Strategy of the Week

Differentiating with Reading Stations for All Grades & Subjects!

Reading Stations for Differentiated Literacy Practice

Educators in all subject areas know that differentiation is critical to support all students on their path to success in literacy. As teachers, we can find it difficult to carve out time to work with students one-on-one, or even in small groups. One solution for providing literacy differentiation is by using reading stations (sometimes called literacy stations). Reading stations are physical areas set up in the classroom that allow students to rotate between independent, small group, and teacher-guided activities.

The integration of literacy stations can support improvement in reading comprehension, language, social, and writing development (Fountas & Pinell, 1996; 2000; Morrow, 1997; 2003). Literacy stations facilitate problem-solving because students are able to explore, invent, discover, and create alone or with others (Stone, 1996).

Source: http://www.readingrockets.org/article/literacy-centers

Station Ideas:

Get inspired for setting up stations here!

Elementary

  1. Computer station
  2. ABC station
  3. Writing station
  4. Listening station
  5. Memory card station
  6. Word family station
  7. Book club station
  8. Building/manipulatives station
  9. Buddy reading station
  10. Journal station

Secondary

  1. Computer station
  2. Writing station
  3. Word-making station
  4. Map station
  5. Problem-solving station
  6. Science station
  7. Newspaper station
  8. Poetry station
  9. Publishing station
  10. STE(A)M station

Source: http://www.readingrockets.org/article/literacy-centers

Teaching in Action

This video segment on Edivate showcases Ms. Betsy Gaither’s 4th grade class in Newton, North Carolina. Students identify and compare conflicts in literary texts and review vocabulary and comprehension in the following stations:

  1. Guided Reading
  2. Edmodo (a collaboration app)
  3. Toontastic (a storytelling app)
  4. Words Their Way (interactive station)

The segment also comes with a downloadable study guide that offers pre- and post-viewing discussion prompts as well as Ms. Gaither’s lesson plan.

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

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6th Grade STEM – Solving Unknown Variables in Real-World Problems

Making Algebra Relevant in the Real World

One of the key objectives of STEM education is to provide hands-on problem-solving activities that have real-world relevance. Word problems are one classic way to help students understand how to apply algebraic principles to relatable situations.

However, word problems alone aren’t as effective as hands-on activities that demonstrate algebra in action. When students measure times, distances, volumes and velocities as they solve for unknown variables, the problems take on tangible meaning and significance.

Teaching 6th graders algebra through hands-on problem solving

This week’s Edivate content highlights Ms. Jana Anderson’s 6th grade math class where students participate in stations focused on solving equations for unknown variables. After measuring the constants in their equations, the students complete a table that calculates equations using inverse operations. They also complete a worksheet, which requires them to solve for the unknown when calculating distances, rates, and times.

See the lesson in action

You can watch this week’s video and see how Ms. Anderson guides her students through the stations to solve for unknown variables. The video also comes with a study guide and lesson plan, which you can use to replicate the lesson in your own classroom. The plan includes links to resources for customizing your lesson and adding depth to your discussion of algebraic concepts.

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Personalized Learning—Four Key Elements

What’s All This About Personalized Learning?

Like most industries, the field of education has evolved a language replete with buzzwords and acronyms: one-to-one. IEP. Project-based. ELD. STEM and STEAM.

As you keep up with the latest best practices and catchphrases, it may help to know that much of what we hear nowadays points back to a single, overarching philosophy of personalized learning.

The Four Key Elements of Personalized Learning

This week’s video examines four key elements of personalized learning:

  • Flexibility
  • A student-centered approach
  • Mastery
  • Effective Teaching

Understanding these concepts can help us see how smaller ideas, actions, and (yes) buzzwords fit within the overall framework of personalized learning.

Watch the Video

This week’s five-minute video helps make better sense of today’s buzzwords as they relate to personalized learning. Alternatively, you can download an MP3 or a transcript of the video to peruse at your leisure.

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Fun, Effective Formative Assessments? It’s Possible With 1-To-1 Tech

1-to-1 Tech and Formative Assessments: A Closer Look

In the past, formative assessments may have induced yawns and eye-rolls among students. Now, thanks to devices and apps that support 1-to-1 technology in the classroom, formative assessments provide enjoyable learning experiences for students and accurate, individualized data for teachers.

Two formative assessment apps: Kahoot! and Socrative

Two such apps are Kahoot! and Socrative. Mr. Huck Stewart’s 7th grade math class, which participates in online formative assessments, uses both of these apps.

The Kahoot! website describes the app as “a free game-based learning platform that makes it fun to learn – any subject, in any language, on any device, for all ages!” Mr. Stewart reports that Kahoot! builds motivation for his students, and that the interactivity captures a student’s attention with its slightly competitive nature.

