Strategy of the Week

Student Presentations and How to Make Them Great

How to Facilitate Great Student Presentations

Ah, class presentations. They’re a source of pride, joy, frustration, despair, and everything in between for students—and their teachers too.

Facilitating presentations can be a great way for students to reinforce their own learning and teach their peers. Of course, there are specific skills that make presentations more effective and meaningful for both presenters and audience. This 2:16 video highlights some of the benefits and effective practices of student presentations.

You can also learn through this interactive demonstration of effective vs. ineffective student presentation practices. Once you’ve completed the activity, you can download an adaptable checklist (Word file) to help your students prepare for their next presentation.

Teaching Students to Teach

Share out: How do you help your students prepare for individual or group presentations? Let us know!

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Engaged Students: A Teacher’s Dream Voice, Choice, and Students

Voice, Choice, and Students

Can you imagine a student who feels almost completely disconnected from learning, who is simply going through the motions?

Can you also imagine a student who, when presented with multiple options for learning activities, will spend too much time trying to decide among them?

Without the proper amount of voice and choice, your students might become the ones you just imagined. In this 2:55 video, see how giving students appropriate levels of voice, choice, and constraints can increase their engagement.

Voice, Choice, and Students

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Effective ELD: Using Cornell Notes to Summarize Content

Summarizing Content Using Cornell Notes

To successfully master today’s core content, English language learners require additional literacy and fluency support. One of the challenges of English language development (ELD) is grasping the skill of summarization. This abstract activity not only requires a good understanding of written and spoken English, but also calls for adequate comprehension of ideas.

One simple yet powerful tool for English language learners to learn to summarize content is called Cornell Notes. It enables them to synthesize content knowledge and organize their understanding into complete sentences. The technique incorporates six simple steps that help students to take notes, prioritize information, and restate key points with supporting details.

Using Cornell Notes in Six Steps

Use these steps to teach your students how to prepare and take Cornell Notes.

  1. Divide the paper into three sections.
  • Draw a dark horizontal line about 5 or 6 lines from the bottom. Use a heavy magic marker so that it is clear.
  • Draw a dark vertical line, about 2 inches from the left side of the paper, from the top to the horizontal line.
  1. Document
  • Write course name, date, and topic at the top of each page.
  1. Write Notes
  • The large box to the right is for writing notes.
  • Skip a line between ideas and topics.
  • Don’t use complete sentences. Use abbreviations, whenever possible. Develop a shorthand of your own, such as using “&” for the word, “and.”
  1. Review and clarify
  • Review the notes as soon as possible after class.
  • Pull out main ideas, key points, dates, and people, and write them in the left column.
  1. Summarize
  • Write a summary of the main ideas in the bottom section.
  1. Study your notes
  • Reread your notes in the right column.
  • Spend most of your time studying the ideas in the left column and the summary at the bottom. These are the most important ideas and will probably include most of the information that will be tested.

Source: Learning Toolbox. Steppingstone Technology Grant, James Madison University http://coe.jmu.edu/learningtoolbox/printer/cornellnotes.pdf

Here’s an example of what Cornell Notes would look like when complete.Cornell Notes Example of Writing Summeries

Source: James Madison University http://coe.jmu.edu/learningtoolbox/cornellnotes1.html

Watch third graders use Cornell Notes to summarize content

One particular classroom is a great example of using Cornell Notes in ELD instruction. At Agua Caliente Elementary School in Cathedral City, California, Mr. Chuck Murfitt’s 3rd grade students take notes about the geological effects of running water, identify the key ideas, and summarize the content using supporting details. This particular classroom is a great example of using Cornell Notes in ELD instruction.

Watch the video above to see the lesson. This video also comes with a downloadable study guide that summarizes these principles and provides links to additional related resources.

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Listening Skills for Students

Listening Skills for Students

Listening is one of the most important skills that students can practice while in school. Every aspect of a student’s academic career is impacted by their ability to actively listen. For most students, active listening is not an innate skill. Luckily, there are a few easy steps you can teach to help them gain this skill.

