Strategy of the Week

Critical Approaches to a Literary Text

An English class is most often filled with varying levels of student comprehension. A lesson becomes challenging to mold when trying to fit the individual needs of a class full of students.

High school ELA teacher Ms. Elizabeth Gargis tailors her lesson plan to each of her students when interpreting two stanzas from John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost from contrasting perspectives.

Watch this Common Core-aligned lesson include procedures such as:

  • Think-Pair-Share
  • Guided Reading
  • Group Work
  • Student Presentations

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Evaluating Materials and Methods in a Science Experiment

Jason Niedermeyer shows us a Common Core lesson in action. His AP Biology class at South Salem High School in Salem, Oregon, determines the integrity of classmates’ materials and methods notes for completing a diffusion experiment in a lesson plan aligned with the Common Core Standards.

Watch a classroom example of Mr. Niedermeyer teaching through ELA standard 8 and Literacy standard 3

  • 8. Evalutate the hypotheses, data analysis, and conclusions in a science or technical text, verifying the data when possible and corroborating or challenging conclusions with other sources of information
  • 3. Follow precisely a complex multi-step procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks; analyze the specific results based on explanations in the text

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Get your first look at Edivation—the new PD 360

Next time you log in to watch your Strategy of the Week video, you’ll see a dramatic change.

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  • Content that’s personalized specifically for you, based on your role, your viewing history, and PD that your administrator recommends
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Log in to Edivation today and check it out for yourself.

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Math Practice Standards: Look For and Make Use of Structure

The Common Core Standards outline mathematical skills that will help students confidently solve problems and justify their solutions. Standard 7 notes that math proficient students “look for and make use of structure.”

Watch this standard in action as secondary teachers guide students to:

  • Step back and overview their work
  • Recognize mathematical properties in action
  • Think critically

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Establishing Daily Rituals and Routines

Students need a foundation of classroom behavior. This is created early in a student’s education experience. With the proper consistency and application of these rules, windows begin to open for a heightened learning experience down the road.

To open these windows the Kansas City Missouri School District relies on a student-centered learning system. This is a system where “learning is the constant, time is the variable, and students are the focus.” Teachers and staff received extensive training for this new initiative. One school relays the importance of establishing structure and routine as taught in their training.

Watch educators at Troost Elementary and Faxon Elementary:

  • Convey to students the appropriate behaviors in the classroom
  • Teach students to work individually, in pairs, and in small groups
  • Revisit rules and expectations on a continual basis

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Making Accommodations for English Language Learners

Helping English language learners to excel in a classroom full of fluent English students comes with its extra set of challenges, but if additional time and tools are set aside, the reward far outweighs those challenges.

Jo Gusman, president and founder of New Horizons in Education, assured, “If we make our decisions based on foundation, frameworks, and tools, then we will be successful.” Specifically, the tools used should use visual, oral, auditory, and kinesthetic adaptations to modify instructional delivery.

Watch Gusman provide examples for elementary and secondary classrooms.

Learning Goals: Sound Assessment and Goal Clarity

Creating a vision for the future is the foundation for motivation. Setting specific learning goals with students prior to the actual learning gives students the foundation they need to approach learning and allows teachers to effectively assess each student.

Education expert and noted author Jay McTighe encourages his mantra that the primary purpose of assessment should be to promote student learning. He prioritized five key learning goals that range from short-term factual goals to long-term application goals. Watch him explain this list that includes:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills & Processes
  • Understanding
  • Habits of Mind
  • Long-Term Transfer Goals

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College and Career Readiness: Project-Based Learning

As the school year comes to a close, students’ futures come to mind. Are students prepared to enter college? How can we prepare them in the most effective way possible?

Through a focus on project-based learning, Kentucky schools prepare students for college and careers by shifting focus from training students for one individual test to training them for life beyond the classroom.

Watch Kentucky’s project-based learning and aligned formative assessments that have shown student improvement with:

  • Engagement and behavior
  • Development of leadership skills
  • Problem-solving techniques

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Classroom Management: Intentional Teacher Errors

Teachers make mistakes in the classroom. That’s inevitable. But, if the teacher intentionally makes mistakes, students who attempt to identify those errors increase their critical thinking in the classroom while learning to critique others’ reasoning.

Evan Stoudt, a secondary teacher from New Orleans, demonstrates how to make the classroom more conducive for critical thinking by making intentional errors. Error analysis is a strategy that allows the teacher to consciously make an error during board work that widens the students’ focus during discussion and learning.

Watch Stoudt’s errors that are:

  • Readily identifiable
  • Require critical thinking
  • Have a solution

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Elementary Classroom Management: Entry and Exit Procedures

Sometimes it’s the small things that make a big difference in keeping a classroom engaged, motivated, and positive.

Elementary teachers at Akili Academy in New Orleans, Louisiana, demonstrate entry and exit procedures. These procedures help students to transition into and out of class in an efficient and orderly manner, enabling them to maximize instructional time.

Watch the video above, and see how effective entry and exit procedures are:

  • Efficient
  • Orderly
  • Routine
  • Inclusive (involve all students)

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