Strategy of the Week

Supporting the Challenge of Growth

Supporting the Challenge of Growth

Thank you, teachers, for another school year. Thanks for challenging your students, watching over them as they struggled, and encouraging them to keep at it until they reached success.

As you probably know, your students watched as you struggled. They observed you keenly as a role model for how they should face their own challenges and setbacks.

This video is only 1:40, but it’s a powerful tribute to teachers who nail the big life lessons their students need: You will struggle, but you can do this. I’m behind you, and so are your peers. The brief conversation between these two students says it all.

You can download the guidebook for this video here.

Teach us: What rituals or final lessons do you end the school year with in your classroom?

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Classroom Meetings Eight Building Blocks for Success

Classroom Meetings Eight Building Blocks for Success

Classroom meetings have been around for a long time—as you can tell by this video above!

So the question is: how relevant are they in today’s schools?

Educational approaches come and go, especially those associated with the “traditional” model. Which strategies stand both the test of time and the shift from schooling in an industrial-based to a knowledge-based economy?

As more teachers and schools create increasingly personalized, learner-centered environments, the need for student self-management and responsibility increases. Can a classroom democratized by choice and voice regarding curriculum, pacing, and even workspaces be governed by a teacher-centric approach?

Classroom meetings may well be more relevant today than when this video was filmed. (Anyone want to try guessing the year?)

Apart from its entertainment value and throwback to 4:3 aspect ratio, the video outlines eight “building blocks” of effective class meetings. If you’ve never done a class meeting before, the end of the school year might be the perfect opportunity to take half an hour and give one a try. More information can be found in the guidebook to this segment.

Teach us: What old-school, tried-and-true learning do you stand by? Let us know by commenting.

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Elementary STEM Lesson using 1:1 Devices and Google Classroom

STEM 1:1 Devices Using Google Classroom

Does giving feedback save you time? The power of classroom apps.

Classroom apps like Google Classroom and Edmodo can reduce teacher workload, allowing them to focus on what matters most: giving meaningful feedback to students.

But how well do students interact with the apps? Watch this 3:45 video to see a 5th grade teacher’s strategies for using Google Classroom with a successful hands-on lesson about prepositions.

The segment also comes with a downloadable study guide that includes additional resources and reflection questions for vocabulary supports and instruction.

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

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Using Context Clues to Determine Word Meaning

Using Context Clues to Determine Word Meaning

Whether in poetry or another subject, when students encounter unfamiliar vocabulary, it can stop them in their tracks. Learning how to use context clues—information that comes before and after an unknown word—helps students determine its meaning.

Common Types of Context Clues

  1. Root word and affix: People remembered her fondly as a benevolent [bene = good or well; vol = to wish]
  2. Definition: A perennial plant grows back after winter.
  3. Description: Some birds like to build their nests in inconspicuous spots — high up in the tops of trees, well hidden by leaves.
  4. Synonym: Betsy took a break from teaching to serve in the Peace Corps. Despite the hiatus, Betsy’s school was eager to rehire her when she returned.
  5. Antonym: I miss Mr. Fry. Our new principal is cranky and unapproachable. Mr. Fry was so affable.
  6. Cause and Effect: Because we lingered too long at the restaurant, we missed the beginning of the movie.
  7. Inference: e.g., You don’t need to worry about talk to Mr. Fry. He is an affable

Source: Reading Rockets

Teaching in Action

This video segment on Edivate, 12th Grade Words, Words, Words: Determining Contextual Meaning, features Ms. Alyssa Montooth, an ELA teacher at Druid Hills High School in Atlanta, Georgia, and interrelated teacher, Ms. Cassandra Domineck, as they help students master unfamiliar vocabulary encountered in their study of Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello. Students identify specific context clues to determine which vocabulary word has the appropriate connotative and denotative meaning to fit in the provided sentences.

The segment also comes with a downloadable study guide that includes additional resources and reflection questions for vocabulary supports and instruction.