The Socrative website says that “through the use of real-time questioning, result aggregation, and visualization, you have instant insight into levels of understanding so you can use class time to better collaborate and grow as a community of learners.” Mr. Stewart reports that Socrative provides more of a self-paced, quiet, on-your-own activity.

The most effective technology in the classroom serves the lesson content, personalizing and enriching student learning in previously impossible ways. Kahoot! and Socrative:

  • Allow each student to self-guide and self-pace through a unit
  • Demonstrably improve achievement

See formative assessment apps in action

This week’s content on Edivate features Huck Stewart’s 7th grade math students as they engage with Kahoot!. Mr. Stewart explains the advantages to using the app in a 1-to-1 technology environment. Included is a guidebook that summarizes the segment, offers reflection questions, and provides links to additional resources.

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1st Grade STEM: Making Science Fun Using Pop Rocks and Soda

Pop Rocks, Soda, and the Scientific Method

Sometimes it can seem difficult to find concrete, hands-on lessons that introduce young students to key science concepts. Ms. Cindy Hatch, a science teacher at Sandstone Elementary in St. George, Utah, uses soda and Pop Rocks to reinforce her students’ understanding of the scientific process, which she has defined to include the following steps:

• Ask a Question
• Do Background Research
• Construct a Hypothesis
• Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
• Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
• Communicate Your Results

Two techniques that help Ms. Hatch succeed in this lesson are 1) providing a clear, detailed graphic organizer for students to record each step, and 2) modeling an ideal entry for each step using the graphic organizer.

See the lesson in action

This week’s content on Edivate features Ms. Hatch teaching the lesson entitled, Pop Rocks, Soda, and the Scientific Process. The video outlines how Ms. Hatch takes her students through the Scientific Process, modeling each step along the way. The content also includes a complete lesson plan for replicating this lesson in your own classroom, as well as links to additional content-related resources.

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1st Grade STEM: Expanding Vocabulary With Blue Whales

What Can First Graders Learn From a Blue Whale? More than Just Anatomy.

When first graders are challenged to learn scientific vocabulary—such as terms describing a blue whale’s anatomy. They gain confidence as well as knowledge.

At Green Acres Elementary in North Ogden, Utah, Ms. Lori Barker’s 1st graders participate in a STEM unit about blue whales. Throughout the unit, the children learn about the size and anatomy of blue whales, as well as their feeding habits. In this strategy video, the students reinforce their new knowledge by creating a functional model of baleen whale. (See the lesson linked below.)

The culminating assessment task for this unit is a research paper about blue whales. Ms. Barker ensures that students record their learning in their Blue Whale Discovery Data Book to track the writing of their research papers.

Core Standards Addressed in this Lesson

  • Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • Explain how the physical characteristics of living things help them meet their basic needs.

See the Baleen Lesson in Action

Watch Ms. Barker teach the blue whale baleen lesson in this week’s content on Edivate. The content also includes a downloadable guidebook that includes all the materials and guidance you need to replicate this lesson in your own classroom. Also included are links to additional resources  that will support your STEM teaching.

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What’s A Flipped Classroom—And Is It Right For Your Students?

Trending Now: Flipped Classrooms

There’s a buzzword that’s been popping up in educational discussions throughout the past few years—“flipped classroom.” What is it? Is it worth all of the attention it’s received, or is it just another trend soon to be replaced by more forward thinking concepts?

According to David Curlette, a math teacher at Dulth High School in Duluth, Georgia, his flipped classroom has resulted in accelerated learning and increased student interest.

“The first time I built a flipped classroom was about three years ago in my Trigonometry class,” says Curlette. “And the students were immediately addicted…So just that drive from the students showed me, ‘Hey, this is something that’s going to work and it’s something the students want.’”

What’s a flipped classroom?

A flipped classroom is essentially a class in which the students learn new material outside of class. Then, having learned the material, they bring that knowledge into class to discuss it, analyze it, and engage in hands-on application.

The material is provided in either written or video format, and the students can absorb the lessons at their own pace. In the case of Mr. Curlette, creating videos for his students has proven to be particularly effective.

“I build my videos on the SMART Board,” says Curlette. “I hit a record button, and as I write, it will record my voice at the same time as writing. I’ll save those and post them on YouTube and then I embed them to my website [curlettemath.com].”

Mr. Curlette then reinforces that knowledge through classroom activities.

What makes a flipped classroom successful?

According to Cynthia J. Brame, Assistant Director at the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University, there are four key elements to a successful flipped classroom model.

  1. Provide an opportunity for students to gain first exposure prior to class.
  2. Provide an incentive for students to prepare for class.
  3. Provide a mechanism to assess student understanding.
  4. Provide in-class activities that focus on higher level cognitive activities.

