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Showing posts from February, 2018

Engaging with Purpose

It is difficult to create lessons and activities that both engage students and ask them to use and apply higher level skills. It is not our job to entertain our students, but as we all know, lessons and activities that engage students typically leave a lasting impact on their thoughts and future work. We must be cautious, however, and consider that student engagement must be complemented by student communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and curiosity. If our students cannot take ownership of an activity and be challenged in their actions and thinking, then the engagement we crave does not serve a useful purpose. As I always tell my students, in order to truly understand a concept, character, rule, event, or even a historical figure, we must be able to talk about them with others. For example, when I started teaching grammar to my English students, I realized that although I knew and used effective grammar, I did not truly know the rules because I struggled at

Challenging Silence

Motivating our students to ask good questions is a constant battle in the classroom. We know they have questions. We give them time and other outlets to ask questions, but they still struggle to do so. During our second week of Target Team meetings, I heard numerous teams discussing the idea of how to teach the art of questioning, especially after students experience a challenging text. As I shared a week ago, our Target Teams are focusing on how to bridge the gap between advocacy, access, and academics. Students need to learn how and when to ask appropriate questions if we want them to be successful with these three focus points Our Health teachers had an awesome discussion during our Target Team day about strategies they can utilize when encouraging students to ask questions about texts and other topics in the classroom.  The conversation started with a focus on how to incorporate difficult texts into their classes, which then quickly transformed into a discussion about how to hel


Good teachers constantly work to improve their craft by considering how students learn and how we can best help them reach their goals. While this process can be frustrating at times, the time that we put into this process is usually met with awesome outcomes in our classroom. As a school, our work this year has centered on access, advocacy, and academics. Three powerful words that can work together to produce beautiful results in a school of our size. If you've been reading my posts, you know I am constantly thinking about how departments can team up and use each other to help foster environments for learning and growth. By getting on the same page and sharing our tricks for access, advocacy, and academics, we can accomplish so much with our students during the school day. This week and next, groups of teachers have been given a day to work with their teams and create new lessons and activities for their classrooms. These Target Teams see similar students throughout the day,