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

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Poetry 180: A Poem a Day

Poetry 180: A Poem a Day

Remember when US Poet Laureate Billy Collins introduced Poetry 180: A Poem A Day for American High Schools? Have you taken the challenge? Good poetry is short enough to afford opportunities for reading every day, varied enough to resonate with different groups and individuals throughout the year, and complex enough to intrigue and challenge students. If you decide to take the plunge, check out the helpful resources below to support you as you begin.

5 Tools to Support Daily Poetry in the Classroom 

  1. Poetry App from the Poetry Foundation
  2. The Writer’s Almanac
  3. Magnetic Poetry
  4. Poetry Out Loud
  5. Poetry 180

Source: Edutopia

Teaching in Action

This video segment on Edivate, 4th Grade Poetry Lesson – Elementary, features Ms. Fallon Farokhi, a teacher at the Edith Bowen Laboratory School in Logan, Utah, guiding students to write and publish their own poetry.

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

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Using Poetry in the Classroom

Delicious Poetry for the Classroom

In recognition of National Poetry Month, why not dedicate a poem to your classroom? Even if you teach a subject that doesn’t seem compatible with poetry, providing opportunities for students to read or write poems can cultivate high engagement and interest.

10 Ways to Use Poetry in Your Classroom

Consider these engaging ways to infuse your classroom with poetry this month and beyond:

  1. Activate prior knowledge
  2. Establish theme
  3. Explore language
  4. Focus on facts
  5. Set a scene
  6. Inspire writing
  7. See new perspectives
  8. Ignite curiosity
  9. Provide pleasure
  10. Capture character

Source: Reading Rockets

Teaching in Action

This video segment on Edivate, 1st Grade: Delicious Interactive Poetry Writing, features Ms. Stephanie Buquoi and her 1st grade class at Shiloh Point Elementary in Cumming, Georgia. Students explore the poetic forms of haiku and cinquain and identify words that appeal to the senses in order to create poems of their own.

The segment also comes with a downloadable study guide that includes additional resources and thought-questions for poetry and reading instruction.

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

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Learning Through Music, Rhythm, Rhyme, & Rap

Learning Through Music, Rhythm, Rhyme, & Rap

This week’s strategy wraps up Music In Our Schools month! For our final thoughts, we are featuring strategies outlined by Marcia Tate in her book, Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites: 20 Instructional Strategies That Engage the Brain. Her 11th strategy focuses on using music, rhythm, rhyme, and rap strategically in the classroom to promote student engagement and learning.

Tune in to Edivate’s exclusive video featuring Ms. Tate discussing principles for using music strategically below.

Teaching in Action

This video segment, Music, Rhythm, Rhyme, and Rap, features Marcia Tate as she describes strategies for using music to meaningfully engage students in the classroom.

Purchase Marcia Tate’s book with over 300 classroom activities exclusively through Edivate, here.

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

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Using Songs To Enhance Learning

Using Songs To Enhance Learning

How many GenXers and Millennials can sing along to Schoolhouse Rock! songs they haven’t heard for years? “Conjunction junction, what’s your function?” “Three is a magic number,” anyone?

When it comes to education, using music in your classroom can improve student affect, engagement, and motivation. Songs can be used to teach students about material that may seem inaccessible, “boring,” or hard to remember. Is it any wonder that sites like Songs for Teaching and Flocabulary, which feature free and for-purchase music for a wide range of grade levels and subject areas—are such popular teaching resources?

For suggestions on how to implement music into your classroom, check out “Music and Learning: Integrating Music in the Classroom.

Source: The TeacherTube Blog.