In this 2:48 video, teachers and students go over three steps to active listening:

  • Look at the person speaking.
  • Wait until he or she is done before you speak.
  • Respond with words or gestures that show you heard what he or she said.

This video comes with a downloadable guidebook.

listening skills for students

Share out: How do you encourage your students to listen to each other? Let us know!

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Pythagorean Theorem Lesson for Secondary Students

Pythagorean Theorem Lesson: Geometry in the Real World

For students, schoolwork with real-world relevance is key for learning. Activities and projects that introduce new content into familiar contexts have a greater chance of being successfully applied by students in later, less familiar situations.

In this classroom video, geometry teacher Mr. Robert Oswald gives his students practice using the Pythagorean theorem and principle of triangulation to solve the real-world problem of locating a missing cell phone in their area.

Pythagorean Theory Lesson

This video comes with a downloadable guidebook.

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Using Nonverbal Praise Routines

Using Nonverbal Praise Routines

Nonverbal praise routines are quick, quiet, gestures designed to increase student engagement and classroom community with minimal disruption to learning.

In this 1:40 video, teachers and students demonstrate nonverbal praise routines, such as thumbs up, snaps, and sending “magic” or “love.”
Using Nonverbal Praise Routines

This video comes with a downloadable guidebook.

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Model Reading by Thinking

Model Reading by Thinking

Solid reading involves more than just sounding out letters and words—it engages thinking on many levels. When teachers use modeling, coached practice, and reflection, they can help their students to think while they read and build their comprehension.

Good readers:

  • Draw on background knowledge as they read
  • Make predictions as they read
  • Visualize the events of a text as they read
  • Recognize confusion as they read
  • Recognize a text’s structure as they read
  • Identify a purpose for reading
  • Monitor their purpose for reading the text

Source: http://www.readingrockets.org/article/using-think-alouds-improve-reading-comprehension

Using Think-Alouds to Model Thinking and Reading

Teachers use think-alouds to model the relationship between thinking and reading. They verbalize their thought processes and demonstrate connections that good readers make between background knowledge and information in a text.

This video segment above features a variety of classroom examples showing teachers implementing think-alouds with their students. The segment also comes with a downloadable study guide that offers pre- and post-viewing discussion prompts as well as links to additional resources for teaching reading comprehension.

These materials are part of a comprehensive series of videos and downloadable resources on teaching literacy, available only on Edivate.

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Mobile Devices in the Classroom

Mobile Devices in the Classroom

With the prevalence of hand-held devices, students are more connected to information than ever before. Smart phones and some newer tablets can connect to a 3G or 4G data network, freeing them from the invisible tether of Wi-fi connectivity. This means students can retrieve, or more often receive, information everywhere they go. So, why not teach your students to responsibly use their devices?

mobile devices in the classroom

In this 1:35 video, Ms. Kendra Radcliff discusses how she encourages her students to use their devices while doing research.

This video comes with a downloadable guidebook.

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Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Instructional Variety

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Instructional Variety  

If you were a farmer who had just one gardening tool, how frustrating would your work be? What would happen to the growth of your plants?

This analogy to teaching helps explain why educational frameworks like Universal Design for Learning (UDL) advocate for teachers to develop a variety of strategies to help them reach all students.

And so, in the spirit of instructional variety, we offer you two resource options for this Strategy of the Week:

An interactive version of this teaching-as-gardening analogy.

Teaching as a Gardener

And, a document with descriptions of and resources for using nine different instructional strategies and approaches.

teaching strategy

Try the Interactive Lesson

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A Strategy for Assessing Declarative Knowledge

A Strategy for Assessing Declarative Knowledge

Have you ever had a moment where you couldn’t remember someone’s name? You could describe their features and point them out in a crowd, but their name stayed just outside of your memory.

A Strategy for Assessing Declarative Knowledge

English Language Learners face this challenge regularly in their English vocabulary, and several strategies can help them communicate around the gaps. This 3:40 video highlights how the Show, Don’t Tell strategy supports the assessment of declarative knowledge (or factual knowledge—knowing that something is rather than how to do it) and engagement of students.

This video comes with a downloadable guidebook.

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