Get more detail about these elements of flipped classroom success at the Center for Teaching.

See the Flipped Classroom in action

This week’s content on Edivate features a video in which David Curlette demonstrates his flipped classroom model. The content also includes a downloadable guidebook that provides additional insights into using tech in the classroom and links to further resources about implementing a flipped classroom in your own school.

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A Simple, Effective STEM Lesson: Investigating Insulation Efficiency

What makes a great STEM lesson?

STEM learning is so much more than the simple acquisition of knowledge in the fields Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In fact, the very best STEM instruction utilizes skills and knowledge across non-STEM disciplines, such as writing, practical application, and industrial and career awareness.

In general, effective STEM instruction can include:

  • Teachers who develop solid STEM-related content knowledge
  • Hands-on problem‐solving activities that have real-world relevance
  • Integration of STEM into non-STEM subjects, especially art and design
  • Use of industry-standard software, tools, and procedures such as the engineering design cycle
  • Increased awareness of STEM fields and occupations, especially among underrepresented populations
  • Enthusiasm about further STEM-related learning
  • Connections between in-school and out-of-school learning opportunities
  • Industry and higher‐ed partnerships that encourage hands-on student exploration of STEM-related careers

Hands-on STEM: Investigating Insulation Efficiency

One example of an effective STEM lesson is the investigation of insulation efficiency. This high-school-level lesson tasks students with building an efficient insulated container for a can of hot water, and then calculating the rate of heat loss.

Beyond the instruction of transfer of heat energy, this lesson is particularly effective in providing a hands-on activity with real-world relevance. In this case, students can apply the significance of their findings to the construction of energy-efficient buildings. And since students build their own device, they determine their own difficulty level by how complex their device is.

This lesson addresses the following standard:

  • Investigate the transfer of heat energy by conduction, convection, and radiation.

Download the lesson plan—and see it in action

This week’s content on Edivate includes the lesson plan for investigating insulation efficiency. The download also includes links to content-related resources. In addition, you can watch the accompanying video to see the lesson in action. You’ll see the teacher instruct her pre-engineering students as they build an efficient insulated container for a can of hot water and calculate the rate of heat loss.

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How To Choose The Right Classroom Apps

Choosing and using the right apps in your classroom

As classrooms around the country trend toward 1-to-1 learning environments, the number of teaching tools has increased dramatically. With literally thousands of apps available for tablets, Chromebooks, and other devices, the challenge becomes choosing the most effective apps—and then integrating them into the classroom.

Thankfully, there are educators who have already tested a wide range of these apps. Common Sense Media offers a list of the best 1-to-1 iPad apps for elementary school. The apps promote engagement, learning, assessment, and management. Check out the list.

1-to-1 impact

One of the most important things to remember is that apps are only valuable as far as they facilitate learning that is rigorous and personalized, allowing students to move through the content at their own pace.

Properly implemented apps can also increase a teacher’s effectiveness as well, freeing them from the front of the classroom and giving them more time to provide individual guidance.

Kristen Brittingham, Director of Personalized Learning at Charleston County School District in Charleston, South Carolina, relates the benefits she sees from app-based learning: “This really frees up the teacher to do higher-level things like pulling strategy groups, instead of giving a spelling test to all of the students on the same day with all the same words.”

See how teachers effectively use apps in their classrooms

This week’s content on Edivate features real lower-elementary teachers and district specialists sharing how they use apps and devices in the classroom. The teachers also list and describe the apps their students currently use. Watch the video and download the included guidebook, which provides summaries, additional insights, and links to related resources.

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Classroom Management: The Efficacy of Incremental Redirection and Intervention Strategies

The Efficacy of Incremental Redirection and Intervention Strategies

Think back to high school. Which of your teachers did you like the most? Which did you dislike? There’s a good chance that your favorite teachers cultivated a relationship of respect with their students. In fact, the best teacher-student relationships are based on respect—something that can be difficult to foster when a teacher overreacts to minor infractions.

Teachers who respond to student misbehavior with incremental redirection and intervention, not only foster respect, they also protect valuable instruction time.

A Real Classroom Impact

A progression of intervention and redirection strategies can include proximity, gestures, and verbal cues. Used correctly, these techniques:

  • Demand minimal effort, attention, and time when appropriately sequenced
  • Eliminate or minimize the embarrassment and shame that a student may feel when being redirected
  • Are most effective when students have been explicitly taught to recognize them and understand their meaning

Watch Teachers Use Effective Intervention and Redirection Techniques in the Classroom

See real teachers demonstrate these techniques in real classrooms this week’s Edivate content. You can also download the accompanying guidebook, featuring a summary, reflection questions, and links to additional resources.

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