will see will be amazing.  So....looking myself in the mirror so to speak. I have NOT taught them quality study skills.  
    My goal: taking time each day to spend 5 minutes to delibrately teach these skills.
   How does this play into differentiation?? 
      Some of your students will need to have an outline that gives them the specifics and how to do this without your direct help.  Others have never needed to study, my husband.  They need to be made to study because when they get to college it may not be so easy.  So, how do you get them to see that it is important?  They need to be given deeper learning, higher language/vocabulary.  Anything that is just out of their reach so they have to engage their brain.  *Write a summary of the notes adding how this concept will change their life or be useful.  *Write a 7 word jingle or gist that will help them remember it.  *Find synonyms or antonyms to vocabulary and explain how knowing these alternatives help them to understand the original word.

*Use Music - Well, I do this but in the book it pushes it to new heights. I have even given them a choice of writing a rap or song for a project.  I have only had a couple kids actually do this.  But if the entire class worked together to develop a song that reviews or teaches a concept then it will STICK.  Again, nothing new, but a reminder that there are things we can take to deeper learning if we invest just a bit more.
     My goal: In our next social studies unit, I plan to use this technique to have students engrain the causes of the Revolutionary War.  I am sure there are songs out there. But if the students do it, it will stick.
   How does this play into differentiation?? 
     Use students talents...someone is good at writing, another has rhyme down to a science, the music lover can suggest a tune to write the song to, and the musician has rhythm or musical note knowledge to add to the project.  Everyone has a place to add what they are good at doing.

Here's the deal....

  Sometimes as teachers we get a new book or go to PD and want to do it all.  FIND the one or two tweaks to your instruction.  If you go in a 180 degree directions the likelihood of you continuing is not in your favor.  Looking for that small tweak or addition that works into what you already do well, then you will come out on the side of success.  That is best practice for you and your students!!

As always, I would love to have comments, especially if you have read this book or visited RCA.