5 Ways Music Impacts Learning

  1. Enhancement of recall: most songs act as mnemonic devices and increase students’ ability to memorize key lists, formulas, definitions, and relationships.
  2. Stress reduction: enjoyable music can help students perceive the classroom as a friendly, inclusive environment. Also note: certain music reliably reduces blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature in students.
  3. Multi-modality delivery: songs accompanied by visuals and/or movement reaches students through multiple modalities simultaneously.
  4. Increased enjoyment: to the extent that music makes classwork or homework more fun, it can lead students to devote more engaged time to their content-related work.
  5. In-depth exploration of content: reading or singing along to content-based lyrics can help students encounter and address points of confusion. Additionally, if students are writing their own songs, they will deepen their learning as they make decisions about how to accurately express the concepts they’re learning.

Source: US National Library of Medicine

Teaching in Action

This video segment on Edivate, Songs to Reinforce Math Content-Elementary, features Ms. Carol Stafford, a kindergarten teacher in Shelby County, Tennessee, using songs to activate and reinforce math content as her students learn to decompose the number five. Songs in this segment remind students how to spell, add, and subtract the number five, as well as define the word “decompose.”

The segment also comes with a downloadable study guide that includes additional resources and thought-questions.

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

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Making Classroom Management Fun With Music

Making Classroom Management Fun With Music

This week for Music In Our Schools Month, we will explore how to integrate music as a means for executing effective classroom management.

As someone who primarily taught students at risk of failure for 14 years and co-authored the book Conscious Classroom Management, Rick Smith has rich advice related to managing classroom expectations and making it fun for teachers and students. One strategy is using music to promote efficient transitions. Whatever grade and subject-level you teach, this practical and effective strategy can be immediately implemented in your classroom. See below to watch a video featuring this strategy!

Access information about Rick Smith and Grace Dearborn’s Conscious Classroom Management Lumibook here!

7 Ways to Implement Music as Part of Your Classroom Culture

  1. Before school: play music as a welcome for students to enter the room. This can set the tone for the day and also serve as a signal for when it is okay for students to enter the room.
  2. To start school: choose an upbeat theme song for your classroom with simple motions to get students moving around (e.g., high fiving their peers).
  3. During transitions: choose a 10-second, 30-second, and 1-minute clip of different songs so students can time themselves during transitions.
  4. Setting the tone: choose music that will set the tone for particular class activities like reading, discussions, or group work.
  5. Challenging students: teach songs to students that have cultural, historical, or thematic relation to new content.
  6. As lessons: to challenge readers, teach new vocabulary, or to illustrate a principle from class, use a song!
  7. End of day: in addition to a song for beginning class, one to end will provide closure for the day’s lesson, and help students end on a high note (literally).

Source: Scholastic

Teaching in Action

This video segment on Edivate, Music for Transitions, features Rick Smith describing the strategy in detail, as well as Ms. Kim Wichert, a science teacher at Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School in Omaha, Nebraska.

The segment also comes with a downloadable study guide that includes additional resources and thought-questions for implementing music for transitions.

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

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Arts Engagement Has Broad Impact for Core Subjects

Arts Engagement Has Broad Impact for Core Subjects

March is the National Association for Music Music InspiresEducation’s Music In Our Schools Month!

Several studies show that enrollment in arts courses is positively correlated with higher academic performance and engagement for all students.

To celebrate, see how music study can integrate English language arts (ELA) and social studies by watching Mr. Jim Taylor teach his advanced choir class in Salem, Oregon.

Source: Musical Futures and National Assembly of State Arts Agencies 

6 Benefits for Students

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) states that the collection of research related to arts education has revealed that studying the arts is associated with student achievement in six areas:

  1. Reading and language
  2. Mathematics
  3. Critical thinking
  4. Social skills
  5. Motivation to learn
  6. Positive attitude toward school

Source: National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

Teaching in Action

This video segment on Edivate showcases Mr. Jim Taylor’s advanced choir class at McNary High School in Salem, Oregon. Students analyze the imagery, the historical and religious context, and the compositional technique of three pieces of music from Handel’s Messiah.

The segment also comes with a downloadable study guide.

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

**Can’t log in to Edivate or forgot your password? Contact Edivate Support at 855 337-7500 or support@schoolimprovement.com.